Snowspot was grounded. And not only grounded: they had also put a tracking collar to hir neck. Shi could not really care less about being grounded. At least not at a moment. But that damned collar was frustrating. It was uncomfortable and it was also itching. A bit like fleas which you just could not scratch. Shi had been told that if shi would remove it, there would a silent alarm and if that would happen shi would find hirself in prison. Unfortunaly it had turned out that it was also waterproof or at least waterproof enough to handle both bathing and shower when shi had intentionally done both to see if shi could short out that nuisance. It also looked bad and did not fit to hir fur color at all.
Both other cubs had been jealous that shi had got one and bugged their mother until shi had finally given up and gone out to buy some decorative collars for them. Snowspot had to admit that collars looked absolutely ridiculous on them, but at least collars had finally made cubs relatively silent again which had made their cubsitter more than happy. She had been driven almost nuts when cubs had been bugging her with requests for collars and questions about why only Snowspot had gotten one. Now they were happily comparing their collars and trying make out their minds about which collar would look best on them.
”I bet that they would not want one, if they would know what collar actually is” thought Snowspot. ”Ignorance is a bliss like they say”
When shi had ended hir tale in the police station there had been a long silence which had been followed by almost two hour long argument between adults about what they should be doing with Snowspot. Some of them had not believed story at all. They were sure that Snowspot just had too good imagination or that shi had read too many detective stories or watched too much television. Some others had countered that by telling that cubs of her age rarely even knew how to read or write, not to even talk about chatting with terms which even adults had to check from dictionary. Some others raised a question about Snowspots sanity suggesting that shi had mental problems which prevented hir from separating fact and fiction. That was soon shouted down as several others seemed to be sure that shi had very firm grip on reality. Arguments and counter argument had been flying all around the room. Heated conversation had been going on for almost two hours when they finally came into conclusion that they did not have enough information for anything.
Next argument had been only few minutes long. They quickly came into result that Snowspot would be grounded for now, installed tracking collar to hir neck and booked hir time to talk with shrink. They also gave hir several data chips and asked hir to decrypt data to them for full analysis. After that Snowmist had driven Snowspot back to hir home.
Same night Snowspot had decrypted all data and had given it to Snowmist who took it to work before taking cub to shrink. Shrink had been frustrating experience to Snowspot as he had been asking irritating questions for almost three hours before he finally told that as far as he could tell cub was totally sane, did not have any visible mental problems and seemed to have firm grip on reality. He also added that full diagnosis would take about two weeks if they wanted complete version of Snowspots state of mind.
Back in the police station secretary had packed data chips and sent them with courier to research institute which specialized to virus and bacteria based diseases. Result had been that only few hours later station had been swarmed by even higher police officers demanding information about where they had found that data. Chief had looked at them once before booking full shrink check for Snowspot.
That had resulted in two extremely frustrating weeks for Snowspot as shi had had to live in hospital while shrinks had tried to come into conclusion about hir state of mind. Two weeks of pure hell and countless questions, each rivaling others in stupidity. Food had been bad and bed rug hard as rock. Shi had a faint memory from hir student years that hospital food had never been very good, but reality had still been very harsh on that front. Shi had rated food barely edible. Even basic replicator food shi had lived on for most of hir life had been like from five star restaurant compared to what hospital kitchen had produced. No wonder that everyone wanted out of the hospital as soon as possible. On a top of that shi had gotten fleas from some mangy homeless looking fur that someone had brought to hospital. It had taken hir several days to get rid of them and to make sure that shi really had managed to do so. Flea collar had joined tracking collar thanks to that incident.
Shrinks had finally come into conclusion that shi was sane, did not have mental problems and had very firm grip on reality. All of which shi could have told them before they had even started. They had also done full health check to hir. According to results shi was growing at normal rate and they could not find anything unusual from hir health which had been good news to Snowspot. Actually health check had been quite fun to hir as shi had commented tests in a way which had almost driven doctors nuts. Probably first time for them when small cub pointed out all of their mistakes and read lab results better than they could. Must have been quite an experience for them shi thought. For a moment shi felt almost pity for them, but then decided that food had been much worse experience.
