MORFS: To Hell and Back.

Chapter 1: Introductions


(Daemon)

“Jake, don't stay up too late!”

“No mom, don't worry!” I returned as I booted up my computer.

What is she thinking? Of course it will get late, it always does with these tournaments. I thought as logged on to the chat.

<Gills> Ah, look who's finally here.

<Sakura> Finally almost finished my minesweeper.

<Daemon> He he, sorry guys, had a little argument with my mom.

<Daemon> Myst and Weaver online yet?

<Myst> I'm here.

*Yes, I'm here. Can everyone hear me?* Sounded a voice in my head, meaning Weaver had just joined us. *Myst check, Sakura check, Daemon check and Gills check.*

*Great, let's get this show started then.* I thought back as I terminated the chat and started up the game.

*Okay, guys, I did some research. First two matches will be reasonably easy. After that, I hope we don't get squared against the Hounds.* Sounded Sakura's voice.

A few moments later, my screen lit up showing the familiar 'Generals of R VS Team Drake'

This wouldn't be too hard, so I'll take this time to introduce myself.

My name is Jake Wilson; I used to be a plain biology college student. And I do mean 'used', but I'll get to that later. My friends usually use my gaming nickname Daemon. My friends and I had set up a little unofficial gaming club, which we used to compete in certain tournaments.

At this moment we were playing Halo: Ultimate. A few weeks ago, almost a thousand teams signed up for the tournament and we now we: The Generals of Rotterdam, are playing the quarterfinals. Our team consists of five members:

There is of course, me, Jake 'Daemon' Wilson.

Nicolas 'Weaver' Smith, a close friend of mine and a pretty gifted telepath, mostly responsible for communications.

Peter 'Sakura' Wei, in-game, he's probably the most vicious member of the team, in real-life, not so much. MORFS has gifted him with slightly increased speed, at the cost of turning his hair to a minty bluish-green.

Aaron 'Myst' Del Sol, very shy guy, until you give him a mouse and a keyboard. Another MORFS survivor and gender-twister. Even by the name Ariana, she had been a welcome member of our team.

And last but certainly not least: Warren 'Gills' Walker, the main sniper. MORFS had crossed him with his pet axolotl, some ancient kind of amphibian similar to salamanders, giving him webbed hands and feet and a pair of amphibian gills just behind his ears.

Unfortunately, his docile nature and unique appearance made him a regular target for the bullies. From both sides, the purists would make remarks and threats about dissecting him in biology class. While the 'elite' Morfs would shove him off as some degenerate form of human life.

It usually turned out to be either me or Weaver to defend him. Unfortunately, only Weaver can make his threats come true, as there is actually a reason we call him Weaver.

He is what we call a Dream-Weaver: besides his gift for telepathic communication, he can also cure or induce nightmares. Even when his victims are awake. Though I think there are only a handful of people that know about his abilities, he can really make your life a living nightmare.

*Hey, Daemon, wake up! No time for sleeping.* Apparently, I dozed off for a bit.

*Aah, calm down, Weaver. We won, didn't we?* I snapped back. *Besides, it's twelve-thirty. Gimme a break here.*

*Yes we did, but only just. Now on to the semi-finals.* Myst's voice still sounded a bit girly when we were using Weavers telepathy.

*Hey, Sakura, you found out who we're up against next?* I asked.

*Not the Hounds please, not the Hounds, not the Hounds.* I'm guessing Gills couldn't hold his nerves.

*Not yet, they're still going at it. And Gills.* Sakura replied.

*Yeah?*

*Please shut the hell up, I can hardly hear myself think.*

*Oh. Sorry.*

Oh, damnit. I thought as my monitor lit up in the dreaded 'Generals of R VS The Hounds'

As I could feel the mood drop across the TP-connection, I tried doing a little pep talk. *Come on guys, don't give up before the match even started. I know we haven't managed to beat them yet, but that doesn't mean we don't stand a chance.*

Myst was the first to reply. *I'm sorry, it's just… it's like they have a bloody pre-cog running the show there.*

*Yeah, so. We got a telepath.* I knew it makes a lot of difference whether you have a very short reaction time, or whether you know what's going to happen before it happens. But I couldn't think of a better comeback on such a short notice. *Sakura, you managed to get something from those playbacks?*

*No, unfortunately not. It's like they change their whole strategy just for us. I actually feel kinda honoured.* He grinned.

*All right then, lets kick some doggy ass.* Yelled Gills as the match began.

<=Jackal=All> Good luck and have fun.

<=Daemon=All> Same to you.

The fight started out pretty well. Both sides making an even number of kills as we tried out which tactics worked and which didn't. All went well, until they got to the plasma-launcher.

