Catapulted into a new life

The small jeep cruised across the African savanna. Its occupants had traveled to Africa to investigate legends of an ancient treasure hidden behind a gateway deep within a cave. Their contact had reluctantly provided a map to the cave. They didn’t let his trepidation discourage them and within a week after were closing in on their destination.

Twenty-eight year old Timothy Jones, clad in a straw hat, gray short sleeved shirt and brown shorts was at the wheel. The journalist had first heard of the legend nearly a year ago and been intrigued by it. It had taken him nearly eight months to get permission to access the cave. They needed another four months to arrange transport and to do research.

His colleague and girlfriend Terra sat in the passenger seat wearing a swimsuit top and shorts. A wide brimmed brown hat and sunglasses protected her face, while a liberal covering of sunscreen guarded her olive skin against the baking sun. When she first heard of the legend, she didn’t think much of it. False leads before had fooled her and this one hadn’t of seemed promising to her. Timothy’s interest in it however had dampened her skepticism. She didn’t know what the cave held in store for them but hoped it was worth the trip and effort.

Terra’s twenty-four-year-old brother Josh had tagged along for his vacation. He was in the back seat in his blue shorts and sunglasses. He had two weeks off, just enough time to go on what he saw as a nice adventure. He was always one to try anything once, and although he tended to be a bit immature and childlike at times, Terra and Timothy valued his perspective on things.

They didn’t need to use the jeep GPS computer to know the cave was within striking distance; they could see it on the edge of the horizon. Its appearance was a beacon of hope as their light apparel did little to relieve the heat. They were sweltering and eager to get into the shade the cave would undoubtedly provide.

After what must have felt like the longest twenty minutes of their life, they arrived in front of the mouth of the cave. Timothy stopped the jeep and climbed out. Taking off his shirt, he tied it around his waist and looked around as Terra approached from behind and began rubbing sunscreen onto his back.

"Is this it?" Terra asked.

The coolness of the sunscreen was an odd contrast to the heat of the sun, shortly distracting Timothy. Terra walked around and began rubbing in into his chest as she looked slightly up into Timothy’s sunglasses.

"You there?"

Timothy chuckled and looked down at her.

"Yeah sorry, you startled me a bit there," he answered, pulling out a GPS out of the pocket in his pants. Their co-ordinates matched up with the ones indicated on the map. "This should be it. That cave seems to lead underground. It will be nice to get out of the sun," he answered as he put the device back into his pocket.

Terra nodded and walked back to the jeep, asking Josh to bring flashlights, food and water rations and changes of clothes for everyone. Her younger brother nodded, got out and opened the trunk to get the supplies. Terra turned to see Timothy standing at the mouth of the cave gazing into it, appearance almost transfixed.

A soothing cool breeze blew into her face as she approached his right side and peered into the caves dark interior.

"Do you feel it?" Timothy asked.

"Of course I feel it! It’s like steeping into an air conditioned building," Terra responding.

"Not the cold air, the treasure. I don’t know how but it’s like I can feel its presence, as though it’s beckoning me," Timothy replied is a hushed tone.

"I think the heat is making you delirious. Maybe we should go back," Terra warned.

"Everything is as the map said it would be. Besides, if the heat is causing this then getting out of it is the best thing. I know it’s safe. The man said there isn’t any climbing. Besides, I didn’t come all this way just to turn back," Timothy answered as he untied his shirt and put it back on.

Josh walked up behind them, having retrieved the equipment

"Okay, I have everything. Are we gonna go find the treasure now?" he asked.

"Yes," Timothy said as he nodded and walked into the cave.

Josh dashed over to Timothy’s side and handed him the backpack with the food and a flashlight before walking back to Terra and handing her the backpack with the water and another flashlight. He draped the third backpack containing sleeping bags and changes of clothes before pulling a third flashlight out of one of the packs several pockets.

Timothy led the way with Terra behind him and Josh heading up the rear. They didn’t get far into the cave before its chilly interior had cooled them down. Timothy’s short sleeved tee shirt wasn’t enough to protect him so he requested a sweater from Josh. Josh stooped and knelt down, removing his backpack and taking out a gray sweater for Timothy.

Terra felt cold herself, and asked for a long sleeved shirt and jeans. Josh reached in and pulled both out. Terra put on the shirt over the swimsuit top and asked the two guys to look away while she changed into the jeans. Josh was himself feeling cool, so changed into a sweater and jeans. Once everyone had changed, Josh took the used clothes and put them into the backpack and they resumed their trek.

* * *

After thirty minutes, they’d managed to get a fair distance into the cave. It was dark enough that the light of their flashlights provided the only illumination. Other then the darkness, the walk had been effortless. The floor of the cave was flat with a slight incline and the walls were smooth.

