Keywords: Transformation, Scifi
Species: Human, Avian
Bad Medicine

	Another birdy transform... can anyone see a pattern happening
here? :)

              -----------------------------------

Bad Medicine
By Wolphin.


David looked down at the small drop of blood that was forming on 
his palm, the latex of the glove was continuing to tear along the 
stretched line.  Melissa's head jerked up at the sound of breaking 
glass.

"What happ..." she began, then noticed the thin red line across 
his skin before muttering.  "Not good."

The quarantine procedures swung into action almost immediately.  
Melissa was still sterile and co-ordinated things.

"Get that under running water," she yelled.

David jumped a little at the sound of her voice and was jolted 
into action.

"Rick." continued Melissa.  "Rick, where the hell are you."

A face appeared at the viewing window.

"David's been cut.  I want a medic team down here ten minutes ago.  
Get ready to get him out of here and into the chamber.  David, 
what were you working on?"

The young man looked up from the sink.  The clear acrylic of his 
biohazard suit framing his face.

"Ummm..." he stammered, visibly pale.  "Culture 907B."

The older woman nodded, towing her umbilical cord from the ceiling 
as she groped under the table for the first aid kit. 

"Rick," she kept her voice calm.  "I want the stats on culture 
907B.  I want to know what it is, what is was and where it is from 
and where is my medic team."

Just then the red light above the main door flashed on and three 
similarly suited people burst through the air lock.  They all made 
an immediate line for David.  One grabbed his hand and poured some 
clear liquid onto it, under the suit, David winced.  The other two 
lifted the injured man and carried him to the air lock, 
disconnecting his air-hose in the process.  Melissa stayed behind, 
watching the medical team carry off her best student then sighed 
and poked through the remains of the shattered glass with a pen.

When she emerged from decontamination Rick was waiting for her 
holding several sheets of paper.

"What's this?" she asked.

"Culture 907B, as requested," replied Rick.  "It looks relatively 
harmless."

"I hope it is," she countered.  "How is he?"

"Well, the medics have been going over him.  The wound itself was 
very minor, barely enough to break the surface of the skin, but 
they have confirmed there was blood loss, so they are going 
through some blood work a the moment.  David himself seems 
relatively ok.  A little freaked out, but that is to be expected."

She nodded, flipping through the papers as she made her way back 
to her office.  She wanted to check on David, but first she also 
wanted to know what they were up against.  Culture 907B used a 
base of 905, but with more plasma extracted from 607C.  She 
groaned, figuring out exactly what the stuff was, was going to be 
a nightmare.  

Several hours later she had finished her preliminary study.  
Things did not look good.  Like most of the stuff that was being 
done here, the Department of Defence had requested the tests.  
They provided the initial samples.  Melissa remembered when they 
came in.  The lab team had run a few standard tests on them and 
the readings had come out all wrong, they concluded the samples 
were contaminated and requested new ones.  The Department 
requested the results from the tests and replied that the samples 
were correct and for the tests to begin.  Melissa refused to do so 
until her team knew what they was dealing with.

That really got the pressure applied.  The best she could get was 
that they came from dormant cells extracted from meteorites.  It 
sounded far fetched, but unfortunately it also seemed to be the 
only plausible explanation.

David's concoction began with this mystery brew, then progressed 
through some standard DNA modifiers, had some other genetic things 
thrown in and had some strands from "Aquila audax" thrown in.  She 
rolled her eyes at this and reached for her phone.

"Rick," she said as the other end was picked up.  "I need 
information on a Aquila audax.  I want to know what it is and 
where it comes from and how is David."

"Right," came the reply.  "Aquila audax. Aquila - sounds like a 
water thing.  I'll get on it and he is not good.  They said his 
pulse has increased, his temperature is up.  There is definitely 
something in there."