When shi had returned, there had been a large group of biological warfare experts waiting for hir. When they had introduced themselves to Snowspot shi got a picture that they had dragged out heavy artillery for hir case. Since shi was considered to be underage, hir temporary guardian Snowmist had had to join hir for every meeting with expert teams. Snowmist had given up following the conversation after five first minutes when it was already going so high above hir knowledge that shi had to admit that shi had dropped the ball totally. Shi had been slightly amused when shi noticed that half of that expert team had dropped the ball before first fifteen minutes had passed. By the end of first hour only two or three from the team had still been able to follow Snowspots explanations. And even they had been struggling very hard to do so. Snowspot had stopped when last of them started showing serious signs of dropping the ball totally.
A week later experts had tried again. Now team had changed almost totally. It turned out that they had collected the very best they could find from the whole planet. And that showed: it had taken almost two hours before first of them had to give up when he no longer could follow Snowspots information flow. This time most of of them could keep up with hir, although just barely.
When they had been leaving, one of experts had turned to to Snowmist and said ”That kid is damn scary. Shi knows more about viruses, bacteria and biological warfare than all other persons in this room combined. I did not even know most of the tricks shi told us about. You better keep your eye on hir every second if possible because last thing we want is to have someone like hir loose somewhere.”
That had surprised Snowmist, but shi had been even more surprised that day when had shi driven home and had met two heavily armed guards just after opening door of hir home. Cubsitter had told hir that they had just appeared out of nowhere, showed their badges and rushed in. She told that guards had checked whole house with some kind of electronic devices before they had virtually rooted themselves to same room with cubs. Agitated Snowmist had then called to work only to hear that guards were exactly where they should have been. Shi had also been told that they could not do anything to remove them. Order for them had come from higher levels and they had no authority to cancel or override it. Shi had been even more pissed off when shi had woken up next morning to sounds which had turned out to be horde of people installing some kind of very expensive looking security system to hir house. When shi had complained that shi had ordered nothing and definitely would not pay for work or systems, they had produced work order which claimed that someone had already paid system in full, before even installation had happened and installation address had matched to hir house.
When shi had come back from work that day all datapads in hir house had been replaced with new ones which seemed to be using somekind of non-traceable heavily encrypted network. When shi had asked reason for that they had told hir that Snowspots information was priceless. Since shi was more or less irreplaceable and used a lot of network to keep boredom away they had decided to make sure that at least the network shi used was secure. It was not wise to attract unwanted attention to hir after all. Hir cubsitter had vanished too only to be replaced by chakat who was only slightly less armed than guards. After that shi was not too surprised when shi had found out that all comm systems in the house had been rerouted through some network which seemed to be using same kind of heavily encrypted system as datapads. Positive side had been that it had removed all problems with cable TV. Problems of which shi had complained to hir cable company for months without any success.
Next day had also been kind of shock for Snowmist. Around noon several Human First persons were brought to station and when they started questioning them, it turned out that they had been loitering around where shi lived and had barely managed to open their mouths to insult some passing furs when they all had been rounded up and dumped to station. It started to look like that new security covered much more than just hir house. After several same kind of incidents over following week shi was sure that it had not been just luck: someone was making sure that neighbourhood around hir house stayed clean.
That was enough for hir and shi stormed to chiefs office demanding answers. Chief looked at hir for a moment and started telling hir what was going on
”First of all everything I am going to tell you is highly classified. You will not be telling any of it to anyone. Ever. Is that understood?”
”Yes sir!” Snowmist answered.
”Good. There have been several conversations about what we should be doing with Snowspot. Shi admitted that shi had been fiddling with weapons of mass destruction for decades. As you should know that is against the law and penalties for it are very hard. Shi also admitted that hir creations have been used in the wild although shi did not do it hirself. This would make penalties even harder.”
”Still we have a problem. If shi would be sentenced to jail hir body age or reason for sentence itself would raise questions which none of us wants to answer. Also it would cause total panic and riots in whole planet if someone would find out that Human First has ready and fully functional biological weapons. Remember that at least some of them are functional against humans too based on what Snowspot has told us. Shi was not the first of their experts. Maybe best ever, but not first. It is not acceptable that information like that ever gets loose.”
”Mindwipe is out of the question as is death for hir. Based on experts shi has been talking with shi knows tricks which they have not even heard about before. And as far as we know those experts were supposed to be best of the very best. They say that shi is a walking goldmine of information about genetics, viruses and bacteria. They said that shi even seems to know cures for several diseases which have been classified as impossible to cure. We cannot afford to lose that kind of information, especially since shi seems to be willing to help us. Shi is unique and cannot be replaced.”