"Are we there yet? This is getting boring!" Josh asked.

"I don’t think it’s much further. From what the map says, its around six corners," Timothy answered.

"We’ve crossed five corners," Terra said.

Josh shined his light ahead, exposing a corner that turned left. A shimmering blue light peeked around it. Josh bolted around the corner with Timothy and Terra in hot pursuit seconds later. When they rounded the corner, they saw Josh beholding the strangest sight they had ever seen.

A widening of the cave led to what looked like the entrance of a Japanese Dojo. An unseen source of light bathed the cave around it in blue and white light.

"What the heck? That architecture looks Japanese, but that doesn’t make any sense!" Timothy exclaimed.

"I don’t think we’ve walked that far!" Terra agreed.

"Who cares, the treasure must be on the other side!" Josh beamed.

Josh jumped up the stairs towards the entrance.

"Josh wait, we don’t know what it is!" Terra said as her and Timothy both ran after him.

Their words had little effect on Josh as he bolted up the stairs. With Timothy and Terra only a few meters behind him, Josh yanked at the door and opened it.

Another surprise awaited our intrepid explorers on the other side of that door. A majestic vortex of purple, red and green light swirled before them. The portal kicked up a lot of dust as debris from the cave flew into it. The trio found themselves losing their footing.

"Hurry close the door!" Timothy yelled as he attempted to steady himself.

"It’s so cool!" Josh said.

"Josh, get away from it; you don’t know what it is!" Terra yelled.

Josh tried to step back but unfortunately lost his footing when a small piece of debris landed right under his foot. He fell forewords and into the vortex, disappearing in a flash of light!

"Josh!" Terra yelled.

Timothy looked at her in shock. He had a feeling of what she was going to say next.

"We can’t just abandon him!"

Words weren’t needed; Timothy merely nodded and followed Terra when she jumped into the vortex.

The trip through the portal was like flying through a tunnel of light and energy of every color of the rainbow. The trip through the tunnel lasted a mere thirty seconds, but felt like an eternity. As they neared the end of it, they saw something on the other side. Flying out of it, they landed on the ground with a thud just behind Josh. They picked themselves up as the portal closed behind them.

The heat and bright sun quickly altered them that they weren’t in the cave. They appeared to be back in the savanna. It was hot but not quite as hot as before. In the distance, they could see what looked like a town.

"What the hell was that thing?" Terra asked as she stood up and started brushing herself off.

"I don’t know but it was really cool!" Josh answered, offering his right hand to help Timothy up.

Timothy accepted and stood up, looking at his traveling companion to make sure they were all right.

"Is everyone all right?" he asked.

Josh and Terra nodded before looking surveying the area. There was no sign of the cave or of their jeep. Timothy retrieved his GPS device and activated it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t receiving any signals.

"That’s strange," he said.

"What?" Terra asked.

"This thing isn’t working; I have no way of knowing where we are," Timothy responded.

"Until we figure out what’s going on, we should find shelter," Terra said as she removed the long sleeved shirt, finding it scorching now that they were back outside. Timothy removed his sweater and tied it around his waist.

"Let’s head for that town," Timothy suggested.

Josh and Terra nodded. The trio walked for a bit before finding a road and following it to the town. As they entered the town limits, they saw a sign. Text in a language they couldn’t read decorated the sign. By the looks of it, the town had a population into the tens of thousands.

They continued walking, eventually coming upon a residential street. It wasn’t long before they saw people and noticed something strange. All of the people were humanoid animals; there were no humans. They noticed a female lion walking down the street with what appeared to be her kids. A gray squirrel washed his car and a donkey played catch with a coyote to name a few. All of the animal people looked at them with fear in their eyes and backed away.

"Um guys, I don’t think were on Earth anymore," Josh said.

"We’ve got to find answers and help," Terra said.

Before Timothy could say anything, three police cars screamed up the road and stopped beside them. Within seconds, several officers surrounded them.

The driver’s sear door of the closest car opened and an immense pig man with large tusks, a huge snout and bulging belly stepped out to approach the group. A turtle and a four-armed creature resembling a spider jumped out from the other cars.

"This is the police," the pig started, reaching into his right shirt pocket to reveal his badge. "You’re all under arrest, please come with us!" the pig said.

"On what charge?" Timothy demanded.

"On account of being humans. We don’t permit humans here!" the spider said.

"Timothy, I have a bad feeling about this," Terra said.

"Look, I don’t know who you guys think you are but I don’t go in for this anti human stuff!" Timothy said.

"If you don’t resist this will go much easier!" The turtle said.

"Get away from us!" Timothy yelled before turning towards Terra and Josh, "Let’s get out of here!"