Melissa nodded and hung up the phone without answering.  Looking 
over the papers on her desk once more she stood and walked down 
the corridor to the medibay.  David was in full isolation.  
Melissa stood at the observation window watching him.  Two suited 
bodies stood over the bed, doing something with their hands.  She 
could see the flash of the machines behind them.  She turned to 
one of the other techs who shook his head and looked away.

She stayed there for probably an hour, watching the man lie on the 
bed without moving.  Eventually she sighed to herself and returned 
to her office.  On her desk was another folder.  She opened it and 
was greeted by the sight of a rather majestic bird.  She flipped 
through the pages, reading the typewritten text.

It turned out that Aquila audax was a native of Australia and more 
commonly referred to as a wedgetailed eagle.  It grows to a size 
of one metre long with a wing span of up to two and a half metres 
with the female being larger than the male.  She skipped over the 
remainder of the nature documentary and read the other notes.  The 
foundation only had one DNA specimen.  It came from the lower 
region of South Australia and was collected illegally by a raiding 
party several years previously.  The bird itself was a female and 
was collected after the team had hit it with their car while it 
was feeding on a dead kangaroo beside the road.

Next Melissa brought up David's files on the computer.  He was 
attempting to improve the formation of the eyes on their lab rats, 
hence the eagle DNA, but all of his attempts to incorporate a 
birds DNA had resulted in mutations.  She pressed a key, watching 
the screen go blank.  This did not sound good.

The next day her first port of call was the medibay to catch up on 
David's condition.  During the night things had worsened.  The 
blood work had come back and something was attacking his DNA, but 
they could not isolate it down to a single thing.  He had grown 
unresponsive, then one of the nurses had noticed the hair loss and 
by morning his entire body was almost completely bald.  They had 
run a few scans which showed his bone structure was weakening, the 
calcium somehow being dissolved out of his body.

The doctors were completely baffled, even in their training drills 
and simulations they had not came across anything like this 
before.  

"Just keep him comfortable," were Melissa's instructions. "Do what 
you can, even if that seems unconventional.  Somehow, I don't 
think he is going to be quite the same again."

Everyone in the room noticed the ominous tone in her voice.

That was the last day anyone in the complex referred to David as 
human.  In a cold impassionate way Melissa simply signed the 
papers stating David had suffered a major infection and hence was 
not allowed out of quarantine.  She had the power to do that, it 
was given to her under a pretext of national security.

The doctors were good to their word and did everything under their 
power to ensure David remained as comfortable as possible.  It 
appeared he had lapsed into a coma, there was no outward signs of 
consciousness, but he still responded to external stimulation.  It 
was during one of these tests the nurses discovered another 
telltale sign.

She had lifted his eyelid to check his stimulation to light and 
discovered his eye had changed.  The pupil had grown much larger 
and the iris had swelled to cover all the eye, there was only a 
tiny amount of white exposed in each corner.  As the medical team 
gathered around trying to come up with theories Melissa made 
another appearance.  She took one look at the changed orb and 
nodded.

"It looks like he was on the right track then," she muttered to 
herself before looking confused for a moment.  "Can someone bring 
me his ID photo please?"

There was a small amount of panic and one of the techs emerged 
with David badge.  Melissa compared the two.

"Hmmm, interesting." she nodded.  "His eyes have changed colour as 
well."

A small group of nervous faces peered over her shoulder to look at 
the small photograph.  In it, a youthful David looked back, a 
slight smile on his face and a pair of bright blue eyes staring 
back at the camera.  A stark contrast to the two tawny brown orbs 
that looked up, unseeing from the table.

The team then held a small conference, trying to decided the best 
course of action.  Melissa provided her hypothesis about the mixed 
DNA and the medical team began asking questions.

"So you believe he is changing?" asked one.

"Yes," replied Melissa.

"Into what exactly?" asked another.

"I'm not sure," came the truthful reply.

"Is he going to die?"

"Not if I can help it," shot back Nicole, the head of the medical 
team.  "It is my job to keep people alive.  I don't care what is 
wrong with them and I took an oath to that end."