”Thus the very top level has decided that there will be no prosecution, no trial and no sentence. Shi will not get criminal record and none of hir background will be recorded to hir normal records just to make sure that possible information leaks cannot cause disaster.”
”As far as we are concerned or if someone asks, shi never even touched genetics, weapons of mass destruction and shi has always been chakat. Is that clear Snowmist?”
”Yes sir!” Snowmist answered although shi was quite confused by the information. Shi was not sure if shi liked the information or not, but as it seemed to be official truth shi did not really have choices either. And shi had to admit that information about biological weapons was not the one that public should aware of.
”Good. Since shi is very important for us, security around hir have been increased substantially. You may have noticed some of those changes and security measures. Get used to it as those will not be going away unless Snowspot moves elsewhere.”
”Having said that we still have one smaller problem. No-one is going to believe that Snowspot is old enough, so adoption is pretty much the only option we have. As shi does not have official parents or guardian, I am interested if you would be willing to officially adopt her? You can think about it for few days, but do not delay it too long as it has to be solved in near future one way or another.”
”Yes sir!” shi answered ”I will think about it and tell my answer within next few days.”
”Very good. You are dismissed!”
Snowmist left the room with confused feelings. Snowspot had been offered to hir with information that shi would not have problems with the law. Only thing would be that hir presense would always cause increased security, but the more shi thought about it, the more shi liked the idea. There had been problems with Human First supporters from time to time and it looked like that whoever was protecting Snowspot did not want them to come even close to hir. That would of course provide more security to Snowmists other cubs too. And shi had noticed that all security persons shi had seen were furs only.
Two days later shi informed hir chief that shi was willing to adopt Snowspot.
”Very good” chief said and opened one of his desk drawers picking stunner and several powerpacks from it and putting them to table ”That is for Snowspot. Shi should already how to use it in case it is needed. All needed permits for it have been cleared and completed. Shi has official permit to carry it anywhere. Including all public places, schools and other places which normal permits do not cover. As for you, you are from now officially instructed to take your service phaser to home with you and keep it nearby at all times. Your weapon permits have been officially extended so that you are allowed to carry your weapon anywhere just like Snowspot. And permits for both of you now also allow concealed weapons.”
”Oh, and one more thing: shi will be consulting expert teams every now and then, so you should get used to fact that shi may have to spend days or even weeks away from home with short notice.”
Snowmist was not very surprised when official adoption papers appeared on hir desk only ten minutes later with their updated weapon permits. When shi had signed and returned them it took only an hour before shi got message that hir adoption had been officially accepted and completed. Snowspot was now officially hir cub. It was also pretty clear that someone had been pulling the strings behind the scenes very hard knowing exactly which one to pull and how.
Now only problem left with adoption was to tell it to Snowspot. Snowmist was not sure how shi would take it as while shi was only six as far as body age was concerned, hir mental age was over twice than that of Snowmists. And they had not told information about adoption to Snowspot. Snowmist was amused when shi realised that shi for sure had just got oldest cub in the world. Maybe shi should teach Snowspot to act in same irresponsible way as hir other cubs? Just to make sure that no-one would notice anything unusual in cubs behaviour. Shi knew that shi could not answer questions which would come out if someone would start to wonder why hir cub acted in such a grown up way.
When shi told about adoption to Snowspot later that night cub looked stunned. Shi could sense cubs emotions changing at speed shi could not really follow. Finally emotional storm started to fade and Snowspot looked at hir
”Mommy?” shi said. ”Now that's new idea. I have not had one for decades and I was not even thinking about being adopted. It is just that I keep forgetting how young I look like at a moment. It for sure makes things harder for me as all kinds of child protection laws slap me to face in every turn I take. Still adoption actually makes sense now that I think more about it. It just takes me some time to get used to it.”
”It could have been much worse like a closed research facility where I would have had to live my whole life till I drop dead.” shi added. ”And you seem to care about me, so I do not object your decision of adopting me.”
Shi continued by giving Snowmist a long hug and was surprised when shi felt how Snowmist opened tracking collar and dropped it to nearby table.
”It is not needed anymore. Snowmist said ”I am sure that you are responsible enough not to do anything stupid. And I was told that collar will be replaced by bracelet which they hope you will be using outside of this house. It is for your own protection after all.”
”I also have something for you. Wait here” shi said and padded out of the room. Only few minutes lates shi came back with a box. Shi opened it and pulled stunner and its extra power packs to table.
