A leather-like strap is criss-crossed over your chest and pulls your breasts tightly to you. A plate is swung over your hips, protecting the precious groin area with tightly coiled plates of armoring. Over your arms too are bands, strapping small blades to you while armoring down your biceps and forceps. Your back is bare though, depending on natural strength to stay protected. You blink, unsure how you were suddenly clothed. At the same time, you feel an influx of stability in your legs. You feel strength from years of training and the knowledge of understanding one's muscles. You glance down, confused though suddenly a voice pulls you to attention.
"Anyaka? Where have you been! There's been another attack! You have to get to the command room!" The other tiger talks to you, fierce but respectful. He knows you. Though, you have no idea who this man is. "How is that possible?" You think, perplexion drawing your brows together.
"Seriously. Command Room A. Now." The group is suddenly behind you, urging you forward and when you step forward your feet feel sturdier. You find your balance has shifted, so it's natural to have four legs jutting out behind your torso. So, you rush forward with the crowd. You follow in the direction of their footsteps as more, massive windows pass by you in a blur, showing more angles of the same blue mass, though the further you go, you can see more specks in the darkness too. More ships doing the same thing as this one? Or more ships plotting the attacks everyone is buzzing about.
The male tiger strides beside you, Alira, your mind suddenly supplies his name with ease as though you simply had a drop of memory for a second. He leans into your shoulder, the sudden weight strange. "What's wrong with you? Why weren't you already in the command room? There can't be that many pilots on board with all of our ships out at the same time. Where have you been?"
You look at him, dumbstruck. You don't know how to respond. You just blink, and the male shakes his head. "Anyaka, you can't be mad at me forever. Especially not now, there's bigger issues here."
You stare at him, still stuck on the how. How is it that you've stepped into someone else's role? How is it that no one notices anything different or wrong with you? That train of thought is suddenly lost as you reach the Command Room. At least fifty individuals are crammed into the tight space. They pack in, seated at work stations or just sprayed out over the free space, waiting for information. Your eyes scan them madly, noting that of all the people here they all seem to be prey animals, more like the gazelle, the rodents, and a spattering of birds and lizards. Though the mass majority are all these same smaller breeds. Like yourself and the male, tiger taurs, you see only three others. One female and two more males. The female is massive, stomach bulging out, obviously pregnant. You gulp, glancing down at your torso once before lifting your eyes to the center of the room where a large lizard has stepped in front of the crowd.
"Thank you for coming promptly." He starts and a hush falls instantly. All eyes lock onto him. The commander. Ank.
"For those that don't know, there has been another attack. The attacking ships have planet-sized weaponry, which they used to attack Tarquin. Evacuation had been started, but hadn't completed when the first rocket missile landed. It took out the major homing division-" A soft gasp rippled through the crowd, you imagine what that could mean besides a major loss of life.
"- Within the homing division, the nursery was lost. Lab associates were able to collect breeding samples for about twenty 61B vessels, but without the equipment there, even those lives are unstable." Again, the crowd buzzed faintly with life, anxiety swirling through every life in the room.
"We have a crew of nearly fifty on each of the six defense ships, but of those we are down to two pilots per vessel. That means we're all going to be short on sleep. And, with this loss in life..." He paused, coughed. "We need any breeds listed as a seven or above on the rarity scale to consider their breeding options to ensure the diversity of our planet." He took a long breath, nodded once and then began to address specific jobs.
Then, suddenly you found him in front of you. "Anyaka-"
You look up, seeing the sharp yellow eyes boring down into yours. A chill races down your spine. You fix your eyes back, trying to avoid fidgeting though suddenly this borrowed form seems less like yours than it has anytime before this.
"Anyaka, you know what you must do, for the sake of our people." He paused, lowering his voice. "I know you have before made the choice to forsake this option, but with what's happened, we need you to carry on the race. There's only eight tiger taurs left, three are female." He paused, expectant of a response, but when none comes from your stunned, frozen mouth then he continues. "Anira has been at your side for a long time. I feel you'd make a strong pairing, something more natural than artificial insemination-" He cut himself off, giving another small cough as he stepped into this strange territory. "I will let you make the decision, but the sake of an entire breed may rest on your shoulders."
He stepped away, voice raising a degree. "I need you in your station right now, pilot. Kiya has been flying for four hours now. He needs rest." Then, the man strode away. You see a pair of eye, glance over from before the massive windows in the front of the room. "That must be Kiya..." You stride across the room, feeling your stomach churning with what's been said so far.
It's like you'd been thrust into a movie set, but everything feels so real. You suddenly flash back, to the first room. It feels like ages ago, but the information comes rushing back. "A week... A week and I'll change, but with a pregnancy... I'd be stuck for it's course."
Written by Picklessauce69 on 11 October 2015