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FURYBOOK5 video screen Hassans desk chimed


'The Fury Directive'

This novel follows directly from 'The Fury Trilogy' and 'Incubus'. Its
plot and its characters originate in those stories, and they often
understand their later predicaments by those earlier events. If you
haven't yet read those earlier stories, I suggest that you save this text
somewhere safe and read them first.

I know it's an imposition, a big deal for me to tell you to read a novel
and a medium-sized story before you even start this one. But trust me,
it's worth it. The more eager among you can read this immediately, and
you will get a general idea as what is going on. But to really get the
most out of this novel, first read the earlier ones.

I always intended for this to be the sequel to "Fury" -- whether it ever
saw the light of day depended entirely on the feedback I received. The
entire Fury saga was planned out and then implemented over a five year
period.. "Fury" and "Incubus" are the beginning and middle of the story
this is the ending.

Note: This story does contain a small amount of strong and explicit
descriptions and dark themes (torture, mind control etc) so stay away if
you're easily offended or under 21.

*** Many thanks have to go to Vickie Tern who contributed a 'special
guest' chapter to this story and generally helped out in more ways than I
can mention. As always thank you, the reader for letting me know if the
two years it took me to write this was worth it.

- o - o - o - Main story by Darkside.

-- Darkside
- o - o - o -

BOOK I. The Opening.

- o - o - o -

Cathline Richards, alias Rachel Martin, sat on the red leather sofa. She
was waiting for the red lights on the cameras to indicate the show was
on air. She stretched out her long, perfect legs and waited patiently.
Her host Richard Letterman sat opposite, shuffling his questions and
also waiting for the cue.

The floor manager gave the three-two one and the show was a go.
Richard looked into camera one and said "Good evening Ladies and
Gentlemen. Welcome to this special edition of Richard. We have with
us tonite Rachel Martin, who has been described as the most beautiful
women ever to walk the earth. Those of you who have read her
account of the titanic struggle between her friends and the evil Dr
Elizabeth Bexley will be familiar with much of what we're going to be
talking about. However Rachel has agreed to fill us in on what really
went on nearly three years ago."

Rachel gave a stunning smile at the camera, noted the cute
anchorwoman on the news desk and waited for the follow up question.

"Rachel, most of us know the outcome of the 'fury' as it's been known
but can you fill us in. If I remember correctly it started around 5 years
ago," Richard said, casting an appreciative glance up Cathline's long leg.

Ignoring Richard's glance Cathline started to explain, "Yep. My good
friend Matthew Stephens was driving alone when his car broke down.
Stranded in bad weather, it looked as though he was going to die.
However he was rescued and Dr Bexley saved his life. Their romance
grew from there and they were due to get married."

"And did they?"

"No, Matthew realised he didn't love Elizabeth and so left her at the
altar. She was naturally devastated and had to leave her job at her
father's hospital. She joined as chief researcher at the TGEN-Labs.
That's where we first met, of course I wasn't Rachel Martin then, just
plain old Mrs Cathline Richards."

"We've got a picture of you and your late husband," Richard said.

Cathline looked away sadly as a picture of a pretty brunette with brown
eyes and a taller, handsome man appeared on the monitors in front of

"Yeah that was me. Anyway at TGEN labs we were the first to fully
map the human genome and we developed a chemical that would
replace one set of DNA with another. It was going to be our cure for
Cancer and save the lives of millions. It was about this time that I found
out my husband, John was having an affair with another researcher. Liz
suggested we try the drug on him to teach him a lesson and I agreed."

"So what did you do?"

"Unknown to me at the time Liz had paid this researcher to sleep with
John and had already hatched a devious and vicious plan for revenge on
Matthew. To cut a long story short and not give too much away John
was turned into a copy of Matthew's new fiancée, Jane Stephens. As a
thank you Liz paid for us to go to Egypt for a second honeymoon."

"What was Matthew doing at this time?"

"Oh he'd married another woman, Kat, sorry Jane and was in Egypt on
honeymoon at the same as we were. Liz had the original Kat
kidnapped, changed into a copy of Jasmine from Disney's Aladdin and
thrown into a harem. She then replaced her as her double. Matthew
was forced to take a pill that would slowly turn him into a copy of Dr
Bexley. He had no choice but to take the pills because not doing so
would probably have killed him."

"What Happened to John?"

"Actually I was kidnapped and thrown into another Harem where my
stupidity led me to have my eye burned out with a hot iron. John was
led a wild goose chase until flying back to the US."

"Was Dr Bexley doing all this kidnapping?"

"No she'd enlisted the help of a shadowy organization called the 'Guild'.
We don't really know anymore about them than that I'm afraid."

"If I remember correctly from the now famous Bexley trial Matthew
killed John at the airport, thinking he was Dr Bexley returning from her
evil deeds. Matthew was then arrested for murder one," Richard said.

Cathline looked down and said sadly "That's right. Liz led John by the
nose like a lamb to the slaughter. She had him killed."

"That's horrible," Richard Commented.

"That was just the start of it. Anyway back in the Middle East I was
imprisoned by my 'master' Osman and was routinely raped every day for
four months. Thankfully Osman died and I was due to be re-sold."

"My God, how did you manage?" Richard asked.

"Looking back I've no idea. I just held onto my humanity and the ones I
cared about. Kat had been sold into a much better Harem than me and
was promoted to chief girl. Her master, Hassan allowed her to choose a
personal maid from Osman's Harem. She chose me and we instantly hit
it off."

"Where was Dr Bexley in all this?"

"She'd flown back under a different face and designed this body you see
before you for herself. Dr Bexley was the original Rachel Martin. She
appeared to be happy in this arrangement until the tragic death of her
parents in an auto-accident. That sparked off her desire to kill Matthew
herself and resume the vendetta against him."

"So your body was genetically designed by Dr Bexley?"

"Yep, Bodies by Bexley. Anycase I'm more than happy with it now.
It's still me inside. I think I got off lightly compared to the rest."

"I assume you escaped from your Harem?" Richard said.

"In a way. Hassan fell in love with Kat but she steadfastly refused his
advances. Hassan was too much of a gentleman to force the issue and
seeing how unhappy she was agreed to let us go."

Richard raised an eyebrow, "So you flew back to the US and tried to
find out what had happened to your husbands?"

"Correct. After a lot of searching we contacted Stephanie Lane, the
reporter. She'd already been working on the Bexley trial and was only
too glad to team up with us."

"You mean the late Stephanie Lane?" Richard queried.

"Yeah. Anyway we all agreed to meet up at TGEN labs to discuss how
we would deal with Liz. In the meantime Liz had enlisted the Guild to
wipe out the convoy taking Matthew to death row and so ensured that
he'd always be a fugitive. He met up with us at TGEN labs."

Richard looked thoughtful for a few seconds and then said "I remember
the attack, brutal and professional as I remember. Anyway, so you set
up some kinda council of war?"

"Yeah or so we thought. Liz'd booby-trapped the place and we barely
escaped with our lives. Two of us didn't make it, my colleagues Vickie
Turner and James Richardson. They sacrificed themselves so the rest of
us could live," Cathline said softly.

Richard nodded, waited a few moments and then asked "So then what
did you do?"

"We found out where Liz's hide away was and flew there to confront
her. With the odds at five to one we were sure that we could beat her.
Besides we thought we knew who she was pretending to be," Cathline

"So you lay in wait for her to turn up?"

"Exactly. We'd only been there a day when Rachel Martin turned up.
We ambushed her and used some of Liz's drugs on her. The drugs
turned her into a cat, it was horrible."

"So that was it, end of story?"

"Not quiet. Kat, yes 'The Kat' had deduced that Liz had taken over
Stephanie Lane and had orchestrated the whole thing. She also sussed
that the Rachel Martin we'd turned into a cat was Stephanie Lane. We
managed to surprise Liz and confront her with our suspicions and she
confirmed what we had guessed. She managed to escape and leave
everyone for dead except Kat who confronted her on the jetty."

"So Kat killed her?"

"No she didn't. Liz managed to shoot Kat with a drug tipped dart, but
before she could escape Kat shot her too and they both collapsed onto
the ground. By that time we'd recovered enough to run to the jetty and
see Liz turning into a mermaid. She managed to escape before we
could capture her."

"So that was how Kat became how she is today?" Richard asked.

"Yeah it took a week for her to change into the half tiger/half woman
creature the world knows as Kat."

"Why couldn't you switch back?"

"We didn't know how to. Liz'd locked down the systems too tight and
we knew the Guild would be after the DNA technology so we decided
to destroy the device."

"So Matthew and Kat stayed on the island, how did you end up as
Rachel Martin?"

"Liz'd had some additional doses prepared for her own use. I took a
Rachel Martin dose before we destroyed them all. It allowed me to
regain the use of my eye and have a fresh start."

"I see. What about Liz, what happened to her?"

"No idea. She's either shark bait by now or in exile somewhere. Now
that the governments have endorsed 'The Fury Directive' which outlaws
all human genetic research with the threat of mass retaliation if genetic
weapons are ever used. As for Elizabeth I think we've seen the last of
her. Part of me however says don't be so sure."

- o - o - o -

One Year Earlier..

The large yacht drew silently up to a small cave located in the Indian
Ocean. After the crew had weighed anchor a small dinghy was lowered
into the turquoise colored swell. A tall, well muscled man with a dark
moustache sat in the bow of the boat. Three other men sat behind him,
their AK-47 assault rifles scanning the ocean, their fingers poised on the

The outboard motor spluttered into life and the dinghy sped towards the
cave. At the last moment the engine was cut and the dinghy drifted
towards the dark entrance of the cave. One of the men deftly jumped
out of the boat and tied it to a nearby rock. He then crouched down by
the cave entrance and waited for his companions to disembark. The
other two left the boat and switched on their flashlights.

Thru the foreboding darkness they saw the remains of fish and other
seafood. In one corner was a digital camera and piled high at the end of
the cave was a mountain of salvaged goods.

They almost missed her, so well was she concealed. The first thing they
saw of her was her long blonde hair, still damp from the water but
slowly drying out. They could see her shapely form under the water but
they stopped short when the beams of light spotlighted a long green tail
where her legs should have been. Her slow breathing told them that she
was asleep.

Silently the men returned to the dinghy and indicated to the waiting
moustached one. He slowly got out of the dinghy, pointed to the man
nearest her who then pointed his firearm at the sleeping form.

The moustached man crouched down by the sleeping form, flicked a
finger at another man who in turn trained his weapon on the woman's
naked back.

The moustached one reached out his hand and touched the woman on
her back. She jumped awake and spun round, her hands ready to strike
at her would be attacker. She froze when she saw the guns trained on
her every move.

"Dr Elizabeth Anne Bexley I presume. My name is Hassan," the
moustached man said holding out his hand.

- o - o - o -

Present Day.

Matthew Stephens took the corner with consummate ease. His wife
Kat however with her superior reflexes and balance managed to
overtake him on the inside, her jetski spouting water in one smooth
motion. Matthew gritted his teeth and opened up the throttle
determined not to lose this one but Kat was long gone.

"Come back," he shouted.

"Catch me if you can. You drive like a girl!" Kat taunted and
proceeded to go even faster than before.

"Only because that bastard Liz made me one! One more lap," Matthew
called. How did she DO that he wondered?

A single, cheeky wave from Kat was his only reply.

Excellent Matthew thought. They were now coming up on 'Stephanie's
cove'. So called because this was the place where Elizabeth Bexley had
imprisoned the unfortunate reporter, Stephanie Lane. Kat always
slowed here, the underlying rocks made navigation difficult and
unpredictable. Kat always lost ground here. Matthew stooped down to
reduce air resistance, the wind blowing his long auburn air in front of his
eyes. Brushing it away he concentrated on the task in hand, namely
trying to win for once.

Sure enough Kat had messed up and Matthew was scarcely two metres
away and closing fast. Kat was hunched too, even her tail was flat
against her body. These round island races were always bitterly fought.
Against Kat however they were nearly always one sided. Kat was
starting to slow, seemingly letting Matthew catch up and Matthew, eyes
glinting with the chase homed in for the kill. At the last moment Kat
started to accelerate and with a mock salute was off like a water borne
missile, leaving Matthew trailing in her wake.

Kat was lying on the jetty by the time Matthew got back. Her fur was
slowly drying off in the warm sun. Matthew stepped off his jetski,
adjusted his bikini and walked over to her.

"YOU CHEAT," he accused her. His face smiling though.

"Hey look we swapped jetski's just as you wanted," was Kat's sleepy

"Next time I blindfold you," Matthew complained.

"What's the score now. Umm 20 to 1 isn't it?" Kat smiled.

"You only lost that one because you ran out of fuel," Matthew said.

"How about a kiss for the winner?" Kat asked.

Matthew stood, embraced Kat's furry body and kissed her. He could
feel the warm fuzzy sensation of his lips pressing against her furred face.
His breasts pressed against Kat's and he felt his nipples become erect
and the arousing fire grew within him.
"Hmmm" We'd better get ready," Kat said.

"Cathline's due over tonight. What'd you fancy?" Matthew asked.

"I'm not feeling too great. I feel kinda giddy. Just my usual."

"What's up?"

"Dunno. But I ache all over. Come on let's get ready for Cathline."

Matthew took Kat's hand, helped her up and hand in hand they walked
up the long winding stairs towards the house.

Some hours later while sitting in the tv room they heard the sound of
an approaching chopper. By the time they had ran to the landing pad
Cathline was already unpacking. When she saw Matthew and Kat
waiting a wide grin appeared on her face and she waved vigorously.

"Seems incredible that a couple of years ago she was with us trying to
stop Liz," Matthew remarked.

"Now look at her, The worlds first ultra model," Kat added.

After unpacking all Cathline's things the pilot jumped back into his
chopper and with a gust of warm air was back off to the mainland.

Cathline came running up to them and held them close, "It's been too
long," she said.

"Six months. Say, looking at Rachel Martin's, busy schedule I'm
surprised you could make it at all," Matthew said.

"To the world I'm Rachel Martin, the most beautiful woman in history.
But with my friends I'm just plain old Cathline Richards," Cathline said
in grandiose fashion and performed an elegant curtsey.

"Come on in, Matthew'l take your stuff," Kat said smiling.

"Hey just because I'm the only man around here," Matthew said.

"Not from where I'm standing you're not," Cathline quipped.

"Sorry WAS the only man," Matthew said.

"Race you," Cathline challenged Kat.

"You're on," Kat replied.

Kat sped off with Cathline in hot pursuit, half way to the house Kat
slowed and Cathline flew past her and almost forgot to open the door to
the house.

"I win! Hey, you OK?" Cathline said, panting hard.

"Fine. I'm just a little under the weather that's all," Kat said, almost
collapsing into a heap on the floor, her breathing heavy and labored.

"Hey sister you're not OK. You've been timed at 35mph before.
There's NO way I should be able to win," Cathline replied.

"Drop it. I'll be fine. You worry too much."

After a dinner they still sat around the dining table, slowly drinking
coffee when Cathline asked.

"Do you ever think about her much?"

"Who?" Matthew asked.

"Liz," Cathline said.

"I sometimes wonder, no make that hope that she's shark bait by now,"
Kat said.

"I doubt it. She's far too clever," Matthew said.

"I do. I can't help but think we'll see her again. That she'll pop up
where and when we least expect it," Cathline said.

"No chance. If a mermaid had been found we'd hear about it. Besides
it's been two years," Kat said.

"True. I also wonder why the Guild have left us alone," Cathline said.

"They've no reason to get to us. It's not like we're inconspicuous.
You the world's most famous model and Matthew's and mine faces
being plastered all over the worlds media. No we're much too famous
for the Guild to get at," Kat replied.

"Do you think the Guild copied Liz's designs for the DNA system?"
Matthew asked.

"I don't see how. Can we change the subject please," Kat replied.
Talking about the old days was painful.

"Oh I bumped into Robert, sorry Robin the other day," Cathline said,
reading Kat's discomfort.

"How are Robin and Steve?" Kat asked.

"Doing just fine. Robin's just found out that she's expecting in April, I
think it is."

"Hey that's great," Matthew said joyfully.

"What else. Oh yes Kitty Liz has just had her second set of kittens,
although we don't know who the father is."

"What about you Cathline, any eligible young men or women on the
scene?" Matthew asked.

"Plenty of offers, none suitable. The media were trying to make
something up about Brad Pitt and me. But there's nothing in it."

"Are you telling fibs. You stayed over one night, after the Oscars
wasn't it?" Kat said playfully.

"I came here to get away from all that rubbish. We just talked OK. He
wanted to know the true story of us, not the printed one. I said the one
we published was the true one and we just got talking from there."

"I bet..," Matthew said smiling.

Cathline looked around the room and said, "I'm so glad you got rid of
all those creepy statues. I'm surprised you've kept as much of her stuff
as you have though."

"Strangely enough we did like a lot of Elizabeth's decor. The statues
freaked us out so we dropped them in the ocean. If Elizabeth wants
them back she can go and get them. Oh more coffee?" Kat said
reaching for the ornate coffeepot.

"I'm fine thanks. I live on coffee for most of the time so it's a welcome
break to only have a cup," Cathline said.

"Cathline, Did Kat tell you we've brought an apartment in Manhattan?"
Matthew asked.

"I did hear something about it. Cost a couple a million I think. What's
it like?"

"No idea, we've only seen the pictures. We want to get out and
investigate it further," Matthew replied.

"You brought a multi-million dollar apartment without seeing it first!"

"We liked the look of it and hey live a little. We mainly got it to be
nearer to you and the rest of our friends. Not that you're in New York
much these days but hey," Kat said shrugging her shoulders.

Matthew reached over to the coffee port and poured himself a black
coffee. "Say, how about I give you a race around the island tomorrow?"
he asked Cathline.

"You're not still obsessed with beating Kat at that thing are you. Sorry
no way I'm not taking part in any of your stupid macho contests. You
never know, maybe one day Liz'l get you, then you'll be sorry,"
Cathline said.

Kat coughed a little, yawned and said "Sorry guys I'm beat. I'll turn in
for the night. Dear I'll see you upstairs."

"OK see you later," Matthew said and stood up and kissed Kat

When Kat had gone upstairs Cathline's face went serious. Gone was
the jovial friend look that had been there all evening. Matthew looked
at her and said, "What's up. You look like you did when we were
fighting Elizabeth."

"Matthew," Cathline said, reaching across and putting her hand on his.
"It's Kat, I'm very worried about her."

"Why? She's just a little tired that all."

"I don't think so. I've never seen her so drawn. There's no way I
should be able to win that race today. She used to be able to stay up all
night, she was the powerhouse that kept me going. I think you should
take her back with me. Let her see a specialist," Cathline's voice was
quieter and softer. The concern showing in every muscle of her perfect

"She's probably just got a bug or something. Thanks for you're concern
but she fine," Matthew said.

"How do you know? Hell the doctors couldn't even work out her
biology. You know as much as I do that there's nothing like her on the
planet. What is just a bug for us could be serious for her. Fucking hell
Matt, God knows what effect Elizabeth's EXPERIMENTAL drugs will
have on her longer term," Cathline was almost crying with emotion.

"I know that. Listen she's been like this for two years and she's not had
as much as a cold. You think we enjoy being like this? Oh yes, we're
the big celebrities, the man who is a girl and the Kat creature. You
know the struggle we have every day. If we didn't love and need each
other as much as we do you think we'd have even got this far? Sure she
puts on a brave face but she's in mourning every day for her lost
humanity. Her chances of motherhood dashed in those few months of
vengeance. Sure we were full of optimism, live with the cards life deals
us and all that. But Cathline, it's SO HARD," Matthew was crying now
and Cathline put an arm around his slender shoulders.

"Hey listen, you need to see your new apartment right. Fly back with
me at the end of the week and we'll get Kat checked out. If you're right
then great, if not at least you'll know," Cathline said softly.

"OK I'll speak to her. If it was anyone else but you telling me..."
Matthew left the sentence unfinished.

"That's all I ask. Remember I love her too you know."

Kat reluctantly agreed to accompany Cathline and Matthew back to the
States. She did take some persuading but on the day before Cathline
was due to leave Kat found herself vomiting after almost every meal.
This and Cathline's constant badgering brought her around. Cathline
had arranged for an appointment at a private hospital the next day.
After they landed Cathline had to give her apologies, she had a shoot for
Vogue the next day.

After neatly avoiding the waiting press Matthew and Kat got into the
waiting limousine. In silence it took Matthew and Kat to their new
apartment and after collecting the keys from the realty agent they went

"Hey, nice place," Matthew said.

"Yep. Just needs some more furniture in and it'll be our town house,"
Kat smiled.

"You don't mind being dragged away like this?" Matthew asked.

"A little. I feel so tired these days. I'll be relieved to know that it's
probably nothing. In some ways I'm glad Cathline forced me to come
here. I was getting bored kicking your shapely butt at jetski races," Kat

Her reply was a friendly dig in the ribs from Matthew.

The next day Matthew and Kat took a cab to the private clinic where
they met a small, middle aged doctor called David Rankin. They
followed him into his office where he sat down at a large desk.

"Mr and Mrs Matthews?" He asked.

"Umm yes," Kat said.

Dr Rankin pulled a large volume of notes from a folder and started to
say slowly "Rachel Martin booked you in and has described some of the
symptoms you have been feeling to me. Now Jane, if you wouldn't
mind telling me how you have been feeling."

Kat started to outline how she'd been feeling for the past few months.

Dr Rankin thought for a second and then started to say, "Due to your
unusual biology and genetic makeup it's very difficult to say what is
wrong. I'll take a few blood tests and arrange for, if you will excuse the
pun, a cat scan to be performed. You should know by the end of the

The rest of the day dragged by. The appointment with Dr Rankin
weighed on their minds. Even the usually cheerful Cathline could do
nothing to lighten the atmosphere. Around 6pm they drove back to the
hospital where Dr Rankin was waiting. They knocked on his door and

"Please take a seat," Dr Rankin gestured.

Matthew and Kat sat down. Kat's face looked worried and she reached
over and took Matthew's hand.

"Mrs Stephens. You are aware of the unique nature of your physiology
and that we don't really understand it at all. This makes diagnosis of
any condition very difficult and perhaps inaccurate in your case," Dr
Rankin started to say in a soft, sympathetic tone.

"Hey, come on, what's the news?" Matthew interrupted. An element of
fear crept into his voice.

"As I said diagnosis is difficult but in this case the results are only too
clear. It appears as though your body is breaking down. The chemical
used to transform you was unstable and is causing random mutations in
your cellular structure. It's as though your body is rebelling against it's

"Which means?" Kat demanded.

Dr Rankin paused and then said "In layman's terms. You have Cancer.
The chemical Dr Bexley used on you is causing it."

"My God. Can you cure it," Matthew said, his face shocked.

"Maybe if we had access to Dr Bexley's machine we could re-write
Jane's DNA to a normal healthy state. Since all such machines have
been destroyed and their production outlawed we can safely say that
avenue is no longer open to us. We could try chemotherapy and the
usual radiation treatments but in this case the cancer is so embedded
inside that its effect would be doubtful. I guess what I'm saying is that
unless we find a way to fundamentally alter Jane's genetic structure and
remove her current form then she will die."

Matthew and Kat looked like they had been struck in the face "How
long?" Kat managed to say.

"Difficult to tell. Six months at worst, Nine at best."

Matthew held Kat's hand tightly, "Are you sure?"

"Positive. As I said if we had access to Dr Bexley's machine we may be
able to do something. If Dr Bexley was available she should be able to
cure you but from what I have that read, that is extremely unlikely. If
you choose to have therapy then this has a slim chance of success.
However your quality of life will be affected earlier than it would
normally be. The choice is yours. We need to start to act in the next
few weeks if we are to stand any chance of success. Now if you'll
excuse me I have to take some more of your samples to devise some
method of treatment."

Matthew and Kat just sat there shocked. Kat was going to die.
Elizabeth had, had the last laugh. Her evil had sealed their fate
together. Kat was starting to cry softly and Matthew put his slender
arm around her shoulders.

"Come on. Let's go talk about this. There's still a chance," Matthew
said, and he managed to pull Kat upright. They walked slowly out to
the waiting limo where it took them to their new apartment.

They were just sitting on the sofa, engrossed in their own thoughts
when the buzzer went. Matthew got up and answered.

"Hi it's me."



"You better come up," Matthew said pressing the door release button.

A few minutes later Matthew let Cathline inside.

"Hey, what's up?" Cathline asked, spotting the tear stained faces of her
two friends.

Taking a deep breath Matthew said "It's Kat. She's dying,"

Cathline visibly took a step back "No!"

"Yeah. Six to nine months," Kat said softly.

Matthew then explained what Dr Rankin had just said.

"Fuck. I knew something was wrong but I thought it was just the flu or
something. What are you going to do?"

"No idea. I want Kat to have treatment but she doesn't want it. The
size of doses she'd have to have would all but destroy her last few
months. Y'know the bitch of it is, is that if we hadn't destroyed the
DNA system we could have done something."

"I doubt it. Only Liz could have unlocked it and she's gone. Besides
the Guild would have got us long before then."

"I suppose. It just seems so, so tragic after all we've gone thru," Kat
said tearfully.

"Yeah I know. Hey, something will turn up."

"If you say so," Matthew said softly.

"Hey, it's me. Trust me," Cathline said.

Kat smiled "Always Cathline. Always!"

"Now this is getting much too solemn. How about a game of chase the
Paparazzi?" Cathline said.

"Don't think I've heard this one," Matthew said.

"Easy. I get my agent to let slip I'm in one location or am going to
dinner somewhere or with someone. The press then rush around getting
to that location. We wait an hour or so and then let slip that we
changed our minds and went somewhere else. My personal best is
getting them to do four trips before getting fed up. I ended up at
Celine's place, which really foxed them. I think I'll drop the hint I'm
going to see Brad Pitt again. That should get them going for a while."

Kat laughed for the first time today "Cathline your incorrigible!"

"That's better," Cathline smiled.

The next day they had a call from Dr Rankin who said that they had
better drop in.

"Take a seat," Dr Rankin said.

"What's up, Doc?" Kat said.

"Yeah like I've heard that one before!" Dr Rankin said, slightly annoyed.

A sheepish Kat said "Sorry."

"More bad news I'm afraid. The samples we took from Jane here did
not respond to any treatments we gave it," Dr Rankin said softly.

"Which means?" Matthew asked.

"That the cancer Jane has cannot be treated by conventional methods."

"So Kat's going to die," Matthew said bitterly.

Dr Rankin's voice took on a grim tone "Unless a way can be found to
fundamentally change her DNA, then yes."

After the meeting had concluded Matthew and Kat drove back to their
apartment in silence. Cathline came up an hour or so later and saw their
distraught faces.

"That bad huh?" Cathline asked.

"Yep, unless we change Kat's DNA she's dead. I just feel so, so
helpless," Matthew spat angrily.

"I've been thinking," Kat said slowly.

"What?" Cathline asked.

"There's one person who can help me. It's extreme and a very long shot
but it's the only way. Some chance is better than no chance," Kat said.

"Anything. We're desperate," Matthew said.

Kat coughed and said "We could find Elizabeth and get her to change
me back."

"WHAT?" Matthew and Cathline said in unison.

"It's the only way. Dr Rankin said that if we could find Elizabeth's
machine and get her help we could cure me."

"I'd rather...," Matthew started

"It's my body and I think it's a risk worth taking," Kat said, folding her
arms to emphasise the point.

"What on Earth makes you think she'd agree?" Cathline asked.

"Because she's still a mermaid and what will help me will help her," Kat

"You mean let her loose again. NO WAY IN HELL," Matthew

"I didn't say let her loose, I said change her back. I always wanted to
bring her to justice and now we have the chance. We needn't tell her
that bit."

"It's too dangerous," Matthew said.

"For whom? If we do nothing I'm dead, if we find her and she says no
I'm just as dead. BUT if she agrees to our arrangement I'm alive and
she'll be contained. It'll be fine as long as we are careful," Kat

"That's what they said at Cherynobel," Matthew said.

"I know it's a long shot and she's probably shark bait by now but we
have to try. For me, Matthew, please," Kat pleaded.

Matthew sighed and said, "OK, any chance is better than none. How
the hell do we find her?"

"Go to the Guild of course," Kat said.

"Kat. You have lost it big time sister. How in hell will the Guild help
us find Liz? Does the phrase NO WAY ring any bells," Cathline said

"Does the phrase 'RIP' ring any bells, because in six to nine months it
fucking well will. We pay the Guild to find Elizabeth, if anyone can find
her they can. Cathline I'm desperate and desperate times call for
extreme measures," Kat spat.

"OK have it your way. But when we end up laying on the floor with
our throats slit I'll kick your ass," Cathline spat back.

"It's a moot point anyway. We don't know where the Guild are?"

"I do. I'll go to Hassan's Palace in Libya and ask him myself," Kat said.

Matthew shrugged, "This plan gets more like lunacy all the time. But
hey, in for a penny."

The six weeks it took to organize the trip went past with agonising
slowness. Each day Kat seemed to take a turn for the worst. Matthew
and Cathline looked on in awe at Kat's inner strength as she tried to
fight off the bouts of nausea and weakness that had started to wrack her

For her part Kat kept her spirits up, unwilling to give an inch to the
cancer that was invading and corrupting every cell of her body.
Externally she was the same wise, witty and supportive person she'd
always been. But in the moments when she was alone she allowed
herself to succumb to fear. One night she'd got up for one of her vomit
attacks and Matthew had followed her. He waited in the dim twilight of
the corridor until the sounds of Kat being violently sick had abated and
when she had gone away to clean herself up he went inside.

He'd seen Kat be sick before but nothing had prepared him for this. Kat
had missed the bowl the first time and there was a trail of thick red
blood leading all way up to the bowl. He looked down in dread and
winced as he saw the bowl full of blood and greenish bile. Matthew
turned and jumped as he saw Kat's impassive figure standing behind

Kat was breathing softly, her fur wet with blood and sweat. She went
to turn away but then faced Matthew once more, "So now you know,"
she said softly.

Tears welled up inside Matthew. How could it have come to this? How
could his love be torn away from him so cruelly? Matthew said none of
this, choosing instead to feign ignorance, "How, How long?" he
managed to say.

"Two weeks," was all Kat could say, before the emotion took her and
she walked away.

Matthew stood there stunned. In a way he'd always assumed that the
Doctors were wrong. That somehow Kat would survive and they
wouldn't need to go on that seemingly suicidal mission to Libya. He
realised that he had been denying himself, the same way that he'd denied
what Elizabeth had done to him. He turned back to the blood now
drying on the floor and saw it for what it was, the beginning of the end.
Grief overpowered him and he sank to the floor and sobbed until he
could cry no more.

In the bedroom Kat could hear and sense Matthew's despair but was
unable to respond. Her body felt like lead and all her strength was
gone. With all her heart she wanted to reach out to him and comfort
him but she was unable to move. She needed the rest. She'd vomit
again in a few hours.

Matthew said no more about the night's goings on to Kat. It only
distressed him and would make Kat even worse. Cathline helped
Matthew keep vigil as each day Kat got slowly worse. Then just before
they were due to fly out Kat made a recovery. She could walk, talk and
she was the Kat of old. Matthew and Cathline's hopes soared. Maybe
the miracle that they'd hoped and prayed for, for so long had happened.
Dr Rankin however soon shattered their hopes when he explained that,
often before the end the patient makes nearly a full recovery and then
suddenly declines. Matthew recalled Dr Rankin's explanation. "It's as
though the body makes once last ditch chance at life before slipping
away. Like the man grasping at a twig as he's falling from the cliff only
to have it fall away some moments later."

Dr Rankin could give no firm date, Kat might last a week or a month
but the end would come quickly and suddenly, it was as inevitable as the
sun setting. Kat reminded them that they still had the mission to Libya
and in that hope still remained. This thought and Kat's improved state
carried them thru the long journey to Libya.

Soon Kat, Matthew and Cathline were driving across the desert towards
Hassan's Palace. Before they got to within 30 miles however they were
stopped by around fifty hooded figures. Each figure carried an AK-47
and strapped around their waists were small, slender knives.

Kat jumped off their jeep and spoke to one of the men in Arabic. The
man spoke to his comrades and then said, "Wait here."

Two of the men leapt onto one of their jeeps and drove off.

"Well?" Matthew demanded.

"They're going to ask Hassan if I can speak with him. If I can't speak
with him I've asked them to find out where Elizabeth is," Kat said.

Cathline warned, "This had better work."

"It will. Mind you I don't like the way they're covering us with their
guns," Kat said.

"We just wait I guess," Matthew said.

"It's all we can do," Kat replied.

Two hours later the men returned and spoke to Kat at length. Kat was
gesticulating and her voice was showing anger. Eventually one of the
men whipped out his knife and held it to Kat's throat. Kat backed off
and much to Matthew's relief walked away.

"What the fuck was that all about?" Matthew demanded.

"The 'hell bitch' is inside Hassan's palace. They picked her up a few
months ago. God knows what for? Anyway they say I can go and talk
to Hassan but only me, not you. I either go alone or not at all. That
knife business is just their way of emphasising the point," Kat explained.

"Do you trust them?" Cathline asked.

"Them no, Hassan yes. Besides times running out. I've got to go," Kat
said softly.

"OK then, go but be careful." Matthew said and hugged Kat hard.

"Ciao," Kat said and hugged Cathline.

"Be careful," Cathline ordered.

"I will, it's me remember. Don't worry it'll all work out, trust me," Kat
said and joined the men. She climbed into the jeep and was driven off.

Matthew and Cathline started to pitch their tents under the watchful
eyes of the hooded figures.

"I've a bad feeling about this," Matthew said.

"I know," replied Cathline ominously.

Kat was escorted back the palace where she had spent those months as
Hassan's personal maid. The trees had grown a little and the fountain
was a little more elaborate however the place was virtually unchanged.
When she had last visited this place Dr Elizabeth Bexley was her mortal
enemy, now in a cruel twist she was her last best hope of survival.

Kat was taken into a large room with a marbled floor, ornate tapestries
hung from the wall and a large mahogany table straddled the room. At
the other end sat Hassan, as proud and impassive as ever. With one
hand he was gently stroking the neck of a Bengal tiger. By his side
sitting in a tank full of water was Dr Elizabeth Anne Bexley, her tail
moving slightly in the water.

"You have changed a great deal since we last met, my jewel. Please
sit," Hassan said.

"We all have," Kat said, staring at Elizabeth's emotionless face.

"My agents tell me you have a request to make of me," Hassan said.

"I never was one to beat around the bush so I'll get straight to the point.
I have cancer, a terminal one. The doctors estimate that I have around
six months to live. I have come to plead with yourself and Dr Bexley
for my life," Kat started.

