(Just a reminder this was based on the prompt, Slowly turning into a lizard of any size. I had a ton of fun writing it.)
The project proceeded beautifully. Full sponsorship was accepted, and the subject was performing top notch in all areas. First day was a bit rough, as with all the subjects, but blood work came back fine. Skeletal structure was warping with consistent factors–no sign of disease or malformations. No mutations or complications. Second day yielded a change in personality. He started becoming simplistic, foraging and digging. Had to adjust temperature accordingly. Now on the third day, and we administered the usual mountain of shots. Tests concluded, and the data was in line with the rest of the subjects. Further observation will follow the usual protocols. Amount of time until change: one week.
Tyra clicked the enter key on her console and filed away the report as she’d done countless times for every subject. She pulled up a few programs, double checked the habitat for the enclosure, and made sure the nano-machines still held the holographic structures. Hard light, something her mother had invented a long time ago. A glass pane covered an entire side of the room and allowed up close pictures of the subject, from over ten different angles.
Tyra stole a yawn in her long shift. She leaned back in her chair, took a swig of coffee, and drew a notebook from a cupboard under the extensive line of advanced computers. She started doodling this and that, never acknowledging her colleague, Rex, who entered the room and took a seat at one of the consoles beside her.
“How long you in for?” Tyra asked.
Rex clicked a few keys, signed into his work station, and rummaged through a briefcase before he said, “I got a double today. Trix had to call out, her son got sick.”
“Ah, damn, again. Poor little guy,” Tyra said. “Isn’t that the third time this year?”
“Yeah,” Rex pulled out a thermos and poured a cup of home brew. “Doctor’s are taking good care of him. How’s the subject?”
“Should be going through phase one any second now,” she said. As if on key the subject dropped into the dirt. The brush rustled and wiggled as the subject started the best part of the process.
Tyra typed a few commands into the computer.
“You got your bet in?” Tyra asked.
Rex settled and gave a thumbs up.
“Alright,” Tyra said, placing in another batch of clicks. “And away we go.”
Four monitors focused on the subject as he emerged from the dense foliage. Tyra and Rex had to hold their laughter so they could focus on the notes. This was their favorite part of the job.
“Looks like Vee’s out,” Rex said. “He put down komodo.”
“I keep telling him it’ll never be komodo in the last phase. We haven’t had one in years.”
“Hey, brings the pool up.”
“Isn’t his family loaded? Why does he bet?”
Rex wrote down a few notes and said, “You want to do the review. I hate those things.”
“Yup, I got it.”
Next phase started. Still retains the human anatomy from neck down. (Special note: still looks hilarious. Made sure microphones were mute to laugh appropriately. Not making that mistake again.) Personality retained. Still dislikes certain grub. Head has transfigured to komodo species. Environment changed to accommodate old Indonesian islands. Leathery skin stretches along the collar bone. The bond between the human flesh and lizard is maintaining a perfect bond. Appetite remains and habits have become typical of form.
Subject has already turned to the lizard method of travel, all fours, feet and hands, with joints becoming half synovial. Bacteria is normal. Venomous bite observable from hunting of correct prey.
An easy day, Tyra thought.
The next day, when she returned to work, she started the next batch of checks. The picked and prodded across her keyboard, occasionally enjoying a pitch of black coffee. Some say it tasted like mud, she’d say that’s the best part about it. She relieved Rex and followed her protocols, distributing the feed, making sure the environment fit the new formation. She even had time to cross off a few names from the polls. Several people banked on today’s particular transformation. More bank for Tyra.
Subject has taken on characteristics of the frilled lizard, also known as frill-necked lizard or frilled dragon. Head, upper body, and arms have continued as with usual cases. Subject has maintained usual characteristics, with only the waist down remaining human. Looks like the work of a mad scientist, a chunky lizard weighed down by awkward, plump human legs and ass. No holes reported in the flap of skin around the head. There is an increase to aggravation. Frills shot up a few times but nothing beyond normal works.
Performed tests for reflexes and reactions. All levels normal.
Tyra logged her portion and watched as Rex, handling his part of the work, continued tapping away at his desk.
“You’re falling behind,” Tyra teased. She hiked her feet up and returned to her doodles.
“Oh, come on,” Rex exhaled. “How are you so fast at that?”
“Lots and lots of practice. Being smarter helps too.”
“Oh, hehehe. Funny,” Rex had to erase an entire line when he put it in the wrong place.