Josh was the first to bolt, he ran down the street in the opposite direction the police cars were going.

The spider pursued Josh, reaching into its shirt pocket and pulling out some sort of communicator.

"This is officer Daniel’s in pursuit of a suspect heading East on Century Boulevard!"

"Go!" Timothy yelled.

Terra knew that tone of voice, it meant Timothy was serious. Both headed off in different direction.

"Dammit, stop them!" the pig yelled.

Three more officers got out of the cars to pursue them.

The first, a golden eagle with wings on his back, took to the skies in search on Timothy.

The second, a cheetah, went after Terra and the third; a wolf went after Josh.

The spider closed in on Josh and fired a web that struck the youth’s shirt. Josh thought quickly and removed his shirt before running off as fast as he could and turning a corner.

Timothy ran down the street, coming to another street. He turned left and ran down that street. He could hear something swooshing above and behind him. Looking up and back, he saw an uniformed eagle pursuing him. He saw an alleyway between two houses and ran towards it, hoping to find some cover. Unfortunately, the alleyway was a dead-end with a brick wall at the other side. The eagle man landed behind him and drew a pistol.

"All right, just stop right there. Don’t make me stun you!" he yelled.

Fearing imminent capture, Timothy tried something risky. Running towards the wall, Timothy jumped as high as he could. He used the wall as a springboard to push himself up and over the eagle. He landed just behind the eagle and starting running out of the alleyway.

Terra ran as fast as she could. She was always a good runner, having won more then her share of ribbons and trophies during her school years at track and field. Unfortunately, even her best speed couldn’t match the speed of a cheetah.

The cheetah woman ran on all fours, closing in on Terra. She passed and stood in front of Terra on two legs. Terra almost ran into the woman before managing to stop herself.

"We said that you’re under arrest. Just hold still and co-operate and things will go a lot easier on you" the cheetah said.

"Yeah right, so you’ll take us who knows where just because we’re human! We don’t even know what’s going on! We were just in a cave, fell though this tunnel thing, and ended up here. If you’ll let us go back, maybe we can find the tunnel again!"

"I’m afraid that’s not possible; now please just come with me. We don’t mean you any harm but if you continue to resist … our zoo could always use a few new monkeys."

"What are you," Terra started. She didn’t finish before the cheetah woman simply stared down at her with her golden eyes.

"Alright, I’ll co-operate with you out of respect for your laws and customs."

The cheetah handcuffed Terra and they walked together back to the squad cars.

Josh was running out of breath and wasn’t sure how much further he could run. He may have eluded the spider but another officer was catching up to him. Risking a look behind his right shoulder, he saw the hulking wolf-man closing in. He didn’t get much further before he felt a pain in his side; it was a cramp! He couldn’t run any further and had little choice but to slow down to cradle the area.

The wolf man caught up to him and grabbed his right shoulder, spinning Josh around. Josh looked up at the creature, his head only reaching the creatures’ chest. The wolf glared down at him with gray eyes speaking determination and pride.

"Please human, I am a man of peace … I do not wish to harm you. Don’t further risk your heath by running. I can see you are getting dehydrated and tried. Come with me and I promise that we will not harm you or your friends," the wolf said.

"No, I don’t want to go to jail! I didn’t do anything, it’s wrong to arrest a person just because he’s human!"

"We are not going to persecute you; by no means because of your race. We just want to take you three in for questioning. We don't see humans around here that often. If you just co-operate then we’ll have no reason to harm any of you."

Josh knew they had defeated him and that he'd gain nothing from putting up a fight. Sighing, he surrendered.

Timothy was still going strong. He was much more of a fighter and wasn’t about to give himself in. As he ran down the street, the eagle man flew high above him, trying to ascertain his next move. Having had enough of this chase, the eagle dove at Timothy, striking the young man and knocking him to the ground. Timothy had already picked himself up before the eagle had landed in front of him.

"No, I’m not coming with you. You people eliminated humans didn’t you? That’s why you want us, you want to kill us just because we're human!" he yelled.

"We haven’t done anything to humans. However … humans cannot exist on this world," the eagle said.

"What are you talking about?" Timothy demanded.

The eagle folded his wings behind his back before walking around Timothy.

"You put up quite the chase young man. I’ve never seen a human jump like that. I do suggest you surrender … it’s for your own good."

"No, I won’t go with you!" Timothy insisted.

"You know, a kangaroo isn’t an animal you’d expect to find out here. They’re good hoppers as well," the eagle said, touching Timothy’s right leg.

Timothy stepped back and glared at the creature.

"You want to turn us into animals don’t you? This is how you got rid of humans? The ones that co-operated with you were allowed to become humanoid and rest were forced to become animals and dumped into the wild?"