"So the mighty Kat comes on her knees to her creator. Why should I?
Give me a good reason to do so. You robbed me of my only love, of
my humanity, so now oh mighty Kat why I should grant you your life?"
Dr Bexley sneered.

"Because you still love him, Matthew that is. You couldn't bring
yourself to kill him or me. You had the chance several times. I realise
you hate me, but in the name of your love for him don't put him thru
this," Kat started.

"Why do think I have the power or the will to cure you?" Elizabeth

Making a mental note that Elizabeth didn't deny her love for Matthew,
Kat pressed on "Because you still have the DNA system, otherwise you
wouldn't be here. Besides, you made what I am today. This feline
body, tail everything came from your imagination," Kat stressed.

"You must admit I had quite an imagination. Me a mermaid and you a
cat thing. Still you could have been a slug. I wonder how Matthew
would have felt being married to a mollusc?" Elizabeth taunted.

"It wouldn't matter. Love knows no boundaries. If you have learned
any lessons from all this it should have been that," Kat said sternly, not
giving Elizabeth an inch.

"I have learned many lessons, that being one of them. Now about your
proposal -- I will discuss it with Hassan here. After all it's his

Breathing a sigh of relief Kat was escorted out.

"Why are you going to help her?" Hassan asked.

"Who says I am," Elizabeth replied sharply.

"We should keep her here, make her stay with the rest of the animals. I
think she make a perfect mate for Sheba here," Hassan stated.

"That would be logical. However I have a much better idea," Elizabeth

- o - o - o -

It had been over a week since Kat was escorted inside Hassan's Palace.
The guards surrounding the campsite refused to let them anywhere near
the palace so they just sat there waiting. Matthew sat on a deckchair,
reading. Cathline was in their tent asleep when the guard came over
and said in broken English "She comes now."

Matthew got up with a start, dived into the tent and nudged Cathline
awake. "Quick, Kat's coming," Matthew said.

By the time they had emerged from the tent the jeep with Kat in had
stopped just outside the campsite. One of the guards indicated for Kat
to get out of the jeep. This she did.

All but one of the guards leapt into the waiting jeep; the last one walked
slowly up to Kat and in motion to quick to follow had drawn his slender
knife and slit Kat's throat. The man leapt into the jeep, lit up a cigarette
and the jeep drove off.

In slow motion Kat put her hands to her throat, stared down at the
blood seeping from the wound and fell forwards. Matthew screamed
and ran to catch her. Kat's breathing became labored as her body tried
to get air. Matthew just held her sobbing "No, No, No," and crying.
Cathline was soon by Kat's side, holding her hand, trying to comfort her
dying friend.

Matthew could only stare into Kat's pained face. She was taking short
gasps of air now. Each moment her life was ebbing away. Ignoring the
blood now seeping onto his hands he tried to fix the wound, do anything
to save her. It was too late, the loss of blood and oxygen was too great.
Kat's breathing become more stilted until finally it stopped. Matthew
and Cathline tried frantically to resuscitate her but Kat was gone.

- o - o - o -

The helicopter carrying Kat's coffin made a low pass over their house.
The glittering ocean below gleamed red as the sun began to set. The
sky was fiery red but streaked with clouds.

Matthew sat by Kat's coffin, gently touching the lid as though he could
bring her back by love alone. The shock that she was in there, silent,
cold and alone ate at him. His tears had dried leaving his eyes red and
puffed. There's only so much a person can cry. Cathline sat next to
him, her arm on his. Waiting for them, dressed in black and holding
hands were Kat's parents. The other guests stood around them solemn
and unmoving. Matthew's eyes picked out the heavily pregnant form of
Robert Abbey, holding his hand was her husband Steve. Monica Abbey
was there as well, standing apart from her ex-husband. A few choice
others, Kat's friends from before the Fury were there as were a few
celebrity friends. The pallbearers stood ready as the helicopter began its

The helicopter landed gently and the pall bearers unlatched the coffin
from it's fastenings. Matthew and Cathline got out of the other side and
walked slowly up to Kat's parents.

"Thanks for coming," Matthew said, trying not to cry.

They just nodded gently. By this time the pallbearers had positioned the
coffin on their shoulders. They walked slowly to the front of the
congregation and placed Kat's coffin onto a stand at the end. Matthew,
Cathline and Kat's parents took up their places in the vacant seats at the

The Minister now said, "A few of Jane's friends would now like to say a
few words."

Cathline gently stood up to the microphone, her voice wavering with
emotion. She took a deep breath and started to speak.

"How shall I describe Jane Stephens? The world knew her only as 'Kat'.
I knew her as a friend, companion in time of trouble, and a sister I never
had before. Jane's character can be summed up into three words,"
Cathline paused, regaining her composure and then she continued.

"Those three words were, compassion, wisdom, and courage. Qualities
that are so rare these days she had in abundance. I'll give you an
example of each that will help us to remember her by."

"I first met Jane in Libya when we were both prisoners of the Guild. I'd
been remarkably stupid and had been punished by having my left eye
burnt away and raped for four months. Jane took pity on me and
selected me to be her companion. The first thing she did for me was to
make me feel human again. She gave me my dignity back. So Jane I
raise a glass to your compassion," Cathline reached down behind the
plinth and picked up a glass of red wine and she took a sip. Putting the
glass down again she continued speaking to her captivated audience.

"The next story I shall tell is after I found out that Dr Bexley had set up
my husband, John to be killed. I was all for going out to get her, kill
her, do the same back again. With her unique mix of compassion and
wisdom Jane allowed me to see that if I followed that path then I too
would be destroyed. Once again Jane had saved my life. Remembering
this, Jane I raise a glass to your wisdom. "Tearfully shaking, Cathline
reached down and took another sip of wine. The gentle sobbing of the
guests could be heard, mingling with the soft sea breeze. Cathline
regained her composure and started again.

"My final story, many of you will be familiar with. Dr Bexley had
escaped and injured both Robert Abbey and myself. Matthew was
incapacitated, a victim of Dr Bexley's evil. If allowed to escape then
she would never be found and a great evil would be unleashed upon the
world. Even though she was scared to death of Dr Bexley, Jane
managed to summon enough courage to face her, alone. The result of
that final confrontation was a loss of her humanity for good, but she
prevailed and Dr Bexley was exiled to the ocean forever. Jane
Stephens's final battle down at the jetty brought out all three qualities,
but most of all courage. Jane we thank you for your courage," Cathline
took a final gulp of wine and said, her voice shaking now.

"Matthew I know what it is to lose someone dear. I know the pain, the
loneliness it brings. Remember that we are all here for each other. As
Jane once said.

'They say a flap of a butterfly's wing in China can divert
hurricanes from their path on the other side of the world. The
same is true of lives. The slightest co-incidence can be the
turning point for thousands.'

This moment is a turning point, a moment of transition if you like. We
must face the future with the same qualities as Jane did that is
Compassion, wisdom and courage. So goodbye my friend. Rest well
and we'll miss you. Goodbye," Cathline quickly turned away and
slowly walked back to her seat.

The minister stood up and said "I believe Jane's father wishes to say

An elderly man stood up, walking with a cane, the weight of grief on his
shoulders bowing him over. He stood up to the microphone and began.

"Thank you Cathline for your moving tribute. It summed up everything
about our daughter. This is the second time I've had to say goodbye to
her and it's no easier this time around. Matthew, don't blame yourself
for any of this, we don't. What happened is not your fault, none of it is.
You have known what many of us will never know. That unshakeable
love, a love that goes beyond physical form, beyond circumstances, and
a love like this knows no boundaries. Matthew I'd like to echo what
Cathline said. We will get thru this, together just like Jane would want
us to," Kat's father stopped talking and slowly got down from the steps
and went back to his seat.

The minister stood up again and asked the pallbearers to proceed to
take Kat's coffin to her tomb. They lifted it up and walked slowly
towards a small building made of white marble. The sun glistened off it
and the Greek style columns cast shadows over the door.

The minister then went to the microphone and said "One of Kat's
friends, Celine Dion has offered to sing for us. Matthew's given his
consent for her to do so. So if you'd like to come up please Celine,
we'd much appreciate it."

The music started to play and Celine started to sing
'Every night in my dreams
I see you, I feel you
That is how I know you go on

Far across the distance
And spaces between us
You have come to show you go on'

The pallbearers continued their slow journey towards the tomb.
Matthew hid his head in his hands. He couldn't watch. The music
continued to play.

'Near, far, wherever you are
I believe that the heart does go on
Once more, you open the door
And you're here in my heart
And my heart will go on and on

Love can touch us one time
And last for a lifetime
And never let go till we're gone
Love was when I loved you
One true time I hold to
In my life we'll always go on'

Cathline walked over to Matthew and held his hands. The two friends
embraced, sharing in grief.

'Near, far, wherever you are
I believe that the heart does go on
Once more, you open the door
And you're here in my heart
And my heart will go on and on'

The pallbearers reached the tomb and placed Kat's coffin inside a large,
white marble casket.

'You're here, there's nothing I fear
And I know that my heart will go on
We'll stay forever this way
You are safe in my heart
And my heart will go on and on'

As the haunting sounds of the song faded away Matthew and Cathline
still hand in hand went inside and placed red roses on the Coffin. In
turn the guests did the same until the whole tomb was awash with

With a final blessing the minister asked the pallbearers to place the lid of
the casket back on. The guests filed out, back to Matthew's house to
end this sad, sad day.

- o - o - o -

Five Months Later...

Matthew stood by Kat's tomb, staring out to sea. He had just been
inside to place some more fresh flowers. The gardener had been and
cleared yesterday's away, and the interior always smelt of flowers. Kat
had loved flowers.

Tearfully he walked to the bench where he and Kat had often just sat
there and watched the world go by. This particular part of the island
had always seemed the most tranquil. It was perfect for Kat's last
resting place.

Matthew heard the unmistakable sound of a helicopter. Whoever it was
could wait, he needed this time to himself. A few minutes later he heard
footsteps behind him. He whirled round to see the beautiful form of
Rachel Martin standing over him.

"Hi Cathline," Matthew said softly.

"Hello Mat. How are you?"

"It still hurts, Cath. No matter how long I sit here and reflect on the
future and what's gone before, it still hurts," Matthew sniffed.

Cathline sat down beside Matthew and turned to face him, "I know.
You've not called for ages. I was worried. I had to come."

"You needn't have. I'll be fine, I'm just having a down day that's all."

Cathline sought to lighten the mood a little. Matthew was getting too
introspective. Damn, she missed Kat too! "You been bingeing again?
You look as though you've gained a little weight. I told you what'd
happen if you kept eating."

Matthew let out a sigh. He thought about making a quip about a
woman and her weight but simply said, "Why should I bother. The only
person I ever loved is in there," Matthew pointed to Kat's tomb.

Cathline nodded, "Matthew we've had this discussion a million times
before. You must move on! Life still goes on. I had to come to terms
with losing a loved one too."

Anger flicked across Matthew's face, "I may have not loved him like
you loved Kat but I got over it yada, yada, yada. Save it I've heard it,"

Cathline stood up and went to walk away. Matthew had hurt her with
that last comment and part of her wanted to leave right now.

"Cath, I'm sorry. I didn't mean .."

Cathline turned to face Matthew once more, "So'k I know you didn't.
But please snap out of it. Now I'm famished. How about I fix you
some food. A nice salad will do."

"I'd rather have some Haagan Daas. It makes me feel better. But it's
getting near dinner anyhow," Matthew stood up and walked towards

Cathline grabbed Matthew's hand, "Come on old friend. Time to go.
I'll even race you on one of those jetski things if you want."

"It wouldn't be the same, but thanks anyway. Now about that dinner."

While Cathline started to prepare dinner Matthew walked outside once
more. Even though Cathline was here he still felt intolerably lonely.
There was no fun in anything anymore. He looked down at the jetty
and saw two jetski's tethered together. They no longer looked in
pristine condition and Matthew hadn't touched them in nearly six
months. The one on the right, the one with the yellow and black tiger
stripes. That had been Kat's and in spite of his protests it always
seemed to power it's owner to victory.

Flashes of happier times, of kissing after a hard fought race came to his
mind, and a tear started to form. He brushed it away before setting out
to the house once more.

"Dinner's ready," Matthew heard Cathline's voice filter through the
house, and he slowly walked towards the sound.

Dinner was a subdued affair. Matthew and Cathline were lost in their
own thoughts. Eventually Cathline came around to the reason why
she'd decided to visit, "Come back with me Matthew, Being here alone
is eating you alive. You're pining away in a mess of self pity and
remorse. You can't change the past but you can the future."

"Cath, you're speaking in clichés and platitudes again," Matthew

"It's all I have left. I gave up trying to reason with you a long time ago.
You make out as if it's the end of the world. Worse still, the more you
mope around the more Elizabeth has won."

Cathline thought Matthew was about to explode again but he didn't. He
just said, "That's because she has. What we won was a respite but she
won in the end, didn't she? Her aim was to ruin my life and split Kat and
me up. I think she's done a pretty good job so far."

Cathline's concern grew, Matthew had been down before but he'd never
seemed defeated before, "I don't see it that way at all. She's only ruined
your life if you let her. That was the one weakness in her plan! Kat
understood that."

Matthew thought for a moment, stifling the angry words that entered his
mind, "I'm not Kat. Did you ever think I might want to be alone, to
ponder my existence and the cards fate has dealt me."

"But you're not. You just sit there on that bench wishing things were
different and spending a fortune on fresh flowers. That's not what Kat
would've wanted, she'd have wanted you to move on."

"I'm not ready to move on. I may never be ready. I feel as though my
soul has been destroyed and my will broken. What Liz did to me is as
nothing as to the pain I now feel. When Kat was alive I felt as though I
could stand it. Now everything seems meaningless. I brought a gun
y'know. I keep it in the entertainment room. Thought I'd want to end it
sometime, but in spite of how I feel sometimes I just can't face using it."

"You still have me. We may not have started out right but I'm here for
you. I miss her too y'know. Come back with me to New York, if not
for you for me."

Matthew sat back on his chair and thought for a moment. This was the
first time in a long while that Cathline had admitted she needed him. It
made him feel a little better. To be wanted, no needed again lifted his
spirits. Matthew just said, "I'll go."

- o - o - o -

Matthew walked alone along the outskirts of Central Park. The
October sun reflected unimaginable colors in the red, gold and yellow
leaves of the trees. A park warden sweeping up the leaves caught his
eye and he stopped to watch.

A sudden movement caught his eyes and he spotted a young couple,
holding hands and kicking the leaves at each other in mock conflict.
Matthew turned away, feeling the cold biting wind for the first time. A
song from long ago sprung to mind and he couldn't help but hear it in
his mind.

'The summer sun is fading as the year grows old And darker days are drawing near
The winter winds will be much colder
Now you're not here.

I watch the birds fly south across the autumn sky
And one by one they disappear
I wish that I was flying with them
Now you're not here.

Like the sun through the trees you came to love me
Like a leaf on a breeze you blew away

Through autumn's golden gown we used to kick our way
You always loved this time of year
Those fallen leaves lie undisturbed now
'Now you're not here
'Now you're not here
'Now you're not here

Like the sun through the trees you came to love me
Like a leaf on a breeze you blew away

A gentle rain falls softly on my weary eyes
As if to hide a lonely tear
My life will be Forever Autumn
'cause you're not here
'cause you're not here
'cause you're not here'

The cold wind caused his eyes to sting as it bit against his tears and he
rushed back to Cathline. He couldn't take much more of this, nobody
could. This couldn't, he decided go on forever. The pain must subside

- o - o - o -

Seven Months Later...

Matthew stood by Kat's tomb, staring out to sea. He had just been
inside to place some more fresh flowers. The gardener had been and
cleared yesterdays away and by now the interior would smell of flowers

Tearfully he walked to the bench where he and Kat had often just sat
and watched the world go by. This particular part of the island had
always seemed the most tranquil and Matthew spent much of his time

Matthew heard the unmistakable sound of a helicopter. Whoever it was
could wait, he needed this time to himself. A few minutes later he heard
footsteps behind him. He whirled round to see the beautiful form of
Rachel Martin standing over him.

"Hi Cathline," Matthew said softly.

"Hello Mat. How are you?"

"As well as can be expected. This was our favorite spot you know,"
Matthew said.

"Yeah Mine too."

Matthew looked quizzically at Rachel Martin. "You never told me this
was too. I thought the maze was."

"You never gave me the chance to tell you lots of things. Hey I need a
chat come walk with me," Rachel said, beckoning Matthew with her

"You're very business like for a change," Matthew said. What had got
into Cathline, she's not usually this cold he thought.

They walked to the house in silence, Matthew in front and Rachel
Martin behind.

"We'll go into my office," Matthew said.

"I'd rather sit down in the entertainment room, It's much less stuffy
than the office."


Matthew sat down on the sofa, crossed his slender legs and asked, "So
Cathline, what brings you all this way. I though you were on a shoot

"Mind if I put some music on. Ah yes this'll do one of my favorites "
Rachel said as she placed the CD into the player. A heavy rock beat
started to play.

'You may not recall the moment that you asked me
But your invitation was clear.
You'll pretend you've never met me, but it's far too late now
I'm here.

Cause I'm the one who knows what scares you
I'm the one who loves you best
I'm the thirteenth at the table
I'm the Uninvited Guest.'

"Cathline, that's not funny. In fact that's sick. Look, what's got into
you?" Matthew started.

"Did I ever claim to be Cathline?" Rachel Martin replied.

Matthew sat up in shock his eyes wide, too stunned to do anything

"Hello Matthew," Elizabeth said.

Matthew shot over to where Elizabeth was standing, hands
outstretched, ready to throttle his nemesis. Elizabeth neatly side
stepped and in some movement faster than the eye could see had
Matthew around the throat.

"Listen Stupid, I didn't come here to kill you, torture you or anything
else. I just came to talk," Elizabeth hissed. She then threw Matthew
back on the sofa and sat down on the armchair next to him.

"I ought to shoot you where you stand you bastard. I've got a magnum
in easy reach. Now tell me why I shouldn't use it right now?" Matthew

"You won't do that. There are a few burning questions that you want
answered first. That is, firstly how come I've got legs rather than fins?
Secondly, how did I escape from the Guild? And lastly what the hell do
I want? These questions and what I have to talk to you about vastly
outweigh the short-term pleasure you'll get from blowing my head off.

Matthew paused for a few moments. Elizabeth began to look worried.

"Well?" She demanded.

"I'm thinking about it," Matthew said menacingly. Matthew waited a
few more seconds before saying "Hey you got me. Tell me what you
want, then I'll shoot you."

"After hearing what I have to say I don't think you'll be shooting me at
all. Look I just want you to listen and me to talk. No 'fail-safe
turnabout's' or any shit like that. Here I'll put another CD on,"
Elizabeth stood up, rummaged around for a bit and then placed another
CD in the player. The unmistakable tones of 'One' by U2 started to
'Is it getting better... Or do you feel the same.
Will it make it easier on you... Now you got someone to

Elizabeth sat down again, shuffled on her seat and started to explain.
"I'll start at the beginning and give you the simple version. I knew that
the Guild would not be able to resist the temptation to copy the DNA
system and use it for their own purposes. At the time I didn't care what
those purposes were, just that I didn't want anyone else to have the
technology. To that end I installed corruption routines into the drug
production system. These would ensure that any drug produced by a
copy of the machine would be useless at best and dangerous at worst.
Of course I knew how to switch these failsafes off and so enable me to
use the machine here."

"The Guild did, indeed take copies of my designs and soon found out
that they were useless."

Matthew interrupted "So they went looking for you?"

"In a way. In my mermaid form I wanted to create havoc on the high
seas. To pay back in kind what man is doing to the oceans. I still have
that goal by the way but not by creating terror and death. I contacted
the Guild by use of a phone I'd found in a wreck. Initially they ignored
my calls but a year later Hassan found my cave and picked me up.They
offered me a deal. In return for making me human again I would
restore their copy of the machine to full working order."

"You didn't. Are you mad?" Matthew exclaimed.

"I was and I did. They also wanted one other thing done in return for
my humanity."

"Which was?"

"They'd seen my designs for a changeling organ. They wanted me to
perfect it."

"Oh my God. You didn't."

"Initially I refused, but they withheld fresh sea water for me to swim in
and started to put fresh water in. Do you know what happened when
my mermaid body was exposed to fresh water?"


"My scales started to peel off and it felt as though I was swimming in
acid. Matthew I had to obey, I had no choice."

"So you did it and created the greatest menace since the atomic bomb."
Matthew said, the anger growing in his voice.

Elizabeth's head bowed and she nodded "Yes I did it, my greatest
triumph turned into my greatest tragedy. Matthew that's the reason why
I'm here. The Guild has to be stopped. Hassan has designs for the
Guild to rule as it did nearly a thousand years ago. My DNA system
and the changeling organ is the way they mean to do it. Hassan needs a
triumph to save his skin after his near failure with us."

"What good are you? The authorities can invoke the Fury Directive.
The Guild won't stand a chance."

"Not if the Guild get there first. As for what good am I? Watch".

Matthew looked on amazed, as the flesh on Elizabeth's face seemed to
melt. Her long hair drew back was replaced by shorter black hair. Her
face reshaped and her eyes turned green, to form an almost feline look.

"My God!"

"That's right. I've given myself a changeling organ. Actually an
improved one but we won't tell the Guild that. I can get anywhere and
be anybody. We need that advantage if we are to stop the Guild,"
Elizabeth said in Kat's old voice.

"Holy shit," Matthew said.

Elizabeth's face melted again and within moments resembled that of
Rachel Martin.

"In a normal changeling body I'd have to wait at least an hour to switch
forms. Mine can do it at will."

"So you could be anybody and I'd not know it."

"You better believe, it sister. We have one more advantage."

"And that is?" Matthew asked.

"The Guild only have one organ. I grew it inside one of their agents
called 'Salah'. I've made sure that it'll only work three times in any given
year. Before I escaped I made sure Salah had used it all up."

"So the Guild have no changeling organs?"

"Not yet. It should take them six months to produce some more. That
gives us the time we need to stop them."

- o - o - o -

Across the other side of the world, Anne Holden sat at her desk, typing
up a draft report for her boss, Senator Jameson. She'd just finished
when Senator Jameson walked over, smiled and said "Hi Anne, how's
the report going?"

"Just fine Walter. I'll be done soon."

"Excellent. More importantly, isn't tonight you see your new

"Yep. It feels so right this time, I just know he's the right man for me.
Since my divorce it's been so hard to be alone."

"Look it's nearly five. When you've done how about going home early
to get ready. Besides I promised President Andrews I'd whip his ass at
Golf this evening."

Anne smiled a pin ball smile at her boss, "You play a lot of golf with the
president don't you?"

Senator Jameson nodded, "Yeah we've been playing each other on and
off ever since we graduated from West Point in the sixties. Come on,
why don't you go home and enjoy your evening. The rest of the report
will wait."

Anne smiled "Thanks very much senator, but I'll stay and finish it."

Anne hurried and soon the report was finished. She rushed home to get
ready for her visitor.

Anne's doorbell chimed at eight sharp and looking thru the spyhole she
saw her boyfriend, Steve holding an open bottle of Champagne.
Flinging open the door she gave him a big hug.

"Hey steady on," he said.

"Want me to get some glasses for that?" Anne asked.

"Sure," Steve replied.

Anne went into the kitchen and returned a few minutes later with some
clean wineglasses. Steve poured the champagne into each glass and
handed one to Anne.

"Bottoms up," Anne said and drank hers down.

"Cheers," Steve said and held back from drinking any.

"I don't..." Anne started to say and then collapsed to the floor.

Steve put his glass down and picked up Anne's body. Quickly stripping
it of all the clothes he went into the bathroom and placed it in the bath.
Quickly he switched on the water and waited.

A few minutes later Anne's flesh began to look soft and almost like
putty. A few minutes after that her body looked as though it was
deflating as blood and fluid began to run out of her mouth, pussy and
ass. Steve increased the water flow as more of Anne's body dissolved.
Happy that it was progressing well he went back into the kitchen.

Taking off his own clothes he concentrated hard and looked down as
flesh began to flow and melt. He saw his legs grow more slender and
his hips widen. He felt his hair grow longer and momentarily he went
blind as his face changed. Looking down he saw that his nipples were
swollen and started to see breasts begin to form. There was a sensation
in his groin as his penis began to shrink back in and a moment it was
replaced by the soft fleshy folds of a pussy.

Steve, now resembling Anne in every detail, put Anne's clothes back on
and put his old clothes into a nearby bag. Walking back into the
bathroom he took the time to wash the liquid remains of the real Anne
down the plug and wipe down thoroughly with some disinfectant. After
this was complete he went back into the lounge to watch some TV. He
had a busy day tomorrow.

- o - o - o -

Elizabeth continued. "There is another reason you see, the reason why I
went with the Guild and helped them rebuild their DNA system was
because I had the same cancer that was killing Kat. When I was in my
cave I recognised the symptoms right away. Unless I found suitable
equipment I would be dead in nine months."

The song continued over the conversation
"Well it's too late...Tonight...
To drag the past out...Into the light.
We're one... But we're not the same.
We get to carry each other...Carry each other.
One "

"I take it you didn't tell the Guild this?"

"Naturally. In my spare time I searched every chromosome of my
genetic makeup, did thousands of blood tests. I've never looked at
myself in more detail than I did then, and I found something terrible,
something that has driven me here."

"Which is?" Matthew said curiously.

"The blood tests revealed a chemical imbalance, specifically Kraepelin's
disorder. Known to most people as schizophrenia. In slender moments
of sanity I had suspected, such but events always served to trigger it off
again before I could prove it. You know, for a while I was happy to
settle down as Rachel Martin, maybe even turn you back when I had the
chance. Then my parents died in that terrible accident. It was too much
and it drove me to another level of insanity. My period in exile away
from humanity drove me inwards and my sanity started to return."

"Sitting in my tank in the Guild's lab the result's were pure scientific
data. I couldn't ignore it, couldn't blame someone else. I was mentally
ill. I prescribed myself some neuroleptics, specifically Stelazine. After a
few weeks the magnitude of what I had done became clear."

They paused and listened the words of the song, now playing for the
second time
"Have you come here for forgiveness?
Have you come to raise the dead?
Have you come here to play Jesus...To the lepers in your head?
Did I ask too much?
More than a lot?
You gave me nothing.
Now it's all I got.
We're one...But we're not the same.
We hurt each other...Then we do it again."

"Very good Liz, you always could choose an apt song. Your 'illness'
killed people, ruined lives. You come here expecting some absolution
from me," Matthew shouted.

"No and neither do I deserve any. I will answer for what I have done
when this is over. The images of that Guild attack on those poor
policemen, your nightmare struggle against being turned into me, and
the slow motion agony of John being gunned down haunt my dreams
and disturb my waking moments. I can imagine Vickie and James,
trapped in the lab, sacrificing themselves to save you. Holding each
other close until the fire and blast took them. Matthew I truly am
sorry," Elizabeth was crying softly.

"Liz, we've all seen your schemes before. As sorry as you seem to be
you can't restore Kat to me, can't turn me back into a man, undo all the
harm you've done."

"If we gain access to the Guild's DNA system I will turn you back if
you wish. I can't promise the rest but I can do that one thing."

"Why should I believe all this?" Matthew demanded.

"Two words," Elizabeth said.

"Which are?" Matthew demanded

Elizabeth's face became serious and she paused for a few moments
before saying, "Kat's alive."

- o - o - o -

Inspector David Jones rushed home. Still clutching the letter in his hand
he couldn't wait to tell his wife. He'd been trying to get into special
branch for years and now he finally had his chance. Fatigue, after a
long, hard shift was starting to take its toll. Still this promotion would
make things better.

He pulled up into his driveway and was greeted at the door by his wife.
Although still in her mid thirties she looked good for her age and he was
envy of many a fellow policeman.

"Hi Jill, Guess what?" David said, getting out of the car.

"You got it!" Jill shrieked.

"Yep. As from next week I'm part of the Prime minister's security
detail. Beats traffic duty anyday," David smiled.

"Come on inside, I've got your favorite," Jill said seductively.

David smiled and went inside.

David moved closer to Jill and pulled her to his chest. He could feel her
breasts pressing against his chest and he felt his cock start to swell. Jill
returned the hug and soon they were in a passionate embrace. Suddenly
David felt a prick in his neck and he pulled away.

"What the..," David started to say.

'Jill' looked at her hand as the needle sharp talon retracted back inside
her hand. David was lying on the floor shuddering and convulsing with
pain. Carefully Jill lifted his body, put it over her shoulder and carried
David's still quivering body up to the bathroom.

- o - o - o -

"That's sick even for you. Now get out," Matthew shouted.

"She thought you might react like this, She gave me this note to give to
you," Elizabeth said, holding out a battered piece of paper.

Matthew snatched it away, glaring at Elizabeth. He glanced down and
started to read.

"Hello lover,

If you are reading this it means that the hell bitch has managed
to escape alive, good. I'm sorry I'm not here in person but
even getting Liz out was risky. Don't worry I'll be fine.
Listen to her plan to stop the Guild and follow it to the letter,
even if it seems as though everything's gone straight to hell.
This woman is scary, we need her, and she's our only hope.

Maybe, when all this is over and done with I'll let you win.
I said MAYBE.

All my love

Tears were in Matthew's eyes "How? Why?" he sobbed.

"Easy, I saved her. Hassan wanted her killed for finding out about the
Guild and the DNA system. I managed to persuade him otherwise."

"Then who..," Matthew started.

"Just listen and you'll understand. You remember I said I had the same
cancer as Kat. I needed her blood and tissue samples to cure me. I also
needed them to try and find a way around the fixer version two, which
imprisoned us. For me it was highly advantageous to keep Kat alive. I
persuaded Hassan on the basis that I needed a guinea pig on which to
test my changeling organ. A subject whose genetic makeup I knew."

"You bitch!"

"Look I didn't experiment on her. I needed her as she was so that I
could be cured. The Kat you saw killed on the desert was a facsimile, a
fake I created from some large dog or something. The real Kat is back
at Hassan's palace."

Matthew was stunned at this explanation but something didn't quite fit.
"Why didn't you take her with you? She would never have put me thru
all this. Besides she's dead by now, the cancer.." Matthew started to cry

A look of anger shot over Elizabeth's face, "You still think I'm a
monster! I cured her as well as myself. On the other matter you're right.
She wasn't happy but it was the only way. She needed to pretend to be
me while I escaped."

"Yeah, well why didn't you stay there and Kat escape?" Matthew

"Hmm, well that's my fault. I knew you wouldn't come and rescue me.
You'd rather I rotted in hell before you lifted a finger. But you would
move heaven and earth to rescue her. Shall we say I persuaded her to

"You fucking bitch. You claim to have changed and then you do
something like this. I have my answers and I suggest you leave before I
shoot you," Matthew shouted.

"You kill me and Kat dies too. Hell maybe we all die. Matthew I really
am your only hope of seeing Kat alive again. I don't like it anymore
than you do. I'd rather she was here backing me up as well but it really
wasn't possible."

"So now we're friends again. I can sleep easy in my bed, knowing that
you're on the island," Matthew said cynically.

"Actually no. I thought we'd share," Elizabeth said.

"You can't be serious," Matthew shouted.

"Hey, Joke OK," Elizabeth said, holding up her hands in mock

"That's it. Look, you can sleep here, I'll take the yacht somewhere you
can't find. With the yacht gone and no way off you're stranded until I
decide what to do with you," Matthew snapped.

"Matthew I'm hurt. I save your wife's life, twice I might add, come
back here as soon as I can to tell you, and you still scorn me. It's just as
well I'm better now or I'd really get upset," Elizabeth said.

"Tough! It's my decision. Just think yourself lucky I didn't shoot you,"
Matthew said.

Elizabeth held her hands up, then clutched them to her chest and said
"Matthew, I'm starting to think you're making this personal. Look I
may have started the vendetta against you, but now I'm ending it I the
only way I can. When this is over I will restore you to your old self,
and Kat as well. If you want to carry on this vendetta then fine, just
don't expect me to retaliate."

Matthew glared at Elizabeth, pushed past her and stormed off. Untying
the yacht from the Jetty Matthew knew what he wanted to do. He
decided that he would set off in a random direction and sail for a couple
of hours. He'd then sleep on the yacht and call Cathline. She'd know
what to do.

As the yacht slipped it's moorings and sailed off into the twilight, hope
surged thru Matthew. IF Elizabeth was telling the truth then Kat was
alive. To see her again would make the risks worthwhile.

After five changes in direction Matthew set the boat to auto-cruise and
was soon fast asleep.

- o - o - o -

Back at the mansion Elizabeth was upset. She knew that Matthew
wouldn't be pleased to see her but her mission to stop the Guild was
important. Maybe he didn't realise just how dangerous a changeling
body could be. She slipped off her clothes and stuffed them into a bag.
She walked over to the phone and made a call. Hearing no response she
put the phone back down and walked back to where the bag of clothes
lay. Collecting the bag she walked, naked outside into the cool night
air. Closing her eyes she concentrated hard and felt herself become

Her back arched as an additional set of 'arms' emerged from her back.
These 'arms' then grew to almost ten feet in length. Skin formed
between these arms and her back and she felt pimples start to grow on
the skin that had just formed. Concentrating harder she imagined a set
of white feathers emerging from the skin and a rustling sound alerted
her to the fact that they were indeed forming. A few minutes later a
winged Rachel Martin shook her new additions and tried an
experimental flap. With ease she lifted off the ground and flew about a
hundred meters before settling on the ground. Her confidence growing,
she picked up her bag of clothes, ran to the cliff, jumped off and soared
into the night.

It took her an hour of circling and flying to spot Matthew's yacht. He'd
foolishly left the running lights on and so stood out a mile against the
black, calm ocean. After another two hours of following the yacht she
saw a bedroom light go out. She waited a further half-hour before
landing on the helipad.

Concentrating hard, she felt her wings retract in her back and within
moments she stood, once more Rachel Martin. Slipping on her clothes
she crept down into the engine room to get some welcome rest.

- o - o - o -

Matthew awoke and smelled bacon and eggs. It took a further few
seconds to realise that he wasn't dreaming and as he got into his Bikini,
put his long auburn hair into a ponytail, he saw the sun starting to rise
over the ocean.

Walking to the bridge he rubbed his eyes and prepared to set course
back to the island. He dreaded another confrontation with Elizabeth
and considered turning her in. However if he did that then he might
never see Kat again. Once more she had him right where she wanted
him. He walked down the ladder and into the galley.

"Hello Matthew. I've done your eggs just as you like them," Elizabeth

Matthew jumped backwards in shock, "How the Fuck did you get
here?" Matthew shouted.

"I'll show you later, come now you're eggs are getting cold," Elizabeth
said, handing Matthew a steaming plate of eggs, bacon and hash

Matthew sniffed it, walked over to the side of the boat and tipped the
lot over the side. "There, Fuck knows what you slipped in them," he

Elizabeth sighed and sat down. "OK I'll tell you how I got here. Then
you can make your own breakfast."