Nicole and Melissa looked up for a moment, their gaze locking, 
some unspoken communication took place between the two and Melissa 
looked away.  It was not her operation any more.

They noticed the next change later that same day.  They had been 
comparing bone scans when someone remarked how his legs seemed 
further from the edge of the frame.  That caused Nicole to start 
measuring things and it was true, his legs were shrinking.  They 
were probably a centimetre shorted now compared to when the first 
scan was taken.  That was putting pressure on some muscles, while 
taking it off others, making his legs flop around strangely.

While the doctors pondered over that one, someone else noticed the 
swelling in his chest.  That really panicked them, at first they 
thought is was due to fluid, but when they probed it they 
discovered it was all solid muscle.  All the muscles of his upper 
body seemed to be strengthening, while his lower body was 
shrinking away.

From that moment onwards it became a disturbing competition 
between the medical techs to spot the next changes.  Nicole did 
not mind them and their morbid games as long as if they did notice 
something they first confirmed it from the records, then told her 
about it.

In the first week, the changes came thick and fast, but sometimes 
so gradual they were not noticed until compared to older 
measurements or scans.  That was the case of his fingers.  No body 
noticed they were lengthening until one day when a nurse pulled 
his arm out from under the sheet and his fingers got caught.  When 
he had untangled them it turned out the shortest was over eight 
inches in length.  At the other end of the scale were his teeth.  

David had been on a drip since day two, they had tried force 
feeding him, but his stomach would not hold anything so instead 
they had resorted to a high energy IV.  On this day one of the 
nurses had noticed his mouth was open and had attempted to give 
him some ice chips.  In the process she discovered his front tooth 
was half out of his socket and it came away with the faintest of 
touches.  They inspected the rest of his mouth and ended up 
removing all of his teeth with almost no effort and no bleeding.  
It appeared that his gums were calcifying somehow, hardening.  
Again Nicole returned to her texts and hypothesises.

It was towards the end of week two that Nicole decided on the 
operation.  David's lungs were expanding, his heart had increased 
in size and while his ribs had softened and were moving, it was 
still too slow.  Plus, opening him up would give them a chance to 
see some of the changes their scans had detected.  The operation 
itself was fairly simple.  A single incision straight down his 
chest, exposing his sternum, then with a terrible sounding crack, 
they broke it, allowing the two halves of his rib cage to flex.

The change was immediate.  The ribs, released from the rigid grip, 
snapped suddenly into a new position.  They curled up, pushing 
David's chest out.  The theatre crew watched as his lungs expanded 
before their eyes and his heart suddenly began beating more 
freely.  They had been planning on exploring the changes in his 
digestive system, but decided after the rib episode that maybe 
that was enough for one day.

The next day Nicole came in and removed the dressings to inspect 
the rather messy close from the operation.  To her surprise it was 
almost completely healed, only a faint pink line remained, still 
tied stitches sat on the hairless skin, as if expelled by his 
body.  Another round of tests confirmed new cartilage had begun 
forming between the displaced ribs.  That night there was many a 
confused face in the complex.

The changes continued to progress.  What had been David remained 
in his coma while the technicians carried out their tests and 
observations around him.  By now he was almost unrecognisable, at 
first glance, as human.  His skin had turned a strange, almost 
sickly, pale pink colour and it had grown, wrinkling in places 
until it hung, too loose, over his frame.  His shape had changed 
as well, his legs had shortened, his feet lengthening.  His chest 
had swelled and his arms were beginning to fold up by his sides, 
his fingers stretching out strangely.

Nicole was dreading the knock on her door.  

"Yes?" she asked, looking up at the nurse.

"Its the patient," said the nurse looking down at the floor.  "We 
can't seem to find his... his testicles."

"What?" exclaimed Nicole almost incredulously as she stood from 
her desk.

They hurried down to the lab while the nurse explained they had 
stopped receiving any fluids from his catheter and had decided to 
check it.

"We pulled back the sheets," she exclaimed.  "And they weren't 
there... plus his penis isn't right either."

