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Animal Urges, a Cobra story

March 07, 2018 11:35AM
In which the Cobra runs into a slight complication at work and has to think outside the box to effect a rescue and a sanction

5. Animal Urges

The Bullterriman™ bodyguard was going to be a problem.
The idea of crunching human and animal genes together may have been mooted in the mid 20th century, but it was science fiction then. Only recently had the technique been perfected, primarily using dogs and cats. Urban legend, of course, would have it that Manigators inhabit the sewers, along with Ratmen, and Wolfmen lurking in the suburban hinterlands, escapees from the early experiments. I hate to think what happened to some of the early experiments, but then, I’m not paid to think about things like that when I’m working.
It was relevant to consider the status of the Bullterriman. A dog has a brain one tenth the size of that of a human; but one third of that is devoted to smell. Dogs have forty times as much of their cognitive functions devoted to smell as humans, which has always made me wonder why, in that case, they have a tendency to roll in disgusting things. However, that aside, this meant that there was always going to be a compromise.
Oh, the literature advertises that a Bullterriman is a man with superior senses, sharper hearing, a wonderful nose, and fails to mention that dogs are colourblind. How that works I’m not sure, but I’d bet that a dog man is not as good as a dog at smelling, nor as good as a man at reasoning, or picking out things by sight. Dogged as hell, of course, if you’ll pardon the pun, a good trait in a bodyguard. But a top-notch bodyguard is someone who picks up small visual clues, often in the sort of place a dog’s nose is going to be confused by the stench of many bodies, alcohol, scents, and even body fluids. My expensively augmented nose didn’t like those sorts of places, and that wasn’t on the scale of a dog’s nose. But then, maybe a dog’s brain could process all the smells more easily than a guy with cyber-nostrils which included a chemsniffer and a chip in the skull to identify the things I didn’t recognise. I still doubted that either man or dog part of a Bullterrimanperformed as well as a man with a bull terrier he had trained, but there you are. Owning a trans-human was conspicuous consumption.
I’m sorry, I should have said owning the contract with a trans-human. Trans-humans are not slaves or property as pets. The latter point was proven by a class action taken by a group of Catrobats™ against their ‘owner’. As I understand it the settlement out of court came when the girls informed him that if they were animals, they would play with their prey before shredding it slowly to pieces, and he looked like prey. The settlement was to the satisfaction of all, however, so not my pigeon.
It was raining, as usual, which was at least a bonus in dealing with the scenting ability of the Bullterriman. It was one of those light, penetrating rains which rapidly dull the senses, and I was concentrating on staying alert. It was early evening, and the city was waking up, lights going on desultorily as people decided it was too dark without them, the street lighting responding to the drop in light level, when the light sensor wasn’t already covered in pigeon @#$%& and hence the light stayed on until the bulb blew. Replacing bulbs never has been a priority with the city council unless the taxation level of the occupants reached zones the councillors would like to aspire to. If it wasn’t for the neon signs adding to the light level, the city would have lighted zones acting as a map to the economic status of its regions.
I was staking out one of the new so-called bunraku brothels. The target was the owner, who liked to sample his own wares. The client’s sister had gone AWOL, and initially he had found her turning tricks on the street, not a good place for a tenderly reared rich kid, but she had refused to come home, and then disappeared. The client was a man to whom money was little object when it came to his family, and fortunately he was rich enough not to turn a hair at my fee. If he hadn’t been rich, I might have undertaken a rescue for whatever he could afford; the sort of people who exploit daft teens get far enough up my expensive nose to register as butanethiol. C4H10S.
That’s the chemical which makes a skunk an unattractive fellow.
I’d been tracking the kid down for the last three months, and finally ran her to earth to Abe Leeson’s place. I don’treally know what techniques they use, probably addiction to the Pleasure Dome™ as well, maybe,as drugs and good old fashioned brainwashing.As far as I could tell, they also managed to imbue their victims with something akin to Stockholm Syndrome. They don’t call them puppet brothels for nothing;the girls in them are puppets for the clients, playing out the roles they choose, and if I mention that I wasn’t sure I wanted to know all the roles, perhaps you’ll get the idea how revolting some people can be. I had a nasty suspicion that the Dream Helmet introducing the Pleasure Dome experience which such people used to ‘train’ them were not of the TM variety but had been modified to permit conditioning the girls – and boys – to like whatever was done to them while they were under its influence, so they would respond correctly when out of the helmet and having the real life fantasy of the sicko who hired their services inflicted on them. The original Dream Helmet™ is legal, providing half an hour of direct stimulation tothe pleasure centre with a fantasy of the client’s choice. I’d already come across an overpowered version when I rescued my landlady’s niece. I’m no electronics engineer, but I didn’t find it hard to rewire the one I left on the chummer who had kidnapped her to leave him to die of pleasure. People like this are scum and they do what they want with people they think have nobody to care about them. I wouldn’t even put it past people like Leeson to have implanted a chip to stimulate the pleasure centre with the use of a remote. One of the kids I talked to, one who actually wanted to escape, had had her pleasure and pain centres connected electronically. She was a basket case by the time I got to her, but my client was persuaded to cough up for psychiatric aid for her. I guilted him out by murmuring that this kid didn’t have a brother to care what happened to her.