"That’s not the whole story. However, if you do continue to resist…"

"I’ll never co-operate with you. If that means what I think it means then go right ahead," Timothy said. Closing his eyes he expected this eagle would turn him into a kangaroo at any moment.

He prayed Josh and Terra had gotten away. He didn’t care happened to him as long as they made it. He did however, think the eagle was bluffing and was testing him.

It was then that Timothy heard the eagles’ radio inform him that Terra and Josh were in custody. Timothy’s defiant mood vanished; he knew his resistance could affect how the cops treated them. Risking everything when the only one at risk was he was nothing to him. Risking others however, was a different thing, especially when it was his girlfriend and her brother.

Timothy sighed deeply and hung his head as he opened his eyes.

"It seems the life of an animal is perhaps not what you want after all," The eagle said. "A wise deception."

After handcuffing him, the eagle started leading Timothy away.

"I do have to say I understand your attempt to escape. You had no idea what we were. Trusting us right away without any explanation would not have been an impressive tactical deception. I do however, assure you that we are legitimate authority figures," He said.

With an impressive show of strength, the eagle lifted Timothy off the ground and flew him back towards the squad cars.

* * *

A few hours later, our dauntless explorers sat at a long cherry oak desk in a medium sized room in police headquarters. Lush plants and pictures of lakes and forested regions decorated the room. As well, a large window overlooked the city, twenty floors below.

A female ermine in the white phase of her coloration sat at the desk dressed in a black shirt and shorts. Her appearance projected an aura of peace and understanding, comforting the trio. The nameplate at the desk identified her as the police commissioner. A male ferret and otter stood at attention at the door behind the group in case they tried to escape.

"Okay, so you say that the three of you were told of a treasure in a cave in Africa. You entered the cave in search of it and found a gateway, opened it and were sucked into a wormhole and deposited just outside of this town," the ermine said.

"That’s right." Timothy answered.

"You’re the sixth group to appear in this province this week. You’re the first for this town in months however."

"So, what’s going to happen to us now?" Terra asked.

"We have a procedure for humans such as yourselves that we enact whenever a human appears on this world and is brought into custody," The ermine said, taking a sip of coffee from the large mug on the table. "We do not know how to return you to your world. Humans cannot exist on our world."

"But, we won’t harm you!" Terra said.

"It’s not that simple. Decades ago, a viral outbreak overtook the Earth. The virus transformed every human being into an anthropomorphic animal. This virus still exists but anthros are immune to it because we are the result of its effects. If you stay here as humans, the virus will transform you as well. Unfortunately, its results will be extreme. You will not become anthropomorphic, you will become complete animals."

"How do you know this?" Terra said as she hung her head, trying to hold back tears.

"We started receiving humans five years ago. The first group to arrive was a young man and woman, husband and wife. Three weeks after they arrived, they became infected. Over the course of the next week, the virus turned him a deer and her into a fox. We had little choice but to keep them in a zoo. Unfortunately, neither show any sign of human intelligence," the commissioner said.

"So, what do we do then?" Timothy asked.

"We will give each of you three choices. The first is that we turn you into the animal of your choice. Bear in mine the changed will be complete, both physically and mentally. You will have the intelligence and thought processes of the animal you become. If you chose that option, you can choose to live at a zoo, wildlife sanctuary, released into the wild or kept as a pet depending on the species you choose. The second option is to become a citizen of this world. We will take you to a special facility in which you the facilitators will change you into a ‘morph’ like the ones you have seen. They base the species you become on elements of your personality. After that, you will be provided with a place to live and a selection of jobs based on your skills and qualifications."

"And what’s the third option?" Josh nervously asked.

"To let the virus do its work," the commissioner responded, not fond of that option from the tone of her voice.

The trio didn’t have to take time to decide what they wanted. They all decided to go with becoming morphs.

"Excellent, I will arrange for your transport." The commissioner said.

* * *

Eight hours later, the trio was in a police van on route to an unknown destination. They didn't say much during the trip, all were too nervous with what was about to happen to them to talk.

"This is crazy, I can’t believe I let you talk me into looking for that treasure," Terra finally said to break the ice.

"That’s not fair! I didn’t know this was going to happen!" Timothy retorted.

"Don’t fight! I’m the one that opened the door! It’s my fault we’re here!" Josh said.

"You had no way of knowing there was a vortex on the other side!" Timothy said.

"Now we all may end up becoming something degrading," Terra said as she hung her head.

"Whatever happens, at least we have each other. It could have been much worse; at least we weren’t separated and infected with that virus!" Timothy said.

"Yeah, I guess you’re right. Here’s hoping you end up some something fun," Terra said.

