The Changeling Chronicles
"Now, then, do you two know why you're here?" the detective asked.
"Bureaucratic stupidity," said Runner.
She was not happy, and not at all reluctant to let others know this.
"What she means is, the officers who responded to the call arrested us instead of the criminals we captured," I stated, kicking her in the shin under the table.
"Criminals?" the detective snapped. "Those men are employees of one of Chicago's finest citizens. The boy you claim you rescued from them is his son. The men you attacked were simply returning him home."
"By drugging him and dragging him through a hotel lobby and out to a waiting - and illegally parked - car?" asked Runner, raising a furry eyebrow.
"Look, you two are the ones who are in trouble, here," said the detective, trying to maintain control of the interrogation. "You attacked five men without cause..."
"Oh, we had plenty of cause," snarled Runner. "They were kidnapping that man!"
"So you say," the detective sneered.
"Yes," I told him, firmly, "So we say. And so we told the responding officers. Who ignored our accusations and let the kidnappers go - in spite of the cries for help from their victim - and arrested us!"
The detective glared at each of us in turn, then deliberately clamped down on his irritation, while turning up the intimidation.
"Look, until you two decide to be reasonable and co-operate, we're not going to get anywhere," he told us, in a tone of forced calm.
"Until we co-operate?!" snarled Runner, peeling her lips back to reveal canines which would have given Dracula pause. "Listen, buster, it's you people who aren't co-operating! We stopped a kidnapping, and got arrested for our troubles while the kidnappers went free! And they still have that guy!"
"You have no evidence of a kidnapping," said the detective, firmly.
"Of course we do," I told him, exasperated. "Like we told the responding officers, the men thought of it as a kidnapping."
"Oh, so now you're reading their minds," said the detective, voice dripping sarcasm.
"That's right," I told him, nodding. "We're both telepaths. When we saw what looked suspiciously like someone being manhandled against his will, we scanned their surface thoughts. And found out he was being kidnapped."
"Don't you know that invading other people's thoughts is illegal?" demanded the detective. "And it's not admissible in court."
"Yes it is," I countered. "And it's not illegal in this sort of situation. US Supreme Court decision, last May. Look it up."
"Oh, and I suppose you're an expert." Now he was back to dripping.
"That's right," I told him, nodding and smiling.
The detective looked confused. Runner leaned forward a bit and explained, in the sort of tone a tired adult uses with a not-particularly-bright child.
"Dr. Lingenfelter has acted as an expert witness in seven..."
"...eight court cases involving Changelings and the use of their powers," she corrected. "She is an expert."
The detective stared at her, then at me. I smiled sweetly. He shook his head. Without a word, he rose and left.
*Even money they let us go,* I telepathically commented.
*No bet. Though you'd make a better impression as an expert witness if you weren't wearing that... that "belt."*
*"Belt"? You mean my dress?*
I looked down at my outfit. Blue and white checkered halter top (no bra) with a short, red, vinyl skirt, and a moderate amount of jewelry. No makeup. None needed, if I may say so without seeming to brag.
*Belt,* she affirmed, her mental tone carrying a strong coloring of disapproval.
*Well, you certainly didn't mind wearing it for me last night,* I mentally snickered, crinkling my nose.
*Hey! That was for you! In private!*
*And you looked really sexy in it,* I assured her. *Especially since - unlike me - you weren't wearing anything under it. Come to think of it, that's the only time I can recall you wearing feminine clothes. But then, you were acting rather fem last night. Good thing I had that strap-on dildo.*
*I was desperately in need of relief,* she huffed, crossing her arms defensively across her chest.
If her face hadn't been covered in fur, she'd have been showing a delightful blush.
*C'mon,* I teased. *The first five times might have been from need, but the others were just two girls having fun in bed. And on the floor. And in the shower. Especially with some of the positions you suggested. I hadn't realized you were that flexible. Actually, I hadn't realized I was that flexible.*
*None of which changes the fact we were doing all that in private,* she countered, shifting uncomfortably. I could actually smell her getting aroused from my reminiscing. *This is in public.*
*Well, I like to look sexy for everyone, and not just whoever I'm having sex with at the moment.*
She stared at me for a long time, now making me shift uncomfortably in my seat.
*You're E'yesha,* she stated, finally.
*Well, yes,* I replied, still feeling uneasy.
*No, I mean you are E'yesha. You may have the memories of Dr. Edward Lingenfelter, but you're her with his memories, rather than being him in her body.*
Okay, now I was feeling really uncomfortable.
