Orca Redux
by Jeff Davis

1997


"Come on! Not another test!" I moaned.

"Yes, another. We still can't figure out why your other half has exclusive control of your Powers. Besides, there are no known cases of something like this happening." Zachris said. "Now, please open up."

This is getting boring. I'm going to liven things up a bit. My 'other half' said. I rolled my eyes, the grimaced as my teeth started to grow.

What exactly are you doing? An image popped into my mind, unbidden. That is extremely annoying... you wouldn't dare. Another image appeared, this time a 'grinning' orca. Oh yes I would.

"Please open your mouth, Chad." I complied, and the doctor jumped back as my already-huge teeth grew out of my mouth and hit the table I was sitting on. "What the?!"

Shrink the damn teeth. As my teeth retreated into my mouth, I explained. "He was getting a little bored, so he decided to, ah, liven things up a bit." Zachris glared at me. The expression was so ridiculous coming from him (he was a robin morph) that I couldn't help but to burst out laughing. "What's so funny? This is serious!"

Serious ha! That look was like being glared at by a fish! Tell him to do it again!

"My other half just made a comment to me, and I agree. That look you gave me was just too ridiculous." Zachris started for a moment, and I pressed on, "Also, I don't think he's going to be cooperative. I don't think I will be either. Can we complete these tests another day?"

Better yet, not at all! I groaned mentally. Although it had been about a week since the incident with so-called 'rogue doctor', I still hadn't got used to his occasionally bizarre, occasionally almost-human, comments. "I suppose so. How about tomorrow? I only have one more test to run."

"Wait a minute. Mom tried to get a routine checkup tomorrow for herself, and your receptionist said that you were "Completely booked for the whole day"!"

"Well, you are a one-of-a-kind case, and as such you have priority. Besides, the remaining test won't take long."

In other words, 'you are unique, so far, and if I get to publish about your condition first I'll be famous!'

For once, we are in complete agreement.

Later, at about 7:00, I was interrupted from my homework by a loud, insistent knocking at the front door. I walked down the stairs to see Mom talking animatedly with a pair of what looked like police officers. "No, I have already talked to the local police, and they said that they would not be prosecuting. I don't know who you are, but you're not police." The two men said something in a low voice, and I shook my head. After my attempted kidnapping (at least, that's what the police thought it was) she had become less paranoid, and sometimes actually bold. As I looked back toward the two men, I noticed one reaching into a pocket. He started to pull something out, getting just far enough for me to see a metallic gleam, before the other guy discreetly hit him on the back.

Wasn't that a knife?

Quite probably. This is not a good thing. While I had been distracted talking to my other half, Mom had shut the door and was approaching me.

"Can you believe the nerve of those people? I think they were reporters dressed up as cops." she fumed.

"I don't think they were reporters, Mom." I was a bit nervous; what if those guys came back?

"Why is that?"

One of them had a knife." At this point, she did something I would have thought she was finished doing: she fainted, falling against the side of the stairs and slumping to the floor. Not again! It appears she hasn't changed as much as you thought.

Hmm, I wonder what gave you that idea?

Well...

Damn it, do I need to explain sarcasm again?

That night was an interesting experience to say the least. The orca would not shut up; he couldn't seem to get the two guys out of his head. Now, this is really annoying when I'm trying to do anything requiring concentration -- can you work with someone talking at you constantly? Worse, he went to sleep before me. For those who don't know, orcas generally sleep with one side of their brain only. Unfortunately, for that purpose, he seems to represent one half, while I the other. Therefore, if he falls asleep first, I end up sleeping only about half the night. For some reason, he can conform to my sleep patterns if I fall asleep first (not that he likes it) but I simply can't fall asleep if he already is. Oh well. At least its Friday.

At about midnight, he woke up. All right. Your turn.

You do realize how extremely annoying this is, right?

Hey, it's not my fault that you humans have strange sleep patterns! The 'grinning' orca again. I don't know where you learned that we are screwy -- I always thought it was you. By the way, will you please stop with the imagery, already? I can tell enough from your tone of voice.