Somehow, they managed to kill-off Gills from the other side of the map and it went all downhill from there.

*Daemon, Myst, get the hell out of that corner. You got a banshee headed your way. Gills, find another vantage point, take out that plasma-launcher.* Yelled Weaver as he began to take his job as a general seriously.

*I'd love to, but we can't get out of here until someone takes out that sniper.* I yelled back.

Only five minutes later, we were all screaming orders at each other and all manner of order or tactics went down the drain. By this time we were behind by thirty points and had no way to climb back up. Still, no one seemed to notice as I could feel Weavers connection slipping. He was probably suffering from a major headache by now, which would only get worse if we kept going at it like this.

*SHUT UP* I yelled and soon everyone went quiet. *If anyone of you guys has even looked at the scores in the last few minutes, you know we have no way to beat these guys*

*What? Are you suggesting we should just give up?* The strain on Nicolas must have been far worse than I thought, as the voice was too distorted to recognize.

*First of all, yes, I do suggest we should give up.* I answered. *Yes, I know you still want to continue, but look around for a sec. You might not have noticed, but we're way behind, only got fifteen minutes left to make up for it, lost all manner of organization. AND nearly knocked out Weaver by overloading his TP. You still holding up there?*

*Yeah, sort of. Thank you for stepping in there for a sec.* Answered a very tired Nicolas. *I'm sorry to say this, guys, but Jake is right on this one. We can't win this.*

Slowly the rest of the team came around as well and I called for a vote.

<=System=> Generals of R: Surrender 5v0

<=Daemon=All> Congratulations, doggies, you won. Have fun in the finals.

*Ah, well. It was fun while it lasted.* Said Myst, trying to cheer us up. *Third place out of a thousand teams ain't bad, is it?*

*No, you're right.* I answered. *Well, I'm off to play comatose for about four hours.*

*More like five hours. You didn't forget about the school trip to the zoo tomorrow, did you?*

*Oh, yeah, right. If it weren't for you, Pete, I would leave my head on my pillow.* I yawned. *Then I'll see you guys tomorrow, bye.*

***************************************************************************

(Gills)

School trips are one of the few study related activities I actually look forward to. Too bad this one had to be to the zoo. My fear for this place comes mostly from the way people react to my 'unique' looks. The only up-side right now is the time of year they chose to do this, it being the last week before Christmas break means I can wear a hoody to cover up my gills.

They also seemed to think it was a good idea to split up the students into six different groups, each would follow a different guided tour around the park. Then we would be free to go where we please after lunch. Somehow they managed to separate me from all my friends, which meant I didn't have a bodyguard hanging around. So far, I had managed to steer clear of queen Jennifer and her hive, but I was pretty sure they wouldn't leave the last chance to torture me before the end of the semester.

The tour had just finished and I figured I'd stay behind a bit so I wouldn't be bothered on my way to the cafeteria. Unfortunately some other people had had the same idea.

As I carefully made my way out of the toilet building, I was grabbed and dragged to an out of view corner behind some storage shed. There I was thrown against some dumpster. Once my vision had cleared, I looked up to see my assailants.

Shit. Just my luck, Jenny and her minions. Now I really wish Nick or Jake were here.

“Look what escaped from its cage,” Sneered Jenny. “You know animals aren't supposed to run around loose. Now, I've got just the solution for our problem.”

Oh shit, this can't turn out well. Let's hope Nick is paying attention.

“You see, we really liked the stuffed animal exhibit,” Grinned one of her 'friends'. Then after pulling a Swiss army knife from his pocket, he continued: “And we would love to make a donation.”

Oh God, they really mean it this time. I thought as I tried to get away, but found myself blocked off by Jenny's boyfriend / minion / Neanderthal Davis.

*Weaver!* I screamed mentally, hoping he would hear me.

*Yes, need help?* Came a quick reply.

*Big time, they are really planning on killing me this time. I'm behind the storage shed near the rhinos.*

*Really sorry, mate. Wrong side of the park, I'll make sure Jake gets there.*

*Thanks, but… they have Davis and co here. There is no way Jake can beat them.* I said as I started to panic.

*He he, that's what you think.*

This conversation only took a few seconds, but I knew it would take a lot longer for Jake to get here. I had to think of something. Stall them, make a scene, anything. But just holding them off proved to be a lot more difficult than I had thought.

Kicking and flailing, I managed to keep them off for a few moments. But my struggles abruptly ended in a flash of searing pain when one of them managed to take hold of one of my gills. With my pain numbed mind I could faintly hear them laughing as two of them grabbed me by my arms and held me up against the dumpster. As the pain slowly started to clear, I could see Jennifer moving closer with the knife in her hand.

“HEY, leave the toad alone!” Finally a familiar voice, maybe I would live through this yet.