The van came to a halt and a few minutes later, the back doors opened as two guards, a male hyena and horse, escorted them into the building the van had stopped in front. The inside of the building had a sterile look. The walls were white, with ceiling lights providing ample illumination. Few decorations covered the walls.

The horse escorting them took them to the front desk to sign them in. A young female prairie dog sat at the desk.

"Security to chamber seven, we have a disturbance with a changed female coyote," a voice on the loudspeaker said as they approached the desk.

"Disturbance?" Josh stammered.

"Not everyone takes their new form well. For some, the new instincts are tough to deal with and they experience … difficulties," the horse said.

"And what becomes of those people?" Terra asked.

"They're given the help they need. Don’t worry. If this problem occurs with any of you, we will provide any help necessary. Now, please sign in and then put on these tags. You will then be escorted to your assigned chamber for the procedure," the prairie dog said.

The three signed in and an orderly provided them with tags indicating their status. Completing that, the prairie dog summoned a pair of orderlies, a male elephant and donkey. They escorted them down a series of hallways leading to a door. They led them through the door into a room not unlike a waiting room. Several chairs, tables with magazines and potted plants lined the room. On the other side of the room was a small room with a glass panel and a door to its right.

One other person was in the room, another human. He looked to be in his mid twenties and was dressed in jeans and a tee shirt. Timothy sat beside him, with Terra to his right and Josh to her right.

"Hi, I’m Timothy."

"Hey Timothy, I’m David. So they got you as well eh? So how did you end up here?"

"My friends and I heard about a treasure in a cave, and we went in search of it and ended up falling through a wormhole and before we know it, we were arrested. What about you?"

"I was walking with my friends Eva and Carry. We're just normal friends they’re not girlfriends or anything like that. Anyway, we were walking and I saw something sparking in a hole in the ground. I don’t have the longest attention span, so I lost interest in what we were talking about and climbed into the hole. As soon as I reached for the shiny thing, this portal opened and sucked me in. I was arrested soon after and brought here."

"Sounds interesting," Terra commented.

As David was about to say something else, the attendant at the desk informed him that it was his time to change. The door beside the window opened and two people in robes walked out, a female snow leopard with a nametag that read ‘Kimberly’ and female skunk with a nametag reading ‘Michele’. David got up and swallowed before walking over to them. He was shaking and beads of sweat were falling down his forehead.

"It’s all right dear, we’ll make this transition as easy as possible for you," Kimberly said as she looked into his eyes with her soothing teal eyes and stroked his short red hair.

Timothy saw the look in the young man’s eyes; he knew David found Kimberley attractive, but was too afraid to admit it out of fear his attraction was somehow wrong.

"I … g … guess so," David answered.

Michelle and Kimberly escorted him through the door, closing it behind them.

To pass the time, the trio each picked out magazines and started reading.

Ten minutes later, the door opened with Kimberly escorting a humanoid raccoon, a female one. Black hair spilled over the raccoon’s shoulders onto a cute full figured form that went well with her species. Her gray fur contrasted with the Kimberly’s black and white fur and she held her ringed, black tipped tail over her groin area to cover herself. Unused to having a pair of breasts, she didn’t bother to cover her chest. She gazed at Timothy, Terra and Josh with her blue masked eyes.

"David, is that you?" Terra asked.

"Yes … it’s me. It’s not David anymore … it’s Doreen," Doreen responded. She looked downright terrified but at the same time was obviously taking comfort in Kimberly’s presence.

"Why a raccoon and a female?" Timothy asked.

"I’m a curious guy … well," she said, looking down at her chest, covering the new two additions to it with her left hand. Timothy guessed she’d have blushed if she still could. "I guess not a guy anymore. Well, considering the portals shine attracted me, they felt this form was a logical one for me. It seemed that since I’ve always been more comfortable with females, they felt a female form would work better for me," she said, removing both her hands to run them through her silky black hair. "Looks like I’m going to need a haircut."

"Don’t worry, I assure you, we’ll take care of your grooming and will get you some new clothes. We can provide help for getting used to being female," Kimberly said.

"I guess so. It’s so just all so sudden. I mean, I really am a she and an animal person. It’s all a little … overwhelming. I’m not sure whether to be excited, scared, fascinated or annoyed," Doreen said, staring down at her new body. Every so often, she’d look up at Timothy. The man wondered if perhaps she was jealous that he was male and she no longer was. "I mean, I’m not even human anymore. I’m just as much animal as human now and I wonder if trying to act human in a form like this is even right. I don’t know anything about being female. This is all so crazy!"

"I know honey, that’s why we’re here to help you. You don’t need to go through this alone. In time, you’ll find your new form suitable to who you are. We won’t force you to go any faster in adjusting to this then you want to. Soon, this body will feel as natural as your human body and you’ll love being this way," Kimberley said.