I suppose I should not be surprised that Leeson had the latest form of legal slave as well as his semi-legal prostitutes. All of whom swore blind that they were there willingly if asked, so as long as he kept his licence to pimp and followed all the health and safety regulations to the letter, nobody could call him on it.
Except a client with enough dosh to hire me.
Why the idiot sister had left a wealthy home in the first place to become a street whore I have no idea. Spoilt rich kids seek thrills, I know, but really? She could have had far more stimulation becoming an expensive courtesan and selling secrets, when she wouldn’t have fallen prey to the depraved scum who work for Leeson; but there you go. Second generation wealth doesn’t guarantee second generation brains.
Not yet, anyway. The designer baby is free of genetic time bombs, beautiful, the right sex, and with the right mix of mummy and daddy’s looks. However, getting the intellect right, genetically, is still a bit hit and miss, even using a genius as a donor to improve the chances. See, nature likes averages, and it takes generations for the averages to change. You don’t go from Lucy to Homo Sapiens overnight, and believe me, some lower ranking bodyguards would be challenged by Lucy.
Well, back to the job. I could just mosey in there, making like I’m a client, but I was pretty sure the Bullterriman would remember my scent. I can change my face and my hair, I can wear false fingerprints, I can change my voice with a voice modulator, but I can’t change my smell. And that is what a Bullterriman is for. And as it was a recent acquisition, I did wonder whether Leeson had heard that the Cobra was on his tail. I had seen Leeson arrive, which was what I was waiting for, but his companion, told to wait outside and watch, had been a surprise. The Bullterriman was a bulky individual, and that was before you took his armour into account. Trust me, unless you pay for a really good tailor, it’s obvious when someone is wearing armour, as obvious as it is that he was carrying. Chummer was heavy and thick, armoured and carrying. His face was ugly enough to be a pug more than a bull terrier, with heavy jowls, and prominent canines. He had dried drool in his beard. I did not want to tackle him head on, and being a dog, he was unlikely to be amenable to bribery. The wretched fellow was doubtless loyal despite being left out in the rain. I wondered if he shook himself to get rid of water, and decided I preferred not to find out.
I retired to the more salubrious end of town and went looking for an old fashioned sweet shop, a hardware store, and a gunsmith. I bought certain sweets, a small hammer, and some empty cartridge cases. Breaking up the sweets, I loaded them into the cartridge cases, loaded my shotgun, and retired to a roof overlooking Leeson’s place. I fired at a tin can I had set up down the alley, with regular shot. The noise attracted the Bullterriman, and of course, like a good dog, he went to see if he had something to bark about. I took him in the mouth with the second cartridge, one of my special ones. I’d already rubbed the residue into the spot where I had waited, and all over my boots, which I would be getting rid of, soonest. Then it was down the fire escape and across the road while the Bullterriman ran around in circles, yipping, from the extreme scent of the aniseed.
It was moderately straightforward from this point. Leeson was busy with one of his girls, and I don’t feel much like going into details. However as I came face to face with his quivering buttocks, and there was a convenient target between them, I fired my little two-two at it. It was hollow point, so it should have made a nice mess of his last meal. I knew what room Miss RichKid was in, and went that way in a hurry. A kick to the head for her client, and a slap hypo for her, and I was on my way with a hefty sort of lass slung over my shoulder. I made my way up the stairs before anyone had actually registered that they had a homicide and a kidnapping on their hands.
Up? Yes, up.
The client was sparing no expense, and the helicopter was on time, making its approach as I heaved Miss RichKid out of the skylight. They had a stretcher for her and a rope ladder for me. How the loving brother intended to cure his sister of any addictions she had was his business, I had only contracted to kill Leeson and rescue her. In that order. He wanted his sister back, but he wanted the object lesson more.
The helicopter sped away as I climbed the ladder. They had a complete change of clothes for me as specified and my clothes and those aniseed flavoured boots went into a heavy duty sack. I hated having to rely on other people to incinerate my things for me, but they were paid to follow instructions to the letter and ask no questions. I’d used them before, so it was a smaller risk than if I did not know them.
I was dropped off at an anonymous helipad catering to a big mall. I had already changed my appearance in the ‘copter, and would do so again in a changing booth.And yes, I bought the clothes I was trying on. Less likelihood of anyone taking notice of me. And though they watch the security cams outside changing booths to make sure people don’t come out looking like they are wearing two of everything, they don’t watch as closely as they do in the toilets. Because it’s dishonesty they watch for, not odd behaviour.
Meantime, the rich kid was taken on to a private hospital where hopefully the mess that had been made of her brain might be unravelled. And hopefully she would have learned her lesson to seek safer thrills, like spelunking, or bungy jumping, or photographing polar bears.

Animal Urges, a Cobra story

Sarah WaldockMarch 07, 2018 11:35AM

Re: Animal Urges, a Cobra story

MayaMarch 08, 2018 08:07PM

Re: Animal Urges, a Cobra story

Sarah WaldockMarch 09, 2018 10:59AM


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