But I don't have a voice.

Oh, haha. I beginning to think explaining sarcasm to you was a bad idea. Your attempts at it are so bad, they're almost painful.

Go to sleep.

That night, I was bombarded with the strangest dreams -- half-forgotten images from my childhood, including the actual day of Change, images that flickered by too quickly to comprehend, images of orcas that felt strangely like memories.

The next morning, I woke to find myself eating breakfast. Or, more specifically, a rather large tuna. Waking up in bays and such seemed to be just another quirk you've got to deal with when you've got an orca living in your head. What are we doing here?

Well, you weren't exactly doing anything, so I decided to come down here and get breakfast. The stuff you eat tastes like fish crap.

And how would you know what fish crap tastes like?

This isn't the first time I've been down here hunting, you know.

Your 'memories' don't count.

They are real, you know. Anyway, I wasn't talking about that.

You mean -- the days I overslept.. that was you!

Yes, that was me. How was I supposed to know about your stupid schedules? Anyway, this is just the first time I wasn't paying attention when you started to wake up.

Was that you screwing with my dreams last night?

What? What kind of dreams?

Actually, they were a bit like the way you have described your so-called memories to me.

Hold on. I want to look at your memories of that before they fade. He abruptly turned over control. Startled, I spun around and slammed into a large group of tuna. Thanks for the warning! I turned to watch as the remaining tuna fled, scanning them with my sonar, then pinged the surrounding area. This not the main bay, as I had thought. In fact, the only indication I had of where I was the slight difference in the current I was in from the surrounding water. I breathed, then dove under the current, riding the counter-current beneath it toward the bay entrance. You're getting good at that.

Thanks. You know, you could have told me about these hunting trips.

Oh well. Now, back to the subject of last night -- who do you think those guys were?

I really can't say. We had reached the docks, and I beached myself on the boat ramp. Shift us back. Anyway, my best guess would be that they are somehow affiliated with Lunchmeat. As the still (and probably always) unfamiliar changes began, I sat and waited. For some reason, he had started refusing to talk to me during the change. When it was finished, he continued with the conversation.

That would mean that he wasn't working alone.

That it would.

We need to figure out what they wanted. Why?

So we can figure out when they will strike next. I would have laughed, except for the gruesome image that he popped into my mind. Thanks. Do you really want me to lose your hard-earned breakfast?

What?

Not again! You are really inconsistent. I mean, you use expressions from the spy thrillers I used to read, and you don't know what that phrase means?

I can only read so much of your memory so fast, you know. Your brain was hideously inefficient at storing things.

Brakes. What do you mean was? Have you been screwing with my brain?

Just to make it more closely resemble an orca brain so I can read it easier.

What!

I did explain that there is no point in yelling, right?

Just answer me!

All I have done is modify the structure of your brain. I haven't really started on the extensive stuff yet. It didn't occur to me that you might have a problem with this.

Oh man. Somehow, I don't think I want to know what the extensive stuff is.

Well..

Shut up. Just shut up.

When I told him to do that, I hadn't really counted on the hideous problem of trying to have any privacy at all when you've got someone else living in your head. It's worse than people with a telepathy Power, really. For the rest of that day, (which passed fairly non-eventfully) he was silent. Unfortunately, I took this to mean he had cut himself off. As it turned out, he was hard at work.

That night, his sleep patterns dominated again. This time, however, I didn't try to get to sleep; I knew it was futile. Instead, I worked on an assignment for school that was due on Monday. When it seemed he was about to wake, I got back into bed.

Its time.

? Time for what?

You'll see. Don't go to sleep. I groaned mentally; I could do very little, as I had already relinquished control. He walked out of the house, stripping off the comfort suit I had been wearing as he went (fortunately, by this time we didn't have anything showing anyway). I thought he had intended to go to the bay, as he had before; but he didn't. Instead, he shifted to the smallest morph form we could access, and sneaked onto a cargo ship.