”It's yours and this time it is legal. You are expected to take it with you every time you leave home. I also have beltpouch for you to carry it around. Permits for stunner allow you to take it anywhere and you do not have to carry it where others can see it. It is only for emergency use only as you may have quessed, so it is not that smart idea to wave it around unless you really have to. And make sure that Whitestripe and Snowmuzzle cannot get their paws on it. I am not at all pleased if I come home one day and find stunned cub from the floor. Is that understood?” said Snowmist
”Yes si... mommy?” answered Snowspot
”There is one more thing we have to take care of before you can leave house” said Snowmist ”You act like a way too grown up. That is not a good thing and you have to learn to behave like other cubs. After all as far as other world is concerned you ARE six years old and kids of that age still do not think very rationally. So when you are outside of home you are expected to get same kind of stupid ideas as cubs of your age usually do. The closer to your age cub you can play the better. I am sure that you can get plenty of pointers by watching Whitestripe for some time. If that does not work, we have to think about something else.”
”And for gods sake make sure that no-one sees you reading those high tech medical and programming boards in the public. You are not supposed to know more than using some bandaids for scratches. Or even more likely just panic and run to some adult for those bandaids. People tend to get weird ideas if six year old beats them hands down in knowledge.”
”Oh, and I almost forgot... Try to avoid all Human First persons as much as possible. You are now fur and thus hellspawn according to them. And if any of them knows about your background they want you dead as you know way too much of their secrets for your own good. Always remember that now you have empathic ability which allows you to tell if someone tries to lie to you and does not like you. It may not be safe to be around humans who seem to dislike furs. Many of them are part of Human First movement and others can act totally irrationally if too many furs come close to them.”
Snowspot carefully checked stunner which seemed to be latest model and was fully charged too as were all additional powerpacks when shi checked them. Then shi tested that stunner actually worked by putting box against the wall and shooting it once. After satisfactory result shi put all items back to box and put it to place which shi hoped other cubs could not notice very fast. It was sure that that they could eventually find it though, so shi grabbed hir datapad and started checking what kind of weapon lockers shi could find from market. Soon shi found one that could be opened by either using just paw print reader in case of hurry or by long numeric security code. Locker also looked very sturdy and seemed to be high quality one. It was not cheap though. After moment of hesitation shi realised that cost could not even put real dent to hir credit chip, not to even talk about bank account shi had, so shi placed an order for one and paid it in full.
Shi had been told that they wanted hir to make all of hir online purchases through a middle man. In this case it was a small company which apparently had all kinds of interesting going on as shi had been asked to mark all of hir orders to their address under name 'Max Futura'. They had said that correct name was very important. Based on what shi had been told company checked all items and then delivered them to correct places.
Next day unmarked van stopped next to house and two persons unloaded large box from it. They moved it to front door and rang doorbell. Since guards did not seem to be worried it was quite clear that company also informed about incoming deliveries before doing so. Guards opened the box only to find a small note taped to smaller box inside it. Basically it was just a note that middle man had removed a can of mace from delivery for 'safety reasons' as it said. Snowspot had a vague idea that webpage had said something about free sample of mace with every order, but shi had not thought that too much. Still shi found it funny that shi were allowed to own and use a stunner and not mace which shi personally rated less dangerous.
Same night shi and Snowmist coded weapon locker to work with their paws only and changed numeric code to make sure that no-one could get in by using defaults. Then all weapons and powerpacks went inside and locker was closed. Whitestripe and Snowmuzzle had been watching the whole process and were puzzled when they could not open the door by placing their paws on reader like Snowspot had done before. After quick thinking they came into conclusion that it had to be because Snowmist and Snowspot had pressed some buttons in the box before placing paw on reader. After almost an hour of pressing numbers and trying reader without getting locker to open they started complaining about it. Snowmist responded by playing the diversion card and started thinking aloud that shi had seen some ice cream in the kitchen freezer. Only seconds later locker was standing all alone and both cubs were digging out ice cream from the freezer.
Two days later Snowspot was taken to meeting about vaccination project. It turned out that experts had checked hir data and they were wery sceptical about possibilities for success. They estimated that it would need almost 60 different vaccines before one fur would be safe from whole set of biological disasters Snowspot had created during hir lifetime.
”60?” shi said ”You have to be kidding me! It takes no more than two.”
