(Or My Life as a Bird)
By Oliver McDonald
Chapter 4 - Registration.
Several slices of ham and half a dozen eggs stoked me for the day and seemed to sit well. After my lunch experience yesterday, I skipped the hash browns. My enjoyment of breakfast was tempered by the reminder that we had to go in and register me as an animal.
First, though, a shower seemed in order. Showering put in stark relief the changes to my body. It felt really weird to have breasts, and to feel how sensitive they were, then of course was the minor chaos when the water first hit my wings. Apparently, it is a natural reflex to shake it off, with the predictable result that the shower curtain went flying. Finally, re-securing it, I was able to hold them most out of the shower . Washing my hair took a ridiculous amount of time, given how much of it there was. Mom made me take conditioner and told me to make sure that it was worked into the hair to the ends, then thoroughly rinsed out. That took a while.
Then she helped me dry and comb it out. A towel was no longer enough; a hair dryer was essential. Then, to avoid another tangled mess, she gathered it all to the top of my head into a pony tail, which she then put in a braid.
Dad drove me into town, following religiously the route the vile Mr. Winchester had given us. It took us to an austere building located in the middle of razor-wire fenced compound, replete with armed guards.
We pulled into a parking spot, and exited the car, thankful to be out of the cramped car, I started to stretch my wings, suddenly a loudspeaker blared “Lower your wings or be fired upon!”
I folded my wings, and mumbled “Sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it,” dad reassured me. “Let’s go in and get this over with.”
We went up to the doors, and were stopped by an armed guard. “Morf Evaluation Report,” he demanded peremptorily, holding out his hand. He looked at dad’s confused look. “Let me guess, you don’t have them with you?” Dad shook his head resignedly. “Straight through to waiting room ‘B’ then.” The guard continued, opening the door.
We followed his directions, and sat down on the hard metal chairs in the sparsely appointed room. As we entered, a thick metal door slammed and locked behind us.
After about half an hour, the door swung open, and a voice directed us to go to interview room three.
As we passed the first two interview rooms, I glanced inside them, thick glass walls divided them, and they looked sterile and uninviting. Entering the room we had been directed to was like entering a different world. In this room, there was no barrier, instead a profusion of plants covered an old wooden sideboard, and there were two comfy chairs facing a desk. The desk had a flowery cloth covering and disguising its industrial origins.
A older looking lady sat behind the desk, calling out friendlily “Come in dearie.”
My heart lifted at the change in atmosphere, and I sank gratefully into a chair. She got up, and introduced herself. “I am Anna-belle Foster, Mr Sanchez, lets get started shall we?”
Dad smiled tentatively, and sat down carefully.
“It’s not a trap.” She reassured us as she came around the desk, and pulled a cord from the desk and plugged it into my collar, then returned behind the desk, and looked down at a display before pressing a few buttons. The blinking red light went out.
“You have some papers for me?” she asked.
“Yes. Right here,” dad replied and handed over the sheaf of documents Mr. Winchester had given him the previous evening.
Ms. Foster looked them over. “That odious little man,” she remarked as she tore them up. “He knows that you have 24 hours to register, the fine will be deleted.”
“Thank you ma’am”
“Don’t worry about it. Now let me explain what happens now.” She looked at me, and continued “Benito, this is for your benefit too.”
I nodded when she paused.
“The state law requires that hybrids be registered, and refers to them as exotic animals, and requires that the parent or guardian get a license to keep exotic animals. What the state law does not, and cannot do, is take away your basic human rights. Those are protected by federal law.”
“Thank you,” we chorused.
“I can’t remove your collar, and although I can deactivate some of it’s functions, there are those I can not. Until you are twenty one, it will monitor you for alcohol consumption, and will always monitor drug use. If it detects either, they will be reported. It will also continuously report your location.
“Why?” I asked.
“Well, among other things, the state would rather not educate you, but are required to do so under federal statutes. If, however,” she paused and looked at me sternly, “you skip school, it will have justification that you do not desire such, and it will cease to do so.”
“Can they do that?” dad asked.
“Whether it is legal still remains to be seen.” Ms Foster replied. “Even if that is overturned, they will have evidence of delinquency, and will re-activate some of the more restrictive functions of the collar.”
“The collar hardly seems fair,” dad asked. “They are treating my son, err, daughter as a criminal without even a trial.”
“Unfortunately,” she said sadly, “richer men than you have fought them in the courts, and lost. The state legislature justified it as a safety measure for the ‘Pures’. The data it transmits, is however, not supposed to be accessed without a court order.”
“Supposed?” I queried.
She chuckled. “Sharp one aren’t you. There aren’t a lot of safeguards on the database.”
She disconnected the cable from my collar, and gave me a laminated ID card, admonishing me not to lose it.
“Now that all the formalities are taken care of, why don’t we have a cuppa and chat for a bit,” she suggested.
At our agreement she went into a back room, swiftly returning with a steaming pot of tea, and tray of cookies. All in all we had a pleasant half hour, chatting about a range of topics. The only really important thing that was discussed was that I get a pilots license before I did any real flying. It wasn’t actually required, but could help avoid difficulties, as well as keeping me safer.
All too soon, though, we had to leave, and stepping out into the sterile entrance hall was chilling, as were the armed guards. Before leaving the compound, the guard plugged a cable into my collar to confirm that I had been registered. As he read the display he called out “Fuck Peter, that pansy Foster’s turned off the termination option again.”
I paled, thinking that we were going to be sent back in, but with a look of distaste, the guard unhooked me and waved us out.
Free at last, we went back home.
To be continued….
The entire MORFS Universe can be found at http://morfs.nowhere2go.org/