What are you doing!? Again, he refused to answer. He had just settled into a corner of the ship's hold when it started to move. For over an hour he sat there, motionless, silent. I started to drift off to sleep.

Stay awake.

Tell me what you're doing! He was silent. All he would say was the occasional Stay awake. Another hour passed. Abruptly, he stood, walked out of the cargo area, and dove over the side, sifting to orca norm as he did. Now will you tell me what you're doing?

Alright. Two nights ago, while you slept, I decided to try and find anything that would indicate what those guys were up to. Nothing. So I started back on what I had been trying to do since I ended up here -- find out what happened to the real me.

What?

I have extremely distinct memories of life before I popped into your head, as I've tried to tell you. I've been trying to determine what happened to my real body off and on since I appeared here. Well, two nights ago, I found out. We were approaching a small island, and when he reached it, he promptly shifted to morph and found a hiding place.

Wait a minute -- the closest island is that new research facility. What are we doing here? I was understandably nervous; the facility on this island had originally dealt with military projects until it was bought out, and the security system was reputed to be among the best in the world. The entire island was also marked 'no trespassing'. If we were caught, we would be in for it.

I found out that Lunchmeat had an association with this island. That didn't really trigger anything till I remembered that right before I ended up in your head, I had been captured and brought to an island.

So?

I think I'm here. Or at least what's left in my old body.

I say again, so what?

Look. Lunchmeat had a connection to this island. He came after us. My old body is here. See a connection yet?

Oh. What do you plan to do?

Kick some ass and take some names. You're nuts.

Thank you.

Fortunately, he hadn't thought out the problems involved in attacking a heavily guarded island lab. After nearly getting our ass blown off, he conceded defeat and left the island. You knew this would happen, didn't you.

Well, I wasn't exactly expecting the gun turret, but yeah, I thought you'd have to give up.

I'll just have to try again.

How about getting some help? I mean, we can go to the police. They should be able to get a warrant just based on that gun alone. Give me control for a minute. He relented control, and I dove, scanning the seabed with my sonar.

Bingo! Looks just a little suspicious for a 'research lab', doesn't it? I had found what sounded like a hatch of some sort... definitely metallic, air on the other side, with a rather distinctive bulge on either side. Just then, a smaller hatch that I hadn't noticed popped open, and the bulges rotated. Eventually, they pointed straight at me and emitted a pure-toned pulse of sound. I immediately dove and turned right, seeking to avoid a follow-up pulse.

Ouch.

Yeah. Think they could get any louder? I think that was sonar, but what was the small hatch? Just then, I felt a much softer ping strike me.

Sonar. Not human sonar either. Sounds like a dolphin. Two more pings, then four more, all having distinct characteristics that marked them as coming from different sources. I wheeled about, and saw a group of dolphins heading my way. More were coming out of the smaller hatch every few seconds.

Well, now we know what the hatch is for. The first dolphin was within a few feet of us, still pumping its flukes. When it got to within a few feet, I breached to avoid a collision.

Why'd you do that?

There's something strange about these guys. They're not acting normally.

Another dolphin rocked past and slammed into a small seamount. Then, something that by all rights should be impossible happened: he exploded, blowing the seamount in half.

What the?! Crap! Here comes another! This one hit the first dolphin, which was coming around. The resulting double explosion sent me tumbling.

This is not good. We're a sitting duck like this. I'm shifting us to something smaller. Yet another dolphin shot past as we shrank, taking on the form of the dolphins that were attacking us. As soon as the shift was complete, I dove to the bottom. Weaving between the rocks on the seabed was hard, but it would make us a more difficult target.

Left! Another explosion slightly to my right. This can't go on much longer. The sharks will show up soon.

Yes, but-- An explosion behind me-- can we stay alive long enough?

As our dance with death continued, dolphin after dolphin struck the seabed around me. I knew that eventually we would take a hit, and that would be it. One hit, or even a near-miss, would blow me to a bloody pulp.

I have an idea.

Anything is better than this.

OK. Duck behind that mount. I complied. Now stop. No, don't argue just do it. The pursuing dolphin shot past us. Now follow him.