“You should try hotkeys. Copy, paste, tab. It’ll increase your speed,” Tyra said.
“Yes, ma’am. Boss, ma’am,” Rex said, saluting her in strict fashion.
Tyra returned to her computer. Again, she checked the gauges on the holo-fence. The center had plenty of power, excess for her prediction in the next day or so.
Rex peaked over her shoulder and said, “You think we’re going to get a dragon.”
“I just want to be prepared,” Tyra said.
“Please, you never want to be ‘just prepared.’ Good thing my vote was for the Philippine sailfin lizard.”
Tyra clicked a few keys. “Well, maybe you should have thought that one through,” she said.
One of the divided screens pushed in on the subject and focused on a particular type of sail-like structure slightly protruding from the back.
“Ah, come on,” Rex face palmed. “I lost again! How much is left, two days?”
Tyra chuckled, “After the sailfin, one more transmogrification. Then the final phase.”
Rex fell back into his chair.
“Man, that’s four hundred right down the drain,” he said. He shrugged and continued to work. “Oh well, at least it’ll be hilarious.”
The entire office observed transformation to Philippine sailfin lizard, also known as crested lizard. Subject shrunk a few sizes but remains human sized. Fins have sprouted on the back of the head, the entire back down to the tailbone. Everything checks out. Readings and gauges are all good. We double checked the readings once we all stopped laughing.
A lizard from head to toe except for a human’s ass. Two butt cheeks peeking out from gradual scales.
I dub the creation, Butt lizard.
The next was rather uneventful. Tyra had a relaxed day checking numbers, typing itineraries, and running lines for the beefing up of the fenced barrier.
Tyra was correct long before anyone else caught the spikes in fluids. The transformation before the final phase was going to be something of a spectacle. Tyra recognized the data.
A western dragon. Four legs, a pair of bat-like wings, and usually aggression at the slightest change in habitat. It would be a full day of triple checking and running around to make sure no systems would fail. Thankfully, it wasn’t the fire breathing type.
Tyra enhanced the enclosure to accommodate, and rushed to reroute the appropriate power, a few hours ahead of schedule. The entire staff would be on hand.
It’ll be simple and easy, Tyra thought.
It was terrible. Worst day ever.
The console room was packed with more than twenty lab coat covered workers. They clinked glasses at another successful subject pulling through, throwing bottles of alcohol around to rightfully celebrate their prowess.
“Here’s to kicking ass at our jobs,” Rex announced. “And to number one, Tyra over here, not only winning the pool but keeping us in business!”
The room erupted in cheering and clapping.
Tyra chugged her entire champagne glass and relaxed in a nearby chair. Rex took a seat beside her.
“So, how much did you win?” Rex said.
“Twelve hundred,” Tyra said.
“Oh, wow, that’s good stuff. Congrats. Is the next subject scheduled?”
“Yup, set in three days.”
Tyra took a bundle of notes from her pocket, counted out four hundred, and passed it along to Rex.
“What’s this for?” he asked.
“Kind of hard to lose when I know the process inside and out,” Tyra said. “Just call this rent for keeping me company.”
Rex pocketed the money, and they clinked their glasses against one another. The monitors captured several angles on their latest patient.
The once man was happy as a lizard. More than he had been in a human life of poverty. Tyra would always tell her patients that the quaintest of existences, the most relaxing and fun to transform into, was the humble lizard. So many species and types. And the most recent man had chosen well for the species. He could have been a bird. A penguin. An elephant. A fish–
Nope, he chose a lizard.
Tyra and the entire company felt like they’d been given a compliment every time one of the human’s chose a lizard. Especially since it was run by reptiles having taken on the human form. Tyra admired her work as the camera focused on a specific branch.
Uroplatus sikorae. The mossy leaf-tailed gecko. Tyra loved geckos, and she knew right from the beginning that the man, who showed an aura of testosterone, was going to be spending the rest of his happy rebirth as a happy little gecko. Tyra closed the report and signed the last printouts, finishing the day.
Subject #364923, Success
Done by facility 22
Welcome to Dinosauria: Where we turn DNA into the true you.
(The next prompt, due for April 15th, is……………
Helicopter coming back to finish the job/get revenge.
To explain this one a bit: I’m a huge fan of the tv show ER. There’s a guy, Dr. Romano, who gets his arm chopped off by a helicopter tail blade. Then, the same character eventually gets killed by a helicopter falling off the hospital roof. No mercy for Dr. Romano. The wife agrees it would make a fun prompt.)