Description In the aftermath of a night of too many customers, the team at Dragon’s Horde realized they made a few mistakes—even as a reporter with a very hands-on approach looks deeper into the extra-inducing spirits they serve there.
|Updated||31 Dec 2014|
“Ennnnggghhh splitting headache.”
The words muttered from a maltese tiger, sprawled over a couch as he woke up, the phone ringing off the hook infront of his heads. He squinted, holding both heads with two hands, supporting himself with another three, and grabbing at the phone with the sixth. He moved the headset over to his right head and asked “Hello?”
A screaming voice boomed out, something about missed deadlines and failure to file. Even though it was a Saturday, it was supposedly his day off, and the reporter tiger’s regular beat filings were in, this editor of his was barking up the wrong tree.
“Are you on the speaker phone?” the tiger asked, his patience wearing thin.
This caused another rant to come through. Damned German Shepard, the tiger thought, enough is enough. He got up, took a deep breath, and started.
“NOW STOP BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE AND LISTEN. THE REPORT ON SANTIAGO WAS FILED LAST WEEK, WITH NO UPDATES! THE SPAMMER-TURNED-ATTEMPTED-MURDERER CASE GOT DELAYED AGAIN AND I FILED THE BRIEF TWO DAYS AGO. THE INCIDENT ABOARD THE SIDNEY SLEEPER IS IN THE HANDS OF THE NTSB AND I’M STILL WAITING ON THE REPORT FROM THEM FOR THAT FOLLOW-UP, AND THE DRAGON’S HORDE INVESTIGATION IS THAT, AN INVESTIGATION. INVESTIGATIONS AREN’T QUICK! THEY TAKE RESEARCH, EFFORT, AND TIME! IF YOU HAD LOOKED IN YOUR EMAIL AND THE NEWS MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS FOR *ONCE* IN YOUR LIFE YOU WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS BY NOW. YOU WOULD HAVE ALSO KNOWN THAT HR REMINDED YOU OF YOUR STAFF’S SCHEDULING, SINCE YOU HAVEN’T DONE IT IN SIX MONTHS. NOW DO I HAVE TO HAVE HR SCHEDULE YOU AGAIN FOR THOSE CLASSES OR DO I HAVE TO GET THE REPORTERS UNION INVOLVED?”
Another voice came on the line. ”Morrie, it’s Sid. Tanya from HR is here as well. We’re in Jacob’s office. We’re off speaker now.”
The tiger flopped back down in his couch and repositioned the phone. ”Sid. Geesh, I’d never thought I’d hear from you. Can you not breathe so loudly?”
“I’ll drop the mic’s volume. Damn, kid, when did you get that voice… or voices?”
“Voices?” Morrie looked around… and noticed his extra head, his four extra arms, the tatered shreds of his business shirt, and his pants that he was filling with more than his legs. ”Uuuuhhh… You know about that Dragon’s Horde Bar?”
“The one that changes people?” Sid replied. ”Don’t tell me…”
“I think I just became part of the story, Sid,” Morrie said, finding extra fingers on his hands. “I’ll know more when I kill this splitting headache I got. Or is it headaches. There’s some research I gotta do.”
“I’d say, if rumors are true. Listen, I gotta fire Jacob. He called you instead of logging into his PC. I’m pulling up Peter.”
“Peter… wait, wasn’t he the photojournalist?”
“No, that guy’s over in the Alt Weekly division. Peter Tribune. Guy who likes John Waters but speaks like Gorbechav.”
“Oh yeah. Old college mate. Didn’t know he was here.”
“Well, I had brought him on board for a spin-off but then the parent company bought the local City Paper anyway for the Alt Weekly division. Anyway, get some coffee, food, and Gatorade in your system. I’ll have Peter come over to your apartment.”
“Okay. Yeah, give me two hours, I think none of my shirts fit anymore.”
“Hey, if all the weight you were gaining shifted upwards, one of our advertisers has a special on. I’ll give Peter the info. Any questions?”
“Yeah I…” Morrie started before being interrupted again but another rant from Jacob that was cut off by Sid screaming “JACOB, YOUR FIRED FOR INSUBORNINATION! GRAB YOUR COAT. SECURITY WILL ESCORT YOU OUT.”
“You haven’t seen the last of me as long as that damned Spider Ham is terrorizing the city!” Jacob yelled before a sound of a door slamming open came over the phone… before a blood curtiling scream.
“Sorry, Seymore came up, gave Jacob a fright. Seymore, take off that reaper costume and get Jacob off the floor. He’s no longer an employee here at the G-T. Yeah, if he needs an ambulance, get him one. Geesh, next thing I know you’re doing your Reverend Mord impersonation.”
“Heh…” Morrie said. “That raven does it to a T, Sid. I’ll catch up with you and Peter later.”
