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Dec 01, 2021 1:56 PM
Rachel in Astrocracy
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A cat comes to investigate her while Jackie makes moving-around and microwaving noises in other parts of the house.

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Rachel pets the cat, taking the opportunity to test if acquiring still works properly.

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Well, she now has a sleepy kitty laying next to her on the couch.

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Rachel gives the cat scritches for a few minutes before calling in Jackie to come check this shit out.

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"What," Jackie says a bit shortly, entering the living room with fuzzy socks, sweatpants, and mug of hot chocolate in hand.

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"Um, you might want to put that hot chocolate down. I'm about to demonstrate my animal morphing power."

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"Listen, on the off chance you're actually someone who needs help rather than a prankster or - some sort of test set up by my geminis.  I am already helping you.  I have taken you into my house, and am giving you clothes and hot chocolate, and I'm not going to let - I.  Am not categorically committing to anything in the event of extreme circumstances.  But if basically normal things happen I'm not going to let you sleep in the snow, and if there are extreme circumstances if it is at all feasible I will pass on that responsibility to somebody trustworthy.  And whatever trick you're about to pull is not going to change my willingness to do all that, so, thank you, I appreciate your commitment to the bit, cool story you're a great actor; I do not want to engage with it."  She's just this side of crying.  "Here's your hot chocolate."

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Fuck. Well, she can apologize after she's demonstrated.

Rachel turns into a cat! It is very gross.

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"What the fuck," says Jackie, accusatorily.

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"What the fuck," says the other cat on the couch, dazedly.

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"What the fuck," says Rachel. "You can talk?"

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"Yes!  You smell very strange."

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"Um. I expect I would, seeing as I'm human."

Ever since she'd heard "Roman Empire", Rachel had been suspecting Crayak had been the one who put her here. Now her money is on the Ellimist again. Damn you, Toomin...

"Can all cats talk? Can all animals?"

To Jackie, telepathically: <I'm sorry to make you wait so long. I just didn't want to do it right out there in the street. Can you...give me a few minutes to get used to this form? It's, um, taking me longer than usual to get control of the instincts.>

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"Sure.  I'll just.  I."  She sets the hot cocoa on the couch's end table and flees the room.  A door slams.

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"What is human."

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"It's, um, what Jackie is? Upright walking, no fur so we wear clothes, we can do lots of things with our hands...?"

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"You're not a Twoleg; you're a cat.  And that cat is . . . me?  Why are you me."

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"I am too a...Twoleg? That's the word for us? And I acquired you! It's, um, elite military technology."

How the hell do you explain morphing to a cat? Why the hell does Rachel have to explain morphing to a cat. She almost misses the Yeerk war.

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"None of the things you just said are words."

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"Um, so, like, I can touch other animals, and then turn into them? I work for—well, I worked for...the group of Twolegs that protect other Twolegs from bad things that want to hurt them, and I use—used—my power for that job."

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"Okay . . ."

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"Look, I'm sorry, I know it's a lot to dump on you, and hard to believe. But I really need your help. Can you tell me if other cats can talk, or other kinds of animals?"

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"It would be very lonely to be the only talking cat!  I have never heard any birds or bugs talk."

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Well, that's reassuring, although Rachel still has some other tests she wants to do before she believes it with certainty.

"Thank you. I'm...going to have to go talk to Jackie soon. Is there anything you want me to pass on to her?"

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"Why is she so upset?  . . . Was it you."

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