"Really?" Doreen asked.

"Yes, I give you my word," Kimberley said.

Doreen nodded and Kimberly sweetly smiled before escorting Doreen out of the room. A minute later Michele walked out of the door and the attendant informed Timothy that it was his time.

Timothy got up and Terra and Josh wished him luck. Michele escorted Timothy through the door, closing it behind him.

Michelle led Timothy down a short hallway and through another door. On the other side of the door was something that shocked him. He ended up in a chamber with several raised seats around a center area with candles and a large circle, sitting in the seats were nearly a dozen morphs in white robes. Timothy was escorted to the center of the circle and surrounded by eight the candles in a circular pattern.

"Welcome Timothy, today is a day of rebirth for you. Today you will be reformed and granted a new place within our world." Michele said.

"Before we begin, you have the option of keeping your clothes on or disrobing," a cougar said.

"Given the option, I’d like to stay dressed" Timothy responded.

"As you wish; please stand in the center of the circle," the cougar responded.

Timothy looked at the exit of the chamber and for a second, he considered making a break for it. Knowing he wouldn’t get far or even if he did escape that the virus would catch up with him had him standing in the center of the circle. Michele stood in front of Timothy and bowed her head.

"Please remain calm during the procedure," Michele said.

The robed morphs began to chant a series of phrases. As they finished, blue and yellow light appeared around Timothy’s body and surrounded him, making his skin tingle. After a minute, it faded away, leaving Timothy feeling confused.

"Now it begins," Michele said.

It began with his skin. The entire surface of his skin started to tingle and itched like mad. It felt as if a million microscopic hands were pushing from the inside to get out. The initial result of it was a soft coating of orange fuzz, which grew thicker. The room felt a bit warmer until Timothy skin seemed to vanish as a pelt of orange fur covered his body.

"Orange fur" he thought as he looked at his arms "What has orange fur?"

His muscles started twitching and felt sore. For a few short seconds it felt as if he had been working out for days. Then the reward for made itself clear. His arm muscles developed, bulking his arms up to nearly double their overall size. His belly tightened into a washboard as muscles developed up and down his torso and legs. Now feeling vigorous, he flexed his arms, straining the seams of his shirt. That combined with the pressure from his developing chest strained the shirt beyond its breaking point and it tore open and fell to the ground. Touching his belly and flexing his muscles, he looked at them and smiled. He felt much stronger now and that pleased him.

The changes resumed, now reaching to his feet. He found himself involuntarily standing up on his tiptoes as his feet grew rounder and thicker. His toes merged, leaving him with four thick and stubby toes per foot. Long thick claws grew from each toe. Thick and protective pads developing on the bottom of his feet as their final changes finished, leaving him in a digitigrade stance.

As he felt his leg muscles and looked at his feline like feet, he realized that he was becoming a big cat. He wasn’t sure which one until the next wave of change started up. His tailbone felt as it someone was pulling on it and it ached slightly. Seconds later, he felt something pushing against the back of his shorts. He didn’t have time to react or contemplate it before the newest addition to his body tore the seat of his shorts. His tailbone earned its name as it grew into a long orange furred tail tipped with a brown furred tassel just above the ground. As it grew, he made a sound not unlike roaring, a sound that surprised him as much as it surprised those that were watching him change. He didn’t know how he made the sound or where it came from in him but he liked it.

He felt dizzy as the transformation made the changes to his brain necessary to allow him to be able to use the tail. As the dizziness faded, he swished the tail back and forth. He grinned at both the novelty of having a tail and at how neat it felt to have one.

His vocal cords tingled; feeling like someone was pulling on each end of them. That lasted for a few short seconds and when it was complete, he assumed his voice had changed.

"Has my voice changed?" he asked, noticing the now baritone sounds of his voice, complimented with a hint of a low growl. "I guess it has," he said, grinning.

As his ears started moving up to the topsides his head and changed into a large rounded shape, his brown hair started growing. It grew all around his head and down and around his neck, becoming a more rugged texture. Feeling the hair with his hands, he knew that he had a mane, leaving him with no doubt he was becoming a lion.

"Can I see a mirror?" he asked, admiring his new voice.

"When this is done, trust us, it will be worth it" Michele responded. From the smile on her face and look in her eyes, she liked what she was seeing.

Timothy nodded as his hands started remolding themselves. As he watched in fascination, he fingers shrank slightly, becoming smaller but thicker. He hands gained some thickness and his fingernails turned black, growing into sharp claws.