“Okay. Laters, I got a paper to get out.”
Morrie hung up the phone, and massaged his heads. ”Ugh… things just went freaky on so… many… levels.” He sat a bit before getting up and moving around.
“I wonder of my favorite place has a no shirt policy…”
Two hours, a breakfast, and a very motherly vixen later, Morrie returned to his apartment with bags in tow. Finding Peter at the door, he howls in stereo “Petrovski!”
“Morrie Purry!” Peter, a beefy Siberian Husky, called in his heavy Russian accent. ”My, you changed!”
“Yeah,” Morrie said, freeing up a hand and getting his keys out for the door. “Overnight too.”
“Overnight? You? Gain extras overnight?”
Morrie unlocked the door and let Peter in. “Yeah, the Dragon’s Horde investigation.”
“Oooooh. Is true, then. All history and research…”
“Backed up everywhere,” the dual-headed tiger said. “Here, HQ, three different cloud providers, and my remote server.”
“Mmmmm. So what’s this?” Peter pointed to the bags.
Peter lifted them up. ”Leftovers. My usual writing and meeting haunt is a small mom and pop eatery. The mom though is a rather amourous vixen from China, although I swear she’s got some Jewishness in her.” He then went over to the kitchen to put them away.
“With three chests like that, who would blame her?”
“Yeah. Before I go too much farther…”
“Oh yes. Offical US citizen now! Papers and everything. Being great writer better than so-so speaker.”
“How? You snuck in after your student visa expired?”
“Nyet! Before graduation, Putin put in bad law. So applied for asylum. It was looong trip.”
Morrie grinned, and said, “And now you’re the new editor.”
Peter waved a hand dismissively. “Bah, Jacob is idiot. With governor problem with police taken care of, Spider Ham can resume normal life. Normal life for you, though…” Peter then thumbs over to the bathroom.
“You’re joking.” Morrie said in stereo.
“Nyet. Is obvious. We shop for new clothes. But then… heh…”
“You’re shucking your shirt then.” Morrie challenged.
And Peter did.
This prompted Morrie to quickly drop trow and undies, as his cocks quickly saluted… all the way to his upper shoulder blades.
“Whoa tiger.” Peter said, shocked. ”Bathroom, now. Keep it professional. May be gay, but being showy…”
“Agreed.” Morrie murred, and headed there. ”It went from zero to OMG PAIN! Let me get a shower, and we’ll go. What’s the name of the place?”
“Gwen’s Apparel for All.” Peter said while picking up his shirt. “Even have gift card for you. Something I picked up. Already filled out paperwork.”
Morrie stuck out a head and said, “We’ll have to disclose that. They play into my investigation.”
Peter “rrrrrrt’ed” at Morrie quizingly, before saying “I better take notes.”
The husky and multi-tiger entered into the local Gwen’s, a large anchor store in a mall that had seen better days, but is getting brighter as time went on.
A male hyena greeted them once they got in the door, recognizing the husky. “Hello! Welcome to Gwen’s. Oh, you must be Peter, from this morning. Is this your friend?”
“Da!” Peter acknoledged. “Good friend Morrie. Had visit to Dragon’s Horde. Looks much better now, yes?”
“Oh stop,” Morrie said, blushing through his greyscale fur.
The hyena grinned, careful not to unerve. “My my. And nothing fits?”
Morrie answered “Well, these are my loosest pants, and they’re still showing. I had to… er…” before looking around.
“It’s okay. I’m Jeremy. We here at Gwen’s cover all the bases. We even have a kinkster section in our lower level, leather and latex. It’s all open here.”
Peter looked at Morrie, who said, “I had to put on some latex bike shorts to keep my bits in check.”
“It’s expected. Now lets see what we have here…” Jeremy said, looking around Morrie. “Hmmm, you’re a 2He, 2Ne, 6-1Ar, 3Sc, 1Bo, 3Wi, 2Dl, 7Fi, 2Co, 2x2Te, 3Ta that’s actually kinda thick and ooooh my, no splits, so that’s a 0Fr. Have a job?”
Morrie said, “A wha… I’m a reporter.”
“Aaah, doing investigative work on the Dragon’s Horde? Went hands on, I take it. We clothe their customers and staff, basically. Want an explination of the code I just ratted off?”
Morrie nodded, saying “Yes. For me and my story.”
Peter started to take down some notes but Jeremy handed a “how we size” pamphlet from his back pocket. ”We know everyone’s different, so we developed a system for our tailors to follow. Morrie, you’re two headed on seperate necks, six armed in a three-stacked-chests arrangement, one body, your chest and torso are split into a three-wide arrangement, two digitalgrade legs, hands are seven fingered, two cocks, two regularly equipped ballsacs, and three tails that look like someone repainted a snow leopard. No splitting mid-leg or arm, though, thankfully.”