Matthew stood firm and demanded "Well.."

"I didn't think you were taking the Guild threat seriously. A changeling
body can do much more than create copies of people. I'm now a
walking biological weapon. Anything that exists in nature I can
become, as long as my brain and mass change isn't that great. Even then
I've no idea how radical the changes can be or how much mass I can
lose or gain. I found you by imagining myself to be as light as a bird,
with wings to match. You'd left the running lights on, on the boat and
so I could spot you miles away. I waited until you slept, landed, and
then spent the night in the engine room. I got up early to make you
breakfast," Elizabeth explained.

"So you can be anything?" Matthew said.

"Yep. Pass me that net over there please," Elizabeth said.

Matthew walked over to the fishing equipment locker and pulled out
large, green net. He gave it to Elizabeth and she jumped into the water.
Matthew noted that Elizabeth's legs were starting to fuse together as
she sank beneath the waves.

Matthew peered over the side for a few minutes until Elizabeth, with
several fish in the net emerged from the water. Matthew looked
beneath the water and saw Elizabeth's legs reform as her mermaid tail
was quickly absorbed back into her body. After climbing back up the
steps Elizabeth tipped the fish out and left them flapping on the deck
and said "Watch carefully."

Elizabeth held out her hand and Matthew could see her concentrate
hard. A long spike grew out from between her middle and index finger.
It solidified until it resembled a talon. Elizabeth quickly jabbed it into
one of the fish and withdrew it. The fish ceased its flapping and lay still.

"This talon contains a powerful neuro-toxin, specifically from the
Taipan snake. It can kill with a single stab. I created it and the toxin by
pure force of will. That's not all, observe."

Matthew backed away, still in shock over the lethal killing machine
Elizabeth had become.

Elizabeth's talon changed shape slightly and she stabbed another fish.
The flesh on the fish began to change and melt and Matthew looked on
in amazement as legs sprung from the fish's body. Fur began to grow
and within moments a tabby cat stood where the fish once was.
Confused the newly formed cat 'mewed' and somehow made it's way to
the side of the boat where it leapt into the water and sank beneath the

"This talon now contains a transformation poison. That fish could now
have been anything. One last demonstration," Elizabeth said to a
stunned Matthew.

Elizabeth stared at her hand for a moment and looked on as her fingers
fused together. The skin on her hand hardened until it resembled white
bone. Her hand elongated so that it looked like a long, white dagger.
The muscles on her arm began more pronounced and gave a powerful
look to her arm.

With a slice, faster than Matthew's eye could detect Elizabeth had sliced
the dead fish in two. Spearing one part of the fish in the point of her
'dagger' and showing it to Matthew, Elizabeth said "Breakfast?"

Matthew backed even further away. What had Elizabeth done? If she
was strong before this she must be nearly invincible now. Elizabeth's
hand and arm reshaped into its Rachel Martin form and she walked
towards him and said "Look Matthew. Ask yourself if I'd wanted you
dead or a cat then you'd be it by now wouldn't you? Now ask yourself
what the Guild could do with changeling bodies such as this. I told you
before that I'm a biological weapon, more potent and more powerful
than anything man's ever developed. If I, a mere doctor can think of
many ways of using this body for evil then what can trained assassins
do? Matthew we have to stop the Guild."

"Why? They've been content to just be mercenaries for hundreds of
years. Why the change and what's the threat?" Matthew asked.

"I guess you could call it my fault. Hassan faced great shame and
almost certain death because of my failsafes in the DNA system. They
calculated they'd need a team of fifty top scientists for ten years to put it
right. The Fury Directive stopped all legal human genetic research. No
doubt many governments still have black programs but it's all been
scaled down. Fifty of the world's top bio-engineers going missing
would look really suspicious. If he could show his fellow Guild
members that he was back in control it could just save his neck."

"Ok, that's answered the reason why they want to expand but not what
they're planning," Matthew said.

"I don't know what they're planning. That's one of the reasons Kat
stayed behind. What I do know is with a changeling body just one
Guild agent could cause serious damage, poison water supplies,
infiltrate military installations or anything else that took their fancy.
You saw what I can do and I'm just an amateur in comparison,"
Elizabeth said, sitting down on a nearby bench.

Matthew turned away for the moment to think. Gathering his thoughts
he asked "Why us? You said it would take too much time for the Fury
Directive to be implemented but if the threat was big enough..."

Elizabeth explained, "That's just the point. The Guild isn't a foreign
country about to invade. They've got their claws into every area of life.
I saw reports from Guild agents in our justice system, in the police and
even a high ranking general belongs to the Guild. Killing Hassan or
whatever wouldn't work either. Another would just take his place. As
far as I can tell, or rather could tell, the Guild is made up of multiple
branches. There are three main focal points; we'll call them 'roots'. The
main one is located safe and sound in Libya and deals with all the other
'chapters'. Its secondary function is to control Guild operations in
Europe and Africa. The second is located somewhere in the US and it
controls Guild operations in the Americas and finally the third is located
in Australia. That one supervises operations in asia and Australasia.
Each one of these 'root's has branches all over the continents they
control. You take out a root in one place and one of the other roots
takes over until a branch can replace it. It's like that hydra you have
tattooed on your body. You remove a head and it just grows back
somewhere else."

"How'd you find out so much and how do we remove all the 'roots'?"

"I'm glad that it's we now. I told you before I can become anyone.
During my capture I learned a great deal about the Guild and how they
work. We remove the whole by taking out all the roots before they can
take over the dead root's functions. However we do it in such a way
that the other branches don't realise the roots been compromised and so
buy us sometime to expose the branches."

"Hmm, I get it we take them all at once but in such a way as nobody
notices," Matthew said, seeing at last where Elizabeth was going.

"Exactly. Once the branches have been exposed the Guild cannot
survive. The authorities would be in like a shot. I'm surprised you
haven't asked me why two thirds of the roots are in democracies?"

"OK why?"

"Easy. In a dictatorship it's hard to travel to other places,
Communications are monitored and people have to be bribed to keep
quiet. Added to this is the complication of boosting the regime's ego
and dealing with any secret police makes it not worthwhile. Beside
democracies are much more tolerant of people than dictatorships. What
was it Winston Churchill wrote just after the war? That's it. 'Triumph
and Tragedy. How the great democracies of the west triumphed over
evil and so could return to the folly that had so nearly cost them their

Matthew sighed. He hated being Elizabeth's stooge. "So what about

"Easy. The Guild needs a fallback position. Libya is one of the most
closed countries in the world. Presumably Hassan has the Libyan
government in his pockets -- actually Hassan could BE the Libyan
government. No other country could or would invade Libya to stop the
Guild. It'd provoke world war three and be political suicide."

"So now what?"

"Breakfast then we sail to my cave. I've got some important equipment
there that we'll need," Elizabeth said.

"I'm not hungry. Look just because I've heard all your explanation
doesn't mean I trust you. If it's all the same to you I'll make my own

"You were going to anyway. Throwing away good bacon and eggs like
that. Since you still don't trust me I'll eat mine on the bow, you go to
the stern."

Matthew, his head still whirring from the revelations got up and walked
to the galley. He opened the cooler and pulled out an unopened carton
of milk and a sealed packet of cornflakes. Pouring them into a bowl and
adding some sugar he walked to the stern and sat down. He soon smelt
bacon, eggs and fried fish and his stomach rumbled. Ignoring the
hunger pangs he started to eat his now warm and soggy cornflakes.

After breakfast Matthew turned the yacht around and headed back to
the island. Elizabeth joined him on the bridge and said, "When do you
want to call Cathline?"

"As soon as I can. I'll use the satellite phone to try and get her."

"Good, we'll need her as well. One other thing we need to set up

"Yeah, like that did any good last time," Matthew sneered.

"The only reason it failed was because I'd already infiltrated the group.
If you'd set them up right away I'd have been caught earlier. The idea
was a good one and with potential changelings running around we need
to ensure we're not compromised. Look, mine's ' Deianeria ' -- what do
you want yours to be?"

"How about stooge, because that's what I feel like," Matthew said

Elizabeth smiled. "Ok stooge it is. Look set course, 130 degrees,10
knots for about 5 hours. We should get to my cave by then."

"OK," Matthew said and went to the bridge to lay in the new course.

Two hours later Matthew and Elizabeth sat on opposite sides of the
bow. Matthew suddenly had a thought and went over to the fishing
locker. He rummaged around for a while and then pulled out a large
harpoon. Cradling it in his arms he sat back down again.

"What's that for?" Elizabeth demanded.

"I still don't trust you. Kat and I kept this here in case you ever showed
up. Just call it insurance," Matthew said bitterly.

"It won't do any good. Besides we're partners now."

"Yeah right. The only reason why I'm going along with this is so I can
get Kat back. Otherwise you'd be fish food."

Elizabeth stood up and looked over Matthew's shoulders. She gave a
friendly wave and hissed "I'm sorry Matthew I had no choice. They
would have killed me. Remember I'm on your side, I love you."

"What the..," Matthew whirled around to see several small boats
coming towards him. In each boat sat six men in black overalls, each
man carried an AK-47.

"Quick, get away from them," Matthew shouted and went to run
towards the bridge. The staccato should of automatic weapons aimed
just above his head stopped him short and still holding the harpoon he
put his hands in the air.

"You bitch!" Matthew shouted at Liz.

Elizabeth ignored the taunt and dropped the ladder over the side. The
black clad figures climbed up one by one until they were covering all
avenues of retreat. Matthew looked out to sea and saw the ocean near
the yacht start to boil. A long mast emerged from the water and
gradually he saw the conning tower of a small submarine appear. A few
minutes later the deck was exposed and the water began to calm down.
About three crewmembers of the sub climbed out on the deck and
manned a vicious looking gun, mounted on the stern of the sub. The
gun slowly turned until it was aimed directly at the yacht.

Matthew saw one of the men was distracted by the sub emerging from
the water and span around, aiming the harpoon as he did so. He
squeezed the trigger and felt the recoil and a hiss of air as the harpoon
shot towards Elizabeth.

Elizabeth had no time to react and the harpoon hit her right in the chest.
She looked at it in shock and smiled. "And so it begins," she said and
fell backwards onto the deck.

Matthew shouted in triumph, he felt a shattering blow to his head and
all went black.

Another boat was lowered from the sub and a tall figure with a dark
moustache climbed up the ladder and stood over the fallen figure of

"It's all right. He is no longer conscious. You can get up now," Hassan

Groggily Elizabeth stood up and pulled the harpoon from her body. She
concentrated for a moment and Hassan looked on, as the skin resealed
it's self. Within a matter of moments there was no sign of any injury.

"Fucking useful this body," Elizabeth said.

"Indeed. The ability to recover from most fatal injuries is most useful.
You must explain to me how it works sometime."

"Maybe later. Just let's say my vital organs are in different places than
normal. How long before he wakes?" Elizabeth asked.

"The sedative is being administered now. He will then by taken to our
facility in Australia for the conditioning you requested."

"Excellent. I guess you want me to go after Cathline now?"

"Indeed I do. Tell me, did you tell him about Kat?" Hassan asked.

"Yes. I needed to raise his hopes so that the truth could be used to
break him more easily. I hope you see now the wisdom in killing her."

"It made me a little sad, she was so noble but it's removed a dangerous
enemy. Besides Jane was no longer human so her fate was of no
consequence," Hassan said.

"Excuse me for a moment -- I need to change. I'll contact you again
once Cathline is secure. I must say it's much more fun working for you
than being your customer. I should have done this years ago," Elizabeth

"Thank you, you have given us the means to carry out our heart's desire
for nearly a thousand years. I will contact you again. Goodbye,"
Hassan said, and climbed back down the ladder to the waiting boat

Within a matter of moments the remaining Guild agents had
disembarked and had sailed off to the waiting submarine. Elizabeth
went inside and stripped off. She felt her body become smaller and her
breasts and hips reformed. She looked down and saw a hydra start to
appear on her bare body. Twin hydra heads patterns formed on her
breasts and within a matter of moments she was an identical copy of
Matthew. She walked over to the satellite phone and dialled Cathline's
number. She waited for a few moments and then said "Hi Cathline It's
Matthew. We need to talk, Elizabeth's back."

- o - o - o -

President Boris Petcukocov of the Russian federation slumped down in
his black, leather armchair. The meeting with his cabinet had not gone
well. The problem of the Russian Mafia would not go away. It was
scaring off the western investment his country needed so badly. If
things continued as they were then the new communists or even worse
the extreme nationalists would almost certainly win at the next election.

He reached into his drawer for his bottle of imported vodka. The once
mighty Soviet Union couldn't even make decent vodka anymore.
Picking up the empty bottle he threw it to once side. He pressed the
intercom button and asked his new secretary, Tanya for a replacement
from his stock.

Still, he had that summit with the American president next week. It was
a fact that America would give more aid in exchange for taking the
remainder of his nuclear arsenal off his hands. That should appease the
nationalists for a while.

He was just about to buzz again when Tanya walked in with a new
bottle. He reached out and took it. He felt a slight scratch as Tanya's
nail caught his hand. She apologised profusely but he just waved it off.
Tanya took the empty bottle away and closed the door behind her.

Opening the bottle of vodka her poured himself a large shot. Strange
why was his head starting to ache?

- o - o - o -

Back in Britain a cute woman of around thirty-five was rinsing the last
of her husband down the bath. After she had thoroughly cleaned the
bath out with detergent she calmed her mind and waited for the changes
to happen.

A few moments later the new inspector David Jones got dressed in his
jeans and T-shirt. After sitting down and watching tv for a while he
went to bed at nine. He had a busy day ahead of him tomorrow.

- o - o - o -

The truck drew up to the gates at a military base just outside of Cairo.
A burly looking guard who demanded to see the driver's identification
stopped it with a forceful halt gesture. The guard moved round to the
driver, his body language relaxed but ready.

"What have you got in there?" the guard demanded.

"Spare parts for our communications equipment, it's all on the sheet,"
the driver said in a grumpy tone.

"Can I take a look?" the guard asked.

"Sure, but don't take all day about it. It's all been authorized by the
general and you'll answer to him if this is late," the driver threatened.

The guard walked around to the back of the trunk and peered at a
strange looking machine. The guard walked back to the cab and said,
"This looks like no radar to me. Some of these parts are American," the
guard said suspiciously.

"We buy from the Americans and we help them out in return. Can I go
in or do I tell General Salah that his radar will not work because of a
lowly guard."

"OK you can pass," and the guard waved him thru.

Breathing a sigh of relief the guard drove to warehouse where he'd been
told to drop off the machine. He enlisted the help of some passing
soldiers and soon the machine was installed in the warehouse. His truck
now empty, the driver drove out of the compound and was soon out of

- o - o - o -

Hassan ordered the submarine to surface and his crew quickly set to
work. The sound of air being pumped into the ballast tanks vibrated
thru the hull as the sub slowly began to rise. A few moments later the
sub's antenna was above the water and slowly the sub began to level

Hassan asked the comms officer for the headset and the comms officer
handed the headset to him.

"This is set for data burst?" Hassan asked.

"Yes Hassan. If anybody tries to listen in all they will get is a high-
speed burst of encrypted sound that only lasts a fraction of a second.
It's one way only so we can't be traced. Your contacts in the US navy
are most useful," the comms officer said.

"Indeed. I want to send now."

The comms officer pressed a button on his console and indicated that
Hassan was on.

"Hassan here, We are on schedule and to plan. Pick me up at the
agreed place and time," Hassan nodded towards the comms officer he
then pressed the 'send' button.

A fraction of a second later the message was on its way.

- o - o - o -

A day's journey later and Hassan was back in Libya. He sat in his
ornate office watching his plans unfold, just as he expected. These
changeling organs were very useful indeed. He gently stroked the fur of
his faithful pet Ben_gal tiger, contemplating the next stage.

His train of thought was interrupted by a knock at the door.

"Come in," he called.

A fat, ugly man in his late fifties walked in and said "Hello Hassan, you
wanted to see me?"

"Yes Osman, please take a seat," Hassan beckoned towards an ornate
leather chair.

Osman pointed at the tiger and said "Is Sheba OK now?"

"Yes, she fine. A little off her food but the vet has given her the OK."

Osman sat down and asked, "What is it you want to know?"

"Firstly, how is the production of the warheads proceeding?"

"Forty have already been produced, we need another thirty to obtain
maximum coverage. Construction will be complete in two months."

"Excellent. What about the delivery system?"

"We have acquired several tankers of various types, milk, gasoline and
sewage. As per your instructions we have purchased them in Egypt and
planted evidence to ensure that the Egyptian government is behind the
'incident'. Our changeling agents inside the Egyptian government are
working very well."

"Very good. I see you will strike back at the country that once
harboured our destroyer the Mamluk Sultan and accomplish our goal at
the same time. It is excellent planning. Still, are we sure this will work?
We will only get one shot at this," Osman commented.

"Our scientists assure us that the conversion of the tanker to a DNA
Warhead container and delivery system will work as planned. Do you
wish to go ahead with the test?"

Hassan nodded "Yes choose a small village near here and use it. I take
it the Colonel has agreed to our test and to supervise the clean up

"Yes he has, he is as interested to see our goal achieved as we are."

"OK set up the test for a day from now and just pick your target."

Osman smiled and went to get up.

"Hold on a moment my friend. I want you to go to America on
Monday. Hopefully some property you had lost will be returned to you.
A reward if you like for all your hard work."

"Thank you. Oh I meant to ask how is Dr Bexley working out? Does
she suspect anything?"

"She's working out very well indeed. Of course she's under the illusion
that she has the only fully functional changeling body and even she
would balk if she knew what our plans are."

"What did you tell her?"

"I told them that we were going to regain what is ours and take down
some corrupt governments, which in a way we are but not in the way
she suspects."

"You are sure she is on our side? She always was on no side but her

"Yes she can be trusted, where else can she go?"

"I see. Which part of America do you want me in on Monday?"

"New York," Hassan replied.

"I will let you know when the test is ready. Do you wish to watch it?"
Osman asked.

"No thank you. I've other things to attend to. Send me the video
recording of the aftermath."

Osman nodded, "Agreed. I will let you know how it progresses."

"Thank you Osman. Now if you will excuse me I have some reports
from Australia to attend to," Hassan said and indicated for Osman to
leave. Osman stood up and walked out of the room.

- o - o - o -

"What do you mean Elizabeth's back?" Cathline demanded.

"What I said. There I was sitting on the bench missing Kat like hell and
Liz turns up, pretending to be you," Elizabeth said.

"Where's she now? Are you OK?" Cathline asked, concern showing in
her voice.

"It's fine. Listen Liz has explained everything to me, her insanity, her
remorse at what she's done. I believe her. I want to give her a second
chance. Liz's gone off to her cave to pick a few things up, she'll meet
up with us in around three weeks," Elizabeth said.

"She didn't get you with any fail-safe shit did she?"

"No. I believe her for one and only one reason,"

"What's that?"

"Kat's alive. Elizabeth saved her, Hassan wanted her killed but Liz
saved her. I know I was as stunned as you are but Kat's alive,"
Elizabeth said, crying softly on the phone.

"Kat's Alive, that's wonderful. Where is she?" Cathline's heart leapt
with joy.

"The Guild still have her, Liz's got a plan to get her back and stop the
Guild. When does your shoot in New York end?"

"Friday, I can't cut it short. Matthew that's wonderful news! Fuck I
missed her."

"Me too, Listen, I'll fly over for Sunday. We can talk more then,"

"Ritz hotel?"

"Done. See ya," Elizabeth said and put the phone down. This was
going just as she wanted it to. Elizabeth relaxed. It was good to be
back again.

- o - o - o -

Cathline's mind was in a whirl. Dr Elizabeth Bexley was back and
wanting to make amends. Suspicious as ever, Cathline made a call to
her agent, Marcel.

"Marcel, it's Rachel"

"Bonjour Cathline, What can I do for you? Another shoot, Oui?"

"Non, I've received a death threat. This time I think it's real. Could you
arrange some protection for me while I'm in New York?"

"Certainly. Are you sure it's genuine? Do you wish to cut your shoot

"That won't be necessary. Just call the NYPD for us and arrange it"

"Oui Ma'm'selle," Marcel said and hung up.

Good, with additional protection, that should make her less vulnerable
than before. Cathline's train of thought was interrupted by her
photographer, James shouting, "Hey Rachel step on it. Make sure
you're wearing that Vivian Westwood for the next one."

Cathline sighed and went over to the wardrobe to change. It had been
fun being the world's only ultra-model, but on reflection the attraction
was starting to fade. She had considered retiring but then what would
she do? Cathline missed Kat deeply, and her counselling sessions with
Matthew always tired her out. James shouted out once more and
Cathline sprang to attention, "Ok, Ok coming."

- o - o - o -

"See ya," Elizabeth said to Cathline and put the phone down. She got
up and walked to the bridge and set course back to her island. She had
a few days to kill and it would be so good to get her island back after all
these years. It felt good to be back as herself again. It'd been too long
since she looked in the mirror and saw her own face look back.

Elizabeth flopped down on the bench and slept. The effort of all the
changing her body had done had nearly overwhelmed her system. Now
she needed lots of rest and food. She looked down at the point on her
chest where the harpoon had struck her. Of course there was no sign of
any damage but that didn't mean there was no ill effects. She'd only
postulated her ability to recover from near fatal injury and she now
knew that save for massive head trauma or major damage to the
changeling organ itself she couldn't easily be killed. That thought
comforted her as she slowly relaxed. Before she drifted off to sleep she
wondered how Matthew was doing.

- o - o - o -

Matthew woozily opened his eyes and glanced away at the bright light
shining in his face. As his eyes adjusted to the light he saw that he was
in a hospital room. He felt a pain in his arm and saw that he was
attached to some kind of drip, a cardiac monitor beeped merrily away to
one side. He moved to get up but found that his legs and chest were

A tall figure in a white coat walked in and noticed that Matthew was
awake. "Welcome back Dr Bexley, you had us so worried there for a
while," the man said.

Matthew pushed his hair to one side and replied "Sorry, I'm not Dr
Bexley. Where am I?"

The man looked concerned for a while and said "Hmm Dr Larson
thought you might have temporary identity loss after such a traumatic
event. Don't you remember anything? You're in your father's hospital?"

"Elizabeth's father's dead and he sold off his hospital years ago. What
traumatic event?"

"You were getting married to that nice Matthew Stephens. He was
about to say 'I do' when you passed out and hit the back of your head
on the altar step. Don't worry, there's no permanent damage, we just
want to keep you here for a few days to make sure."

Matthew's head spun, where was he really? This room seemed familiar
somehow, that crack on the wall, the position of the taps. And why
were they calling him Dr Bexley?

"I can see you're confused. I'll just adjust your dosage," the Dr said and
walked over to the IV dispenser and made a few adjustments.

"Doc, I'm so hungry any chance of a sandwich?"

"I'm sorry No food or water until we know what's wrong with you. The
drip will give you every nutrient you need.

Matthew's head felt clouded and he couldn't think straight "I'll just take
a nap if you don't mind," he said.

"Sorry, I can't allow you to sleep just yet. It could be dangerous.
Besides I've got someone here to meet you."


"I'll go get him," the doctor said and walked out of the room, closing
the door behind him.

A few moments later A tall man with blonde hair and brown eyes
walked in. Matthew's eyes widened as he saw his old self, rush over to
the bed. The man took hold of his hand and said "Elizabeth, I'm so glad
you're all right, I've been so worried about you. I don't know what I'd
do if anything happened to you."

- o - o - o -

In a small village in Libya a small girl heard a sound in the distance. She
called excitedly for her friend Abdul to look too. A sand cloud was
coming closer to the village. She looked a little closer, squinting to
avoid the early morning sun. She gave another shout, this time to her
mother as she noticed the words 'Milk' and 'A gift from the state' written
on the side.

Her mother called out and soon the whole village was awake and
watching the tanker draw up about a kilometre from the village. The
driver got out and unhinged the trailer. He jumped back into the cab
and drove it towards the village.

The villagers just stopped and waited for the cab to arrive, their nervous
chatter diminishing as the cab got closer.

The driver unwound the window and said to the nearest man "This is a
present from the state for your hard work and loyalty. Please return to
your homes and I will hand out your free milk."

The little girl ran home, dragging her mother behind her. Within a
matter of minutes the villagers had all returned back to their shanty like

The driver removed the 'Ford' badge from the steering wheel and
pressed a small button located in the centre of the wheel. He looked in
his mirror and saw that the tank of the trailer was slowly being lifted up.
He started the engine and drove back towards the trailer.

After performing a few checks he was happy it was all ready. He
checked the anchors one more time and he jumped back inside his cab
and drove a further kilometre away. He rummaged around in the cab
for a few more moments and carefully put on his NBC suit. It should
keep him safe in the moments to come. He also picked up a small Sony
video camera and started to film.

Looking at the village he could see movement still in the streets, the
people happy that they were about to be rewarded for their efforts.
Looking in his mirrors the driver checked the trailer again. By now the
tank was at a 60-degree angle and all was set. Without another thought
the driver pressed the button again.

The back fell off the rear of the tank revealing two small rocket motors.
With a deafening roar the solid fuel in the motors ignited, A fraction of
a second after that the hydraulic clamps that held the tank to the trailer
released and the tank shot into the air. It climbed rapidly until it
reached about 300 metres, then with a loud bang it exploded creating a
large cloud of fine droplets that covered everything in a 3 kilometre

The little girl rushed outside to see what the noise was and was instantly
covered in the fine, white mist. A few moments later the rest of the
village joined her. Ten seconds after emerging from her house the little
girl collapsed to the ground, convulsing in pain.

The driver started the engine of the cab and drove to the village in time
to see the last villager fall to the ground in pain. He watched and
videoed in amazement as each villager started to dissolve. Through his
NBC suit he could still hear the cries of anguish of the village and he
saw rivers of red fluid start to run from some of the houses.

An hour later he checked each house to ensure there was nobody left,
and satisfied that his mission was complete he re-hitched the trailer and
drove off.

- o - o - o -

Cathline was lying on the bed, in her penthouse room when the buzzer
sounded. She stretched out, yawned, slowly got up and answered the

A small, young woman with blonde hair and brown eyes was standing
there. Standing just behind her was a taller, older man. The woman
reached inside her jacket pocket and pulled out an NYPD badge.

"Rachel Martin?"

"Umm yes," Cathline replied.

"I'm Detective Tina Cox and this is detective Scott Harris. Your agent,
Marcel called us in response to some death threats you've received."

"You'd better come in, I'll get room service," Cathline offered and
walked over to the phone.

The two cops walked in and closed the door behind them. Tina looked
around at the ornate and downright decadent settings around her.
"Nice work if you can get it," she commented quietly to Scott.

"Suppose," he replied.

"Hey you guys wanna eat or just a coffee?" Cathline called from across
the room.

"I'll have a bagel, Scott'll just have coffee," Tina called.

"We're both on duty. Nothing thanks," Scott said and Tina glared at
him in reply.

"You're on a diet," Scott joked to Tina.

Before Tina could reply Cathline returned and offered them a seat on
the nearby leather sofa. Scott and Tina sat down and Cathline joined
them on the nearby armchair.

"So Rachel, what can we do for you?" Scott asked.

"It's Cathline, not Rachel. I'm only Rachel Martin when I'm at work."

"Sorry, I forgot. You're not the original Rachel Martin are you?
I sure wish we'd let the mailman get her, would've saved you a lot of

"Mailman?" Cathline asked.

"It's a long story but a few years ago, when you were in a harem, a
serial killer was stalking Dr Bexley as Rachel Martin. Nearly got her
and us too. If he had succeeded a lot more people would still be alive
now. Still we do what we can and know at the time," Scott explained.

"I don't remember seeing anything about being stalked in Liz's dairies,"
Cathline commented.

"She never knew. He was watching and waiting for her at her parent's
funeral. She ran off when some reporters came and he raced along an
alley to go after her. We found him dead in the alley way, his throat

Cathline's eyes widened "Did you find any traces of drugs?"

"Yeah, Hashish. Why'd you ask?"

"Just a suspicion. Anyway down to business. I've had threats before
but I've never taken any notice of them before. Now this isn't exactly a
threat more a feeling of impending dread."

"Not sure we deal with impending dread," Tina quipped.

"I had a phone call from Matthew Stephens the other day."

"The Matthew Stephens, Kat's Husband?"

Cathline nodded "Yeah. Since Kat was killed we've spoken to each
other most weeks. Anyway he told me something terrible."

"Which is?" Scott asked.

"Dr Bexley's back in business. It seemed she's all better now thank you
very much and wants to make amends."

"And you don't trust her?"

"Not at all. Matthew was different on the phone too. He said Dr
Bexley had met him on his island and had explained everything to him.
He's flying over tomorrow to meet me."

"I don't see any problem, why are we involved?" Tina said.

"To put it bluntly I want police protection for that meeting. If Liz does
show up then you'll have your chance to get her. You don't know her
like I do. She's far more dangerous than this mailman you told me
about. If she's really better then fine, let her get the help she needs. If
she's not and is still out for revenge then I want to be ready for her."

"You think Matthew's been compromised?" Scott asked.

"If you're referring to that fail-safe crap she pulled on him last time I
dunno, but with Liz you don't let her have an inch. Heck she probably
knows I'm suspicious and will do this, but I have to get ready as best I
can. I can't do it without you. Nobody else in the world scares me but
she does. Hell you've probably read my account of the fury, you know
what she's like," Cathline said, her voice starting to show panic.

Tina sighed. "Didn't read it myself. Scott did though. From what I
heard I could have done a lot better."

Cathline snapped back "Yeah right, listen I ain't no bimbo. I've got
degrees in biochemistry and genetics. Before the fury I was a chief
researcher at TGEN corp. But Liz, Liz is unreal. I hope you can
handle her, I really do, but from where I'm sitting I can't take that

Scott stepped in and said "OK, Cathline let us know when you want us
to help. We'll be there."

Cathline sighed, "Thanks Detective."

Tina piped up "What about hiring some professional help? Y'know
bodyguards and protection officers?"

"Done that. I want this meeting to be discrete. What's Matthew going
to think if I turn up with 20 goons surrounding me."

"That you're being careful."

"That I don't trust him, more like. He's been thru hell this past six
months. He needs to know somebody trusts him, wants to be with him.
I argued against him staying on his island but he wanted to stay near
where Kat was. Anyway I'm meeting him at this hotel on Sunday."

"We'll be there," Scott said and stood up. Tina stood up also and
stretched. Cathline escorted them to the door.

"Thank you," Cathline said offering her hand.

Scott shook hands with Cathline and left the room.
Cathline closed the door behind them.

Scott turned to Tina and said, "Did you have to be so rude. What's it
with you and models anyway?"

"Dunno. Maybe cus all they do is swan around all day making money
hand over fist. While we put our butts on the line each and every day,"
Tina replied.

"Y'know what? I read Fury and I know for a fact you'd have had no
chance. Don't let that fluffy bunny exterior of Cathline fool you. She's
one tough bitch when she has to be," Scott replied.

"If you say so. Say where next?" Tina asked

"Back to base. Gotta do some paperwork."

- o - o - o -

Matthew tried to get some sleep but his body wouldn't let him. It wasn't
that he was uncomfortable, it was just that he was unable to rest. He
felt as hungry as anything and his mouth was parchment dry. If this
place was a hospital then why didn't they feed and look after him? He
felt his head start to swim and he felt himself drift away.

"Afternoon, Dr Bexley," It was the same doctor as last night.

"It's not afternoon, at least I don't think it is," Matthew replied.

"It's definitely the afternoon. You didn't get a wink of sleep last night.
Matthew and your family were so worried. Still, a few more days and
you'll soon be right as rain."

"Doctor, I'm sorry but I'm not Dr Bexley and I don't know what games
you're playing with me but this is not Liz's hospital. That man that
walked in was NOT Matthew Stephens. I'm Matthew Stephens!"

"Oh Liz, Liz, Liz why do you resist reality? I tell you, you were
brought here after you collapsed. We'll soon get you better. Matthew
will soon be here. He's offered to marry you here, if that's OK with

"No it's not OK. Look I was captured by the Guild. Liz is dead. OK I
killed her, If this is some trick.. ," Matthew threatened.

"Of course Liz isn't dead. And who are the Guild? Let me just check
your drip," the doctor reached over and attached a new bag full of clear
liquid to the IV.

"Don't worry Dr Bexley, we'll sort this out," the doctor said soothingly ,
and left Matthew alone once more.

Matthew began to feel strange once more. He knew that he was in the
Guild's custody, but why did they think he was Dr Bexley? He slowly
started to drift away again. Matthew's eyes opened, he mustn't give in.
He started to count seconds, one elephant, two elephant, and three
elephants. He had reached 5450 elephants when the doctor came in

"Good morning Dr Bexley, How are you feeling today?"

"Wait a minute, you told me it was afternoon!" Matthew said, confused.

"Why on earth would I tell you it's the afternoon when it's plainly
morning? Anyway you didn't get a wink of sleep last night. Matthew
and your family are so worried. Still, a few more days and you'll soon
be right as rain."

Matthew slumped back down on the pillow, his head swimming with

- o - o - o -

Elizabeth took her yacht to Male, ready to catch the flight to New
York. Although tempted to go and see how Matthew was progressing
in Australia, she knew she had other fish to fry. Still tired from her
excursion a few days before, she slept most of the way and landed at
JFK in the late afternoon. This was her first trip back to New York
since her exile by Kat and team, so long ago.

At customs she flashed Matthew's passport and was let in without
incident. She knew she had to be careful. Cathline would be alerted to
her presence and even though she might not suspect that Matthew had
been taken she couldn't take that chance. Walking past some phone
booths she took the chance to pass on some updates to the local Guild
chapter before proceeding to a nearby coffeehouse.

She walked in and sat down on a beige leather sofa. The place was
deserted apart from a group of five people just hanging out. A waitress
was talking to them and was obviously very good friends with them.
She was making eyes at a tall guy with short black hair while he was
trying to make a conversation about fossils sound interesting.

Elizabeth called out to the waitress but she was too engrossed in her
conversation to notice. A few seconds later a man, seemingly the owner
called out to the waitress "Hey Rachel, you gonna talk all day?"

Straightening her skirt the waitress walked over and asked Elizabeth
"Sorry about that, What can I get you?"

"I'll have a decaf, white with one sugar," Elizabeth said and smiled to
herself. She wasn't going to get caught out by that one again.

The Waitress smiled a pinball smile and went off to the coffee machine.

Elizabeth looked at her watch. He was late. Maybe there'd been some
trouble. Elizabeth settled down in her sofa to wait.