*That disputes everything we've been able to establish in court about continuation of identity. Just because you changed into someone based on you in a game...*
"That's not my point," she said, aloud. "Biology is not destiny but it definitely has a strong influence. And your biology is having a very strong influence on your behavior and attitudes."
Before I could think of how to respond to that, we both started as we heard the door knob being turned. In walked the detective.
"All right," he stated, sitting. "We finally got confirmation of your identities from Kentucky. It appears you have no previous arrest records. So we're going to be nice and chalk this up to an honest misunderstanding and let you go. But I suggest you keep a low profile, and go back home before you get in any more trouble."
"Let's get a cab," she sighed.
* * *
"That was totally bogus," I announced, as we walked out the front door. "They can't decide to let us go. Those guys had to drop the charges! And that 'finally got your records' garbage...!"
"We can't just leave this alone," said Runner, still fuming. "That guy is being held prisoner somewhere - and it doesn't matter if it's at his father's home, he's over eighteen and doesn't want to be there, so he's being illegally held - and the people responsible are still running around free."
"Well, I suggest we get back to the con and ask folks if they know this guy," I responded. I sighed and looked around the street in front of the police station. "It would've been nice if they'd taken us back to where they got us. Looks like we'll have to take a taxi."
"It's only about a klick and a half, that way," said Runner, pointing.
"Yeah, but I'm not gonna walk that far, through downtown Chicago."
"Who said anything about walking," she smirked, rising up on the balls of her feet.
Now, Runner has convertible ankles. She normally stands and walks plantigrade, but runs digitigrade. And runs quite well, too, as her chosen name implies. But my feet aren't convertible, and I'm considerably smaller than her, with a much shorter stride. And there was another matter to consider.
"Oooh," I said, shivering, "you make me go all tingly when you do that."
I was exaggerating, but not too much. Raised heels are a sign of sexual receptivity, which is why high-heels are so popular. When she went digitigrade, Runner's feet and lower legs were in the same posture as someone wearing the most extreme fetish footgear, only without shoes to obscure the view. People had already been staring at us (a very short but mostly human looking, well-endowed elf; and a short, wolfish-looking elf); now their gazes were strongly shaded with desire.
Runner was, as usual, oblivious to the effect she had on males. Like me, she'd been a heterosexual man before the Change. Unlike me, she hadn't turned into a character intended as a bi-sexpot. Her sexiness was a side effect of being well designed, by an engineer with a strong sense of esthetics. Runner didn't consider herself a sex object, and had trouble understanding that others did, especially male others. This often led to misunderstandings, from men who thought she was receptive to them, while she was oblivious to the fact they were flirting with her. The results were often embarrassing, and occasionally hilarious. Just now, though, I didn't feel like dealing with such a situation.
*Down, girl!* I warned her. *I just got out of jail. I do not want to be arrested for soliciting right in front of the police station.*
Runner heard this, and also caught the underthoughts behind it. She looked around, startled, and saw men staring at her with lust in their eyes. She dropped flat footed.
"Let's get a cab," she sighed.
* * *
"Yeah, he was here yesterday, too," said the dealer. "Newbie. This was only his second con, and his first was a couple of years ago. Said that afterwards his dad decided not to let him go to any more, and he'd had to wait until he was eighteen for his next."
Okay, some things were clearer now. The dealer - a guy who sold comics and anime mags - was a long-time acquaintance, who'd actually allowed me to mentally project an image of our quarry to him. Which made recognition much quicker and more sure than a description, and required much less effort than drawing the guy.
"There's something else," said the dealer, frowning. "I think he may be a Changeling."
Oooh, now that was worth knowing! If he were right, that is.
"I heard him ask if he could see something on the rack behind the table, while I was giving another customer change. I told him yes, that I'd get it in a moment. When I turned around, he already had it."
Okay, not proof positive, but pretty convincing.
I caught up with Runner in Ops. She'd been talking to some of the staff there, and looked satisfied, if not happy. She started to tell me what she'd learned, but I beat her to it by opening a telepathic channel. We quickly duplexed the information we'd gathered, and reached the same conclusion.
*There's more going on here than simply a father trying to control his son,* was our simultaneous thought.
End Part 2
This work is Copyright 2000 by Rodford Edmiston Smith, who can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please contact the author for permission before reposting or reprinting. Thank you.