His eyes tingled and his vision blurred for a few seconds as his eyes changed into a deep golden color. He closed them in response. When his eyes stopped tingling, he opened them. His vision seemed a bit different. Colors weren’t as vibrant but his vision has much more acute. Previously blurry objects were now clear, his feline eyes augmenting his night vision.

The final aspect of his change began.

His nose and mouth started pushing out into a muzzle, the jaw and nose bones expanding and reshaping. While not painful, the feeling was eerie. It felt as though someone was pushing on his mouth and nose from the inside. As the muzzle grew, he looked up at the ceiling and let out a mighty roar loud enough that the robbed morphs in the room had to cover their ears. He stopped as the muzzle finished growing.

The final changes occurred as he grew in height, increasing from an already healthy six feet to an impressive and towering six feet six inches.

With that, he was done. Where a human male had stood mere minutes before now stood a tall and muscular lion man.

Shortly thereafter, Terra and Josh watched as the door to the chamber opened. They feared what would come out. Their fears subsided when a tall and muscular lion man in a pair of shorts walked into the room, escorted by Michele. Terra walked up to him, touching the fur on his chest.

"Wow, Timothy is that you?" she asked.

"In the flesh. Or should I say fur?" Timothy joked.

"I have to say, they made a enticing choice for you" she said, running her nail up and down his chest before petting his mane.

"Well, the choice was partially based on parts of my personality. My not surrendering to those officers impressed them. However, because I surrendered when I heard they'd captured you guys, they saw that as loyalty. They also saw me as being, well a bit lazy. As you know, lions tend to be known for that."

"Like the big cats they are."

"Okay miss, it’s your turn." Michele said

Terra nodded and went with Michele while Timothy sat down beside Josh. Josh looked at him, touching his arm muscles in fascination.

"Think you could lift a car with em or a smash a huge rock?" he asked.

"Now Josh, my muscles aren’t meant to be used as toys. I’ll have to use this strength responsibility. Although, I'm sure I could occasionally have some fun at the gym," he said flexing them.

Several minutes later, the door again opened with Michelle escorting an adorable humanoid female cheetah into the room.

"Well, Tabby cat, I’d say you’re nickname fits even better now."

"Okay Josh, it’s you’re turn now" Michele said.

Josh got up and followed her into the room.

"Why did they choose a cheetah for you?" Timothy asked.

"They were impressed with my running and athletic prowess. They also chose a predator rather then a fast running prey, as I prefer to be on the offensive. I don’t wait until the enemy strikes; I hit and hit hard. They also said I’ve got spunk," she said.

"Well, are you going to let me see what’s under that robe?"

Terra elbowed him but then rolled her eyes.

"Oh okay" she said, backing up slightly and opening the robe for him. Tim surveyed her body; Spots adorned her gentle yellow fur with creamy white covering her chest and well proportioned breasts. A meter long spotted yellow tail swung behind her and ample red hair streamed down to her rear end, stopping on her face just short of her baby blue eyes. It took Timothy a few seconds to recognize that the figure was indeed Terra. Her height was somewhat smaller then his, her head reaching his shoulders. While she didn’t have his muscle mass, her long, slender legs would allow her to run at speeds a human could only imagine. She had on a robe as her shirt and pants had torn during the conversion. Walking over to her, Timothy put his hands on her shoulders and made a purring like sound as he ran them through her silky hair, attempting to contain his enthusiasm.

Standing back, Terra closed her robe and winked at Timothy.

"Easy there tiger, I don’t think those hormones are ready for a test drive yet. But, I’m promise you that they soon will be" she wryly said. Timothy blushed.

"Oh alright. Hmmm, I wonder how Josh is doing in there…" Terra wondered.

Josh stood in the center of the circle. The gaze of the elders seemed to penetrate his soul. It was as though they were reading him, searching for inner desires within him.

"Yes," a female harp seal said, her black eyes gazing into Josh, "you may be naked during this procedure. We find some enjoy the site of their body changing."

Josh grinned and striped before standing in the circle. He felt something else from the seal, in fact from every female member.

His change continued as Timothy’s had, except, pearly white fur had sprouted on his chest, brilliant red on the rest of his body with an array of black stripes covering the red. As a tail emerged from his tailbone, he felt something tingling on his chest, hips and groin.

"What’s going…" Josh started.

The females in the chairs all looked at him, all smiling as though they knew exactly what was happening and wanted Josh to know. The seal in particular grinned at him with her sharp teeth.

Josh felt a weight on his chest and a pressure inside his hips. Before his eyes, the areas under his nipples expanded as he gasped in shock and surprise. As his hips started widening while his waist narrowed, his legs became shapelier. Knowing this was real had him energized, sending a chill through his body.

In seconds, he had a healthy of breasts on his chest and a figure far more befitting of the female form, including that which was between his legs.