Turning around, Jenny also noticed the newcomer. “If it isn't Wilson. You want to save the animal? … We'll see about that. Davis, deal with him, I don't have time for this.”

It looked as if my fears were going to be justified, as Davis stepped up to Jake and stretched himself to full height and width. To my surprise, Jake didn't seem to be intimidated in the least, as he did the same. It looked a bit like the preliminaries between two large predators, like you see on TV.

They continued staring at each other for a while, waiting for one of them to back down, but it didn't look like that was going to happen. It seemed Davis had noticed the same thing as he threw his fist forward.

Instead of backing away, Jake swerved a bit to his right, blocked the attack, then somehow spin-kicked Davis in the temple. I had never seen Jake move or act like this before and it looked like the tables were turned. Jake continued his assault by kicking Davis in the ankle, making another half spin and send him stumbling backwards with a final kick to the stomach.

It was obvious, I wasn't the only one who had been watching the show, as Jake straightened his jacket and walked over to the very surprised Jennifer.

“Now, could you please hand over that knife and get the hell out of here?” He asked in a commanding tone. But as he didn't get a response, Jake just snatched the knife from her hand, somehow making it disappear up his sleeve. “Okay. Then let me put it this way: If you ever dare to threaten my friend again, you'll end up much worse than your boyfriend.”

“H-h-how d-did you…?” Was the first thing Jenny could come up with.

“What, you mean what I did to Davis, or just me being here? For the Davis' part, he's bulky and slow, so that wasn't all that hard. For the other, trust me, we have our ways,” He explained with burning wrath behind his cool complexion, while helping me stand up.

***************************************************************************

(Weaver)

It had been almost ten minutes since I send Daemon over to help Gills, so I could only wait and hope it would turn out right.

In the meantime, the rest of the gang and I had made our way to the cafeteria. I had just filled them in on the situation, when I noticed them at the entrance and waved them over. Warren looked to be ok, despite a slight lack of color. Not that he had much to begin with, getting mixed with an albino axolotl is not a good way to develop a tan. And Jake looked to be his normal sarcastic self.

“So, I take it Jake beat the crap out of Davis?” I asked when they sat down.

Jake just smiled as Warren answered. “He sure did, I've never seen him move like that before. You could have told me you do martial arts.”

I already knew about Jake's training sessions and I also knew he was quite modest about it.

“So, what do you do and how good are you at it?” Demanded Peter.

“Okay, okay, you got me.” Jake laughed. “I've been doing karate for quite some time. I'm a black-belt.”

I saw several eyes go wide, heard a few mumblings before Aaron finally spoke. “You could have told us, why didn't you?”

“Yeah, you're right, I could have. But I don't really like to brag about that. Besides, it's a lot easier to beat someone if they underestimate you.” We all laughed at that.

“Yeah, that's true. You guys should have seen the look on Jenny's face when he beat up Davis.” Warren grinned as he thought back.

“So, you guys all remember to pack up for our skiing trip. Taxi service Weaver will leave tomorrow at five in the afternoon.” I joked, pointing at myself.

“No, don't worry, we won't forget. But just to be sure. Gills, can you help princess Aaron here packing?” Replied Peter.

“Hey, what with the princess stuff? I've been a guy for almost a year now.”

“True. But you still pack like a girl.” I pointed out. We had a habit of making fun off the fact that Aaron was a switch. It was fun and he knew we didn't mean to hurt him. “You remember our camping trip last summer? Half the bags were yours. And that's including the tents.”

“Yes, but what if…” He started, before Jake cut him off.

“Stop the 'what ifs. The only reason you actually opened all of them was because you forgot where you put your toothbrush. You have to start thinking with your other brain a bit more.”

It took a few moments for him to get the joke, but when he did, he blushed. “B-but, that brain is an idiot.”

“Absolutely true, it's a complete and utter idiot. But it makes life a hell of a lot easier,” Laughed Peter.

“Anyway, Gills, we expect only one bag. And no pink surprises like that bathing suit last summer.” Gills' smile widened when I reminded him of last summer.

“Okay, I know I shouldn't have brought it. But why did you have to burn it? I could have sold it.”

“That's because we know you Aaron, you never throw things away, let alone sell them. If it weren't for us, you would have brought it along again next summer.” Peter said, trying to comfort him.

This made him blush even more.

“And stop blushing.” Gills laughed.

That actually made it even worse, apparently it was possible, and so we chose to ignore it.

We spent another few hours at the zoo. They had an exhibition on morfed animals. They had a stuffed dino like creature they called a verosaur, don't want to meet that in a dark alley. There were also a few eaglox playing tour guides, which was really cool. When we got to the 'dragon' egg, Jake interrupted our guide.