Nicole shot the girl a curious look, but remained silent.  The 
pair entered the room and the doctor made a direct line for the 
bed, pulling back the thin sheets to inspect David's groin.  She 
had seen male genitalia before, but she was not prepared for what 
lay before her.  The nurse was right, his scrotum had disappeared, 
where it should be was pink hairless skin that folded away between 
his now muscular thighs.  However, it was his penis that caught 
her off guard.  It had swollen and was now about three and a half 
inches across.  Not only that, it appeared to be smaller than a 
normal males.

"Get me an ultrasound of this," she demanded, dropping the sheet 
back into position.

A few minutes later a male wheeled another machine into the room 
and plugged it in.  As it warmed up, he spread a clear gel over 
David's groin and pressed the transducer to the skin.  The entire 
room grew silent as all heads turned to the screen.  Then there 
were gasps of puzzlement and wonder as the images formed.  There, 
unmistakable in twelve colours, was a pair of female ovaries.

"Get me another blood test," snapped Nicole as she walked out of 
the room.  

It stood to reason.  The eagle the DNA came from was female.  She 
had already guessed David and the bird's DNA had somehow been 
scrambled resulting in the mutation, but where was it going to 
stop?

A while later a lab assistant knocked on the door, dropped off a 
folder of results and excused himself.  The doctor sipped her 
coffee and flipped through the pages.

"This is not good," she thought.

The door of the examination room flew open and Nicole strode in.

"Get that brain activity monitor on to him, now!" she snapped.  
"And I want blood tests every fifteen minutes.  Anyone who doesn't 
need to be in here, get out!  This place is now going on alert."

The room burst into a hive of activity and Melissa pushed her way 
through the crowd.

"What is going on?" she demanded.

Nicole turned to face her, giving an exasperated sigh.

"I'm pulling rank, that's what," she retorted.

"What do you mean?" asked an agitated Melissa.

Nicole looked at the techs running around the place.  

"Observation room," she whispered, leaning forward conspiringly.

The two women left the remaining four techs and made their way to 
the adjoining room, separated by only a thick sheet of glass.  
Various monitors had been set up, showing David's heart rate and 
other vitals, the artificial light creating an eerie glow in the 
otherwise darkened room.

"What is going on?" demanded Melissa again.

Nicole took a deep breath and turned to face her.

"David is changing," she replied simply.

Melissa gave a blank look.

"I know that," she exasperated.

"No," said Nicole.  "I think this is just the preparation."

Melissa looked puzzled and Nicole shoved some of the test result 
in her face.

"Here, look at this," she said.  "His white blood count has 
dropped right off, indicating his body isn't fighting an 
infection, instead it accepts whatever is going off.  We did an 
ultrasound earlier, there appeared to be something hazy under his 
skin, but we couldn't figure it out.  His hormone count is all 
over the place.  His testosterone has been dropping, while 
oestrogen is increasing, but its the amount of adrenaline in his 
system that worries me.  Its been steadily climbing.  He now has 
enough in him to kill a normal human, but he doesn't have any of 
the effects of it.  Look, even his heart beat is low.  I think its 
like it hasn't been activated."

"Activated?" queried Melissa.

Nicole nodded, "With all the changes in his body, I suspect he is 
somehow blocking the adrenaline.  Sort of building it up for 
something, saving it, a catalyst perhaps.  Almost like a critical 
mass, then you just give it a tiny bit more and it explodes, 
triggering whatever is going to happen."

"And what will happen?" asked Melissa.

"I don't know..." began Nicole, looking over Melissa's shoulder at 
the monitors.  "But I think we're about to find out."

Melissa turned around and immediately noticed the graph showing 
heart rate beginning to climb.  

Nicole was watching the brain activity begin to spike and jump 
around.  She picked up the phone and dialled up the intercom.  
"Everybody out.  Now!" she demanded, watching as the people 
scurried to the door.