Looking down at his body, or more her body, Josh purred just like the feline she had become.

"Perhaps," the seal said, folding her hands, appendages slightly longer then human hands and fingers with webbing ending at the first joints in her fingers. "You’ll need some more experience with being a female before you’re ready for the complete … experience."

Timothy and Terra were sitting down when Michele walked out of the door, escorting a Josh who was now half her size and wearing a black tee shirt and shorts. Michele seemed to enjoy the tiger’s coloration and obviously found her adorable from the look on her face. A tail nearly as long as Josh swished behind her. Doing a cartwheel, Josh landed in front of Timothy.

"Hey guys, this is so cool, I’m a kid again. And I’m a, " she giggled "girl. I can have fun a play every day and I get to grow up into a tiger woman."

"Who are you?" Timothy asked.

The lion had a good idea of the answer but wanted to hear it from the tigress.

"I’m Josh … oh sorry, Jane now!"

"Jane? Josh, they made a girl!" Timothy answered.

Jane giggled.

"I asked them to make me a girl," she said.

"Oh Josh … sorry Jane. You always were a kidder. Well, looks like you’re my sister now. Of course, being a kid means you’ll get to have fun and shun adult responsibilities. Of course kids have responsibilities of their own," Terra said.

"Yeah, like going to school," Timothy joked.

"School, yuck! School sucks, I want to go play!"

"So, why is he a kid? What happened?" Terra Asked.

"And why the gender change?" Timothy asked.

"Well, she became a tiger because she has a child like nature. She as well does seem to have spunk and a taste for adventure. As for the age regression, when we sensed her child like curiosity and playfulness, we decided it’d be better for her to grow up as a female and slowly learn to live as one before she became an adult. She’s now about six years old in human terms."

"So, what becomes of us now?" Timothy asked of Michele.

"Well, first we will take you to a room where you will be given sets of clothing more appropriate for your new bodies. We'll give you a list of careers based on your skills and qualifications. We will also provide you with a house to live in. Your now young friend has the option of living with you as a daughter, or we could find adoptive parents for her."

"Given the choice, we’ll keep him as a daughter." Terra answered, turning to Timothy "Well Tim, if you’re thinking of proposing to me any time soon, you won’t have to worry, the answer is yes"

* * *

A week after Timothy, Terra and Jane arrived in their new home; Dawn broke over a suburban neighborhood, the warm sunlight bathing the land in light. In a white painted house in a peaceful block, Timothy slowly awoke from a wonderful dream. In the dream, he was running wild in the savanna as a natural version of his new species.

Timothy slowly rose out of bed and yawed large enough that he revealed all of his pointy teeth for Terra, who was standing at the foot of the bed, having just woken up herself. The white sheets fell of his chest as he smiled at his wife to be, still somewhat giddy from the feelings of being free and wild in the dream, the sun on his back and air flowing over his body.

"Good morning," he said as he stretched.

"Good morning. I have to get going once I get Jane off to school," she said.

Timothy climbed out of bed and walked over to Terra, and kissing her on the right cheek. His tail swished behind him. Running her hands through his mane, Terra embraced him tightly before kissing him on the muzzle, breathing his mucky odor in. He ran his right index finger down the small of her back, taking in her sweet candy like scent. She smiled and kissed him deeply on the lips before releasing him with a gentle purr and licking her chops.

"We’ll have plenty of time for that later; don’t you worry my little lion," Terra said.

Timothy released her and smiled, his tail wagging behind him.

"They say the anticipation is half the fun. Looks like we’re going to find out," he replied, winking at her playfully.

Terra got dressed in her new black tee-shirt and shorts specially fitted to her new body in preparation for her first day of classes at a nearby art school.

Timothy got dressed for his first day at his new job as a martial arts instructor at the local police station. His uniform was a karate outfit perfectly tailored to his new form.

They both walked into Jane’s room and woke her up. The little tiger girl, still growing used to being a kid and a girl, sat up and looked at what were now her parents, the adoption having become official a day earlier.

"Time to get ready for school honey," Terra said.

"Awe, do I have to?" Jane protested.

"Sorry Jane but all little kids have to go to school. When you became a kid, you knew you’d have to. Think of it this way, at least you don’t have to get a job," Timothy said.

"Cool, you’re right!" Jane said as she dashed out of bed to get ready. Suddenly, having to go back to kindergarten didn’t seem so bad.

"I’ll go make breakfast," Terra said.

Timothy nodded before they left the room so Jane could get dressed.

Timothy and Terra were due to get married in two weeks and so far, life was good. While they did miss home, they had gained a new lease on life. With this dawn being like the dawning of their new lives, somehow, they could tell that their lives here were going to be engaging.