“Hey, Ryan, mind if I cut in for a second?”

*Sure, go ahead.*

Apparently, the egg had been found somewhere along the Rocky Mountains. Some zoologists researching dragon nesting habits, indeed found a nest. Too bad some stray verosaur had found it sooner. Apparently, those beasts pack quite a punch, even against a dragon. The result turned out to be one dead verosaur, now standing in the other corner, and two cracked eggs. One of which was sent to some base in the upper Rocky's; the other, send here for the exhibition.

Jake made it sound like quite a story and I swear I could see Ryan grinning. Which is not easy to see on an eaglox's face. Peter was the first to speak up.

“Great story, Jake. But how come you know all this? Usually you're not one to dig into this kind of stuff.”

“True, but usually I don't spend a week prepping an egg for show. You guys have no idea how hard it is to prep a half rotten egg, the size of a football. And I'm not even talking about the smell of the thing. Combine Skunk on a bad day with a load of rotten eggs and a helping of Aaron's lasagna and you'll be getting close.”

“Why would you even want to spend a week to prep an egg?… Wait, what do you mean my lasagna? I'm not that bad!”

“Uhm… yes you are and the sooner you admit it, the sooner we might stay for dinner. And how do you think I'm paying for my part of our upcoming trip?”

“Don't you still have that job with the newspaper?” I asked.

“Nope, unfortunately. Got replaced by some speedster or time-elemental kid, not sure. Does the entire town in less than ten minutes. Ten minutes!!” He practically pleaded the last part. “Anyways, let's get going. This egg ain't gonna hatch, I made sure of that.”

The rest of the afternoon was pretty quiet, except for a few escaped squogs running amok. We had a good time, partly because Jenny didn't show up, partly because it was nearly Christmas break and partly because we basically had a day off of school. Unfortunately, all things come to an end. We had dinner at the local Burger King and said our goodbyes as we all went our separate ways home.

***************************************************************************

(Daemon)

I woke up the next morning to the obnoxious beeping of my alarm. I felt like sleeping in till 11 or something, but I had school to attend. I couldn't really skip the last day of the year, could I? As I sat up on the edge of my bed, my brain decided it was a good moment to explode. Or at least, that's what it felt like.

I hadn't been feeling too well yesterday either, but I had written that off to a lack of sleep. Going to bed at 2am for three days in a row is not good for one's health. I think I had hidden it pretty well, as I had kept myself going with those elemental energy drinks. The fact that I was getting worse, meant it was a bug rather than simple sleep deficiency.

I'm the kind of guy who rarely gets sick. And when it does happen, it's usually just one or two days of tiredness and headaches. So I just swallowed a painkiller as well as put some with my lunch in my bag. Me and my friends would be heading to Switzerland for a week and I was not planning on missing that because of some bug.

I got to school relatively clear headed about an hour later. Today would look like physics, chemistry and biology. With some luck I would be able to pull off a nap during physics and pay minimal attention the rest of the time.

Naptime didn't happen, as that obnoxious woman called Mrs. Wayne decided to do a mid-term test. She is a partial dog-hybrid, one of those who think they are superior to the rest of humanity. Thus being a total bitch. Her being a metal-elemental didn't make matter any better either. She was almost literally as hard as steel and her enhanced hearing picked up nearly anything that happened during class. So much for being able to sleep during the first two hours.

Chemistry was even worse, as my painkiller started to wear off and the second dose just wouldn't kick in. Halfway in, I was about as cranky as a bear who got its hibernation interrupted. Near the end of the class, I was growing increasingly tired as small waves of nausea started to throw my stomach off balance.

Biology was the last straw. At this point, I felt like hell, could hardly keep my eyes open and had a constant feeling of throwing up. Having to dissect a squid just send me over the edge. I made a break for the toilet, but only made it halfway, emptying my stomach contents in a trashcan.

I remember a teacher coming over, telling me he would take me to the school nurse. After that, my memory gets a bit chunky. I remember the nurse doing some test, then sending me over to the hospital, luckily, across the street. You'd think they planned it, putting the bio-chemical part of college across to the hospital. Very convenient in case of an accident, or a student getting sick. I don't remember much of what happened there, until someone shoved some package into my hands. 'MORFS Home Transition Kit.' Oh crap, this can't be happening. Not now, not right before our trip.

Bad news was, it did happen. They called my parents, and I was headed home about half an hour later. At home, I pretty much went straight to bed, nearly choking on an energy bar on the way up. Those things really taste like cardboard. You'd think they could at least put some taste in those things.

I settled under the covers, hooked up the IV and swallowed a pill. After that, it was lights out in minutes.

The entire MORFS  Universe can be found at http://morfs.nowhere2go.org/

 


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