A few minutes later the waitress came over and handed Elizabeth her
coffee. Elizabeth looked at it and said, "I said white with, not black

The waitress apologised and went back to make another. Elizabeth's
attention was distracted away from the waitress by the sound of the
door opening. She turned around and saw a fat, ugly man of around
fifty walking towards her. She breathed "at last," and waited for him to
sit down beside her.

"What kept you?" she hissed.

"American customs and your damnable traffic. Now what can you tell

"OK I'm meeting with Cathline in around three hours at the Ritz hotel.
I'm sure she'll have some backup arranged so make sure we have some

"I see. After you have questioned her what are you going to do with

"It depends on what she knows. We arranged her fate in advance and
pending any changes we'll go with that," Elizabeth stated.

The waitress returning with a fresh cup of coffee interrupted them, she
asked the man what he wanted but he declined. Satisfied that she'd got
the order right this time, Elizabeth thanked her and she walked off.

"Oh yes. I was saying that Cathline might have backup. Make sure you
take them too. I'm sure Hassan will find out some use for them. Dead
bodies make such a mess. Is your facility ready?" Elizabeth asked,
taking a sip of coffee.

"Yes the network connection went on-line yesterday, Should anything
happen elsewhere then we are prepared here. America, I love this
country," the man smiled.

"Yeah me too. I'll see you later," Elizabeth said and finished drinking
her coffee.

"Agreed, until then," the man said and stood up.

Elizabeth waited until the man was gone and then went to leave.
As she passed the group of friends just talking, she was wolf-whistled
by a dark Italian looking guy. She turned to him and hissed "Don't mess
with me, If you want to keep your little general I'd back off."

The Italian guy looked surprised and made no further comments. His
skinny friend made some jibe but Elizabeth was out of the door before
she could hear it.

- o - o - o -

Hassan watched the destruction of the village on his wall monitor. A
small girl ran out of a nearby house looking what all the commotion was
about. A few minutes later the cloud had enveloped the village. The
footage changed to doors being opened and the camera showed red
fluid running from the inside of the house.

"Excellent," Hassan commented.

"Are you sure there is no other way?" A tall, well-muscled man asked.

"If we are to retake what is ours then there is not. Salah, how is Dr
Bexley and Osman?"

"Satisfactory. Dr Bexley has asked for reinforcements for the abduction
tonight. She seems to regard Cathline Richards as a danger. Osman
disagrees. Hassan, can you tell me how is the other program going?"

"He would disagree. No, Dr Bexley will have her help, " Hassan
consulted his notes from Osman and read to himself,

'The Russian Federation is now under our control. China is
proving difficult as we have little information about Lui-Chang.
I have suggested we withdraw the switch and concentrate on
the UN representative. We only need him for the one 'event'.

Hassan thought for a moment, it would be unwise to reveal all to Salah
at the moment. Salah was fishing for information, Hassan knew that
Salah was in on the DNA warhead scheme but not on the others.
Hassan fingered his moustache and said to Salah, "It goes slowly. I'm
trying to speed things up but an operation of this magnitude takes time
and much planning. Give the go ahead for Dr Bexley's reinforcements."

"Ok I'll let them know," Salah replied.

"Oh yes one more thing?" Hassan asked.

"Yes Hassan?"

"I've heard rumors that you are trying to overthrow me and that you
believe our actions will destroy us. I hope they are all lies," Hassan
asked seriously.

Salah looked directly into Hassan's eyes "Believe me my loyalties only
lie with you. It is true that I have disagreed with some of your actions
but I have always obeyed you."

"I am glad that you say that. You are a good man, Salah. Your heart is
good and your mind is sharp. We will need you in the time to come.
Don't give me any reason to doubt you loyalty," Hassan warned.

"Do not worry I won't. Who has said these things against me?" Salah

"I will not say, it doesn't matter if they are untrue. Now I have an
important call to make," Hassan said.

"Of course," Salah replied and left the room.

Hassan reclined back in his chair, gently stroking the fur of his Bengal
tiger. "Hmm I do not trust that one," he said to himself. Hassan
thought. Maybe Salah needs his wings clipping to stop him getting too
big a view of himself. The idea came to him a few moments later. He
had the perfect place for Salah to go.

- o - o - o -

"Thanks for dinner," Detective Scott Harris said to his wife, Rebecca.

"No problem. How'd the meeting go with Rachel Martin?" Rebecca
asked .

"Fine. Except that Tina was her normal thorny self. Actually we're
going to keep an eye on Rachel while she meets with a friend. Tina
thinks it's a waste of time and effort."

Rebecca smiled "And you don't?"

"Tina thinks anything to do with models is a waste of time and effort.
She'd rather be catching the real scum," Scott replied.

"Still not forgiven herself for shooting you and letting the mailman go

Scott shook his head "No, not really. Hey we're talking about my work

Rebecca sidled up to Scott and traced her finger over his shoulders,
"Sorry Hun. Hey I had a great day today. I brought this fantastic new
nightdress. I'll show you when you get back tonight."

Scott put his hand on her shoulder and caressed Rebecca's hand, "Can't
wait. Listen I shouldn't be too long."

Rebecca pulled away and turned to face Scott "Don't be," she mouthed.

The doorbell chimed and Scott stood up and said to Rebecca "That'll be
Tina, I have to go."

"Be careful, Love you." Rebecca replied and gave Scott a hug.

Scott returned the embrace and said "Me too."

- o - o - o -

Elizabeth flagged down a cab to the Ritz hotel. Looking at her watch
she saw that she was going to be late.

"Hey I'm gonna be late for a meeting. Any way around this traffic?"
Elizabeth said, pulling a fifty from her purse and showing it to driver.

"Sure, Thanks. Hey you're that Matthew Stephens aren't you?" the taxi
driver replied, taking the fifty and stuffing into his shirt pocket.

"Yeah, what of it?"

"Sorry about your wife. Real tragedy, my wife and I sure cried with
you, I can say."

Elizabeth nodded in mock sympathy "Thanks."

"Yeah real sad like. What's it like being a woman?"

Elizabeth sighed, "You get used to it. If I'm a little blunt it's because I'm
tired. I'd like some peace and quiet.

"I understand. Say ya hear about that senator and his secretary?"

"No and I must say I'm not that interested."

"You blind? It's in all the papers. Senator Walter Jameson and his
secretary vanished for a whole weekend. He returns claming nothing
went on but she's not been seen since. He said he fired her and she's
gone off to look for work elsewhere. Very fishy if you ask me."

Elizabeth sat upright and said, "Has anyone checked his story out?"

"Thought you were tired. Anyway yeah it checks out. The secretary
was seen getting into a car at the hotel she was staying at. She had
another man with her, Arabic I think. Senator Jameson says it was her
new boyfriend," the taxi driver commented.

Sounding worried, Elizabeth asked, "How good a friend to the president
is Senator Jameson."

"Hey what'ya think I am the Washington Post?"

"Sorry I just thought cab drivers knew everything."

"If you must know I think they were best buds in college or something."

Elizabeth shook her head and just said one word, "Fuck."

"Nearly there. Hey you're much better than most celebs I've taken. I
got Rachel Martin once, before she vanished and that Cathline took
over. She was real rude and full of herself. Nice to meet someone who
wants to talk to ordinary folk like me."

"That's ok. We nearly there yet?"

"Yeah just another block."

- o - o - o -

"Now listen Marcel, you can't stay here, this is a private conversation
between Matthew and I," Cathline said.

"I understand that Ma'm'selle Cathline. I want to help protect you, if
there is any danger I want to help. At least let me hide in the bedroom
and call for help if needed."

Cathline sighed, "Ok, only call if I cry out. It'll be crowded enough out
there without you fussing around. I just hope that Matthew doesn't spot
you in my bedroom, I'd never live it down."

"Thank you Ma'm'selle Cathline." Marcel said, and picked up his cell
phone and went into Cathline's bedroom.

There was a knock at the door and Cathline walked over and peered
thru the spyhole. Detectives Harris and Cox stood at the door.
Cathline unlatched the door and said "Hello Detective's. How's it

Scott answered "We have twenty officers positioned on the floor below,
this one and the one above. Nobody gets in or out unless we say so."

"Good. Please come in and take a seat. I want you to sit in, just in

"Rachel," Tina started.

"Cathline, please."

"Rachel, this is all a bit paranoid isn't it. I mean twenty officers just for
one hunch. We've got real criminals to catch."

"Tina," Cathline started to say.

"Detective Cox."

"Tina, If I end up with my throat slit laying in a pool of blood because
you didn't believe me then what'll that do to your career," Cathline said

"This is an overreaction, I'm sure." Tina started to say.

"Try saying that to Matthew. Kat ended up dead because we didn't take
enough care. Have you held your best friend in your arms and watch
the life seep away from her in the knowledge that there's fuck all you
could do to save her? Have you watched another good friend pine
away, almost killing himself out of despair and loss? Have you had your
husband gunned down in cold blood while you were 4000 miles away
being raped every day? Did you lose an eye, did you lose the only
people you cared about, have you had two more friends of yours lay
down their lives to save you?" Cathline 's voice increased in volume
until she was screaming at Tina in fury.

Tina took an involuntary step back at Cathline's onslaught.

"Cathline," she started to say.

"I'm not done yet. I'm waiting for your answer, Tina, I really am. Sure
you've got a tough job and I wouldn't switch for a moment. But you
must realise who and what you are dealing with here and what I've been
thru," Cathline said, her tone softening a little.

"Cathline, I'm sorry. Listen, its nearly time for your meeting. Where do
you want us to be?" Tina felt riled at this spoilt bitch. What'd she ever
seen that was any worse than seeing the results of the mailman's
handiwork for example?

"Sit over there on those two armchairs. Matthew'll understand."

Tina and Scott just had time to sit down when a loud knock sounded at
the door. Scott stood up again and beckoned for Cathline to sit down.
Cathline did so and waited.

Scott opened the door and there stood a surprised looking Elizabeth,
still in Matthew's body form.

"Hi, Cathline who're these guys?" Elizabeth demanded.

"Hi Mat, just a little extra help for us. Just in case Liz shows up."

"Very wise, may I sit?"

"Hey don't stand on ceremony. Make yourself at home."

"Sure. I'm about to tell you some very confidential information that
can't leave this room. I'd prefer it if these guys left," Elizabeth said
sitting down opposite Cathline.

"They're cool, I trust them. So what is it that drags you halfway around
the world?"

"Before I tell you I've a confession to make."

"You've kissed and made up with Elizabeth?" Cathline joked.

"In a way. I am Elizabeth!"

"WHAT! What've you done with Matthew you fucking bitch," Cathline

Tina reached into her jacket and pulled out her standard issue .38.
Training it at Elizabeth she said "Dr Elizabeth Bexley you are under
arrest for the murder of 10 police officers, kidnapping, and numerous
other offences. You do not have to say anything but anything you do.."

Elizabeth stood up and put her hands in the air "Listen officer what I
have to say is of vital importance. Don't fuck with me, I'm not in the

Scott too pulled out his firearm and moved over to protect Cathline.

Tina continued "will be taken in evidence. You have the right to an
attorney, if you cannot afford one, one will be provided for. Aghhh,"

Tina screamed as a small dart, shaped like a thorn struck her shoulder.
She dropped her gun and clutched at the wound. Unable to move she
slumped back into the seat. Scott fired his gun and the bullet struck
Elizabeth's shoulder, sending her flying backwards. Amazingly she kept
on her feet and closed her eyes for a moment.

Scott and Cathline watched on in amazement as the wound began to
seal it's self up. Scott saw a blur of motion and then cried out in pain as
another dart hit him in the chest. He looked up, staring at Elizabeth's
smiling face before collapsing onto the floor.

Cathline backed away from Elizabeth, her eyes wide with fear. "You
fucked up big time. There are twenty police officers around that heard
that gun shot. I've no idea how you did that but I'd like to bet you can't
take on all twenty."

"I don't need to, Cathline. All I want to do is talk. It wasn't me who
turned this into the gunfight at the Ok Corral. This isn't a threat but it
would be much better for you if you listen to what I have to say. You
can tell your lackey hiding somewhere that he can forget about calling
for help," Elizabeth said, casually collecting Scott and Tina's fallen

There was a knock at the door "Police open up. Cathline you ok?"

Cathline saw the gun pointing at her head and called out "Yeah we're

"What about that gunshot?" The voice sounded thru the door.

"Must've been the TV. State of the art sound system gets me every
time too," Cathline called out.

"It sounded real close. If you need anything give us a call," the voice

"And now for my old agent, Marcel, I presume it's him cowering some
where?" Elizabeth said out loud.

"Marcel come on out. You've been sprung," Cathline called, still in

The bedroom door opened and Marcel walked out "It is too late, I've
already called," he said.

"Cancel it. Tell them you were nervous," Elizabeth said sternly.

"Oui," Marcel made the call again and cancelled it.

Elizabeth gestured for Cathline to sit down which she did. Cathline
looked across and saw Tina's motionless body. Her eyes were open and
she was breathing slowly. Scott too was conscious and breathing but
unable to move.

"One more thing before we start," Elizabeth said and in a blur too quick
for Cathline to follow, fired something from her free arm at Marcel.
Marcel screamed and went down, the dart embedded in his thigh.

"What the fuck is going on?" Cathline almost shouted.

Elizabeth stretched out her forearm and Cathline saw a long tube
protruding from the elbow to the wrist. "It fires 'thorns' or darts if you
like, containing a strong paralysing agent. Don't worry, they'll be just
fine. Now thanks to Wyatt Earp here we've got less time than I'd like."

Cathline took a deep breath. Elizabeth's sudden appearance had thrown
her completely off balance. Gathering her thoughts she asked, "So how
the fuck did you escape? Where's Matthew? And what the hell is that
dart thing in your arm?"

"Good questions. Ok Matthew is quite safe. He agreed to help us
combat the Guild. In fact he's exactly where I need him to be."

"And that coming from you is supposed to reassure me. How come
you're not a mermaid anymore?"

"Ok, I knew I had cancer, the same one that was killing Kat. The Guild
had stolen the designs of the DNA system but they needed me to iron
out a few bugs in it. In return they'd let me cure myself both of the
cancer and of my tail."

"So you gave the Guild your DNA system and sold us out, typical. Tell
me, is Kat really alive?"

Elizabeth shook her head "I'm sorry she's not. Hassan had her killed. I
wanted to save her, as part of my atonement to you and Matthew but I
was powerless to stop him."

Cathline's face dropped, "Then why the fuck did you tell me she was
alive. To rub it in?"

Elizabeth sighed and explained "Cathline, the Guild are planning
something big. I've no idea what it is but it involves the use of DNA
tech. The Guild monitors everything I would say to you on the phone.
I'd be dead if I told you the truth over the phone and at the moment I'm
all that stands between you and a slit throat. You remember my notes
said something about a changeling body. Well I perfected it. If it exists
in nature I can replicate it, this body can also repair it's self against
minor injury, hence my ability to recover from that gunshot."

"Fucking hell Liz. You can't stop playing God with nature can you."

"At the moment this changeling body is the only one in existence. It
gives us an edge over the Guild."

"What makes you think I believe anything you say anymore. I bet
you've kidnapped Matthew and are right now making him your slave. I
bet it I was you who had Kat killed and I bet I'm you're next target."

"The Guild think you are. Listen, because of your friends here I've not
had as much time to prove my case as I'd like. But trust me, I know
what I'm doing. It may seem as though everything's gone to hell but it
hasn't. I'm on your side."

Elizabeth was interrupted by a sharp, random sounding knock at the
door. "Listen trust me," hissed Elizabeth.

"Like hell. You want me to get the door or what?"

"No need, they have the key. Hey, I'm ready in here," Elizabeth called

Fear rose in Cathline as the lock turned and in came ten masked men.
They pointed their stubby but lethal weapons at Cathline and she put her
hands up.

"Go with them Cathline. You'll know the right time," Elizabeth said and
Cathline screamed as a dart entered her arm. She could feel her legs
grow cold and numb. Soon the numbness spread rapidly upwards and
all went black.

"Did the operation against the police go well?" Elizabeth asked.

"Indeed, we had them before they could call for help. We must hurry.
The helicopter will be here soon."

"Agreed, Let's go, I just hope Osman likes his new guests," Elizabeth

"I think he will," one of the men replied, eyeing up Cathline's unmoving

"Tell Hassan I've got a few things to clear up here before I head to
Australia," Elizabeth said, staring at her arm.

The masked man stared at Elizabeth's arm as the tube retracted back
into her arm. Within a matter of moment her arm was normal again.
The man shook his head in disbelief and proceeded to check the room.

- o - o - o -

"Come on now Elizabeth, you need to take your medicine," the doctor
said to Matthew.

"I'm not Elizabeth. Look can you tell me what day it is please. I've
been here ages and there's not been any thing to do but lay here and see
you people," Matthew complained.

"We've been very busy. Your parents are coming tomorrow -- they'll
help you."

"You said that yesterday afternoon."

"No that was this morning. Look if you take your pills I'll see what I
can do. We want you to get better don't we?"

"I'm not taking any pills," Matthew said stubbornly.

"Fine, I'll just slip the same dose into your IV. It'll have the same effect,
but to get better you must WANT to get better, hence taking the pills."

"I'll leave them here," the doctor said placing the pills on the bedside
table. He then turned and left the room.

The doctor shut the door and walked over to the tall man watching thru
the one way glass.

"How is he doing?" the man asked.

"He's stubborn. But we're making progress," the doctor said.

"Why not just use hypnosis?"

"Only works for a short time. This way he becomes Dr Bexley
permanently. What we do here cannot be undone. We change his very
psyche. You cannot do that with hypnosis or violence. We are
depriving him of any point of reference, outside contact. A human
being cries out for contact, friendship and a point of reference. We are
denying him all of those, except me. In a day or so he'll accept me as
his best friend. Especially since in an hour we're going introduce a
stimulant in his IV. It'll stop him sleeping and increase his fatigue.
Trust me I've done this many times."

"Hassan wants this done quickly,"

"Hassan is clever but he doesn't know all about this. Tell him we can
either do it quickly but less thoroughly or slowly and get it right," the
doctor snapped.

"I will tell him. I am also concerned that you are using two of our
changelings for such a project. If its just to keep Dr Bexley happy then
I will move them to where they are needed."

"Hassan says this project is of vital importance. He calls it 'Mischief' I'm
sure he knows how it fits in with what he is planning," the doctor said.

- o - o - o -

"Working late Jim?" the man asked a young man with brown hair

"Yeah. Tell me you've been in this section for years. Why do we know
so little about the Guild?"

"Simply because we've never been able to get anyone inside. We tried a
few years ago but she was sniffed out right away and has never been
seen since. HUMINT is very difficult to get. Besides they know when
our satellite passes are and diverting them is very expensive and

"I've got a few reports from Libya that say the government there
cleaned out an entire village. Officially it's part of their resettlement
program but take a look at these," Jim handed over a brown folder.

The man paused for a few minutes, studying the images closely. He
then said, "I see what you mean, the sand just there looks melted. Like
some kind of missile launch took place. But it's only a klick away from
the village," the man said to Jim.

"So you think the Libyan government is up to something?"

"No idea. Just that someone fired a short range missile at that village
and now nobody lives there anymore."

"What's our Libya operatives say?"

"What the government says. Frankly Doug it scares the hell out of me.
The Guild has gotten too active for my liking. The only descriptions of
the leaders we have are the ones that Jane Stephens and Cathline
Richards gave the police. Even then we don't know how accurate they

Doug nodded in agreement "Yeah that's always been the problem. I'll
speak to my section leader and we'll get this looked at. Good analysis."

Jim glowed inside, as a relative newcomer to the CIA he had felt very
much the new boy "Thanks we'll catch up in the morning."

"Ok," Doug said.

- o - o - o -

Cathline awoke and tried to move. Her limbs ached and she could see
only darkness. She tried to move her arm and felt metal around her
wrists and the clank of chains. Tugging on them some more revealed
that she was chained hand and foot. As her eyes adjusted to the
darkness she saw she was in some kind of stone cellar She noticed
another figure chained to the far wall. It was detective Cox. She was
stripped naked and still unconscious. Cathline felt a draught and
realised she too was naked.
"Oh no not again," she said out loud.

She heard footsteps coming towards her, feigning sleep she bowed her
head. The figure moved closer to her and she felt a finger caress her
nipple. She shivered in fear.

The figure spoke "As I thought you are just acting. So my sweet we
meet again."

Cathline looked up and saw a fat ugly man of around fifty. "Osman
you're dead," she screamed.

"As you can see I am very much alive. I was promised something I had
lost when I came here and I see that I have gained another companion
also. You are a most handsome woman now. I will enjoy you."

Cathline was about to spit in his face but thought better of it instead she
shuddered at the thought of the ordeal to come.

"I'm afraid my punishments last a lifetime. It's such a shame I know but
justice is justice," Osman said and snapped his fingers.

Cathline screamed for all her might as a figure carrying a glowing iron
walked down the stairs. She tried to escape, to avoid what she knew
must come but Osman pushed her face against the wall, holding it firm.
The man passed the iron to Osman and he held it steady. Cathline
screamed louder as she felt the iron moving closer and closer to her left
eye. She felt a burning, searing sensation in her eye and then passed

Osman handed the iron back to the man and walked upstairs, satisfied
that justice had been done once more.

- o - o - o -

In New York the sun was starting to set -- the high rise buildings
casting dark, irregular shadows on the ground below. A lone figure got
out of cab, tipped the driver and walked towards the cemetery.
Clutching a bunch of flowers Dr Elizabeth Bexley stood silently over
two gravestones. She knelt down and placed the flowers on each grave.
Wiping away her tears she said "I'm so sorry Dad, I'm trying to make
amends, I really am, but it's so hard. I know you taught me that the best
things don't come easy, but this is my own doing. I've no idea if I'll ever
come this way again so I needed to come and say goodbye."

Elizabeth thought back a few years to the last time she was here.
Disguised as Rachel Martin, she'd met Matthew at her parent's funeral.
He'd not known at the time of course but he'd shown compassion to her
by giving her two of his roses to help her say goodbye. She was so
angry with him then but as time went on she cherished that moment.
She stood up and walked over to the grave that read 'Mrs Margaret
Bexley' and she knelt down once more. "Sorry Mom. I'm so sorry. I do
now what I have to. My actions have caught up with me and now I'm
trapped into this destiny. I see no other alternatives. I'm like a runaway
train accelerating towards impact. All we have to do is wait for the
smash," Elizabeth said softly.

Wiping away a tear she continued "Mom I know you're not really down
there but it helps. You know all I wanted to do was to love and to be
loved. I can see the headlines. 'She's not a monster, just
misunderstood'. Life's not like that in spite of what Readers Digest may
tell you. All my friends are gone, mom. I sold them for the price of my
own freedom and well being. I had to do it, it's for the best, I just hope
they understand why."

Sniffling, Elizabeth re-arranged the flowers she'd placed down. A
thought struck her and she said, "You didn't fail me. I failed you. In
some ways it was merciful you not being here. When I was exiled to
the sea I didn't see what was being written and said about me. Now I
can read and see it, it hurts to be compared to William J. Stevens II,
John Wayne Gacy and the Unabomber. What was it one tabloid called
me? That's it 'Jane the ripper'. I'm a doctor, sworn to protect life. How
did I get it so wrong? Kat was right, I am a 'hell bitch'. I had the means
to save millions of lives. I had it in my hand mom. It was so close -- by
now the word cancer could have been said in the same breath as small
pox. How many millions did I kill, mom? How many more are doomed
to die because of my fury? I thought I was so clever tricking them into
the lab and then destroying it. I twisted something designed for the
greater good and turned it into something evil."

Elizabeth felt her hand start to change. The skin turned a green color
and her fingers started to grow into points. Reptilian scales formed
over her hand and up to her wrist. She stared at her clawed, scaly hand
and looked up to the grave once more.
"See mom this is what I really am, a monster underneath this beautiful
flesh. I did this," she said thrusting her clawed hand at the grave. It
turned rapidly back into a normal human hand, "See I can make it go
away, its only flesh after all. The real monster is inside. Y'see mom it's
not like those who've missed out on greatness by accident or ineptitude.
Oh never mind I'm not making any sense at all. I'm just pouring my
heart out."

"Mom, I saw Matthew and Kat together and I know that I could never
find that. It riled me so much, made me so jealous. No matter what I
did to them they came back stronger. I guess that's the real power of
love over hate. mom I'm so sad I've only ever been capable of the
latter. I just hope Matthew can cope with what's being done to him, and
I do dread to think what Osman's done to Cathline. Why is it that I
always have to turn on the ones closest to me? Still when all set and the
dust's settled, maybe they'll find it in their hearts to forgive me. If I fail
then I'll be remembered as a mass killer, arch villianess and all round
'hell bitch'. If not then there's a chance at redemption. After all, a
chance is all I need."

Elizabeth rubbed her eyes, now streaming with tears. "Sorry I'm
rambling, mom but this helps. I guess you could call this moment my
Gethsemane. From this point on my gaze is fixed on the cross I have to
bear. Goodbye mom and dad, my atonement and redemption awaits."

Elizabeth stood up; brushed away another set of tears and walked off.
There was much still to be done.

- o - o - o -

Tina slowly came around and tried to move. She felt herself being
restrained in someway. She opened her eyes and tried to make out her
surroundings. She looked downwards and saw that she'd been stripped
naked and chained to a wall. She shuddered with fear and was about to
cry out when she heard a moan coming from the far fall.

"Hello?" Tina called out.

The only reply was another painful cry.

Tina tried to pull loose her chains but they were fastened into the wall.
Gradually her eyes adjusted to the dim light and she looked over to
where the moan came from. She saw that Cathline had been chained to
the wall and stripped also. Her immaculate body was exposed to all
eyes to see. Cathline's head hung low as though in pain and fear, her
chains taking the weight of her limp body. Tina took a brief look
around to see if anyone was around and called out again "Cathline, it's
me Tina. Are you Ok?"

Cathline only murmured in reply.

"Come on Cathline, wake up," Tina called once more.

Cathline stirred and cried out in pain.

"Cathline you ok? Hey listen I was wrong Dr Bexley is way out of my
league ok?"

"Shut up Tina I've listened to your inane chatter enough. In answer to
your question I am NOT ok," Cathline snarled.

Tina let out a gasp as she saw Cathline lift her head up to look at her.
Cathline's left eye was no more. It's bloodied, lidless socket stared back
at Tina. Blood was drying on Cathline's face and hair and Cathline's
good eye stared back in unadulterated fury. Tina turned away in horror.

"Don't worry I know what it looks like. I saw it in the mirror everyday
for a year. That fucking bitch, that fucking bitch! Not content with
doing it to me once she goes and fucking well does it again. Fucking
bitch," Cathline snarled and she started to sob softly.

"Is there anyway we can get out of here?" Tina asked.

"If I knew where 'here' was I could comment. No offence Tina but the
best way to survive is to wait and take your opportunity when it comes.
Don't resist, don't fight back and most of all no matter what they do to
you endure it."

"No chance. Look I'll try to distract them and by the looks of it you

"Can do what Tina? I'm in fucking agony; we're chained hand and foot
to the wall. Now please shut it," Cathline snarled.

"You may be content to wait here to be maimed and screwed but I'm
not. Hey how-about some food down here!" Tina called out.

Hearing no response Tina turned back to Cathline but saw that Cathline
had passed out, her head slumped forward. Staring harder she noticed a
fresh drip of blood, starting to trickle down Cathline's neck.

Tina leaned back and tried to relax. In some ways Cathline had been
right, but it was so frustrating hanging powerless and bound. She'd seen
a new side to Cathline, a darker more vicious side. Tina reflected on
what had happened to her. What the fuck had Dr Bexley done to her?
Man, she was fast. Dr Bexley had thrown them right off guard by her
admission. Cathline had told them that if Dr Bexley was trying to pass
herself off as Matthew then she'd do it thoroughly and she'd only be
revealed by a small error. Her coming in with all guns blazing was right
out of the blue. She wondered if Scott had managed to escape, for sure
the authorities would be going ape over the abduction and that was their
only chance.

- o - o - o -

Hassan woke up to the smell of rich, hot coffee. He smelled perfume
and sighed softly.

"Morning my master," A smooth female voice whispered.

"Ahh thank you my Jewel, You may leave now."

The petite but curvy woman bowed and walked out.

Hassan reached over and picked up the coffee cup. Taking a sip he
reflected upon the day ahead.

After his daily workout and a shower Hassan took a walk thru the
garden on his way to the office. Stopping by to admire the sweet smell
coming from numerous flowers he breathed in the air and let the
sensation take away the stress of the day to come.

Hassan walked into his office and switched on the videophone.
Checking his watch he saw that it should be about 21:00 in Australia.

He called the number and typed in his private encryption key. Before he
could press send there was a knock at the door.

"It can wait," Hassan called.

A voice called thru the thick wooden doors "Hassan this is urgent. It
cannot wait."

Hassan sighed and switched off the phone. "Come in this had better be

The man entered the room and passed a DVD optical disk to Hassan
and said "A report from Osman in America. He says it is of vital
importance and to use key seven."

"Thank you, that will be all, dismissed," Hassan said.

The man bowed slightly and left the room. Hassan looked up at the
door and powered on his PC. After waiting for the PC to boot up
Hassan inserted the disk. The screen went blank and Hassan paused for
a moment before typing in a 15-character password.

The disk whirred and an image of Osman appeared.

"Hassan, Sorry to interrupt your morning but this is important."

"Our sources inside the CIA have indicated that they have spotted the
remnants from the launch. We had thought their technology was unable
to determine such details but this must be something new. It is my
opinion that the operation is in jeopardy unless the timescales are
drastically cut. On the other matter, the pick up went as planned. The
local authorities put up little resistance and the changeling we planted in
the security detail succeeded in preventing the alarm from being raised."

Hassan pressed pause on the player and leant back on his chair. Osman
was right this could be serious. If the Americans were suspicious then it
would be likely they would call on the Israeli intelligence to help them
out. The CIA did not worry Hassan too much, Mossad on the other
hand did. The CIA although many times larger and better funded than
their Israeli counterpart was not regarded as the premier security service
in the world. Mossad took that honor. Where the CIA, MI6 and the
KGB all had, had their share of embarrassing breaches, Mossad had
none. No it was Mossad that was the real danger.

Hassan started the player again and listened to Osman's voice "I will
stay here for a few more days, to ensure that our plans are not in
jeopardy at this end. I may even send you a couple of presents for your
collection, until then goodbye. Oh by the way I think it wise not to
inform Salah of the change in plan, just in case he's planning something
before we have chance to deal with him."

The screen went blank and Hassan pressed the erase button on the
player. Within moment the DVD disk was completely erased. Hassan
redialled the number on the videophone and waited for the reply.

A minute or so later the phone was answered and the doctor's face
appeared on screen. He looked surprised and gathering himself said
"Hassan, it is a great honor. What can I do for you?"

"Thing have changed. I want him re-programmed faster."

"Yes Hassan. It will mean that the conversion will be hurried and not as
through as it should be."

"Not important. Just have him ready in five days,"

"As you wish," the doctor answered.

"Thank you. Let me know when it's complete, Hassan out," Hassan
said and put the phone down. He quickly dialled another number and
the face of a younger man appeared on screen.

"Yes Hassan," the man asked.

"I want production completed within the next fourteen days."

"But Hassan what you ask is impossible, the enzymes cannot produce
the chemical fast enough to produce the required volume."

"I don't care, do it!" Hassan said sternly.

The man flinched, "Yes Hassan, we will do our utmost."

"That's all I ask."

"Just a thought -- if we got Dr Bexley involved maybe she could help
us?" the man asked.

"No she must remain unaware of our plans. Besides she is needed
elsewhere. She will wish to be with her new 'wife'. Your team is very
capable. I have every confidence in you. Hassan out."

This was turning out to be a hectic morning but Hassan had just one
other call to make. Quickly dialling another number, he waited for the
phone to be answered. After a while the phone was picked up and
Hassan just said one sentence. "Go with what we have. The rest will
follow," Hassan then put the phone down and called for some more

- o - o - o -

Solomon Stern hurried down the corridor, clutching a brown paper
folder he knocked on his supervisor's door.

"Yes come in."

Solomon burst in and said "Sir we've just had this delivered by our
operatives in Egypt," he said handing over the folder to him.

His supervisor opened the folder and thought for a moment. "Is this
what I think it is?"

Solomon nodded "Its designs match the specifications and dimensions
of a Bexley DNA system."

"Where is it located?"

"On an airbase near Cairo. Our agents say it was brought in a few days
ago. This is most worrying."

"Indeed. I cannot believe that Egypt would fly in the face of the Fury
Directive. They risk so much for so little gain. Are we sure this is not
some new radar?"

Solomon shook his head. "No you can make out the imaging system
with the connections to the drug production centre. The shape of the
system is unmistakable."

"Is there any chance that this is false information. That we are being
tricked in someway?"

"No chance," Solomon said grimly.

"Still we must be sure. Leave this with me and I'll take it to the Knesset
in person. Good work Solomon. You may have just saved this country
from its biggest threat since the gulf war."

- o - o - o -

Senator Walter Jameson's phone rang and his new secretary, Jill picked
it up. On hearing the voice she put it right thru. "Senator. It's the
president. He wants to speak with you urgently."

"Ok got it," Senator Jameson replied.

"Hi Bob what can I do for you?" Senator Jameson asked.

"You really screwed up this time Walter. What the hell do you think
you were playing at? Hell we all get tempted sometimes but this goes
too far. My press people are calling for your ass and I'm having a tough
time defending it," the voice from the phone boomed out.

"Mr President I can assure you that nothing untoward happened that
weekend. I needed to get to grips with your budget proposals that you
asked me to personally look into. So I went away to my cabin in the
mountains to think. I took Anne with me to write up my notes. She
stayed in a nearby motel, while I stayed in the cabin. She screwed up
big time so I fired her. You can check if you like," Senator Jameson
said back.

"Walter, we've already done it. You are quite right it does check out. I
just had to be sure that's all. Say how about coming over for a round of
golf tomorrow? Just you and us no press and just a skeleton security
presence. I thought we'd try that private course of mine again."

"That'll be fine, Say 11am at your place? Jack not coming?"

"Great, Nah Vice President Roberts can't make it, somebody's gotta
look after the world while you and I play golf. Oh by the way you can
tell me what really went on then."

"Thank you mister president," Senator Jameson said and put the phone
down. He stared at his hand for a moment and a small tube grew from
between thumb and forefinger. He looked at it carefully and it retracted
back in. If all went well then tomorrow America would have a new

- o - o - o -

Elizabeth's plane landed at Tripoli airport. She was wearing the body of
an Australian journalist. She found this particular form useful for travel
as a journalist attracts little attention. She collected her baggage and
wheeled it out into the tarmac car park. She waited for about ten
minutes before a battered black Mercedes limo pulled up. The driver
gave the correct signal, a single fingered salute, and Elizabeth walked
over, threw her bags inside and got in.