“Hmmm…” Morrie’s left head said, upper hands rubbing his chin, while his left asked “What’s with the mid-splits?”
“We always have trouble accomidating for them. Anyway, lets get a full body scan for our tailors, and get some pre-made underwear for you. This way.”
“YOU FORGOT WHAT?!?” the large, muscled, overbearing dragon that is Cyren barked at a smaller, four-armed dragon that is Daniel.
“I forgot to mix in the Don’t-Mind-Me potion in one person’s drink.” Daniel meeped, scared for having made a too-vital mistake. ”I was busy, and got confused…”
Cyren was about to start when another dragon interrupted. ”He’s right, you know. We were very heavy last night. Archie had to come out and mix as well and I had to pull all of me in to manage the kitchen orders.”
The doubled-up hound came up and said, “Even I had all my hands full. I’m still trying to figure out why we had a huge crowd.”
“DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS?!?!?” Cyren yelled, about to turn when he looked face first into the maltese multi-tiger, who had walked into the middle of the conversation.
“Hello,” Morrie started. “You must by Dr. Cyren Merlin, the owner of this establishment. I’m a reporter with the Gazette-Times, and I must ask you one question: How are things back in Stonehenge?”
This caught Cyren off-guard, but let Daniel recover and look… “Oh hey, you’re Morrie? Maltese Tiger who said, “Hit me!” last night? I think I goofed your drink.”
The tiger double-smiled and said, “Yes, that was me, and you did a number on me. But before you go deeper, let me offer some information. Last night was the GWAR reunion concert, which got moved from the CBGB&OMFUG Revival to a full hall and then to the Arena. It let out after an encore around 10pm and you probably got the brunt of it, since the Arena’s dry.”
Cyren slouched, defeated. “Oh alright. Guess you should know…”
“About the elixirs you add as shots? The effect they have? The history behind them? The technical details? Hell, for the past week I was spending time basically verifying a fan-run wiki!”
“Whisky-India-Kilo-India. Online website that allows folks to colaborate on a digital encyclopedia.” Archie said. ”I’ve been monitoring it. It’s mostly accurate.”
Morrie shook his heads. ”How they are enchanted is not on there, and they don’t want it. They actually want to drive business to the Dragon’s Horde. It’s a transformation site, and something to observe but not act on.”
“I gotta sit down. Ask Archie here. TERRY!!!!” Cyren turned and found three identical dragons carrying a reinforced bar stool. ”Oh, thanks. That heavy, Terry?”
All three nodded as Morrie asked “Can you pour a regular porter, no enhancements? Folks have noticed but given I’m writing up the story…”
“Let me pour that, Dan.” Archie said with one head while he grabbed a regular pint glass. “Morrie, right? I’m Archie, the Geek here. Dan’s our usual bartender, and the three tending to Cyren are one person, Terry.”
“Yeah, yesterday was a mess.” Morrie said as a stretched three-headed red cougar came into the bar. ”I wouldn’t be suprized if some people came in and wanted to change back.”
“Three were absolute basket cases,” the multi-cougar said, “but I still had the growler of Thank Prime with me. Hi, I’m Red, from Strathmore-upon-Avon Textiles.”
“Morrie, from the Gazette-Times. I’m doing a story on the bar here. Lots of research, but it’s all verified anyway. I was strugging on how to write it up, but…”
“You became the story.” Red finished up with one head as he sat next to Morrie. ”Yeah, I’m a regular. Got stretched and multiplied, but by my own volition. Turned it into a carrer move. I was one of their computer programmmers, but now a designer for their multi-capable clothing lines.”
“I have to admit, you do good. The sports jacket and shirt setup is fetching.”
“Thanks. I sometimes go on call, and today was all hands on deck. Gained a few customers, but those three basket cases I had to calm down with a shot of Thank Prime.”
Archie served Morrie his porter, as Morrie said, “Yeah, the GWAR Reunion hit here hard and I was here to witness it. I ended up this way. I think I told Dan to ‘Hit me’ with a drink.”
“Yeah, you did.” Dan started. “A Cyera, two Octopods, a few Mirrose with a Hydrabus chaser, and two Sune of Kit shots. But I forgot a base shot this time…”
“The Don’t-Mind-Me. I think it’s too late for it, but if this is perament…”
“It is, roughly.” Dan said. ”I was mixing so fast I skipped the temps on the upper shelf. I should mix up some more Thank Prime.”
“Which probably undoes everything peramently, and kills any mods forever.”
“Not really.” Archie said with one head. “There’s magic, and there’s technology. Tease out a theory, win a prize.” The other head looked at Red, and growled “NO HELP FROM THE PEANUT GALLERY.”