”You cannot do that with two” said red fox morph who had been sitting close to Snowspot. ”Your creations are too varied, there is nothing which would be common enough and which you could really strike on. Each of them needs different approach as far as vaccination is concerned.”
”No, they do not” countered Snowspot ”You are doing exactly same mistake as I did when I was creating them. There are not only common things in them, but those are also good enough to reduce number of vaccines to two: one for fucking furries virus and the other for the rest”
”After my change I knew that I would be vulnerable to all of my creations, so pretty much first thing after I could do something again was to start creating vaccines to make sure that my own creations would not kill me. And it did not take long before I started seeing something I did not want to admit back then: possibility that pretty much all of them could be countered with one vaccine if my last virus is counted out. It took me only two week to confirm that.”
”After that the rest was easy. Two weeks later it was ready. I used it, so you can take a blood sample from me if you want and check what happens when you test those viruses with it.”
”When I was creating them with my assistants, we always had very tight schedule for each of them. This caused the problem that I never had enough time to handle them in any other ways than just as individual projects. The big picture was totally missing and because of that I made a major error in those projects. Each of them uses certain same components and tricks because we did not have time to create and test those individually for each project”
”What is the problem with you is that you look vaccines as they are traditionally used and how they traditinally work. Now, if you do...” she continued telling totally new approach to vaccination system. The more shi spoke the less sceptical comments persons in the room were using and they started to get really interested about what Snowspot was telling them. Two hours later shi had told the main lines about how it should be done.
”I actually have data ready for the one that covers everything else except fucking furries virus. Data for fucking furries was included in the original data I gave out in the beginning. There is also an added bonus: if those idiots who helped me in the ship or person who replaced me want to make new virus that works on vaccinated fur, he has to start from clean table. They cannot use results of my work for it anymore.”
”Ok, that sounds much better.” said same fox who had started with sceptical comment in the first place ”Still production of so large quantities of vaccines that every fur could be vaccinated is impossible. Even largest medical companies said that they do not have production capacity of that kind. Especially not the one you can kick in almost overnight. And costs for them would be huge”
”That is why we are not going to bother those companies at all.” said Snowspot ”We do it in totally different way”
”Ok, that starts sounding interesting” said the fox ”So, how would you do it then?”
”Personally I would borrow or rent medium sized space freighter which are readily available everywhere. Then I would install several of best replicators you can find to it. After that you only need relatively small samples of each vaccine and you can start burning antimatter fuel. I am sure that Star Fleet or Star Corps can borrow or lend one freighter for the cause. And cost for replication materials is almost non-existent.”
”Replicator? You gotta be joking! That will not work!” fox countered
”Not only it works, but we did similar things all the time during my active years” said Snowspot. ”And replicators we used were not as advanced as they are these days. It looks like technology in that front is jumping forward at giant steps.”
”Remember that neither vaccine is patented nor protected by any laws, so we are not stepping on anyones toes while doing it with replicator.”
”When you are in the space weeks away from nearest place where you can could get needed supplies you cannot be too picky on where and how you get them. When we were missing something, we checked and found out that replication worked. We started using it more and more as fast way to produce this and that. Just believe me when I say that it is more than enough to do what we need.”
”You forget also that replication is pretty much same as transportation beam and those can transfer human or fur in one piece to other place. Replication of vaccine is much less complicated and delicate process than transporting you around, so tell me why it would not work?”
Fox opened her mouth and then closed it ”Ok, I lost I admit that. I just have never thought it that way before.” he said.
”Which is probably because those companies do not want you to notice that you could mass produce almost all of their products with simple replicator. Of course there is also the legal side too to think about” said Snowspot
”So basically we need small quantity of both vaccines and the production ship. If you get me lab I can take care of the vaccine side, but ship is all yours. I cannot do anything about that one.”
”And make damn sure that crew of that ship knows how to keep their mouths shut! If this information gets loose whole Federation is rioting.”
Test batch of vaccines was completed four days later and expert teams started testing if it really worked as they hoped. Three full weeks later they had enough information pointing to full functionality and since they started fearing that time was running out they declared it ready for mass production. Snowspots new family and hir guards were first ones on a very long list of persons who got needed vaccinations.
While mass production was going on as expected they still had a problem about how to keep mass vaccinations under information block. Sooner or later someone would smell burned and it only needed one person who had enough information to make sure that they would have a major problem in their hands.
Continued in Part 3.
Story © Garjala. For comments and feedback, please email me garjala (at) gmail (dot) com
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