"Welcome back Dr Bexley, I trust that it all went well?"

"It all went to plan. Tell me is, Salah still here, I needed to talk to him?"

"Hassan has sent Salah to America. He thinks Salah has got puffed up
with his own importance."

Elizabeth nodded. It was common knowledge that the young upstart
Salah had fallen from grace. There had even been rumors that he was
planning to overthrow Hassan. Feigning ignorance, Elizabeth continued
"I thought Salah was Hassan's chosen one?"

"Not anymore. That is all I can say on that matter."

Elizabeth sat back in her seat and thought for a moment. Chauffeurs
and Taxi drivers were excellent sources of information. They took the
important people to where they needed to go and listened in on every
piece of conversation going. Of course they had to be discrete but if
they felt strongly on an issue information could be extracted. "Tell me,
what do you think of the Guild's changelings?"

"You mean you or the other ones?"

Elizabeth tried not to flinch at this slip, she'd suspected since New York
but this was grim news "All of us?"

"You are very useful but you scare us, My friend Allah became one.
Did you meet him during your training?

Training! "No my friend I didn't. He must have been after me."

"Shame, you'd have liked him. I think he went to America."

"I see. Listen I'm a little tired and I need to rest. Here have a hundred
dollars for such a smooth ride. You must be one of Hassan's best

The driver almost puffed himself up with pride and said "Thank you Dr
Bexley. Hassan uses me for all his important guests."

Satisfied that she'd got as much information as she could, Elizabeth
closed her eyes and tried to go to sleep, her mind buzzing with the news
of the changelings. How the hell had the Guild gotten past her blocks?
She was the only person to have unlimited changes, all the other organs
she'd developed could instigate only a few changes at the most. The
organ would then break down and be re-absorbed into the body, leaving
the person in that form. That's what she'd done to Salah. He was now
locked into that form, albeit with a limited capacity for tissue repair.
She thought a little further -- what if they reserved the last change to
grow a new organ using the mass and material from the old one? She'd
thought of this one but it introduced dangerous amounts of the
changeling drug into the system. It'd make the changeling
uncontrollable over a period of time; they'd slip further into madness
with each change they did. They couldn't be relied on for extended
periods of time. Storing that theory away Elizabeth made a mental note
of the equipment she needed to gather from her lab. If her theory was
correct she'd need every bit of cunning to get it out but it was essential.

Hassan stared at the monitor in fury. He saw Dr Bexley asleep on the
back seat of the Limo and the driver was listening to the radio. He
swore a deep oath and sat back to think. Somehow Dr Bexley had
tricked the driver into revealing about his changelings. Now that she
knew that piece of information what would she do about it? He pressed
a button under his desk and large, heavily built man walked in.

"Yes Hassan."

"The driver of Dr Bexley's car has betrayed us. Get rid of him and
ensure his family are driven out of their homes."

The big man nodded "Yes Hassan."

Hassan watched the large man walk out and close the door behind him.
This was complex now. He decided to call Dr Bexley right in when she
arrived. Was her desire for Matthew greater then the desire to protect
her inventions? Hassan saw now that the decision to bring everything
forward had been a wise one. The calculations his engineers had made
showed that fifty warheads would be enough but that seventy would
ensure complete coverage with enough left over to make rescue
attempts difficult. Still the question of the day was who's side was Dr
Bexley on. Osman didn't trust her. Salah was furious at her for some
reason. And the rest of the higher orders of the Guild gave her a wide
berth, just as one does with a dangerous animal. Hassan knew that deep
inside she still thirsted for revenge on those who'd destroyed her life. It
was that fire that kept her loyal and the reason why Matthews's
conversion was so important. It kept Dr Bexley distracted from his
main mission. Matthew's conversion was his insurance against Dr
Bexley. As long as he had Matthew Dr Bexley would fall in line.

Hassan turned his attention to Salah. Osman had wanted him killed but
a martyr was the last thing he needed. Salah and his supporters would
soon be discredited in the eyes of the Guild and then Salah could be
dealt with. That was the nice thing about this plan. Not only would it
put the Guild back where it was a thousand years ago, it would dispose
of Salah's doubting faction once and for all.

- o - o - o -

The Black Mercedes limo drew up into the parking lot. Elizabeth got
out of the car and retrieved her baggage. She thanked the driver and
walked out of the lot into a large, ornate reception area. A large,
heavily built man walked past her and nodded his recognition. Elizabeth
nodded back and proceeded to walk briskly towards Hassan's office.

Hassan was just finishing his conversation with the doctor in Australia
when Elizabeth came storming in. "What the fuck do you think you're
playing at," she demanded.

Hassan looked up in anger, terminated the call and snapped back "Dr
Bexley. NEVER forget whom you are talking to. I could kill you with
single command. You are tired and weary after your journey so I will
let this disrespect pass just this once. The next time you will not find
me so forgiving. Now what is the problem?"

Elizabeth didn't wait to be asked to sit down and she sat herself down
on the leather chair opposite Hassan. "Why didn't you trust me with the
changeling project? Why did you keep their existence from me? There is
much work that needs to be done to perfect the organ. Any changeling
you have produced will be unstable, longer term I cannot guarantee
their well being."

"Not as much work as you want me to believe. I know about the
perfected organ you carry inside you. My operatives have noticed the
way you use it, almost as an extension to your own body. The
changelings I have produced have to be very careful about energy usage
and how much they expose themselves to the changeling drug. Now,
either you are in better physical shape than my elite are or you have lied
to me. Which is it to be?"

Elizabeth thought for a moment. "Hassan I have not lied to you. You
are correct in that the organ I carry is more advanced that the one
installed in Salah. I needed to test it fully before producing more. It's
not my fault you didn't listen to my advice and so go behind my back, it
is yours. Now will you withdraw your changelings so I can help them
or will they die in a few months?"

Hassan relaxed back in his chairs and laughed "I like you Dr Bexley.
You do not bow to my will easily. If you believe I am in error you will
tell me. How do you say 'straight up'? My plans demand the use of the
changelings right away. When the plan is complete then you can give
them the advanced version. It should be over in just a few months,
which is plenty of time to help them. I realise you didn't want to
disappoint me in this matter but next time please inform me of such

Elizabeth breathed a sigh of relief "Thank you Hassan. Now may I ask
if I may go to Australia to meet my bride to be?"

"He is not ready yet, alas. I thought you might like to help in his
conversion. Your unique knowledge of his psyche plus those 'failsafe'
codes you implanted a few years back will help speed things up

"Thank you Hassan. May I enquire what your plans are?"

"You may not. Just watch the news, that's all I can say. That will be all
Dr Bexley. Goodbye," Hassan dismissed Elizabeth with a swish of his

Elizabeth stood up and bowed slightly and left the room. Hassan turned
to his videophone and made a call to America.

Osman's face appeared on the screen "Yes Hassan?"

"How are things in America? I have speeded up the program as you
recommended. I am starting to think that Dr Bexley could be a threat
during this crucial phase of our operation. The sooner she is with her
'wife' the better."

"I am glad you are starting to think as I do. The presents Dr Bexley
delivered for me, what do wish done with them?"

"There are two women and two men correct?" Hassan asked

"Yes. One of the women is quite plain, the other as though Allah
himself had made her. Unfortunately the beautiful one is Cathline
Richards so I have had to dispense her punishment once more. She is
still beautiful, Hassan."

Hassan didn't flinch at Osman's last remark. "They are in your hands
Osman. I'm sure you can think of something interesting to do with

"I have already thought of an entertaining diversion. Thank you."

"Is Salah there yet?"

"He arrives tomorrow. I think you are playing a dangerous game with
him. Do you wish me to kill him?"

"No leave him alone, let him think he is carrying out his duty. When
our plans have succeeded then he and his followers will be discredited.
Then we can deal with him in the most appropriate way."

"As you wish," Osman said.

"Hassan out," Hassan said and flicked off the phone.

- o - o - o -

"Good evening Dr Bexley, How are we today?" the doctor asked

"What do you mean evening? You only visited me three hours ago,"
Matthew responded.

"You are mistaken, this is my first visit today."

"Why do you insist on calling me Dr Bexley?"

"Because that's who you are. The hospital has given me the task of
helping you remember who you really are. I can only help you if you
allow me to," the doctor said in a matter of fact way.

"I don't need your help. My name is Matthew Stephens, I was married
to Jane Stephens who I still love with all my heart,"

The doctor reached inside his pocket and pulled out a faded
photograph, showing it to Matthew he demanded "Who is in this

"It's Elizabeth and I. We'd just been on a picnic in the woods near her
house. It was a few days after she'd asked me to marry her," Matthew

"Nearly there. Your answer should have been 'It's Matthew and I.
We'd just been on a picnic in the woods near my house. It was a few
days after I'd asked him to marry me'," the doctor replied.

"No that's not it at all. My name is Matthew Stephens, I was married to
Jane Stephens who I still love with all my heart."

"I've been authorized by your parents to use Electro-shock therapy.
They're concerned that you're not responding to the drugs. I will press
this button here every time you answer incorrectly. The sensation is
most unpleasant I can assure you. Remember I'm only doing this for
your own good," the doctor showed Matthew a small button attached
to a remote.

"Go to hell," Matthew spat back.

"Now for a simple question. Who are you?"

"My name is Matthew Stephens, I was married to Jane Stephens who I
still love with all my heart," Matthew said defiantly.

"Wrong answer," the doctor said and depressed the button.

Matthew screamed as pain rippled thru his body. He felt as though his
pussy was on fire and hot irons were being pressed into his flesh.

"Sorry about that. Now once again, Who are you?"

"My name is Matthew Stephens, I was married to Jane Stephens who I
still love with all my heart."

"I don't understand why you are deluding yourself Elizabeth. I only
want the best for you," the doctor said and pressed the button once

Matthew's back arched in agony as he felt his nerve endings burn with
pain. "My. Name.. Is. Matthew.. Stephens. I. was.. married
. to."

"Dr Bexley please let me help you. I hate doing this to you. I really
don't want to do this," the doctor said and pressed the button

A piercing scream erupted from Matthew's mouth as he felt his entire
body shake with the pain. His nipples felt as though they were on fire
and his head span with suffering. "My... Name ... Is... Matthew

PHOTOGRAPH?" the doctor shouted back.

Days of hunger, thirst, confusion and boredom had taken their toll on
Matthew's psyche. The stimulants that had been pumped into his body
day and night to aid sleep depravation and the hallucinogenic drugs had,
just as predicted, worn down Matthew's resistance. In his mind
Matthew decided to say whatever they wanted him to say, anything to
ease his situation. After all, one admission wouldn't mean they'd won
would it?

"WHO ARE YOU?" the doctor demanded.

Matthew could just about say "My Name is Dr Elizabeth Anne Bexley,"
before he passed out from pain and fatigue.

"There, that wasn't so difficult was it. I'll make sure you get that glass
of water you asked for. We will pick this up again in a few hours."

The doctor turned around and left the sleeping Matthew on the bed. He
allowed himself a smile. This may work out just fine after all.

- o - o - o -

"Cathline wake up will you? Come on girl, fight it!" Tina called out to

Cathline stirred and stared back at Tina. The bleeding around her
eyeless socket had eased but the look of fury and anger had not. Tina
could almost feel the anger emanating from Cathline, as if it could reach
out and strike down those who'd wronged her. Cathline managed to say
to Tina "I don't want or need your fucking platitudes, don't call me girl!
And I assure you I have every intention of fighting it to my last breath."

"Hey sorry, I was only trying to help," Tina said back.

Cathline regained some strength and managed to stand upright once
more. "I just want you to know that you cannot replace Kat. She
treated me with dignity and respect. You treat me as though I'm some
poor innocent crime victim who you need to protect. Besides when Kat
gets back she'll rescue us."

Tina looked on in pity. The pain and stress had driven Cathline to the
point of delirium. Tina looked away and said nothing in return.

"What's up cop? cat got your tongue? You are the most irritating
woman I've ever met. You treat no one with respect, the only job you
think worth doing is your own. Who the hell got in your craw to make
you like this?"

"That's my own business. I just want to say you still look beautiful.
With a patch you'd look mighty sexy too," Tina tried to calm Cathline

"Tina, shut the fuck up. The sooner they come to fuck me the better, at
least I'll have something else to think about."

"Cathline, getting bitter and angry about it won't help. If we're to get
out of this we'll need to team up. I'm sorry if I've offended you in some
way but you'll have to take me as I am. Since you've been honest to me
I'll be frank with you. I think you're a stuck up bitch who's holier than
thou attitude really pisses me off. I know I'm not your beloved Kat but
if she were here she'd tear so many strips off you, you could use them in
Vegas. Dr Bexley has to be stopped and brought to justice but standing
there just getting angry isn't going to help. When you first awoke here
you gave me some good advice. Wait and we'll see what turns up.
We've still got Scott and Marcel to find, they'll either need our help or
help us out. Look why don't we call a truce?"

"You know what?" Cathline managed to say.

"Tell me?"

Cathline managed a wry smile "You sounded just like Kat just then --
maybe you're not so bad after all."

"For a stuck up bitch you're not so bad either," Tina smiled back.

The conversation was interrupted by the sound of heavy footsteps.
Both women froze as the bulky figure of Osman walked down the steps.

"I'm glad to see you ladies are getting on so well. Cathline I've got a
present for you," Osman said reaching into his pocket.

Cathline looked on as Osman pulled out an ornate eye-patch. He
walked over and with his large, rough hand held Cathline's head still.
With the other hand he put the eye-patch on so that it covered over
Cathline's ruined eye. Osman took a step back and took a look at
Cathline and said "Much better, Now I have some entertainment for

- o - o - o -

Senator Jameson eyed the ball and relaxed his shoulders. Concentrating
hard, he swung his 5 iron in a smooth practised motion. He kept his
eyes on the ball as it sailed into the air and landed in the middle of a
large patch of trees. "Fuck," he swore.

President Andrews laughed and said, "Come on now Walter, you don't
have to let the president win."

Senator Jameson glared back and said, "Help me look will you?"

"Sure." President Jameson said and motioned to the secret service
agents to assist as well. The agents sprinted into the wooded area to
help while Senator Jameson and the president strolled towards the

"Say Walter, what really went on between your secretary and you the
other week?"

"I told you, I'll be willing to show you the numbers tomorrow. Say, I
think the ball went into that thick patch of bushes over there," Senator
Jameson said.

"Are you sure? I didn't think you hit it that hard. Oh well it won't hurt
to look," the president replied.

A single member of the secret service detail stayed with the president as
the rest of them went to ensure the woods were clear .A short while
later Senator Jameson and the president ventured inside the small copse
of bushes. Senator Jameson concentrated hard and felt a small talon
grow from his finger. He pointed down to the ground and called "Hey
bob, I think it's here."

The president stopped looking where he was and walked over to where
Senator Jameson stood. "I don't see anything," he said.

In a motion too quick for the eye to follow Senator Jameson had
stabbed the president in the neck with his talon. The president stared in
horror before collapsing onto the floor. Senator Jameson stripped off
his clothes, and as he did so his body started to melt and reform. He
only had a few seconds to do this before the secret service arrived.
Quickly stripping the president's body of it's clothing he felt the last of
his changes complete. Now looking like an identical copy of the fallen
president he turned his attention to the body on the floor. It started to
change, legs changing, flesh rippling and face changing. Within a few
seconds the body on the floor resembled that of Senator Jameson.
Quickly dressing the body in his cast off clothing he took one last look
around, checking all was set. The secret service agent who had
followed them into the bushes gave a single fingered salute to the new
'president' before rushing off to find help. The new president cleared his
throat and shouted, "Quick, Help I think the Senators had a heart

- o - o - o -

Salah touched down at a small airstrip just outside Phoenix, Arizona.
Walking down the ramp of his Lear jet he was met by a gleaming white
Cadillac limo. Collecting his bags, he got into the rear seat and closed
the door behind him. The driver turned to Salah and said "Welcome my
master, where do you want to go today?"

"Take me to Osman. I need to see him urgently," Salah replied.

"I obey. How goes our cause?" the driver asked.

"Our cause goes well. Nearly twenty percent of the Guild follows me
now. That fool Hassan will only destroy us. He should have stepped
down because of his failure to procure the DNA system."

The driver started the engine and drove smoothly away. Turning on the
intercom the driver said, "Then we move soon?"

"Not yet. The time is not yet right, we still have much to plan and more
allies to gain. My agents in Australia will make moves to recruit Dr
Bexley. She would be a powerful ally."

"But she is loyal to Hassan. She will not turn, she owes him too much."

"We will see. I think Hassan's hold on her is less than he thinks. She is
like a Cobra inside a basket. Hassan thinks he has the lid on firmly. It is
my job to ensure that it comes off and releases the Cobra when he least
expects it."

"I see," the driver said.

Salah sat back and relaxed, it would be a long drive to the Guilds US
headquarters. He reflected on the words he'd just spoken to the driver.
He just hoped Dr Bexley would in fact turn on Hassan, the whole
scheme relied on it.

- o - o - o -

Cathline was released from the chains and given a purple silk outfit.
She bent down and put it on, looking for all intents and purposes like
some kind of belly dancer. Tina too was released and thrown a blue silk
outfit of the same design. She was about to resist but a glance from
Cathline warned her otherwise. Two guards joined Osman and they
escorted Cathline and Tina up the steps and into a long corridor.
Cathline was still exhausted from having to fight the pain but Tina
helped her along. Osman walked behind them, and Cathline could feel
the lust for her burning within him as he walked behind. Cathline
shivered in fear, knowing only too well what was going to happen next.

A hundred meters along, they stopped outside a viewing gallery.
Osman bade them sit down on the row of chairs in front of a plate glass
window Peering thru the glass they saw two surgical beds with two
large tv screens in front of them. Tina gasped in horror as she noticed
Scott and Marcel strapped firmly in. Several tubes ran from their arms
and into IV's mounted on stands along one side of the bed. Looking
closely Tina could see that Scott and Marcel were unconscious.

Osman stood along side them and said "Don't they look peaceful. This
is a new game for me but my esteemed colleague Dr Bexley assures me
this will work and be very entertaining as well. Your friends down there
have had changeling organs grown inside them. However they are a
special kind of organ. They will work only once before deactivating
themselves. Of course they will continue to manufacture the drug
required, keeping the body in that shape. No getting around this type of
fixer, or so Dr Bexley tells me."

Tina strained her head and thought she detected a small movement from

"Yes my dear they will awake soon. Dr Bexley tells me that the
changeling organ works by thought and whatever the changeling thinks
of then the organ will make them become it. This is an experiment. I
will play several of your pornographic movies to them. As they become
aroused by these movies it will stimulate the changeling organs inside
them. Dr Bexley also informs me that part of lust is the desire to
possess the object you lust after. Unfortunately for your friends down
there their lust will cause them to change into the item they are lusting

Tina gasped "No, you can't do that. That's horrible!"

Osman ran his finger down Tina's face and Tina flinched away. Osman
paused for a moment and then said "I'm not going to do anything to
them. They are going to do it to themselves. Don't worry, they won't
transform all at once it'll take at least three days. Dr Bexley wants to
get meaningful data from them."

"You bastard!" spat Cathline.

"Yes I am actually. I was abandoned by my parents and left in the street
to die. I stole for food until a member of the Guild found me and
brought me up. BUT enough of this, look they are about to wake up?"

Tina shouted out "Scott don't look at the screens," but the glass was too
thick for him to hear.

Scott awoke feeling as though he'd gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson.
His limbs ached, his arms ached and his stomach felt as weird as hell.
He managed to turn his head to see Marcel lying on a nearby bed.

"Hey Marcel you ok?" Scott managed to say.

Marcel tried to turn his head towards Scott but said nothing.

"What's with the big tv screens?" Scott called out.

Marcel, now more awake turned to look at the large screen in front of
his bed.

Up on the viewing gallery Osman looked at the waking men below.
Turning to Cathline he said, "Good they are awake. Now the fun

- o - o - o -

The guard let Elizabeth back into her lab with the minimum amount of
fuss. Closing the door behind her, Elizabeth looked into the brightly-lit
room. Her tank was still in the corner, the water now dirty and gray
looking. Being a mermaid wasn't so bad when she could enjoy the
ocean but here it was torture. Being unable to escape from her watery
prison, it had nearly driven her mad. She walked over to the bed where
she'd examined Kat. Elizabeth thought back to the struggle Kat had put
up until she had, finally accepted her fate.

Elizabeth pressed a button on a console and two doors slid back,
revealing a secondary room. She looked up and to her horror saw that
her DNA system had been removed. Swearing to herself, she walked
into the space where the DNA system used to be. Panic rising up inside
her, she rushed to a nearby cabinet and opened it. She breathed a sigh
of relief as she saw a small bottle with a yellowish liquid inside. Taking
it she stuffed it into her pocket and continued to investigate.

"Where did I put it?" she said to herself as she rummaged thru a set of
draws. At last she pulled out a passport and drivers license in the name
of "Jane Stephens" and put them in her pocket as well.

Elizabeth heard a sound behind her and whirled around. "Hassan what
you doing here?" she demanded.

"I might ask the same thing. There is nothing here for you Dr Bexley.
Show me what you have just taken," Hassan demanded, a look of
suspicion, doubt and being betrayed on his face.

"In a moment. What the Fuck have you done with MY DNA system?"
Elizabeth demanded.

"SHOW ME," Hassan snarled back.

Not wishing to anger Hassan any further Elizabeth reached into her
pockets and pulled out the Passport and bottle of liquid."

"What are those?" Hassan asked.

Elizabeth looked as though she'd been wrongly accused of something
and said, "I'm taking these to help in my darling Matthew's conversion.
He still loves Kat, even though she is dead. To fully turn him we need
to break him of that. When he is the middle of our drug-induced stupor
I will appear to him as Kat and make him think that his love of Kat was
only some perverse illusion. The drivers licence is proof if he demands
it and the liquid is some of Kat's cells in suspension. As you know to
make an exact copy requires a copy of the DNA. When I turn into a
facsimile of a person I'm only superficially them, inside I'm still me.
That's why a changeling prefers to use a talon of some description
before switching. The talon enables the DNA to be copied via blood
transfer. Kat is gone so I can't use that method and Matthew would
spot a poor copy a mile off."

Hassan thought for a moment and then looked satisfied. He turned and
went to walk out. A thought struck him and he turned to face Elizabeth
once more.

"Dr Bexley, your attitude is changing towards me. Once you were
subservient to me, now you treat me as an equal. I am not your equal! I
am your master. Once you joined the Guild you joined for life. You are
the first woman to ever be allowed to do so. This isn't some American
club you subscribe to and then leave at the nearest whim. IF you leave
it is because I wish it. I would suggest you think on our capabilities and
your attitude. There are many among us who see you as a danger to us.
I am not yet among them, pray I never join them." Hassan turned and

Elizabeth put the license and bottle back in her pocket and taking a last
look around left the laboratory.

- o - o - o -

"Your paper Prime Minister," Inspector Jones said, handing today's
copy of the Times to the Prime Minister.

"Thank you Inspector. That'll be all," the Prime Minister replied.

Inspector Jones nodded and left the room.

The Prime Minister sat down and started to read the foreign office
briefings. A few reports gave him cause for concern. Firstly the
Israeli's were getting jumpy again. Apparently they'd moved two whole
armored divisions to the Egyptian border. The diplomatic language said
they were on exercise but as everyone knew they were warning Egypt
about something. Of course in response Egypt had sent eight of its
armored and infantry divisions on similar exercises and tensions in the
region had once again been raised.

Looking down to another column he saw that Senator Walter Jameson
had had a heart attack. The president was going to have a full state
funeral with full honors for his friend.

Picking up his copy of 'The Times' he noticed that it contained most of
what he'd just read in his briefings. He smiled to himself as he thought
that all the foreign office did was paraphrase what was in the
newspapers and on the TV. He knew the American State Department
did, or rather President Andrews told him they did. I guess the media
did rule the world after all.

Scanning down the page he noticed that Rachel Martin, her agent,
Matthew Stephens, and two police officers from the NYPD had gone
missing. Some kind of commando style kidnap. No demands had been
made as yet and only the untimely death of the senator had removed the
story from the front pages of the American press. He noted that even
the Times had resorted to speculation on her fate. Their correspondent
reckoned that Dr Bexley had made a comeback and that this was her
revenge. None of that bothered the Prime Minister as he put the paper
down and continued with his paperwork.

Several hours later the Cabinet Secretary, Sir James Hacker came in and
informed the Prime Minister that it was time to leave for his
constituency. Placing all the documents inside his ministerial red box.
He left 10 Downing street and got into a government black Jaguar along
side two other special branch officers.

Inspector David Jones sat down in the drivers seat and closed the door.
Unlike the American way of providing a full motorcade to protect it's
VIP's the British have decided on a more discrete form of protection.
Usually two or three unmarked police vehicles head and tail the Prime
Ministers car. It's their job to ensure that no car gets alongside or
passes them. Should trouble arise then special branch can be at the site
within minutes.

At 2am the traffic was very light and it took scarcely half an hour to get
out of London and onto the freeway, the black Jaguar and its Rover
escorts mixing in with the rest of the traffic. The Prime Minister's car
and escorts had just passed Cambridge when the police car behind him
shot alongside to prevent another car from overtaking. The Prime
Minister looked behind him and said to inspector Jones "Everything

"Of course. Just a precautionary measure, just relax sir," one of the
other protection officers said.

The car that had tried to overtake dropped back and the police car
pulled back behind the Prime Minister's car. Suddenly there was a loud
explosion from the trailing police car and it erupted into flame. The
Prime minister was shocked to find that instead of speeding away the
car was slowing down. Inspector what the hell is going on?" the Prime
Minster demanded

"Sorry sir. We must have got a puncture."

"But these tyres are.."

The PM's sentence was cut off by another loud explosion from the
police car in front. Instinctively he ducked down as bullets impacted the
armored glass. Inspector Jones slammed on the brakes and put the car
into a sideways slide and stopped.

The car that had been following stopped also, as did a small Renault in
front. Within seconds four men from each car had leaped out and
surrounded the Prime Ministers car. Before they had reached it the
other special branch officers inside the car had jumped out and were
returning fire at the approaching men killing two of them instantly. One
of the special branch officers noticed that the bodies seemed to melt and
dissolve away, however the sound of bullets impacting the armored
door of the Jaguar dragged him away from his analysis.

"Stay here, I'll take the PM," Inspector Jones said to the others. They
nodded their agreement and set up a defensive ring around the car. The
PM lay flat on the carpeted floor of his Jaguar with Inspector Jones on
top. A small talon grew out from Inspector Jones finger and the PM
cried out as it jabbed into his neck, and then he went quiet. The firing
ceased and a masked face appeared at the door. It gave a single
fingered salute and then stood on guard by the car.

Closing the door of the Jaguar Inspector Jones proceeded to strip the
unconscious body of the PM, while his own body started to change.
Looking back a few seconds later he saw with some satisfaction that the
PM had started to change into a duplicate of the late inspector. A
minute or so later the new PM had switched clothes with the body on
the floor. The new PM gave a signal to his comrade and they both
dragged the unconscious body of the PM out of the car. One of the
masked men stood some distance away before putting a bullet thru the
late Prime Ministers head. The whole ambush, switch and gunning
down of the escort had taken a total of four minutes.

A minute later multiple police cars with armed officers on board were
rushing to the scene. The six gunmen who were left adopted a
defensive position around each of their cars and proceeded to open fire
at the incoming police.

It was a one sided battle however and the heavily outnumbered the
gunmen surrendered. However as soon as the police closed in each
gunman collapsed and started to dissolve into a red liquid on the floor.
A very shaken PM was soon surrounded by police officers and
explained that Inspector Jones was a hero. He'd used himself as a shield
in order to protect the PM and had been shot just as the police arrived.

In a matter of moments the Prime Minster was hustled inside another
police Rover and driven away from harm. A red fluid trickled under the
wheels of the bullet riddled Jaguar, the only remains of the masked men
who had attempted to assassinate the British Prime Minster.

- o - o - o -

Hassan sat at his desk and read the reports of the latest set of
changeling infiltration's. He was especially proud of the British switch.
It had cost the lives of eight of his elite assassins but it was well worth
the effort. Now the British would increase security around their Prime
Minister and thus give additional security to the changeling impostor.
No trace of the bodies of his forces would be found, only a thick red
organic residue. He knew that it would be identical in nature to the
effects of his DNA warhead but that was part of the plan also. Britain
would link the two events together and thus be even more likely to take
sides against the enemy.

He thought back to his conversation with Dr Bexley. She seemed very
guilty when questioned about the equipment she'd taken from her lab.
Her explanation was a good one however, and may even have been true.
The doctor overseeing Matthews's conversion would confirm her story
of course. If it proved to be a lie, then the good doctor would find
herself in Osman's capable hands.

A buzzer sounded on the videophone and Hassan Keyed in the required
encryption key. A young face, with unkempt brown hair and glasses
was on screen. "Yes!" Hassan demanded.

"Master Hassan. We need to replicate the Guild database from this site
to the others around the world. I need you to enter your personal
encryption code to allow the data transfer to continue."

Hassan sighed, "Do you have to do it now. I need all the network
capacity I can get at the moment."

"Sorry master but yes. Your policy of information backup in case of
disaster requires it. We haven't updated our records since the new
network went on line. The transfer will be done piece by piece, data
packet by data packet. We'll slip it into the global communications
network. Nobody will notice small amounts of data from seemingly
random sources. Even if they did the 128 bit encryption we obtained
from out American friends will prevent it from being viewed."

"Go ahead. How long?"

"Around six hours."

"Proceed! Hassan out."

Hassan leaned back in his chair and pondered. Things were much
simpler when his father was in charge. Now the Guild was as much
about technology as it was about it's other work. Still giving each 'root'
as Dr Bexley called it a stand-alone capability was a valuable tool. Each
root now had it's own copy of the complete Guild archives and could
function as though it was the main headquarters. Contingency for the
plan required such methods. Should the Americans, British, French,
Russian or chinese find out what had happened, the Guild would need
its roots to survive. Of course the 'incident' would divert world
attention away from the Guild and towards its more benign neighbor.
Hassan checked his watch. Dr Bexley should have landed in Australia
by now. How she behaved with Matthew would determine if she lived
or died.

- o - o - o -

The tv screens in front of Scott and Marcel burst into life. Scott
stared at the screen wondering what they were going to show, some
kind of brainwashing program, Seinfeld, or something more insidious.
Instead the screen showed a busty, blonde woman walking into her
bedroom. She took her skirt off to reveal her long shapely legs. She
walked over to the bed and pulled the sheets back only to find another
equally busty woman with long black hair, the woman was wearing a
black Basque and garters.

Scott almost laughed out loud. They were showing him cheap porn
movies. What the hell did they expect to get out of him by showing him
those? Still it helped pass the time and they were particularly bad

The blonde woman on screen started to unbutton her blouse. She
slowly removed it to reveal her large, perfectly formed breasts. She
carefully took off her bra and dropped it on the floor. The woman in
the bed got up and kissed her fully on the lips. In response the blonde
woman pulled her close and ran her fingers down the other woman's
back. The camera zoomed into the blonde woman's legs until they filled
the screen

Subconsciously Scott became aroused at the sight of the blonde
woman's legs. He saw how their shape curved from thigh to ankle and
how her knee formed a perfect join between her calf and thigh. He felt
his cock starting to swell and his own legs start to ache.

His attention was distracted away from the movie showing on screen by
the strange sensations in his legs. He managed to look down and see
that the flesh was reforming and rippling. He tried to stop it but nothing
worked. He noticed that his skin was smoother on his legs and that all
the hair had fallen out. His thighs changed shape and became much
more curved and less muscular. He couldn't see all the way down to his
ankles but his feet were smaller.

In horror he turned away and stared at Marcel. The skin on Marcel's
arms was rippling and his arms were becoming much less muscular and
more dainty. Marcel was staring at his hands as the nails on them grew
and his fingers lengthened. Marcel now had very female arms.

Scott turned away and stared at his new legs. As far as he could tell
they too were very feminine and very seductive, just like the ones on
screen a few moments before. A thought struck him and he let out a
loud scream.

From the viewing gallery Tina and Cathline had watched the whole
thing in horror. Osman stood over them watching the proceedings with
interest. Tina couldn't help but notice the bulge in Osman's trousers as
the change had progressed. Tina turned away and shuddered.

Osman turned to Cathline and said, "See! Dr Bexley was right. I must
say his choice in legs is very fine. I'll give them a chance to recover
before progressing onwards. It's best to take your time, as I'm sure
you'll agree. Now Ladies if you'll follow me. it's your turn to give me
some fun."

- o - o - o -

"How are we today, Dr Bexley?" the doctor asked.

"I'm fine. When do I get out here?" Matthew said. Although deep
down he KNEW he wasn't really Dr Bexley it seemed best at the
moment to make out as if he was.

"When you're better. You know I'm not convinced that you fully
remember your identity. I think you're shamming in order to stop the
electro-shock therapy," the doctor said sternly.

Matthew put on a hurt face "Oh no doctor. I'm really Dr Bexley I know
that now."

"Hmm You are a poor liar Dr Bexley," the doctor reached into his
pocket and pulled out his remote.

"No doctor. I'm better, I really am," Matthew started to panic.

"We shall see," the doctor said and walked out, placing the remote on a
nearby bedside table.

Matthew waited alone in the darkness. It was a dangerous game he was
playing, he could see that. Part of him was starting to think that maybe
he really was Dr Bexley and that the doctor was right. However he
clung to Kat's memory and the good times they'd had together. Kat had
kept him going. He allowed himself to drift off into the hazy daydream
state that had been creeping up on him for the past few hours.

On the other side of the wall the doctor watched the sleeping figure of
Matthew. He turned and saw a woman with black hair and bright green
eyes walking towards him. The woman didn't so much walk as slink
and her nurse's uniform showed off her shapely body. The doctor
estimated that she was around 5'7 and in her late twenties. The woman
walked closer to him and said "Hello Doctor. My name is Dr Elizabeth
Bexley. How's my twin sister?"

The doctor looked startled for a moment and then replied "He's doing
fine. He's telling us what he thinks we want to hear, although he doesn't
yet believe it himself. I thought he was supposed to look like you?"

"I know him very well. In fact I've loved him for years. He's clinging
onto the memory of his dead wife. That's what's keeping him going.
Once we break that he will be much easier to condition. His dead wife
Kat is the single domino. When we push it over his whole psyche will
follow. The body I'm wearing is in the form of his wife. I trust he's
drugged enough for me to do my work?"

"Yes he is. A masterly plan if I might say so," the doctor said, full of

"Thank you," Elizabeth said and went inside the room.