“Hmmm… magic and technology.” Morrie mused out loud. “Well, one can be the other, but for the shape crafting aspects… Aaaah. I remember the water supply story, where some radical dumped tons of programmed nanobots there. There were rumors that the bar was key on discovering it, and one person became all bulked up due to showering it in. The funny thing is the nanobots read the person’s DNA and only bulked up in terms of muscle, like they knew anatomy…
“The shots need a base to start, an alcoholic suspension of nanobots that can read our DNA and, like a computer, back it up. The shots are ‘flavored’ with various programming, like the Cerya for extra heads. While the shots are self-powered, and regenerate mass, the added booze would not only shorten a built-in delay but also insulate against the pain of shapeshifting.”
Morrie purrrs in stereo, “Yeah, I like that theory. Thank Prime is a solid drink which tells the nanobots to restore the body, burn off the excess mass, flush itself via the kidneys, and do it asap. It’s ether a chemical trigger or a plug-in nanobot.”
Archie looked at Cyren, who sighed and said, “He’s got it.”
Morrie added “I can’t explain the Don’t-Mind-Me, but there has to be some mystery to life after all. Don’t give it to me anyway. I got a rise out of an old friend in this form, so I’m keeping it. I will need to get my driver’s licence updated…” he then took a drink from his porter.
Archie replied “You shouldn’t have a problem with that now. The new governor pushed for an accomidation law, which the DMV was pushing for themselves. Just ask for a replacement and reprove your identity, and you’ll be good to go.”
“It just adds to the story,” Morrie said, “and some science fiction I write on the side as well.”
“That reminds me!” Dan said. “Archie, you know how sometimes when we mix a drink there’s a side effect of extra fingers?”
“Yeah, but never Cyren.” Archie said with one head. “It’s like we were adding something inadvertently.”
“More like the shots weren’t refined enough. I isolated the flavoring to a shipment from Boston, and…” Dan holds up one hand, sporting eight regular fingers and two thumbs. “…well, I need to put the Hemmingway shot on the board.”
“Dan,” Cyren spoke up, “Are you…”
“I check every drink to make sure I don’t mix a Wilhelm.” Dan said. ”I was using four checkers at a time, flushing them out every check. I cought five Wilhelms last night.”
“Six here.” Archie said. “I was using the other six. Granted it’s optional, but we do it as a safety measure.”
Morrie smiled and with one head said, “They know their limitations.”
Cyren said, “I’d give ‘em a raise but I’d have to dock them for use of the checkers. They got good reason for it, so I won’t blame ‘em.”
Morrie purred “So let’s get down to basics, then. Say a new person comes in…”
Dan holds up all four hands. “Stop right there, I know where this is going. Part of being a bartender is being a social engineer. Sometimes what they’re going through is a mid-life crisis. Sometimes it’s just a rough night. You can’t throw a theoretical at it.
“Almost everyone got temp versions. They’re revert tomorrow morning, and the weather will play in our favor. If I remember correctly, you are the only one who I ‘hit’ and got it for the long term.”
Archie errred in stereo.
“Archie…” Cyren started.
“There may be more.” Archie said. “I was mixing and pouring fast enough that I don’t remember all the orders.”
Red looked at Archie three heads to two, pulling out a smartphone. ”Archie, there were three that I handled and reverted. I will give a heads-up to Greg and the store manager of Gwen’s. I think those coupons for Thank Prime will come in handy.”
“I got an idea,” Morrie said, pulling out a tablet-like smartphone and a folded keyboard. “Let me call the guy covering the GWAR Reunion concert, and my editor. This aftermath is a decent story to get out.”
Cyren hmmmed, and said, “Everyone’s license scanned?”
Archie and Dan nodded, Dan adding “No order until it was scanned.”
Cyren grinned. “Quote me. If you had a life-changing experience at the Dragon’s Horde that didn’t agree with you, come back in for a refund.”
Morrie oooo’ed with one head while another head started the call. ”Hey Peter? It’s Morrie. I’m at the Dragon’s Horde. Listen, that GWAR… no, Bob can still have it. What happened afterwards is another story…”
Morrie sat down back on his couch, sprawling his arms out and propping his legs out. He was able to write the story before deadline, a few of the people that had some drinks yesterday came in for… adjustments. He grinned thrice to his self, lucking out on the interviews and also getting more information for the investigative story.
Not only that, he felt he needed to experience the transformation one more time, so after the story was filed he ordered another drink. Another porter, depth-charged with a Treypod, a Cerya, and a Sauron. From there he felt it, the full flush of a transformation, and wrote about it.
Thus, back at home, all three of his paws in the air as he flexed all of his toes, his cocks slowly filled out and up to his chest. He still had two of them, not wanting to go crazy… but then that triplicated coyote clerk at the court house… what was his name, he thought. Trey was it? He looked like a cutie at the bar.
Morrie purred, as he looked forward to going back to the Dragon’s Horde.