What?

You heard me. I shot after the dolphin, noticing after a second that the other pursing dolphins were chasing him.

Yes! it worked! The pursuing dolphin wasn't quite as nimble as I, and most of the dolphins were within a couple of yards of him when the first pursuer hit. The resulting blast took out the rest of them.

Somehow, I think this just upped our chances of having the police go out there.

That's if they believe us.

Yeah. Big 'if'

"So you're telling me that after trespassing onto a private island, you were first shot at by an automated gun and then attacked by explosive dolphins?" I winced. The officer's tone of voice didn't exactly make it sound like he believed me.

"Yes, that is what I said. If you go out there, the holes should still be in the seabed."

He just shook his head. "There is no way I'm wasting precious resources on a half-baked story like this." I sighed and prepared to leave. Just then, however, the captain in charge of the station, a Mr. Bakay, walked in.

"Chad! Good to see you, but what are you doing here?" Mr. Bakay had taken charge of my case shortly after I had been brought in the first time.

"Sir, you know this guy?" The officer looked shocked.

"Yes, I do. Why?"

"Because for the past quarter hour he has been spewing the most impossible story I've ever heard." Bakay looked at me. "Out with it, Chad." And so, for the third time in less than an hour, I told what had just happened. When I finished, he just stared at me for a moment, then turned to the officer.

"Lieutenant Chambers, go tell Officer Salinas to get down here. After you do that, file a request for a search warrant for that island." Chambers was apparently a by-the-book sort of person; "Sir, you cannot go assigning officers to every wild tale you hear." Bakay gave him a nasty look and stated icily that "This is not a 'wild tale' Lieutenant. This is a lead that potentially involves an illicit weapons plant. Now go do it." Chambers walked of, muttering under his breath. He did follow orders, however, as Officer Salinas, an otter morph, walked in a few moments later.

Well, he's not exactly in the form I would have picked, but he'll do.

We led Salinas to the various impact points, making sure to stay well clear of the island. He apparently convinced Captain Bakay enough to prompt Bakay to order a search of the island.

From the trial of Dr. Dick Bennett, one year later

"And so, after discovering that while his Power could not be used to control human subjects, he turned to animal ones. After establishing control over a local pod of dolphins, he performed illegal genetic engineering on their offspring. What he did was so hideous that every national military rejected his proposal when he later approached them.. He modified the dolphins before birth, then performed surgery on them to better suit them to his purposes. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, what Dr. Bennett did was modify these dolphins to act as living torpedoes, and as Chad Ryeold's encounter with them indicates, he succeeded. But he did not stop there. Instead, he captured a pair of killer whales, intending to make an even more lethal weapon. When that orca, the only male in the area, died suddenly, he contacted the late Dr. Metzen, who attempted to kidnap Chad and died in the attempt." Chad squirmed in his seat at that statement. He did not really like to be reminded of the death of Dr. Metzen. "After Metzen failed, he attempted it again, using his only personnel. As Chad had already left for the island, all they succeeded in doing was badly wounding his mother. Alone, any of these charges would be grounds for a sentence of life, but combined they have moved me to ask for something unprecedented in this type of case -- the death penalty." Chad's eyes went wide and the entire courtroom was silent, shocked.

Whoo boy. She's more bloodthirsty than me!

"The evidence will show that had Dr. Bennett succeeded, he would have killed many a innocent person. Only a hunch by a teen," she nodded at Chad, "and the stubbornness of one police captain prevented this."

In contrast to that statement, the defense's opening argument seemed weak. Shortly after the trial began, Dr. Bennett requested a plea agreement. The prosecutor refused. During the course of the trial, she would refer to this as another piece of proof towards his guilt. When the verdict finally came, it was unanimous on all counts: guilty. After failing in his plea for a simple life sentence, Dr. Bennett took his own life, apparently preferring not to postpone what he had made inevitable. Ironically, people used the gathering for the press conference called to announce his death to denounce the death sentence and call for just giving him life in prison.



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