Matthew was awake and on seeing Elizabeth, as 'Kat' walk into the
room shouted out "Kat, You're alive. I knew they hadn't really killed

'Kat' walked over to the bed and in Matthew's confused state just
seemed to drift there. 'Kat' turned to him and said "Who's Kat?. My
name is Louise. I was the nurse who gave you first aid at your

Matthew shook his head "No you're Kat, My wife. What have they
done to you? I missed you so much, every day I wanted to feel your
touch, to hear your voice, to see you laugh Oh! Kat how much I've
missed you!"

"The doctor said that you are sometimes delusional. Dr Bexley what
you're experiencing is classic transference. Because I helped you, you
now think that I'm a close friend or even lover. This is the first time I've
met you since you woke up."

Matthew was confused. What was Kat playing at? "Kat, please listen to
me. It's me, Matthew."

'Kat' walked over to the remote, still lying on a bedside table. Picking it
up she said, "The doctor said you could still be shamming. This will
make sure."

"No Kat please. I love you," Matthew screamed.

'Kat' pressed the button and saw Matthews body arc in pain. Matthew
cried out "Kat stop it," but the pain continued.

"Dr Bexley, Who is Kat?"

"Kat is my wife. She's, you're standing in front of me"

"Wrong answer," 'Kat' said and pressed the button once more. Under
her breath 'Kat' whispered "I'm so sorry my love. Soon it'll be over,
don't fight it."

Matthew cried out as the pain shot thru his very being.


"Kat is the only woman I have ever loved."

"Dr Bexley why do you keep deluding yourself. Kat doesn't exist. My
name is Louise Webb," 'Kat' replied, pressing the button once more.

A howling scream came from Matthew's lips and once the pain had
subsided Matthew managed to say, "I love her, I love Kat."

"Dr Bexley, you love Matthew Stephens. Kat is someone you made up.
WHO IS KAT?" 'Kat' pressed the button once more.

Tears ran down Matthew's face as every nerve in his body felt as though
it was on fire. His head swam with the effects of the drugs and
"I.. Love. Kat," he managed to say.

"Dr Bexley, if I press this button a few more times then you could be
killed. Now Is KAT real?" 'Kat' said, pressing the button hard.

Another scream "yes," Matthew shouted.


A louder scream "YES!"


The scream erupted from Matthew's mouth and stopped as Matthew's
larynx dried up.

"IS KAT REAL?" 'Kat' demanded.

Matthew shook his head softly and whispered "No. I made her up. I
love Matthew Stephens."

"See Dr Bexley, that wasn't so bad after all. Now let me see if the
doctor will allow you some water." 'Kat' said softly, and she began to
stroke his hair with her hands.

Matthew's whole body ached, his head throbbed and his throat was
parched. Deep down he knew Kat was real or at least he thought she
might be real. It didn't matter anyway. He imagined himself in bed with
Kat, as she used to be when he first met her. She was stroking his hair
and whispering sweet nothings into his ear. Matthew relaxed and
drifted away again. A single word seemed to be repeated over and
over. 'Failsafe' this and 'Failsafe' that. Now Matthew was drifting in a
sea of contentment and he felt himself get lighter and lighter. He
imagined his body floating off the bed and then slowly sinking back
down again, but this time into some one else's body. The name of that
person was Dr Elizabeth Anne Bexley. It seemed so homely there that
Matthew decided to stay a while.

- o - o - o -

Two Guild guards led a shocked Tina and Cathline away from the
gallery. Cathline was looking more distressed with every step. Her face
showing every bit of the pain she must be feeling. Tina was just
stunned. She had always felt as though the events in Fury were an
exaggeration, that she could have done better. She realised that she was
just as helpless as Cathline, and it pissed her off. She tried not to think
about what was being done to Scott and Marcel. What the hell would
Rebecca say when Scott came back as a woman? Osman's evil made her
shudder; it made the mailman look like a rank amateur.

They were taken to their dungeon and chained back onto the wall. The
guards left the room, leaving Tina and Cathline alone.

"Cathline you ok?" Tina whispered

"If you ask if I'm ok anymore I'll punch you," Cathline spat.

"What's up with you?"

"Sorry, just that this brings it all back up again. I mean poor Marcel,
your partner too. Funny thing is that this doesn't look like Liz's work. I
mean she's evil, cunning beyond words and probably the most
dangerous woman on the planet but this isn't her style. I'm surprised
that we haven't seen her yet. Oh my God! Matthew, what the fuck is
she doing to him?"

"I've no idea. All I know is that my partner's down there, slowly turning
into a woman, and I'm helpless to stop it!"

"There's nothing you can do. You've just got to hope that he's strong
enough to resist."

- o - o - o -

Scott stared down at the shapely legs he now possessed. How the fuck
was this happening he thought. Of course that damned Bexley woman.
But who was the man at the viewing window and what was he going to
do with Rachel Martin and Tina. Before he could get his answer the
TV screens flicked on and a woman was slowly and sensuously
undressing. Her black, silk teddy was tight against her firm body. Scott
could see every muscle in her toned body and her shape was heavenly.

The woman reached down to her crotch and undid the teddy. Suddenly
pain shot thru Scott and he passed out.

Marcel stared at the screen both in dread and fascination. The woman
undid her garter belt and stretched out her long limbs. The muscle tone
on her legs and thighs was perfect and their shape was emphasised by
the black garters she wore. Sensation shot thru Marcel and his legs
started to shake and quiver. He cried out in anguish. He knew exactly
what was going to happen next.

- o - o - o -

The white limo drew up to the gates of a large ranch. On seeing the car
the armed guards at the gate opened them and the car drove inside. A
mile further on the car drew up to the house and waited. A few
moments later Osman opened the door and waited for Salah to get out
of the car.

"It's good to see you again my brother," Osman said, giving him a large

"It's good to be here. This is quite an operation we have here. I don't
recall being here for a while, most impressive."

"Thank you. Why has Hassan sent you here? He said something about
needing some help?"

"He wanted me to prepare things here in case things went offline in
Libya. All hell will break loose after the 'incident' and he wants to be
prepared for all eventualities."

"I see. What has he told you of his plans?"

"Not much, only that he plans to use genetic warheads on an unknown
target. After that Hassan has his secrets."

"Good. It's important we know what are out goals are. Come, let me
show me my latest additions."

"Yes, I've heard you have collected Rachel Martin. The American news
is going crazy over it."

"I see you know about her. Good! I'll let you be the first man to have
her. My present to you."

"Osman, You needn't. I'm sure Hassan would prefer it if she wasn't

"Thank you for your concern but Rachel Martin is my property now. I
can do with her as I wish. I will take it as a great insult and see it as
evidence that your loyalties are not all for us if you do not take this

Salah sighed and went inside.

A few minutes later Osman paused outside of a viewing gallery and
pointed downwards. "Look, see how my experiment is going."

Salah looked down and saw two strange looking figures strapped down
onto two beds. A large tv was playing some erotic movie and the
figures faces were transfixed to the screens. Both figures were male but
one had a woman's body and legs, the other had very shapely legs and
dainty arms.

Salah thought for a moment and then whispered something into Osman

Osman chuckled and said "Oh yes my friend. I like it. I like it a great
deal," slapping Salah on the back he led him down to the dungeon.

Salah walked down the stairs into a dimly lit room, two figures were
chained to the wall. The tall beautiful one's head hung low and she was
clearly still in pain. The smaller one glared at him in anger.

"The smaller one, has a lot of spirit. She'll soon learn otherwise unless
she wants to follow her companion's fate." Osman said.

"Which is?"

Osman walked over to Cathline and pulled her head upright. Salah
recoiled at the sight of the eye-patch over her once perfect face. "You
didn't?" he asked.

"My justice is for life. Now I'll leave you alone for a while to enjoy
your gift. I will know if you have enjoyed her." Osman said and walked
out of the room.

Salah looked around and spotted the camera and microphone mounted
on the wall above. He then went over to the sullen Cathline. Cathline
looked up at Salah and when he was in range spat in his face. Salah
just wiped it away and moved closer to the chained Cathline.

"Hey! Fuck me instead you bastard, leave her alone," Tina shouted at

Salah ignored her and grabbing Cathline's face kissed her on the lips.
His tongue forced it's way into her mouth. While his hand reached
down and touched her HERE and THERE. Cathline's eyes went wide
and then she responded by opening her legs wide.

Salah whispered to Cathline "When the time is right I'll get you out.
Trust me. Not a word or even a thought to anyone though. SHHH!"

"Cathline what the fuck are you doing?" Tina shouted.

Salah pulled away for a moment and Cathline stared back. She stood
upright and motioned for Salah to continue. Salah gently stroked
Cathline's erect nipple and over onto her warm, firm breasts. Cathline
let out a moan of pleasure as Salah caressed her clitoris and she could
feel herself moisten and become wet.

Salah then undid his pants revealing his erect cock. Cathline's face was
flushed with pleasure "More, More "she whispered. Salah drew close
pushing his dick into her moist pussy. He let out a sigh as he felt her
pussy close around it. He stared into the once perfect but now flawed
face, it was looking back at him in lust. He placed one arm around her
naked back and ran his had down her spine.

Cathline shivered in pleasure and she went to try and kiss him back but
the chains held her tight. Salah pushed Cathline against the wall and
began to kiss her perfect breasts. Cathline's arousal grew until she was
on fire for him. She felt her sex grow ever more moist and warm and
her body felt a wave of pleasure wash over her.

Cathline spread her legs wide, offering herself to Salah. Salah undid his
pants and pulled out his erect cock. Grabbing Cathline he pulled her
close and pushed his dick into Cathline's waiting pussy.

Cathline moaned and grabbed Salah's back, pulling him further into her.
Salah kissed Cathline's neck and thrust himself deeper into her. Cathline
responded with a loud moan and started to move Salah even deeper into
herself. After a seemingly endless series of thrusts, each more
pleasurable and erotic than the last Cathline felt a warm wet feeling
inside her. Salah relaxed and gave Cathline an affectionate kiss on the
check, "Later," he whispered.

After he had come Salah did up his pants, gave a single fingered salute
to Cathline and went upstairs.

Cathline lay back. Glowing after her session with Salah. She looked at
Tina and smiled.

"Hey what the hell was that all about? You looked as though you were
enjoying yourself. I know you told me that we had to look as though
we were enjoying it but that was taking things a little too far. After that
kiss you wanted him to fuck you," Tina screamed, outraged at Cathline's

"I know and yes I'd let him fuck me again. When they treat you gently
and with love it's not so bad," Cathline said nodding towards the camera
on the wall.

"How so? It's still rape."

"Not if you want the person to screw you it's not."

Tina's face grew angry "You've changed your tune. SLUT!"

"For him I'd be a slut anytime."

"You really are strange, Cathline Richards. One minute you're hating
every moment and in agony. The next you're waiting for your new

"I don't have to explain myself or my motives to you. All I'll say is that
you'll soon be as glad to see him again as I will."

- o - o - o -

The monitor beeped on Hassan's console and Hassan answered it.
"Hassan here."

"Hello Hassan, Dr Bexley here. I just want to thank you for giving me
Matthew. Do you have any further use for me for the next few weeks?
I'd like to get married as soon as I can."

"No, I think we need to test the changeling organs further but we don't
need you to assist in this. Providing Matthew Stephens, or should I say
'Dr Bexley' for you was my pleasure. You've served me very well, enjoy
your wedding."

"Thank you, Hassan. Now at last I can get back to a version of the life
I should have had," Elizabeth said smiling.

"I will see you in three weeks, Hassan out," Hassan said switching off
the connection.

- o - o - o -

"I am not a slut! I knew exactly what I wanted," Cathline swore at
Tina. The argument had been going on for sometime now and
Cathline's temper was in full flow.

"Yes you are. What'll all your fans think of the clean cut Rachel Martin
now?" Tina taunted.

"You're only jealous, because he didn't choose you."

"Give it a rest Cathline. When it comes to my turn I fight it. My body
is my own."

Pointing to her eyepatch Cathline spat "In that case you'll end up like

"Shut up! Someone's coming," Tina whispered.

The blood froze in Cathline's body as she recognised the shape walking
down the stairs, Osman. He was accompanied by a smaller, thinly built
man. Osman turned to Cathline and said, "I'm glad you enjoyed Salah.
He speaks highly of you."

"Piss off Osman," Tina spat back.

Cathline glared at Tina to shut it and Tina fell silent.

Osman gestured to the man cowering behind him and said "Let me
introduce Omar to you. Omar has a special talent and I've used him on
a number of occasions to get what I want. Don't worry Omar, they
won't bite."

Omar emerged from behind Osman and looked at Tina, "She's a feisty
one. She may be a problem, the other one too, now I look at her."

"I'm sure you'll cope. You've dealt with more stubborn cases before.
Let me know when it's done," Osman said and started to walk away.

"You're sure they cannot escape?" Omar asked Osman.

"Quite sure. Now I must go I have other duties to attend to," Osman
replied and walked up the stairs, leaving Tina and Cathline alone with

"So Omar, which one of us are you going to fuck first?" Tina asked.

"None of you. Osman has asked me to prepare you for a little job he
wants you do to for him. Don't worry, it won't hurt and will only last an
hour or so," Omar replied, brushing his hair back from his face.

"This is all getting a little dull. Last time he was so much more
inventive," Cathline taunted.

"He hasn't lost his touch, I assure you. Now just look into my eyes,"
Omar said softly.

Cathline tried to look away but found herself unable to pull away from
the dark brown pools that were Omar's eyes. She felt so tired, so
weary. If she could just rest a while than all would be just fine and

"Fight it Cathline," Tina shouted but to her horror saw Cathline's body
go limp and flaccid. Cathline's one good eye was open but had taken on
a glazed, vacant look.

"She was so easy. Now it's your turn," Omar said, turning to Tina.

Ever since the mailman had hypnotised her into shooting Scott, Tina
had, had a fear of it happening again. She closed her eyes and turned
her head away in a desperate attempt to avoid his eyes.

She struggled as she felt a hand grab her head, forcing to look right
ahead. Rough fingers grabbed her nose and she was unable to breathe.
Instinctively she opened her eyes and found her gaze fixed upon two
deep brown eyes.

She felt herself becoming drowsy and fought against it. She tried to
perform arithmetic in her mind, recall memories and anything else she
could think of to avoid the sleepiness she now felt. She felt her legs go
numb as the tiredness crept up her body. Now her arms were numb and
sleep beckoned. In the end she could hold out no longer and the sleep
was just so inviting.

- o - o - o -

Scott awoke and found to his horror that his body had reshaped itself
into that of the woman's on screen. His chest was smooth and hairless
and rather than his usually muscular shoulders his new shoulders were
rounded and very feminine in shape. He turned his head away, almost
feeling sick with anguish. A sudden light came on at the far end of the
room and he saw two figures walk into the room. One was tall and the
other was smaller, and by their curves both were female.

"Hello," he called out.

The figures walked closer and Scott called out joyfully, "Tina, Rachel.
Thank God. Get us outta here."

Tina put her finger to her lips and walked closer, while Rachel Martin
moved seductively towards Marcel.

Marcel called something out in French and Rachel replied. Scott stared
at Tina as she undid her top and let it fall to the floor, exposing her
ample breasts. Tina moved over to Scott and kissed him on the lips.
Scott tried to struggle away but his arms and legs were tied too tight.

Tina bent over and brushed her breasts over Scott's body, she kissed
over and over again on the chest, neck and with her hands grabbed hold
of Scott's now erect dick. She gently stroked it and placed her mouth
over it. She was surprised when it began to shrink back into Scott's
body. When Scott's new pussy had formed she started to kiss and
caress his face. With her other hand she started to gently stroke Scott's
new clitoris. Scott gave a moan of pleasure and tried to respond. She
felt Scott's face start to reform and she took a moment to see how
Cathline was doing. Tina noticed with satisfaction that Cathline was
doing a good job too, just as she was supposed to. Even as she turned
her attention back to Scott she felt Scott respond and she allowed
herself to be swept away by the waves of pleasure sweeping her body.

- o - o - o -

"I can't believe I did that! To Scott, to Rebecca and to me," Tina

"I know but we weren't ourselves. We weren't responsible, Osman was.
He's the one that thought it up. If it weren't us it'd be someone else. If
we find Elizabeth's machine maybe we can turn them back. Until then
we have to wait for our opportunity," Cathline said.

Tina stopped crying for a moment and said, "You're right. Poor
Rebecca, how will she feel if we can't."

"If she loves him she will cope, just as Kat did with Matthew. Anyway
we are going to get out of here and turn him back, Marcel too."

"Shh! Someone's coming," Tina hissed.

They waited as a shadowy figure walked into their cell. Cathline turned
away in horror as Osman walked in.

"I just wanted to thank you ladies for all the help you gave today, most
enjoyable. I thought I'd just let you know that I'm sending off my latest
additions to Libya as a gift to Hassan. I could never have done it
without you," Osman said.

"You bastard," Tina spat.

"Correct! Besides, Hassan gave me you two so it's only fair. Anyway it
wasn't my idea it was Salah's. A most promising young man I might
say. By the way if I wasn't so busy I'd enjoy you myself but you'll
keep," Osman said and walked out.

Cathline looked dumbstruck at this revelation. "I was sure.," she

"So much for your new boyfriend. Hope you're happy now," Tina

"I don't understand. I was so sure. Fuck I feel dirty," Cathline started
to cry.

"Understand what?" Tina asked.

"I thought Salah was going to rescue us. How could I have been so
stupid?" Cathline sobbed.

Tina just glared back in return.

- o - o - o -

A soft, sharp knock at the door woke Elizabeth from the best night's
sleep she'd had in a while.

"Who is it?" she called, covering herself up with the bed sheets.

"Message for you," the voice whispered.

"Oh umm bring it in," Elizabeth said, switching on her light.

A smallish, swarthy looking man walked in holding a sealed envelope.
Handing it to Elizabeth he said, "My instructions are to wait for a

"Fine," Elizabeth said and opened the letter.

She scanned down the text and paused before saying "Tell him this.
Word for word. 'Agreed, Checkmate in two weeks. We will deal with
the changelings after the event'. We are on time to prevent the incident
from happening."

"It shall be done, Dr Bexley," the man nodded and walked out.

Elizabeth turned off the light and thought for a while. This was the first
time in several months she'd had direct contact with Salah and what
she'd read disturbed her. Agents loyal to Hassan made conspiracies
difficult to maintain but by now Salah had built up a large following too.
Sure the pieces were dropping into place but the stakes had just been
raised a thousand fold. She was amazed that the Guild would even try
to pull such a stunt. Deep down she knew that the Guild was planning
to use the changeling and DNA technology, but she'd thought too small.
Now hundreds of thousands, if not millions of lives depended on her
actions and plans over the next couple of weeks. The weight of that
responsibility pressed on her mind so sleep was now impossible. To
take her mind off things to come Elizabeth turned her mind to the treat
she'd prepared for herself. Her one big self-indulgence, and she didn't
care what it cost, she'd waited so long for it! Her ultimate revenge and
her ultimate satisfaction! She had a wedding to go to tomorrow!"

- o - o - o -

"Mr president I must object," the chief of staff said.

"Why Bob?" the president replied.

"The course of action you're recommending is much too dangerous. If
Egypt has broken the rules on DNA systems they must be persuaded
otherwise. The Israelis are going ape over it."

"Look, all Mossad gave us is a single photograph of something that
LOOKS like a Bexley DNA system. I will not commit the lives of our
men and women to the results of a single photograph. I need more
proof. As you well know Egypt has denied all knowledge of such a
device. They let us look at the site where this device was and we found

"Easily moved. Look they're playing the same game with us and the
Israeli's as Iraq has. We catch them with their pants down, they make a
fuss and create a few diplomatic incidents while shifting the stuff
somewhere else. Your predecessor created the Fury Directive to
prevent DNA weapons from being developed. This flies in the face of
that and the UN resolutions that were passed," the Chief of staff said.

"I know it's difficult but I've spoken to the Brits on this one, hell even
the Russians agree with me. Until we get more info we'll watch and
advise," the president stated.

"Ok. At least let me move the Nimitz into the Med and schedule a
couple of satellite sweeps. What about giving Israel some help?"

"Ok move the Nimitz and do the sweeps. As for the help what do you
suggest? Until we have proof they'll just have to wait. They know that
if they piss us off they'll lose that billion dollar aid package I promised

The chief of staff sighed, since the death of his friend, the president
seemed colder and more ruthless. BUT he did have a point "Yes Mr

"Glad to have you aboard Bob. Look, as soon as we have proof we'll
move. Now if you'll excuse me SECDEF needs to see me."

- o - o - o -

The changeling who resembled Dr Bexley's father took hold of
Matthew's arm and slowly led him up the aisle. The organist played
'Entrance of the queen of Sheba' and Matthew just wafted up the row of
people. His white wedding dress fitted him perfectly and thru the white
gauze of his veil he could see his beloved 'Matthew' waiting for him.

Elizabeth turned to face her bride now walking towards her. Of course
she had to wear Matthew's old body but that was a small price to pay
for finally getting as close as she'd ever get to what she'd wanted for all
these years. She had been tempted to jilt Matthew and thus make him
endure all she had, had to endure but that wasn't how it was supposed
to be. It was supposed to go just like this.

By now Matthew had reached Elizabeth's side and he now looked at her
with love in his eyes. Elizabeth's heart soared! It was going to happen,
it really was going to happen. Her attention was drawn back into events
as she heard the priest start to speak "Dearly beloved we are gathered
here today to witness the marriage of Elizabeth Anne Bexley to
Matthew James Stephens."

A short while later Matthew turned to Elizabeth and said "I do," and
Elizabeth almost jumped for joy. It was going to work! It really was
going to work!

As the wedding continued a knot grew inside Elizabeth's stomach and
she felt her heartbeat increase as the priest said those fatal words, words
that rang the death knoll of her life so long ago.
The priest knew none of this of course and he asked, "Does anyone here
know of any legal reason why these two cannot be married? Speak now
or forever hold your peace."

To Elizabeth the silence was unbearable. She could feel her heart
pounding against her ribcage and time seemed to have stopped. An
eternity later the priest turned back to Matthew and Elizabeth and said
"With the power invested in me by the state of South Australia I now
pronounce you man and Wife. What God has joined let no man break
apart. You may now kiss the bride."

Elizabeth pulled Matthew close and kissed him, it had been far too long
since the last time she'd kissed him. She thought she'd feel triumphant
at this moment. That her whole life would suddenly come into focus
and the pain of the years gone by would fall away. Instead she felt
empty inside, just as she'd felt when she was a child and had suddenly
found the Malibu-Jane she'd wanted so desperately was nothing but
plastic and cloth. The weight of what she faced in the weeks ahead
wouldn't go away and haunted her thoughts. Still at least they had three
weeks together.

- o - o - o -

Scott opened his eyes and saw only darkness. His head hurt like hell
and his nostrils were assaulted by the smell of a sweet, exotic perfume.
The room was silent apart from the sound of his breathing. A few
seconds after waking he knew something was wrong, something was
missing. It took a few more moments for his head to clear. He cast his
mind back to the last thing he remembered. Marcel was there. They
were strapped into something, but what? A thought hit him like a
hammer blow and at first he didn't believe it. No, it wasn't possible. He
reached out with his hand and was instantly aware of a weight on his
chest. His hand diverted from its course downwards and clutched at his
chest. He felt a warm firm mound where there once was hair and
muscle. He was so shocked it took a few seconds to register that he
was feeling a breast. He gave the breast an experimental squeeze and
then found the strength to scream a high pitched womanly scream, as
the realisation hit him that it was his.

Marcel woke up on hearing Scott's scream. He sat bolt upright and
then regretted it as he felt something bounce on his chest. His scream
joined with Scott's as he looked down and saw a pair of not
inconsiderable tits thrusting their way from his chest.

Scott took control of himself. Years of police training had drilled into
him to remain calm. He took a few deep breaths and felt his 'breast'
again. It was, certainly a breast, actually it was breasts as his hand had
brushed the other one on the way over. It was also remarkably sensitive
especially around the nipple. Reason took over and Scott moved his
hand downward, over a smooth, flat stomach towards where his dick
should be. Scott stifled another scream as his hand found only the
warm slit of a vagina.

It was now difficult to remain calm. He was a woman. There could be
no doubt about it. Parties unknown, actually that Bexley female, were
certainly involved. They had kidnapped him, and Marcel and turned
them into women. Now he. Yes he. Scott still thought of himself as 'he'
in spite of the evidence to the opposite. By now Scott's eyes had
adjusted to the dark and he saw that he was in a large room covered in
ornate curtains. He noticed for the first time that his new body was
dressed in a skimpy outfit that showed off his new cleavage to the full.
Where the hell was he? He heard a soft whimper from his right and saw
the shape of a young woman. She was dressed similarly to how he was
and she was about 5'4. Her face was in her hands and she was sobbing
softly. Scott deduced this must now be Marcel.

Marcel tried to wipe away the tears in his eyes. He felt violated and
dirty. Yes he'd worked with beautiful women before, Rachel Martin
being the most notable, but this was very different. He felt so
vulnerable and afraid, how would he cope? Marcel looked down at the
legs he now possessed and marvelled at their shape, the way they
tapered up into his thigh, how his thigh curved gracefully into his wide
hips and then the smooth curve upwards to his large, pert breasts. He
was aware that someone was staring at him and saw another woman
looking at him.

She was, he estimated, about 25 with what looked to be long blonde
hair. She was also quite tall at around 5'8 and had the firm, well
muscled tone of an athlete. Thru the dim light of the room Marcel could
see that the woman looked stunning and that she was looking right at
him, almost as if she was eyeing him up. Marcel managed to say,
"Scott?" Marcel cut the sentence short; his voice was somehow
different. It still had a French accent but was very cute indeed. His
attention was brought back to reality when the woman opposite replied,

Marcel nodded and noted his hair swished around on the back of his
neck. Although the room was dim, Marcel's eyes soon adjusted, and
ignoring the jiggling feeling of his breasts, he moved over towards
Scott, "What's going on? Why are we like this?" Marcel's delicate but
seductive voice asked.

The woman that was Scott Harris shook her head and answered, "I've
no idea. All I remember is being strapped into a bed and shown these
porn films. As they turned me on parts of my body began to change.
Then Tina and Rachel Martin walked in and fucked us. I, I couldn't
help it I just HAD to screw them. I remember the swelling feelings as
THESE grew," Scott gestured towards his breasts.

"At least yours seem a normal size, These are HUGE. Scott, what if we
can't turn back?" Marcel asked, fear in his voice.

"We must be able to. Oh no Rebecca! What will Rebecca do? Oh shit
my marriage is over," tears began to form in Scott's eyes.

Marcel sighed, "We'll face this if it comes to it. Do you know where we

Another female, American voice answered, "I can answer that."

Scott whirled around. His arms ready to ward off any attack. He
stopped short of striking out and said, "Who the hell are you?"

The woman looked furtively around, as if afraid to tell some secret, "I'm
Senator Walter Jameson."

"Who?. Oh yes I remember, you ran off with your secretary," Scott

Senator Jameson gestured to his female body and sighed, "Now I AM
my secretary. I've been here for around 4 weeks, I think it could be
longer though. Who are you?"

Scott stared at the woman in front of him, she was he estimated around
thirty-three. Her black hair had been tied back into a ponytail, and she
was dressed in a similar outfit to his own. Scott answered gingerly, still
not used to the sound of his new voice, "I'm Detective Scott Harris and
this is Marcel."

The senator paused for a few moments, "Then.."

"Yeah some bastards turned me into my own wet dream," Scott

"I've been like this for nearly a month, I had my first period last week --
it was hell. I was kinda hoping that this wasn't real but as soon as I felt
the stomach cramps I knew it was," the senator gestured to his female

"Oh fuck, periods. You get periods? " Scott swore.

"If the same people who got me, got you then yeah. You're all woman
now. I found it hard to cope at first. Part of me wanted to touch my
self up and the other part wanted it to go away. If I wasn't in this place
I would have done it more, but don't let me stop you. Touch away."

Inside Scott was desperate to feel himself down there once more,
desperate to run his smooth hands over his taut, curved body but it was
the thought of stroking his breasts that tempted him the most. He was
about to reach up and cup them in his hand when he stopped himself
and asked, "Where are we then?"

The Senator thought for a moment and replied, "As far as I can tell
we're in Libya. There's this guy called Hassan and he's the leader of this
ancient order of Assassins. We're in his Harem."

Marcel's eyes widened in horror, "No!"

"It's ok they give you six weeks to settle in and then you have to do as
Hassan says or else, Thiick," the Senator made a throat slitting gesture.

"I'd rather be dead than like this," Marcel said forcefully, pointing at his
ample bosom.

"So, we've got six weeks until what? We become his slaves?" Scott

The Senator nodded, "I guess so. I've not managed to speak to many of
the girls here."

Scott asked the Senator, "So how did you get here?"

The senator shuffled and made himself comfortable and thought for a
few moments. Scott and Marcel waited patiently until the senator
started to speak, "The President sent me away for a weekend to work
on some budget idea's I'd had. I've this nice little cabin in Montana, my
retreat if you like. Anyway, I needed somebody to take notes, type
reports etc, and so I took my secretary, Anne with me. She was
unusually quiet and she said she'd had some kinda bust up with her
boyfriend. That was fine by me -- all I wanted to do was work."

Scott interrupted, "Yeah I heard about that. That was legit? We all
thought you'd gone off for some inappropriate extra-marital relief."

The senator nodded, "All lies, she'd stayed in a nearby hotel, but yeah it
was legit. I'd proposed some pretty radical budget cuts and I felt that I
should work in secret until they were ready for release. The media
frenzy around my being there was unavoidable and the president
understood when I explained it to him. Back to the story, We'd nearly
finished our work and we were all packed to go, when Anne said she'd
lost her room key. Well, we all helped look for them. I sent some of
my security detail off into the woods to look for them around the house
which, on reflection was the dumbest thing I've ever done. Anne told
me that she thought they could be upstairs and asked me to go help her
look there."

"You sent your security detail away?" Scott's incredulous face said it all.

"Yeah I know but this was MY place. I knew everyone around and
who the hell was going to get me? It was like a second home for me and
I trusted everyone on my staff. Anyway I was bending down under her
bed, trying to reach towards a dark corner when I felt a prick on my
back. A few seconds later it all went black."

"What happened?" Marcel asked.

"I've no idea. I awoke in Anne's hotel room. I remember waking up
slowly and then realising something was very wrong with me. As soon
as I saw my breasts I let out an almighty scream. My fears were
confirmed when I managed to stand up and walk towards the mirror on
the wardrobe. Someone had turned me into a copy of Anne.

Before I could explore further these two Arab guys burst in and I was
hustled into a waiting car. I knew they were armed so I didn't try
anything. I guess I could have screamed or something but I was still in
shock and not thinking straight. They drugged me and I woke up in
here some 4 weeks ago. How about yourself?"

Scott retold the story of how him and Marcel had got here. The senator
thought for a while and said, "Dr Bexley huh. Figures nobody else
could have turned us into women like that. But what the hell are we
doing here and why go to all the bother of transforming us?"

Scott shrugged, "No idea, but she took out my partner and me single
handed. I shot her, I fucking well shot her and she just smiled at me and
the wound healed its self up. I'm telling you that shot would have laid
out anybody but she just took it and within seconds she was as good as

The Senator rubbed his smooth, hairless chin and thought for a few
moments. "Yeah that fits. We've long suspected that Dr Bexley was
developing changeling technology. Rachel Martin's, Matthew Stephens
and Kat's intelligence debrief raised the possibility but she's obviously
perfected it. The CIA reports I read, stated that with changeling
technology you could repair most near fatal wounds as well as become
anyone you wished. Oh shit!"

Scott saw where the senator was leading, "Anne, she must have been a
changeling too. You've been turned into her so she can take your place.
Oh my God."

"But why me? There's much more senior government figures than
myself," Senator Jameson fell silent for a while, his face showing that he
was deep in thought.

"It's obvious why we're here. They needed somewhere to put us after
they did this to us," Scott gestured once more at his comely form.

Marcel noticed the senator's face turn pale, "What's up?"

Senator Jameson fingered his ponytail with his hand and then stopped
suddenly, "Sorry bad habit. I know why they chose me, I can't believe
they'd even try it. The audacity of it is mind blowing."

"What?" Scott and Marcel said in unison.

The senator reached for his ponytail once more and then whipped his
hand away as he realised what he was about to do, "The president, Bob
and I go way back. We graduated West Point together, did a tour in
Nam. I was the only one who he'd let get close to him. Hell I was
almost a brother to him. If they switched with me then it'd be a helluva
lot easier to get to him and if they switched with the president then
we're all in deep, deep shit."


"Can I open my eyes now?" Matthew asked.

"Not yet," Elizabeth said.

Elizabeth had blindfolded Matthew since the leaving the wedding party
some three hours before. Matthew had behaved impeccably in his new
role as Dr Elizabeth Anne Stephens, and had a great time showing off
his wedding ring to the guests and swooning over her new husband.
Elizabeth had to admit the Guild had done a first class job of providing
enough familiar looking faces to fool Matthew and the venue was
perfect, just as she'd imagined her wedding reception to be all those
years ago.

Now she was on her way to the large mansion that was built on top of
the Guild's Australian bunker. It was a strange sight. A huge white
limestone building complete with whitewashed walls and impeccable
gardens stuck slap bang in the middle of the outback. Hassan had been
quite insistent that she had to take her honeymoon here. He'd spoken as
though it was a gift to her, but she knew that the threat was just below
the surface, in fact a little like this mansion. She'd told Matthew that
this was an exclusive hotel in Arizona for those who wanted a discrete
hideaway. She smiled as she remembered Matthew's face light up when
she told them they'd have the entire place to themselves.

Elizabeth let out a contented sigh as the large, ornate wrought iron
gates swung open as her car approached. It was going SO well,
everything was to plan and all in all this was her idea of a perfect
wedding day. The sun shone down fiercely, making the white limestone
of the mansion shine like a polished mirror. Architecture had never
been one of her strong points but even Elizabeth could see the Arabic
influence in the design of the mansion. Criss-cross shutters covered
every window and she knew from her previous visits that the white
marble floors would be polished to perfection.

Matthew detected that the car was slowing and asked "Hey come on
honey, let me take this off now."

Elizabeth smiled and simply replied, "Not yet. When I've parked."

"Ok. Some hotel, no valet parking."

Elizabeth smiled to herself and pulled into the near vacant car lot.
Switching off the engine she got out of the car and helped Matthew get
out from the rear seat. Matthew moved to take off his blindfold but
Elizabeth held him back and whispered, "Not yet."