Behind them, on the bed, David's distorted form began to writhe, 
the first movement it had made in days.  His eyes flicked open and 
there was a tortured gasp as his body sat upright.  It remained 
there for a moment, then began flailing around, his arms 
stretching awkwardly from his shoulders.  The movement was too 
much on the small bed and he tumbled off, landing heavily on the 
floor, various leads being ripped out in the process.

Behind the glass, Melissa watched impassionately as Nicole gave a 
gasp of terrified surprise.  The strange pink body, twitched for a 
few moments, then gave an inhuman shriek, turning over onto its 
chest.  The women watched silently as David's spine seemed to 
lengthen, his buttocks extending down from his already modified 
hips, then spreading into something that resembled a beaver's 
tail.  His legs continued to shrink while his feet extended 
further, each toe, curling and scrabbling on the tiled surface.

By now, David's head had begun to change in shape, the cranium 
shrinking as his chin seemed to melt away.  There was another 
shriek and his hardened gums began to push out in a "V" shape, 
pulling his nose out with it.  He picked himself up on his legs 
which still wobbled around awkwardly, his form trying to stand 
upright, then adjusting as bones and muscles danced below his 
flesh, his form settling on a slightly hunched forward position.

Small bumps began to appear all over his skin as he stretched out 
what was left of his arms, the fingers appearing to fuse in new 
positions.  Without warning the bumps began to burst, fine brown 
lines pushing out from each raised spot.  The lines thickened and 
one spread.  Both women gave a gasp as they recognised a feather.

The emerging feathers continued to push out, thickening.  Lighter 
fawn colours being by bands of tawny and dark brown.  The two 
places that remained feather free, his now obvious beak.  He 
knocked that on the table during his struggles and the bloody 
flesh covering had fallen away, leaving a streaked shell in its 
place.  From his knees down was also clear of feathers.  Instead 
they began to turn a yellow colour, the skin splitting, sliding 
off in places, exposing soft scales.  From the tip of each toe an 
ebony sickle emerged.  The long black talons chipping the tiles 
when the two met.

Gradually the feathers slowed in their thickening and the bird 
stood steadily on its feet.  Slowly it lifted its head and looked 
through the window at the two women who were now frozen in a 
mixture of terror and wonder.  Before them stood a huge eagle, at 
least six foot tall.  It shook its head, its feathers fluffing up 
as it eyed them with human intelligence, then, with no warning 
hopped over the bed and barged out the swing doors.

The women jumped at the moment, then snapped to their sensed.

"Stop it," screamed Nicole to no one in particular.  

Melissa, grabbed the phone, "Security, we have an intruder on 
level four.  Do not allow it to leave the building.  Code seven-
red."

The pair burst through the door and into the corridor.  It was not 
hard to see which way the creature had gone.  Holes in the vinyl 
floor marked its tracks clearly and they took off after it.  There 
was a crash up ahead, followed by a scream, then gunshots.  They 
rounded the corner in time to see a brown feather drifting to the 
ground, a flattened partition and a security guard clutching his 
revolver.

Another crash, this one followed by a smash which ended with the 
telltale tinkle of breaking glass.  The trio surged forward, 
rounding the bend in time to see the huge beast pushing a filing 
cabinet toward another pane of glass with a foot.  The pane 
shattered and the bird turned to look at the attacking party.  It 
gave a primal scream of the hunter and leapt through the newly 
created escape hatch.

The guard manage to fire a few shots which peppered the glass 
above its head, but it was gone a moment later.  The humans rushed 
to the window, just in time to see the bird spread its wings, roll 
to one side and disappear around the side of the building.

They never did recapture it.  They had tried on numerous 
occasions.  Lured to its hunting grounds by stories of 
disappearing cows and sheep, but they were always too late, 
finding only bones and traces of the beast.  Once they even found 
a nest, a mammoth thing, nestled away on a remote cliff ledge, out 
of sight from prying eyes.  But they were too late even to there, 
finding only the remains of two huge speckled eggs...




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Sheep go baa; Cows go moo.