Elizabeth grabbed Matthew's hand and led him around to the front of
the Mansion. She stopped at the large and ornate wooden doors and
was about to knock when the doors swung open. A Guild agent in
traditional butler garb was standing in the hallway. He bowed gently
and said, "Welcome to our humble home Mr and Mrs Stephens."

Elizabeth released Matthew's hand and said, "Go on take it off."

Matthew was only too glad to comply, he'd protested against the
blindfold game but had eventually weakened. A bit of fun he'd been
assured. He reached up and pulled the blindfold off. He was dazzled
for a few moments by the bright light but seconds later his eyes adjusted
and his jaw dropped at the beautiful sight that met his eyes. The hall
was immense, the painted ceiling was reflected in the polished floor. A
large central stairway went up the centre of the room and split into two.
Around the walls were exquisite works of art, Monet and Picasso
rubbed shoulders with Lowry and Dali. Matthew decided that it made
his parent's house look decidedly average. Suddenly he felt two strong
arms lifting him up and he felt himself move forward and into the room.
The arms put him down and whirled him round so that he was facing

Never in her wildest dreams had Elizabeth imagined that she'd be the
one to do the carrying over the threshold but still she'd done it. The
penultimate tradition in the marriage ceremony was complete. She
pulled Matthew close, felt his breasts press on her muscular chest and
kissed him. Matthew responded and she felt her self start to drift away
on a sea of passion. She pulled away, not wanting it to end but they had
to unpack first.

A Guild agent 'butler' carried their suitcases up the long staircase and
along a long corridor. Departing with a regimented nod the Guild agent
placed the suitcase outside the door.

Elizabeth put her strong arm across Matthew's shoulders and squeezed
him gently, then turned him toward her and bent to give him a deep kiss.
Before leaving the wedding, Matthew had changed from his bridal gown
to a simple beige silk suit with a long, loose jacket and tight short skirt.
He'd wanted to look pretty for his new husband and a little sexy too, but
now the jacket material bunched under Elizabeth's grip.

"Let's get naked," Elizabeth hissed, then pressed her lips on Matthew's
and began to crush him to her. He felt her beard stubble rub on his
smooth cheek and kissed her back, feeling a knot of rising excitement in
his belly. Was it eager anticipation? Tinged with a bit of fear? His
tongue lightly licked Elizabeth's lips, and then he leaned back in her
arms, looked up at her, and smiled to cover his uncertainty.

"Let's get to our room, honey. I'm a little shy about showing all this
affection in a public lobby. Even though there doesn't seem to be
anyone here." It felt odd calling his new husband "Honey" -- Matthew
couldn't remember what endearment he'd called her before that moment.
An odd intimation struck him. There were lots of things happening
now that had never happened to him before. It felt peculiar. Well,
that must be because he'd never been married before. He'd never been
half of -- what had the butler called them, "Mr. and Mrs Stephens" --
before. Or had he? It seemed somehow familiar. But still, strange.
Like lots of things.

This place for one. The butler for another. Why was he a butler and
not a porter or a bell captain?

Elizabeth beamed affectionately at her new bride and wrapped his arm
in hers, and together they started up the broad marble stairs.

"Honey, may I ask you a teensy question?" Matthew asked in a small

"Of course," Elizabeth rumbled gently, gripping Matthew's arm even
tighter. Was his forced conditioning coming undone already? She'd
wanted him to believe he was her, Elizabeth, and obviously, he did.
But she'd wanted him remade as an affectionate bimbo, something she
could never be, passive, compliant, loving, passionate on cue. She'd
wanted to find in Matthew her perfect mate, a devoted spouse sensitive
to her needs and eager to provide for them, unconcerned with his own
'teensy' questions or large ones either. She expected from him now the
love she'd hoped for when he became her husband. Instead, he'd
deserted her. Well, now he wouldn't. She knew that now she was
now the center of Matthew's world, the subject of his every fond desire,
with no thoughts for himself.

"Certainly, lover," she repeated. "What's troubling your teensy mind?"

That feels so good, Matthew thought, hearing Elizabeth assert in a
single phrase her rightful -- if condescending -- intellectual superiority
over him. I feel so protected by this strong, handsome man who is now
my husband!

"What place is this?" Matthew asked, wide-eyed. "Why is that porter
dressed like a butler? And where are the rest of the hotel staff?"

Elizabeth smiled, partly at Matthew and partly to herself. "That's three
questions, Liz dear. It's better for you not to worry your pretty little
head about anything. This isn't a hotel. It's a mansion that belongs to
a friend who's away who's lending it to us. The whole place is ours.
So there's no need to feel shy. We can make love anywhere. And we
will. Just follow whatever your natural inclinations."

Maybe I should have asked for them to make him a little less demure
and a little more lustfully aggressive, Elizabeth was thinking. This shy
I've married will never want to spread his legs for me in some of the
places I have in mind. Well, if he feels embarrassed or humiliated, or if
I have to rape him, so much the better. Do unto Matthew what he
refused to do unto me, but in spades!

As they entered their lavish bedroom, hung with peach-colored
tapestries, their bed high on a platform and draped in peach velvet,
Matthew suffered a momentary extreme disorientation. He suddenly
realized that though he loved this man, this Matthew, and had married
him as the fulfilment of his most ardent desires he was a little unsure
what those desires were! He wanted to be a complete woman to his
husband. He wanted to share his life and his body with him.

But how? He knew how men and women make love. He'd seen
drawings in books, or maybe it was movies. But Matthew suddenly
realized that he'd never slept with a man. He was a virgin!

Elizabeth grasped Matthew gently under the chin, lifted his face, and
touched his full, red lips with her mouth. "Liz dear, don't you want to
slip into something more comfortable, and make yourself pretty for
me?" Elizabeth asked him.

This was more familiar ground. Matthew had been planning for a long
time which of the special negligees in his trousseau he would wear to
make himself ravishingly beautiful on his honeymoon night. Even as a
teenage girl he'd experimented with different kinds of make-up that
would stay fresh, and not smear or otherwise mar his perfect night of
passionate fulfilment. Or so he seemed to remember. He pecked back
at Elizabeth.

"Don't go away, husband of mine," Matthew said, glorying in his
possession of the man of his dreams. A wicked gleam came into his
eye. "I'll be back in less time than you can imagine!"

Elizabeth could imagine it, of course. She'd supplied the program that
constituted Matt's memory of their relationship and had effaced his prior
identity. She'd also supplied Matt's negligee and make-up from her
own trousseau, so lovingly prepared before that son of a bitch had
abandoned her. A streak of anger flashed through her vitals, and she
felt a stirring, then a tight pressure of her pants against her groin.
What? Of course! Her cock was filling out, growing erect! She
loosened her belt and unzipped her fly and dropped her pants, then her
boxer shorts, and stepped out of them. Her cock was now fully erect,
and waved as if a willow in the wind as she sat down in a nearby chair
to await her 'wife's' return. She knew what she was going to do with
him now! A menacing expression came over her face, as she reached
out and stroked her prick to keep it erect. What was it they said? men
called their penises "tools," she'd heard that often enough. She had a
different name for hers -- it was a weapon of vengeance.

"How do I look?"

Innocent as an eight-year-old in her birthday dress, Matt swirled himself
in the doorway, hands draped delicately in the air, ruffled chiffon and
satin falling gracefully across his every curve. He smiled at Elizabeth,
then noticed that she was moodily pulling on her dick. It puzzled him.
His last- moment sex education had been saturation screenings of
pornographic films, were cocks were handled only by girls.

"Shouldn't I be doing that?" he asked

Elizabeth looked up through narrow eyes and replied gruffly, "Come
here and kneel down, Liz. Let's see what you're good for!"

A bit bewildered, Matthew did as asked.

"Now wet it down. I'm gonna shove it into that cute ass of yours."

The fact is; Matthew's body had filled out from its original skeletally
lean angularity. Originally an exact copy of Elizabeth's figure when
she'd first converted him after her own months of sleepless laboratory
work and neurasthenic brooding, Matthew had dined comfortably with
Kat during their marriage, and then he'd consoled himself in vain after
her death by nibbling on junk food and ice cream. His waistline was
still slim, but below it, his hips and buttocks had rounded curvaceously
into a near-parody of a seductive sex-goddess's, plump and tempting
even to his own eye. He'd wondered if there was a touch of lesbianism
in him, but decided it was only narcissism. Not a bad thing in itself,
he'd thought, as he'd prepared himself that very evening for his lover.

Matthew obediently bent over and took Elizabeth's prick into his mouth,
licking it carefully as he passed it between his lips, "If I feel one tooth,
I'll really bust your ass! So be careful!"

Matthew's pursed mouth became nearly rigid as he slipped Elizabeth's
member in and out, coating it with saliva. men are very demanding
when it comes to sex, he thought to himself. I wonder if they're as cruel
as they claim.

A moment later, he found out. On his hands and knees "like a dog" as
instructed, he felt Elizabeth settle her body behind and around him, then
suddenly felt a fierce and fiery pressure in his anus. It was unbearable,
and he shrieked helplessly from the pain!

"Good!" Elizabeth said. "Now you know how I felt when you walked
out on me. A little of how I felt. I've just stuck it to you the way you
stuck it to me, all at once, no warning! Now wiggle, bitch! Pleasure

Tears streaming down his cheeks, Matthew wiggled his bottom as best
he could, feeling Liz's huge log crammed immovably inside. Little by
little it began to slip around inside him, and a few minutes later Matthew
was concentrating intently, head down, while his hips and rear gyrated
wildly and Elizabeth pumped herself furiously into him. She felt an
unaccustomed yearning gather itself in her groin, then concentrate in her
cock. She pushed harder and faster, breathing faster and deeper while
the pleasure grew more intense, then suddenly and frighteningly she lost
control! Her whole body went rigid! She couldn't move! But ecstatic?
Then the tension relieved itself suddenly, her cock throbbing, squirting
she sensed deep into Matthew's bowels! And then it was over. She
pulled herself out of Matthew's rump and paused to catch her breath.

"There!" she said. "I wanted your first sex as a woman to be sex the
way a man has sex! A faggot man! For you to take it up the ass, you
buggered bastard! Why did you leave me?!"

Matthew had been bewildered by her ferocity, and hurt by her relentless
plunging in at him, but at this he broke down altogether. Tears and
sobs began, and then a wail, and he collapsed on the cold floor

"I didn't! I didn't! I don't understand! I'm here! I want us to be happy!
I thought you loved me! Why are you doing this to me? Why?"

And the most heart-rending lamentation imaginable poured from his
throat as he buried his face in his arms and his shoulders spasmed
"Oooohhh! Ohhhh God! Oooohhhhh, why!" over and over.

The sight of herself grovelling on the floor, just as she'd grovelled
inconsolably years before when Matthew had left her, brought Elizabeth
back to her senses. I shouldn't do this, she said to herself. There's
enough misery in the world, and a lot more about to happen. This is a
self-indulgence I can't afford!

Where a savage lust had swollen her viscera and then emptied itself into
Matthew's soft rump, remorse now began to seep in and accumulate.
She stroked Matthew's shaking shoulders and made soothing noises, all
the while thinking, "This is supposed to be the honeymoon I never had,
not the revenge I've always wanted. And gotten. Gotten repeatedly,
over and over. There are other more important things at stake now. I
need Matthew fit and willing to help me. Not like this.

"I'm sorry, sweetheart," she said, still stroking him. "I didn't mean it! I
love you! Lift your head! You'll see!"

Gradually the sobbing subsided. Now sniffling, Matt raised his head
and looked fearfully yet hopefully over his shoulder at his new husband.

"It hurt me, Matthew." He swallowed, and took a few more deep
breaths. Then he added, more curious than grieved, "Matt honey.
Should it have hurt?"

"Take hold of my thing now, Liz," Liz advised him. "Feel it. Squeeze
What do you think?"

"I think it's soft and silky. A little bumpy, too. Is that the way they
should be?"

"Yes. Now turn and sit up and let's get on the bed and be nice to each
other, and really make love, shall we? You'll see. You'll love it!"

Matt sat up and Liz hugged him, now genuinely sorry she'd allowed
petty feelings to interfere with her pleasure. This was HER Matt, after
all, and he genuinely believed he was married to her. Even though
literally, they were married to each other. With Matthew a 'widow'
she'd been free to marry him and thus in the eyes of the law this
marriage was legal and kosher.

Elizabeth's mind boggled at this last, and still amused, she followed
Matt up the platform and onto the huge, peach velvet-hung bed. Matt
lay on his back carefully -- his asshole still hurt, and it was still leaking
Liz's cum onto the bed's silken sheets. He arranged his gown so it
seemed to flow loosely from his waist, and then looked up hopefully at
Elizabeth as she sat on their bed and bent over him. His eyes were still
bright from his tears of a moment ago, and his mascara was just a bit
smudged, but he still looked sweetly trusting despite being nastily
betrayed only a few moments ago. Liz now felt genuinely protective of
such naivete, such vulnerability. She took Matt's head in both her
hands and kissed him. Matt looked back into her eyes so very
gratefully that Liz melted.

"Let's get naked," she said again, this time gently, with a certain urgency
of her own. "I mean altogether."

They did. Then as Liz felt her pecker stiffen she willed it just a bit
longer and thicker for Matthew's sake, and then slowly, sweetly, gently,
she mounted and entered her wife's body. They lay still for a moment.
But when Liz felt Matt's arms tighten around her neck and felt his soft
lips kissing her face and forehead repeatedly, and Matt's pelvis begin to
twist and thrust toward her, she decided it was time. She pulled herself
almost all the way out of Matt and was rewarded with a languishing
groan of disappointment. Then pushed in, and heard a moan of

An hour later Matt was hoarse from his non-stop groaning and
moaning, joyous screaming and crying out loud, and Elizabeth was
exhausted. She had cum three more times. Matt was so entranced by
his first penetrative sex orgasms ever, and the others that followed, that
he begged Liz not to withdraw when even her changeling organ
augmented penis had thrust and spurted its last and begun to soften.
Half unconscious, dazed, he refused to let go of his dearest, darling
husband's neck, and kept kissing Liz's face over and over, despite its
rough beard growth.

"We need to sleep now, Matt. A guy needs his rest after all," she said.
"Let's both just sleep now a little."

Then she realized what she had just said. Rather than correct herself,
she decided to see if Matt noticed. Her slip of the tongue told her that
she was at last feeling comfortably familiar with her once-hated near-

Matt noticed that she'd said "Matt," but just assumed that his wonderful
lover was only talking to himself, advising himself to get some rest
before their renewed lovemaking the following day.

And it did renew. By the third day Matthew was deliriously in love
with his lover Elizabeth, his desire for her all the more intense because
she was so unpredictable -- sometimes breathlessly ardent, sometimes
mildly affectionate, sometimes overbearing, even contemptuous. She
was all things to him, though never again as meanly punishing as that
first time. By the end of the week he gladly allowed her to tie him up
for their lovemaking, granting her even that measure of absolute
control, eagerly trusting her with his comfort and his life. She in turn
teased and toyed with him, but always left him satisfied finally.

He took it as only one more of Elizabeth's oddities that his mouth often
serviced her prick, balls, and anus, while Elizabeth's mouth never licked
or kissed him below his breasts. It was enough! When she suckled him
he was in paradise, cradling her head gently in his arms. He never
wanted her to leave off. Except of course, to make those long,
languorous penetrations of his pussy, his most private slit, that always
brought him to repeated paroxysms of delight.

By the end of the second week they were bonded together as one. Or
so Matt believed. Actually, Elizabeth's purposes had been served, and
her mind turned increasingly back to reality, the reality Hassan was
creating that only she could circumvent. The last night of their tryst
Matt crawled all over her and pleaded for her attention, but Elizabeth
just lay still, cradling the back of her head on her arms, her eyes open,
thinking. When Matt asked what about, she'd only glanced at him and
said "You wouldn't understand, honey." Nothing Matt could do could
harden her penis that last night, not even the warm moisture of his
mouth and throat blowing over her cockhead. Their honeymoon was
over, now the work begins.


Hassan sat back in his chair and stroked the collar of his faithful tiger.
He closed his eyes, and mentally checked off the items that had to be
done before he could give the go-ahead. Let's see, he thought to
Dr Bexley. married to Matthew and in
Status: Contained.
DNA Warheads. Completed and loaded.
Tankers In place and ready.
Changelings. In place and ready.
Dr Bexley's 'friends' Contained.
Salah. In America, under Osman's 'care'
Terminate in 4 weeks.
Salah's Conspiracy. Unaware of the revised timescales
and will collapse when the incident
is complete.
Osman Let him keep Rachel Martin as a
Diversions. In place.
Guild Backup Network In place and fully operational.
Changeling Organs Work in Progress.
Other Threats Intelligence reports indicate none.
The Guild Alternative Status: Ready.
Flight to Australia Status: Ready.

His checklist completed Hassan pressed a key on this keyboard and the
video screen on Hassan's desk chimed. Hassan moved over to it and
keyed in his encryption key. Hassan keyed in another code and turned
to the solemn looking face and said, "Go."

Sitting back in his chair, he called for one his assistants, he had to get
away from here. In a little over a day the Middle East would become
the setting for the largest conflict since the second world war.

- o - o - o -

Cathline and Tina froze as the larger than life shadow of Osman walked
down the stairs. Osman, accompanied by his bodyguards greeted them
with a wave "Ah Ladies, please follow me. In about half an hour the
Guild's rise to glory will start, and I want you to share in it."

Tina was about to protest when a glare from Cathline put her down.
One of the bodyguards unlocked their chains and gestured for them to
follow. The other guards covered every move they made with their
Uzi's. Cathline and Tina had no choice but to follow and obey.

They were led upstairs into a room containing just a sofa and a TV.
One of the guards shoved Tina onto the sofa, and as she rose to strike
him she noticed that the other guards were training their guns on her.
She sat down and waited. Cathline just sat down next to her.

Osman walked in front of them, and was about to speak when Cathline
spat "What's this, you gonna turn us into men or something. I just wish
you'd stop fucking around with us and get on with it."

Osman smiled and said, "I am," and turned the tv on.

"Hey CNN", Tina said.

Osman whispered to one of the guards, who then moved to the corner
of the room and covered Cathline and Tina with his Uzi. Osman and
the other guard left the room.

- o - o - o -

The sun had just risen in Tel-Aviv. The air was still, and the heat of the
day had yet to peak. Much of the population was out on this Friday
morning. The day before the Sabbath was always busy and the shops
and marketplaces were full of people. The roads were full of parents
taking their children to school, people commuting to work and others
just enjoying the day. Nobody noticed the unusually high number of oil,
gas, sewage and food tankers working their way into all parts of the

One such tanker did attract attention. It was parked outside of a small
side road, and was nearly blocking off the entrance to that street.
"Hey, you can't leave that there?" an irate man told the tanker driver.

"I'm sorry. I seem to be having trouble with my engine. Do you know
anything about engines?"

"A little, let me have a look," the man said and moved around to the
front of the tanker.

The tanker driver opened the hood and let the man peer inside. The
driver drew a small slender bladed knife and moved behind the irate

"Here's the problem," the driver said and, in a movement too quick to
follow slit the man's throat. He dragged the man into his cab and closed
the door.

Checking his watch waited for a few moments before he started the
engine and let the body of the tanker start to raise.

At strategic points around the city sixty four more tankers started to lift
their deadly payloads.

A few minutes before 9am the driver removed a hypodermic from the
glovebox and injected a yellow liquid into himself. This was his
protection against the payload in the tanker. He walked around the
trailer and made sure the anchors were in place. After detaching the cab
he got inside it and drove away. After parking in a nearby street he
waited for the allotted time.

At 9:23am the driver pressed a button concealed in the steering wheel
and the tanker body continued to rise. It took a further five minutes for
the body to reach its optimum angle. The driver waited, and took a last
look around at the people milling around, going about their own petty
existences. In a matter of moments it would soon be over, the Guild
would start it's long, glorious path back from obscurity. The driver
checked his watch, and tuned his radio into a local radio station and
listened to the news. Five minutes into the broadcast the newsreader
said, "The hunt for Rachel Martin continues. In New Yok today. I'm
sorry, New York today the police.."

The driver smiled, the signal had just been given and he pushed the
button in his steering wheel once more.

Back at his trailer the radio signal was received by a small receiver
mounted under the tank. The hydraulic rams pushed the anchors deeper
into the road surface and stopped only when the correct pressure was
obtained. A few seconds later, the back fell off the tank to reveal a
basic rocket motor just like the one used in the attack on that small,
obscure village in Libya.

Passers by looked on amazed, and a couple of men walked over to
investigate. Before they could get too close the rocket motors fired and
the trailer strained under the thrust. Then the clamps holding the
container fell away, and freed from its bounds the container shot into
the air. The men who'd gone to investigate looked on in amazement as
the tank flew into the air. It rose to about 2,000 feet and seemed to
hang there for a moment. There was little sign of an explosion, but the
tank burst apart and a red mist floated down over the city.

Sixty four more times this scene was repeated, all over the city of Tel-
Aviv, the wind conditions were perfect and a fine red mist blanketed the
city. Working it's way into offices, buildings and cars. Back in his cab
the driver noticed that the passers by were starting to scratch
themselves before falling to the floor in pain. Seconds after collapsing
each victim would start to dissolve as the DNA Warhead's payload
started to have the desired effect.

- o - o - o -

Cathline and Tina had been watching CNN for nearly an hour now and
were bored. What was it that Osman wanted them to see? The
newsreader was saying, "The US Aircraft carrier Nimitz, and its battle
group has now arrived in the Mediterranean. This is in direct response
to tensions growing in the Middle East over Israel's allegations that
Egypt has produced a Bexley DNA system. The state department has
stated that the Nimitz is there only as an observer and that no US troops
will be despatched to the area unless a UN mandate is given."

"How much more of this crap?" Tina moaned.

The newsreader continued "Israel has already sent several armored
divisions to the Egyptian borders and re-iterated it's intent to retaliate in
the strongest way possible for any attack using DNA weaponry."
The newsreaders face suddenly went serious and she put her hand to her
ear "Wait a second, we have reports coming in of a massive terrorist
attack on Tel-Aviv. My God it can't be."

"Fuck, what going on? Cathline exclaimed.

Still shaken, the newsreader continued. "Ladies and gentlemen we have
reports of an attack on the Israeli capital of Tel-Aviv. Details are scarce
at the moment but it appears that genetic warheads were used over the
entire city. Details are few at the moment and we will bring you more
information as soon as we have it."

Tina turned to talk to Cathline and saw that Cathline's face had gone
pale. "Cathline?" she queried.

"SHE did it, That 'hell bitch' Liz did it. She fucking gave them the
technology didn't she! My god genetic weapons, I knew she was mad
but this is inhuman. She built it and the Guild used it."

"Hey we don't know that. All they said was it was genetic warheads.
What about Egypt?" Tina started.

"Yes we do. Osman knew about this in advance and was boasting
about it to us. Oh fuck, we're really fucked now. Fuck, Fuck FUCK,"
Cathline swore.

"What. Oh I see.. Shit!" Tina shook her head in horror.

"Yep, the Fury Directive. Israel will demand that the Fury Directive is
invoked, it depends on what was in those warheads but I imagine it's not
anything nice. It's easy if you think about it. The Guild set's up Egypt
as the culprit of this attack. Israel will demand the Fury Directive be
used against Egypt in retaliation for the attack on Tel-Aviv," Cathline
said horrified.

"I suspect we'll know for certain in a few minutes. Besides, we've been
out of it for over a week now. All the information we picked up was
from that broadcast. You could be wrong," Tina said.

Cathline grimaced, "I hope so. Otherwise the shit will really hit the fan.
I'm no expert on the Middle East but even I know that Israel will strike
back twice as hard."

"Yeah, as I remember the allies had a hell of job keeping them out of the
Gulf war and that was just a few scud missiles, this is a whole fucking

Their attention was brought back by the CNN newsreader saying
"We've not been able to contact our reporters in Tel-Aviv but we have
on the phone Jason Carter, live from Jerusalem. Jason what can you tell

A deep, serious voice crackled over the speakers "Not very much I'm
afraid. The city of Tel-Aviv is under a cloud of fine red mist, and has
been for the past hour. Any rescue teams sent in have not returned and
all attempts to contact the population of the city have failed. There
have been reports of rivers of red liquid running out from all parts of the
city but these have not yet been confirmed. It also appears that whole
areas of the city are on fire and with no rescue teams able to respond it
seems as though much of Tel-Aviv will be raised to the ground."

The newsreader asked, "Have you any idea as to what actually

There was a pause before Jason said "Sorry, no. There has been
speculation that multiple genetic warheads were used against the city --
but this attack seems without motive and without purpose. The method
of delivery is also unknown at this moment in time."

"The Israeli government, the Knesset is seated in Tel-Aviv. Do we
know of their fate?"

"Nobody has heard anything from the City of Tel-Aviv for over an hour.
We can only assume that whatever fate befell the city also happened to

The newsreader, dreading the reply asked, "There are over half a million
people in Tel-Aviv. Are you saying that they have all been affected by

"At the moment we have no idea. At this moment in time it seems that
none or very few of the half-million inhabitants of Tel-Aviv have

The newsreader let that sink in for a few seconds before saying "Thank
you Jason, we will catch you in an hour or so or when you can give us
more information. In case you have missed this breaking story. The
city of Tel-Aviv has come under attack, by persons unknown. It seems
that multiple genetic warheads were used over the city and all if not
most of the cities half million population has been affected. As soon as
more details arrive we will let you know."

Cathline turned in horror to Tina "My God, She's gone too far. It was
bad enough killing 20 innocent people but now she's gone too far."

"You mean Dr Bexley? You're assuming she knew about this. Before
we were taken she said that the Guild were planning something big but
she didn't know what. She also said to trust her," Tina said.

"Yeah right. She knew all right. Tina, you are talking about a woman
who's just killed half a million people."

"Look I know it looks that way but one of the things they taught me in
police academy was to review all the evidence and don't make

"I don't need all the facts I KNOW. Who made you Dr Bexley's
champion anyway? I'll be glad when I'm outta here and I don't have to
listen to your inane chattering anymore," Cathline snapped.

"The feelings mutual. Look, we know Dr Bexley is responsible for us
being here and if I ever get near her I'll make sure she never walks again
, but until then we cool it, OK? We know that she gave the Guild DNA
technology, she had to if she was to cure herself of being a mermaid.
We know the Guild killed your best friend, Kat, and we know they
launched this attack on Tel-Aviv BUT there's only a circumstantial link
between Dr Bexley's DNA technology and the attack. Look, I hate her
nearly has much as you do but don't get blinded by your quest for
revenge on her. You've got to keep a cool head -- otherwise you'll end
up losing it. First things first, get outta here and then let the
professionals go after Dr Bexley. If you go storming around being GI
Jane you'll end up killing us both," Tina lectured.

Cathline thought for a moment and said, "Sorry, you're right. But I
KNOW she's involved."

"So now what do we do? Sit around here watching tv until we find out
more?" Tina whispered.

A gleam appeared in Cathline's eyes, "There's only one guard and I'm
the most beautiful woman in the world. This could be our only chance."

- o - o - o -

Elizabeth lay in bed, slowly stroking Matthew's long auburn hair.
They'd decided on an early night as they were both keen to get on with
their honeymoon activities. The Guild's asian control centre wasn't her
first choice of honeymoon destinations but Hassan had demanded she
stay there. She had argued she'd warranted a little freedom but Hassan
had stubbornly refused.

Matthew had rolled over towards her and ran his fine, feminine hand
down her chest, his eyes full of desire. Elizabeth smiled, Matthew really
was insatiable these days. She moved towards him, and they kissed.
Elizabeth was about to run her hand down Matthew's heaving left breast
when there was an urgent knock at the door.

"Go away," Elizabeth called out.

"Who is it?" Matthew asked.

"Nobody, now where were we?"

"Hmm about here," Matthew said, placing Elizabeth's hand on his

Another knock sounded, even more urgent than the last time. With a
groan Elizabeth got out of bed and turning to Matthew said, "I'll see
who it is, probably some jerk who's lost."

Grabbing her dressing gown Elizabeth walked out of the bedroom and
towards the door. She was about to open the door when another knock
sounded. "Hey I'm coming," she said and opened the door.

A Guild agent stood at the door, a look of urgent desperation in his
face. He reached inside his jacket and pulled out a folded piece of
paper. Elizabeth took it and was about the close the door when the
agent said, "I was told to wait for your instructions."

Elizabeth gave a sigh and took the piece of paper. She closed the door
behind her and went inside. She sat down on the nearby sofa and
started to read.

'Dr Bexley.

Grim news. We have failed to stop Hassan using genetic
weapons. They must have moved forward the timescales
without us knowing. I've no idea how they did it as I thought I
was privy to all their plans. Hassan must have moved it at the
last second. No matter, it's too late now. News reports state
that very few of Tel-Aviv's population has survived and that
Israel is crying out for blood.

The only thing we can hope for now is to take down Hassan
before the Fury Directive can be implemented. I hope to God
we can do this, otherwise the attack on Tel-Aviv is nothing
compared to what Israel will do in return. We could be
looking at a third world war. When I agreed to this I never
knew so many would die, so much pain would be caused to
those I loved and so much would be asked of me. I knew
people would be hurt, that was the horrible, inevitable logic of
your plan. Some must fall if all are to be saved. Simple words
but the most terrible burden I have ever had to carry.

I went along with your plan because it was the ONLY way to
stop Hassan. I don't blame you for this as we tried our best,
apparently our best wasn't good enough this time. I'd have
liked more time to recruit more supporters but we have no
more time. It'll be touch and go as it is.

Hassan is reportedly in your neck of the woods. I'd have liked
to have taken him down myself, but that is no longer possible.
My forces in America, Libya and Australia are ready all it
needs is your signal to indicate that the pawns are all in place.


Elizabeth just sat there stunned at the news she'd just read. She'd been
sure there was no way that Hassan could bring forward the timescales.
Once she'd found out the nature and scale of the attack she was doubly
sure it couldn't be accelerated. Obviously not, and now half a million
people were dead because of her fuck up. There was no time to dwell
on the past, Salah was right they had to move now, or else all was lost.
Slowly Elizabeth got up and walked to the door. She opened it, faced
the waiting Guild agent and said, "Checkmate at dawn," only when the
Guild agent had left did Elizabeth allow herself to cry for those
innocents lost.

Matthew heard a gentle sobbing coming from the other room, and got
up. He saw Elizabeth sitting on the sofa, head in her hands. He moved
over towards her and sat down beside her.

Putting an arm around her he said "Darling, what's up? Can I help?"

Elizabeth turned a tear stained face towards him and asked, "What do
you remember, just before you woke up in hospital?"

"Nothing much. I seem to remember someone called Kat but it's so
vague. I think I'm making it up. Oh, She's dead I think. Why?"

"What else?"

"That's about it. When I try think about it I can't remember and just the
word 'failsafe' comes to mind."

"Ok. Wait here a second," Elizabeth said.

"Sure, but you haven't told me what's up?" Matthew said, his voice
showing concern.

"Back in a second," Elizabeth said and went into the bedroom. She
returned a few seconds later with two of her ties. She bent down and
started to tie Matthew's shapely legs together.

"Hey, what're you doing. I thought we did that last time," Matthew

"Hold your hands out," Elizabeth demanded and Matthew obeyed.

After she had finishing securing Matthew's bonds Elizabeth sat down on
the other side of the room.

"Now what. Matthew what's going on," Matthew demanded.

"I've tied you up for my benefit, and yours too probably. I promise you
this won't hurt much. I have to do this, I promised a friend. Failsafe

Matthew's body suddenly convulsed and he let out a high pitched
scream. He felt as though his head was about to explode and strange
images flashed thru his mind. A man walking away from a bride in
tears, of a beautiful woman with black hair and green eyes, the
oppression of a terrible curse and a single word, Bexley.

While Matthew was convulsing, Elizabeth stood up and concentrated.
She grew taller and thinner. Her legs thinned out and hips widened.
Breasts formed on her manly chest and her whole body reformed and
rippled into a classic hourglass figure. Finally her face changed, long
blonde hair grew and within a few seconds Rachel Martin was looking
down at a still twitching Matthew. Elizabeth hoped that the
conditioning she'd installed in him when he was held captive by the
Guild would work. Otherwise Matthew's mind would be well and truly
screwed. She also mentally crossed her fingers that the implanted
memories of a much tamer last few days would kick in, ones in which
she hadn't screwed Matthew to an inch of his life, but where she'd slept
on the floor and in separate rooms.

Matthew strained and looked upward at a concerned looking Elizabeth.
He uttered one word, "YOU," before more convulsions struck him.

The images came thick and fast, the funeral of a loved one, A yacht on a
turquoise sea, a hospital room, and a wedding. The convulsions
stopped and Matthew's head no longer swam, all was clear. "You
BITCH! I killed you!" he swore at Elizabeth. Matthew struggled to free
himself of his bonds but couldn't.

Elizabeth sighed, a great sigh of relief and said "Thank God that
worked. I didn't know how deep they could go. He'd have killed me if
this didn't work."

Matthew spat "Explain now, bitch."

"Ok. Very quickly, and I'll fill in more later on. Anyway, after you
were taken on the boat, good shot by the way. I had to make Hassan
believe I was on his side and that I was still obsessed with you. By
doing this I lured him into thinking I was contained and not a threat.
You remember being in hospital right?"

"Of course. I saw Kat there, she was torturing me. Wait a sec you
were Kat?"

"Yeah. We need to move very soon so I'll be brief. Before you were
'conditioned' I implanted a failsafe code that would, in effect preserve
who you were and what you knew. A backup if you like. Those
'failsafes' you remembered were the borders of that backup. By issuing
that failsafe restore codeword I programmed into you -- the real you
was returned. It's handy that I had such a deep grip on your
subconscious from so long ago, otherwise it might not have worked."

"So you kidnap me, torture me and then when you've had your fun with
me put me back," Matthew sneered.

"Mat, I need you. Here I'll read this to you, and after that I have a
proposition for you," Elizabeth said and read the note she'd been given
to him.

Matthew's face slowly turned pale as the full impact of the letter hit
home, "My God. Half a million people. This Salah thinks you were
trying to stop it, and that you were going to help him take over the

Elizabeth nodded soberly, "I fucked up though. Matthew, there was no
way in hell they could have produced that many warheads so quickly.
We had at least another six months. I don't understand how they. Oh

Matthew intrigued, decided to hear Elizabeth out before escaping. He
was puzzled at Elizabeth's reaction to this news. She was almost back
to how she had been when they'd first met. The cold, calculating, and
vicious Elizabeth had gone and now a new Elizabeth had emerged. A
brilliant, beautiful woman with a hint of vulnerability, and an extra large
helping of remorse. Still, Elizabeth had always known how to play him
and this could all be just an act. Matthew just looked at Elizabeth and
said, "Fuck, What?"

Fresh tears formed on Elizabeth's face "I just realised how they did it. I
fucked up again. To make a DNA warhead you don't need specific
DNA or even control over what the target DNA will be. Anything will
do, in fact anything is better. I said that I installed corruption routines
into the original DNA system, routines that would produce random
gene sequences. I did this to stop the system being misused BUT in fact
what I did was to give the Guild a method of producing genetic
warheads," Elizabeth paused and seeing Matthew's puzzled face

"They used the corrupting versions of my system to start warhead
production EARLY, before they took me. They didn't need me to fix
the DNA system so they could START warhead production, it was
already well underway."

"So why did they need you?" Matthew answered.

"Oh shit, for the changeling organs of course. I've played right into
their hands. I thought I was being so clever, but in effect I was
responsible for killing half a million people. Matthew I'm so sorry," new
tears formed on Elizabeth's perfect face.

Matthew couldn't help but be moved by the tearful woman sitting
opposite him. "You've never failed at anything have you? I remember
when we were together you never understood how I could get things
wrong. To you, errors were something other people did and that you
had to sort out."

Elizabeth glared at Matthew, signs of the old fury returned on her face
and she snapped, "I've failed before, REMEMBER."

"No you didn't. Sure we never got married but that wasn't a failure cus
we never did it. As to what went on a couple of years ago that was
hardly a failure was it? I'm still you, Kat's dead and you're as free as a
bird," Matthew said bitterly.

"I'm going to fix all that, promise," Elizabeth said.

"Yeah right," Matthew said sarcastically.

Elizabeth thought for a few moments and then said, "Pushkin said it
better than I ever can

I loved you; even now I may confess,
Some embers of my love their fire retain;
But do not let it cause you more distress,
I do not want to sadden you again.
Hopeless and tongue-tied, yet I loved you dearly
With pangs the jealous and the timid know;
So tenderly I loved you, so sincerely,
I pray God grant another love you so."

In spite of himself Matthew almost believed her.

- o - o - o -

The Israeli ambassador slammed his fist onto the table "Nearly three
years ago we passed a resolution that was to be known as the Fury
Directive. We demand we be allowed to use it to its full extent. Half a
million people are dead because of the evil of one Nation. We have no
quarrel with other countries and no desire to enter into conflict with
them, only that we be allowed to strike back at those who have killed so

The Egyptian ambassador glared back at him and said in a strained
voice "You have NO proof! We categorically deny that we would do
such a thing, and my government voices its outrage at the monsters that
did this. This, this photograph you have it's no proof at all, a forgery
designed to destroy us."

"I agree," the Austrian representative said.

Israeli ambassador's face was still flushed from anger. "We demand the
council's approval for the invocation of the Fury Directive. We refuse
to act without it, as we are a law-abiding nation. Be assured however,
that we will defend ourselves against any attack on our land or people.
Our intelligence services have provided proof to our friends, the
Americans and British that Egypt was responsible."

The British ambassador cleared his throat "We have carried out an
analysis on the fluid left over from the attempted assassination of our
Prime Minister, and the fluid that has been found in Tel-Aviv. Our
scientists have informed my government that the agent used in both
cases was identical. Whoever was behind the attack on our Prime
Minister was also behind the attack on Tel-Aviv. MI6 have also
analysed the photograph provided by the Israeli's and have concluded
that it is not a fake and that the machine so clearly shown is a Bexley
DNA System."

"That is outrageous. Now you accuse Egypt of attempting to kill your
leader," the Syrian Ambassador shouted.

A call to order was shouted above the rising tide of outrage and the
president of the security council managed to restore some sense of calm.

The American Ambassador started to speak, "The CIA also confirm that
the photograph is genuine. The machine shown there matches the
design of a Bexley DNA system, although we cannot rule out foul play
it seems to us that Egypt is in possession of such a device. However
that does not mean that it used it against Tel-Aviv. I propose we take
an adjournment to discuss this further with our governments."

"Seconded. I will hand over copies of our proof to any government that
wishes to take it," the Israeli ambassador stated.

The president of the UN breathed a sigh of relief. This had been going
round in circles all day. "Motion carried. We adjourn for 1 day."

- o - o - o -

Salah sat in his chair, just watching some TV. A knot formed in his
stomach and his body started to tense. This was IT, the cumulation of
over a year's worth of planning and development. His thoughts turned
to all those who'd been killed by Hassan's vicious attack on Tel-Aviv.
In some ways, it was Elizabeth's fault, it was her plan to try and stop all
this after all. Inside he felt no bitterness towards her. It was going to
be a hard, difficult struggle after all. They'd known that when they
started all this -- you don't take on a thousand years worth of experience
and organization without some kind of setback. At least the conspiracy
of freedom had lived up to this point and the next few hours would tell
if it were to succeed or fail.

It would be mighty close Salah knew that. It was fortunate that Hassan
was away from his Libya stronghold, it made Libya more vulnerable.
Still they had the element of surprise and their 'ace in the hole' as
Elizabeth called it.

Salah's attention was drawn to the tv once more; it was a news update
on the crisis meeting at the UN. A young attractive newsreader was
saying, "The Crisis meeting of the United Nations ended in deadlock
today. The provisional government of Israel is still demanding that the
Fury Directive be invoked against Egypt. Tensions in the regions have
been raised by the arrival of the Nimitz carrier group and tonight the
world stands on the edge of a long feared conflict between Arab and

Salah sighed. This was bad, very bad indeed. Now they not only had to
stop the Guild but somehow prevent Israel from striking back. As
though the newsreader read his thoughts she said, "We have heard that
Israel is pushing for a nuclear response to the Tel-Aviv attack. Use of
such weapons of mass destruction in retaliation for a genetic attack is
authorized by the Fury Directive, and we now hand over to James
Morris outside of the UN building."

The scene cut to a middle aged man, in a raincoat standing outside the
United Nations building. One could almost sense the media presence
there and the forces of destiny that had been meeting inside. James
turned to the camera and spoke into his microphone; "Israel's threat of
nuclear retaliation was voiced today as part of its request to invoke the
Fury Directive. As you may be aware, Israel is thought to have a
substantial nuclear arsenal, capable of destroying the entire Middle East,
and indeed is of the members of the 'nuclear club' are probably the
country most likely to use it."

The reporter paused, letting the words sink in, "We are standing at the
precipice and are starting down into the abyss. We are at a crossroads,
the actions taken here over the next few days will determine if this ends
in peace or in the flames of nuclear fire."

Salah flicked the tv off. The news was too depressing. There were
over thirteen million people in Cairo alone and the time to act had to be
now. The questions that puzzled him was what the Guild hoped to get
out of it and what use was all those changeling organs being put to?

Once the Guild takeover was complete they'd have access to that
information and more. If they acted quickly enough they should be able
to prevent Israel from killing millions of innocent people. This was no
longer a matter of the Guild's future, the stakes had just grown

Salah checked his watch; the first phase would be starting just about

- o - o - o -

Ata lifted his hand in a single fingered salute at the approaching figure.
After a few more steps Ata saw that it was his friend, Abu. Guard duty
was boring at the best of times, and even a quick visit from a friend
provided welcome relief. Ata smiled and called out, "Hello Abu. What
brings you out this time of day?"

Abu smiled, "I have some special orders from Salah to carry out. I can't
stay too long."

Ata glanced around before saying softly, "I see, can you tell me what
they are or is Salah just as secretive as Hassan these days? I'd heard that
Salah had fallen from Hassan's favor."

"I've heard that's all about to change. I must go, or I'll be late," Abu

Ata nodded and watched his friend walk past him. A few seconds later
Ata thought he heard a sound behind him, but before he could react he
felt a burning stinging pain in his neck and all went black. Abu stood
over the body of his ex-comrade and wiped Ata's blood off his small
slender knife. Carefully lifting Ata's body he dragged it into a nearby
corner and returned to his post. Salah had asked that this corridor be
secured no matter the cost. Abu smiled to himself so far it had gone
without a hitch.

Similar scenes were repeated all around Hassan's Libya stronghold.
Quickly and without fuss Salah's forces were moving into position.

- o - o - o -

The guard outside the door where Cathline and Tina were being held
was bored. There'd not been a sound, except from the tv inside.
Osman had told him to expect trouble but so far there'd been none. The
room was sealed and the only way out was from the inside. The guard
yawned but then stifled it as he heard footsteps from around the corner.
He breathed a sigh of relief when he saw it was only another Guild
agent. The agent walked up to him and said, "Osman's orders. I am to
relieve you of your post."

"I've heard no such thing. I will contact Osman just to be sure."

"Look, Osman's asleep you can go and find him later. All I've been told
is to relieve you. You can wake him if you like but I wouldn't if I were

Fumbling around in his pocket the guard fished out a key and handed it
to the agent, "Ok then, but I'll check as soon as I get back,"

The agent nodded in agreement, "You do that."

Inside the room Cathline was trying for the nth time to vamp up to the
only guard in the room. She'd given him her most stunning smile, a
smile that had been said made Helen of Troy's look dowdy but the
guard hadn't flinched. He just looked right at her, correction right thru

"It's no use, I didn't think there was a mortal man that could resist
Rachel Martin," Cathline complained.

"Must be your age. Look we have to think of something to distract
him, " Tina whispered.

"I've an idea," Cathline said and pulled Tina close to her and kissed a
long lingering kiss.

"Aghh," Tina spat and pulled away.

"Look, most men want to see two women make out so let's give it a
go," Cathline suggested.

"He's laughing at us," Tina noted at the smirk on the guard's face.

"It's no use. I guess we just stay here and wait," Cathline said in

A few minutes later there was a knock at the door and the sound of a
key being turned in the lock. A dark Arabic face appeared around the
door and called out to the impassive guard.

"What'd he say?" Tina whispered to Cathline.

"Something about his relief," Cathline replied.

The guard glared at Cathline and walked out of the room. Seconds
later there were the sounds of a scuffle and a muted scream. Tina
looked on in surprise as the guard's body was pushed thru the door and
fell onto the ground. The guard outside closed the door behind him and
dragged the body into a corner. Tina noted that the throat had been slit
and that the guard's killer was in a hurry.

The killer turned to Cathline and spoke something that Tina didn't
understand. Cathline smiled, nodded and asked something back.
The guard smiled a white toothed smile and replied and went back
outside. A few seconds later two black catsuits were thrown into the
room and the door shut quickly behind them.

"What the hell was that all about?" Tina asked.

Cathline's eyes glinted with joy "He said Salah sent him, and that we are
to wait here. I knew he wouldn't let me down. He wants us to put the
catsuits on."

"And the smile," Tina said anxious to hear everything.

"Oh I asked him why the guard didn't respond to me. He said that the
guard had been conditioned to think women repulsive. The more
beautiful the woman the more repulsive she was. I guess Osman
thought of everything."

"So now what?" Tina asked.

"We wait here as instructed. I KNEW he wouldn't let me down,"
Cathline repeated. Cathline bent down and threw Tina the smaller of
the two catsuits.

- o - o - o -

Matthew turned to Elizabeth and repeated, "You've never failed, failed
have you. When did you ever come second at anything? But this time
you've bitten off more than you can chew. You planned to stop the
Guild from using genetic weapons and fucked up. You would have to
screw up something big wouldn't you."

Elizabeth lifted a tear stained face at Matthew and nodded, "I, I
remember trying to treat a small girl who'd fallen from a cliff. It was
just after you'd left me. There was nothing I could do for her and she
just died in my arms. Matthew, I saw the life drain away from her and I
was helpless to stop it. I'd lost patients before but this one mattered.
This little girl was my link normality. I knew I could save her but still I
failed. Now I have the blood of tens of thousands of little girls on my
hands. When it matters, when it REALLY matters I fail. When I try
and do good it fails. Matthew, I know what it's like to fail and the only
thing I have been good at is evil."

Matthew's heart sank. There was the real Dr Elizabeth Bexley in front
of him. A vulnerable, heart broken woman who'd lashed out in the only
way she knew how, all she'd wanted was his love in return, and he'd
snatched it away in the most brutal and humiliating way possible. He
felt his heart beat beneath his breasts and he looked down at the
woman's body he'd never called home. In spite of himself, he felt his
hate start to melt away. Some part of him did still love Elizabeth, he
wasn't sure if it was something left over from the conditioning, but it
didn't feel like it.

Fresh tears were on Elizabeth's face, her eyes puffed red from all the
tears, "Talk to me Matthew, What are you thinking?"

Tears formed in Matthew's eyes too, but he blinked them back, "I was
feeling sorry for you. Nothing can excuse what you did to us, but I can
forgive. Say this body isn't so bad, sure the periods are pretty crappy
but on the whole it's not so bad. If only Kat were here."

Elizabeth smiled "24th of the month right? Matthew, it means so much
to hear you say that. I know we can never be together, as man and
wife. It's not because I lack the ability to do it; it's that we're just not
right for each other. When we were 'husband and wife' a few days ago
I saw and felt something that came as a shock."

Matthew smiled, "24th is right by the way. What was that?"

"I thought, no I KNEW we were right for each other. But I realise now
that I was in love with the idea of being in love. Sure I loved you, deep
down I guess I always will, but in my heart of hearts I know it wasn't
meant to be. I saw you with Kat, and I know I could never hope to
compete. If one person doesn't love the other how can a marriage ever
hope to last?"

Matthew was stunned for words. Elizabeth had all but admitted he was
right after all. He felt his heart soar and the pain of the years started to
fade away. Matthew looked Elizabeth in the eyes and said, "I realise
that I was wrong too. Maybe I should have said goodbye, maybe I
should have known earlier and said something. I never meant to hurt
you, I really didn't. All I wanted was to prevent your pain later on. I
wasn't intentionally vicious to you just naive."

Elizabeth sighed, "You just said what it took me nearly five years to
realise. You screwed up Matthew. IF you'd have said something earlier
then maybe we could have prevented a lot of pain and suffering. But
what I did was my fault and mine alone. We both must take
responsibility for the consequences of our actions."

Matthew had to admit Elizabeth was right, he did screw up. Before
he'd assumed that Elizabeth was fully to blame, now the revelation
struck him that he'd played a part in what had happened after all. He
was about to speak when Elizabeth interrupted.

"You know, I can see that now, you were so right. We're not meant to
be together. Maybe somewhere out there is a 'Kat' for me. I hope so
because I need to be loved and to love so much. Now my parents have
gone there's only me. Matthew I'm so alone, a freak in a world of
normality. Even if we do escape this how in hell am I going to live?
Changing forms doesn't help I still have the blood of thousands of little
girls on my hands. Matthew I can't live with ME and yet it's all I have.
You know what's worse? More people will have to die today. Even
now the pile of my victims grows ever larger, when will it stop
Matthew? Oh, how I want it to stop," Elizabeth put her head in her
hands and started to cry once more.

Matthew said, "Come here," and tried to open his hands.

Elizabeth smiled and walked over to where Matthew sat. She undid his
legs and hands and felt herself being drawn into Matthews's arms.
Matthew felt her head rest on his breast and felt a warm wetness spread
thru his nightdress as her tears soaked into it. Elizabeth's body began to
shake gentle sobs and she whispered, "I sorry, so sorry, Matthew I'm so,
so sorry," over and over and over again.

It seemed like hours before Elizabeth lifted her head away from
Matthew's shoulder she was about to speak when Matthew asked, "Is
Kat alive? Elizabeth, I need to know."

Elizabeth looked Matthew in the eyes and said, "At this moment in time,
I've no idea."

Matthew's eyes lit up, "So she COULD be?"

Elizabeth nodded, "Yeah, she could be."

Matthew thought for a few moments and took a breath, "So Kat wasn't
killed in the desert?"

Elizabeth shook her head, "No, that wasn't Kat, I saved her for you
Matthew, I saved her. Hassan wanted her killed or worse but I saved

Matthew pulled Elizabeth close again and wept tears of joy, "Thank you
Elizabeth, Thank you."

The reconciliation was interrupted by a loud staccato sound, which
reverberated around the room. Elizabeth extricated herself and said,
"That's gunfire! It's started. Lets get going."

- o - o - o -

Scott was adjusting his dress when the sound of automatic weapons
echoed from outside. Instinctively, he threw himself down on the
ground and rolled to one side. Years of police training had taught him
to firstly secure your position, locate the threat and then neutralize it.
He looked up, and flicked his blonde hair away from his eyes, "Damn
hair," he swore. Now he knew why Tina cut hers short or tied it back.
He looked around, eyes quickly scanning for the attacker and a few
moments later deduced that all was clear. He picked himself up and
walked nervously into the rest area where the senator and Marcel were
still asleep. They'd been in here for who knows how long, days or
weeks probably. Time had merged into one linear stream of waiting and
more waiting.

Scott reached out and shook the Senator's curved, sleeping form. The
senator made a very feminine "hmmm" noise.

Scott shook the senator once more, "Senator wake up. Somebody's
shooting outside."

The senator stirred awake "What!"

Scott whispered, "Wake Marcel. I've no idea what's going on but we
can use it to get outta here."

There was a loud crash and the room shuddered with the shockwave of
an explosion. Small fragments of plaster drifted down and the sound of
gunfire increased.

"That was no grenade, that was artillery," the senator said.

By now Marcel was awake along with most of the girls in the room.
Marcel swung his shapely legs from the bed and slowly walked over to
where Scott and the Senator were standing. "What's going on?" his soft,
voice said.

"No idea. It seems as though the Guild is under attack. We've heard
automatic weapons and the odd artillery shell. We can escape in all this
confusion," the Senator suggested.

"You two may be trained in all this, but I'm not. I'll be killed!" Marcel

"I know, I've had 15 years as a cop and the Senator here was in 'Nam
but that helps us. If you stick close we'll make it, Besides, how big can
this place be?"

Their conversation was interrupted by a loud bang and all three of them
threw themselves on the ground. The other girls around them screamed
and ran off to the far corner of the room. A black, hooded figure armed
with a heavy submachine gun appeared thru the remains of the door.
His face scanned the room and he then called out in broken English, "I
am looking for the ones called Scott, Marcel and Senator Jameson."

The hooded figure walked further into the room and looked around.
From his prostrate position Scott saw that the man was heavily armed
with an assortment of grenades, knives and small arms. Over the top of
black catsuit he wore a red armband and the bulges beneath it indicated
a heavy flak jacket.

Scott, Marcel and the Senator remained still, unsure if to volunteer or
not. The figure looked around once more and said "Scott, Tina says hi
and that she's all right. Marcel, Rachel Martin is safe and they asked me
to ask you to follow me."

"What do we do?" Marcel whispered to Scott.

"Dunno, he knew about Rachel and Tina. Why would this be a trap
we're prisoners anyway? I'm going to take a chance," Scott stood up
and called out, "My name is Scott. What do you want?"

The hooded man nodded, "Good. You can either help us destroy the
evil of Hassan or you can go free. The choice is yours. The same goes
for your friends. Your chances of escape are greatly enhanced if you
help us."

"I say fight," Scott said firmly. His sense of justice demanded it.

"If it's our only way out, I'm in," offered Senator Jameson.

"In that case I'm with you," Marcel nodded his agreement.

The Guild agent gave a nod of satisfaction and said, "My instructions
are to have you wait here until we call for you. The enemy will not
expect three such as you to fight back. You are to be our 'shock troops'
if you like. When we call for you I want you to take the explosives we
give you and plant them in the room we show you. For now you are to
wait here. Clear?"

Marcel, Scott and the senator nodded. The Guild agent stood to
attention and gave a single fingered salute.

Scott thought for a moment and said "We wait I guess," and he sat

A few minutes later the sound of gunfire started again and to Marcel's
untrained ear it seemed as though a full scale war was going on outside.

Marcel was in fact nearly correct. Salah's forces had got the early
advantage by means of surprise and position and were slowly closing in
on the fortified positions of Hassan's troops. As in all Guild
strongholds, the fighting was bloody and bitter. When they ran out of
bullets they used knives, when their knives were broken they used bare
hands. Never in a thousand years has Guild fought Guild with such
ferocity. Salah's forces were, however getting low on ammunition and
inexorably Hassan's forces, with access to more firepower were starting
to push back. Salah's great 'conspiracy of freedom' was starting to lose
momentum and as Senator Jameson would have testified, in battle
momentum is everything.

- o - o - o -

Elizabeth and Matthew emerged from their room and were met by a
Guild agent. Matthew noted the red armband he wore on his sleeve.
Elizabeth gave a single fingered salute and asked, "How goes it?"

The man single fingered saluted in reply and then said in heavily
accented English "It is as we hoped, our attack caught them completely
by surprise. We managed to secure strategic points before launching
our main attack. Hassan's forces have been driven back but are holding
out around his stronghold. We have suffered heavy losses, as have they.
In the end we will prevail."

Elizabeth grimaced. This was tougher going than she thought. She hid
all of this and asked "What about the communications room and data

"All under Hassan's control. As expected he is rallying his forces
around the world. I will confess that it will be touch and go here. I
suspect it will be the same elsewhere. Never before has Guild risen
against Guild."

Elizabeth's face hardened, "Then I guess we need to take out Hassan
and Osman as soon as we can, collapse their leadership and send them
into disarray. Have we destroyed the network links to Hassan's

The agent nodded in agreement, "Yes, as you instructed, only his link to
the communications room and the link from the communications room
to the outside world is active. Please, follow me."

Matthew looked around in confusion. He grabbed hold of Elizabeth's
arm and said, "This isn't any hotel!"

Elizabeth just nodded her agreement and said, "I'll explain later. Now
come on we need to keep up with that guy."

Elizabeth and Matthew followed the agent thru debris-strewn corridors.
The smell of cordite was everywhere and the air was misty with smoke,
bodies littered the ground, some wearing red armbands but more often
than not they weren't. Matthew thought that the agent hadn't lied when
he said the fighting was fierce. The sound of gunfire was everywhere
and the loud sound of a grenade exploding was sometimes heard. The
sound grew louder has they approached the front line. A long wall of
furniture and sandbags had been laid across a wide, ornate hallway.
Behind them around 20 Guild agents were shooting at an unseen enemy.

A loud burst of gunfire made Matthew dive to the floor, "Elizabeth, get
down," he shouted.

"Doesn't matter," was her reply as bullets whistled around her.

"Elizabeth, get down, you gotta a death wish?" Matthew hissed.

Elizabeth suddenly snapped out of her state of inaction and knelt down
beside Matthew, "Sorry," she said, still distracted by her thoughts.

"So you're bullet proof then? What the fuck was that all about?"
Matthew hissed. Did Elizabeth really wish to die? Matthew was starting
to suspect that she was slipping into insanity once more. The catalyst
this time wasn't being jilted or hurt. The pain that was causing it was
deep within her, the pain of failure and the pain of so of many deaths.
In spite of all what had gone on before Matthew decided to stick with
her, she was after all his last best chance of getting out of this hell hole

Elizabeth turned to Matthew and said, "I just got a little distracted that's
all, and yes I am bullet resistant," Elizabeth called over to the man
who'd escorted them here. Under a hail of bullets he crawled over to
them. "We're pinned down and reinforcements are too far away. If we
don't break the deadlock soon then we'll have to regroup further back
and that would be disastrous," he said.

Elizabeth nodded, "Look, I've got an idea. We MUST get into the
communications room. If we don't the whole effort will collapse very
quickly. Tell your men to cease-fire and pass me that Uzi will you. Oh,
and get me one of your guys catsuits please"

The man turned to go, "Oh, and one more thing pass me the plans for
this place."

"Of course," the agent said and passed Elizabeth the small bag.
Elizabeth pulled out a set of plans and laid them on the floor,

"I need to get to here," Elizabeth pointed to a small room about 200
metres away from their position.

Matthew nodded, "Ok then what?"

"Then I take down Hassan, once and for all. Hassan's stronghold is
here. It'll be a nightmare to get to but I think I know a way. I'm not
sure I'm up to it and it's one hell of a change but it's possible,
theoretically, maybe."

Matthew stared at the location on the map, only one way in and bound
to be heavily guarded, "That's suicide! You'll never make it. Why don't
we let the rest of Salah's forces do it?"

"Maybe later but first we need to get past these guys," Elizabeth was
interrupted by the Guild agent tapping her on the shoulder. Elizabeth
turned and whispered something in his ear and he went off towards his

"What are we doing and where the hell are we?" Matthew asked.

"Using my advantage. In a Guild stronghold in Australia. Now lay
down and play dead."

"What! Australia! Elizabeth what the hell is going on?"

"Shhh, Go on do it! We haven't much time. Wait here, I'll be back in a
few moments," Elizabeth hissed and squirmed back away from the front

Omar ducked as another volley of bullets flew over his head. Those
traitorous dogs would soon learn not to trifle with Hassan. He
grudgingly admitted that they fought well and died bravely but his squad
had position, more ammunition and time was on their side. Hassan
would soon call for reinforcements and this petty rebellion led by Salah
would soon be crushed.

He heard a burst of machine gun fire, coming from the enemy's line.
Screams wailed out and all was quiet. Nervously he lifted his head
above his line of sandbags and saw a tall figure, dressed in black and
holding a smoking Uzi.

In the dim, smoky light of the corridor he peered at the figure and called
out "Who are you?"

The figure called back, its deep masculine voice boomed back, "Well
done, we've cleared this nest of vipers out. I've called for more help and
decided to lead my troops to victory."

Omar called back nervously, "Hassan, is that you?"

"Of course. The Bexley female is dead, I slit her throat and her freak
husband is on his way to my harem. You can have him if you want."

Omar, still a little suspicious called back, "Come closer my master so
that I can see you. The last I heard you were safely in your shelter and
directing the battle from there."

Hassan stepped over the barricade and walked towards Omar's position.
Omar stood up but indicated to his men to be careful. The Bexley
female was reputed to be full of tricks and he was taking no chances.
As the figure walked closer Omar saw the telltale moustache and the
strong, imposing physique. It WAS Hassan, only Hassan walked like
that, only Hassan had that air of sophisticated command. Omar
stuttered "Hassan it IS you."

Hassan nodded. "I couldn't just sit there and let my friends risk their
lives to help me. I had to do something so I used secret passages to get
behind those dogs and gunned them down."

Omar was satisfied. That was a typical Hassan deception. He felt his
pride swell, Hassan wanted to be with his troops in their hour of need.
He stood to attention and gave a single fingered salute, "What next my

"Go and clear out all the bodies we've left, see if there are any wounded.
I need to know how many we are facing and who has betrayed me. I
am on my way to the communications room. I need to broadcast our
victory here to the other places."

Omar called to his men and a loud cheer erupted from them. They
stood up and gingerly stepped over their fortifications. Hassan waited
for a few moments and then called out "NOW."

Omar looked on in disbelief as the dead bodies in front of him came to
life, raised their machine guns and opened fire. He dived to the ground
but was struck in the arm by a bullet. He looked over to where Hassan
was standing and saw Hassan's body start to change. Within a few
seconds the very manly figure of Hassan had changed into the very
female figure of Rachel Martin. Omar swore. He was about to lift his
Uzi up to fire at her when he saw her raise her arm at him, he felt a
stinging pain in his shoulder and all went black.

Elizabeth relaxed as the changes ceased. She stared at her hand as the
poison dart firing tube retracted back inside it. The man she hit wasn't
killed just paralysed for a few hours. He'd be picked up later on. She
hadn't wanted to use up valuable energy pulling this kind of stunt, and in
some ways it seemed a very cowardly thing to do but war rewards the
cunning. She turned and saw the agents loyal to Salah picking their way
thru the bodies. After checking each one they ran past her and took

Matthew followed a few seconds later and looked at the carnage around
him," Fucking hell Elizabeth, you're vicious. I never stood a chance."

Elizabeth sighed sadly, "It was the only way to be sure. I had to do it or
we'd have been here all day and more people would have died. Now
we've got to get moving."

They walked a few metres up the corridor and ran into the agent who'd
let them out of the room. By his role in all this Matthew deduced he
must be some kind of commander for the Guild forces loyal to Salah.
Elizabeth walked up to him and he turned to face her.

"You have the cunning of Satan, Dr Bexley. I'd heard you could change
bodies but that was nothing like I've ever seen." the Guild commander
remarked, the admiration evident in his voice.

"It was the only way. Now back to work, how far's the
communications room?"

"It's only about a hundred metres away. My scouts have reported no
enemies that far forward. They have all fallen back to Hassan's
stronghold. If we attack the communications room the agents inside
will destroy all the equipment. Besides the door is heavily armored and
we cannot destroy it or cut thru it easily."

Elizabeth nodded, "Then its time we used some of my devil cunning
again isn't it. Besides, it allows us to take the people inside alive rather
than slaughter them. Tell your people to secure the area, I'll handle this

Elizabeth and Matthew followed the commander around several corners
and were shown a heavy armor plated door. The commander gestured
to the door, indicating its strength. The commander then pointed out
camera's pointing both ways down the corridor any approach to the
door would be spotted. Elizabeth thought for a moment and then ran
back towards the fallen Guild front line. She hunted around the bodies
until she came upon Omar's fallen form. She concentrated for a few
seconds on her hand and a small talon grew from between her thumb
and finger. She jabbed the talon into Omar's neck and ran back towards
the waiting Matthew and troops. Once she was there she turned to the
commander and said, "I've taken a blood sample of the man who led the
stronghold here, do you know his name?"

The commander thought for a few moments and said, "Yes his name is
Omar. He is one of Hassan's commanders."

Elizabeth gave a quick nod of satisfaction, "Good. My changeling
organ is already sequencing his DNA. In a few moments we'll be ready.
I want you to clear out the corridor and then throw in a grenade when I
give the signal. Ok, Matthew you're with me."

The commander barked an order and his troops fell back. Matthew, still
a little dazed from being plunged into the middle of a civil war followed
Elizabeth. The commander stared at Elizabeth in amazement as he saw
her body melt and reform. Her body took on a more muscular tone and
she shifted form before his eyes. Within seconds a double of Omar
stood before him. He shook his head in amazement, what a weapon this
changeling organ was. 'Omar' gave the signal and the commander
pulled a grenade from his belt. Taking a last look around he pulled the
pin and rolled it into the deserted corridor. Four seconds later there
was a loud boom and debris showered the prostrate forms of 'Omar' and
the commander.

Inside the communications room Mohammed Ashraf heard a loud
explosion. He was safe in here he knew and Hassan himself had
entrusted the security of the computer and communications equipment
in here to him. Besides, he was behind 10 inches of reinforced armor
plate and concrete. Hassan had also ordered him to download the Guild
database onto DVD-RAM in case of evacuation. Mohammed liked the
fact that Hassan appreciated the importance of technology in any kind
of operation. Hassan had also specified that the network links were to
be left in place -- so that he could broadcast news of his victory to the
rest of the Guild. The progress bar on screen showed that the copy of
the database was about 90% complete. In the unlikely event of this
place's capture it wouldn't do them any good. The information was
heavily encrypted and it would take several super computers years to
decrypt the information stored there. As in all things Hassan never took
chances, was always through and was completely ruthless when
required. He adjusted his spectacles and continued with the download
of the Guild database.

The intercom crackled, "This is Omar, repeat this is Omar. Area is
secure. We have prevailed. Hassan is on his way to you. Prepare to
open up."

Mohammed wasn't sure and moved over to the tv monitor. In front of
the door was Omar, his clothes ripped and he was showing signs of
exhaustion. Mohammed could see the look of triumph on his face and
he emitted a loud cheer. It'd been a long day and the stress of guarding
this place alone had weighed heavily on him. Of course it hadn't started
out like that but his comrades had been called away to help with the
battle. Exalting inside he pressed the door release.

The door slowly swung open and he turned to face Omar. His eye
detected a blur, faster than he could make out and he suddenly felt his
arm being pinned from behind. He felt a prick on his neck, and saw that
a blade was being pressed against his neck. He managed to whisper,
"Omar?" but the voice behind him whispered, "No Bexley."

Mohammed just stood there as several men wearing red armbands
poured into the room. A young woman with Auburn hair and blue/gray
eyes followed them in. Mohammed looked down to see if he could
prise the knife away from his throat, and saw to his horror that there
was no knife. The knife was a hand that had been fashioned into a
blade, however it was just as lethal so Mohammed stood still.

When the area was secure Mohammed felt the grip on him relax and the
mysterious blade-handed person called Bexley moved away, and he saw
it for the first time.

The Bexley's body seemed to melt, become smaller and less muscular.
The blade-hand reformed into fingers and Mohammed looked on in
stunned shock as his identical twin formed in front of him. Unable to
move or protest he let the Bexley move towards him. His own face
smiled at him and removed his glasses and put them on. Mohammed
saw the Bexley's hand move towards him and felt a prick in his neck and
all went black.

"Right, now for the hard part," Elizabeth said turning to the

The commander had never seen anything like it before. This woman
had just taken out a heavily protected installation single-handed. Sure
she'd relied on guile but even still. The commander had to admit the
American doctor impressed him, Hassan was right to fear her and Salah
was right to insist she be recruited. He was too proud to admit any of
this so he turned to her and said, "What next?"

"Take your forces towards Hassan's stronghold. We'll wait here for him
to call. I suspect that he'll soon know all is lost here and want to
evacuate. We'll need his encryption key if we are to prove that we have
him, and to operate the Guild broadcast system. Matthew you're with
me, Oh and get out of that nightdress for God's sake. You're walking
around as if to say, hey I'm a civilian shoot me. Here use that geeks

The Guild commander left the room and left a small skeleton guard
outside. Inside Elizabeth collapsed onto the chair, breathing heavily.

Matthew walked over to the unconscious Mohammed and pulled off his
catsuit. He looked at Elizabeth self-consciously and tried to find a
discrete corner to change in.

"Look, I've seen everything you've got so don't worry. Besides I'm
surprised any of those soldiers managed to shoot straight with you
waltzing around half naked," Elizabeth quipped.

Matthew removed his nightdress and started to put on the catsuit. A
thought occurred to him and he said to Elizabeth, "You really enjoy all
this secret agent stuff don't you?"

Elizabeth looked a little guilty, "I guess so, but only because it'll save
lives in the end. If the Guild were still to prevail after all this bloodshed
it'd be the biggest tragedy of my life. I'm still thought of as a monster
and wanted around the world for my crimes. I need to prove that I'm
no longer any of that, and to do that I need to save more lives than I
have taken."

Matthew was about to reply when a console beeped near to Elizabeth.
Elizabeth gestured to Matthew to get out of the way and checked that
all was clear. A few seconds later Hassan's face appeared on a nearby

"Hassan, what is happening? I have heard gunfire all around. So far this
place is secure," Elizabeth said nervously.

Hassan stared into the monitor, his face was streaked with blood and his
composure had been shattered, "The enemy took us by surprise. Soon
we will be overrun. My computer system here has been knocked out.
We must rally our forces for one last offensive. If we can perform this
all it once we will be able to smash that viper Salah's mutiny."

"Agreed, you can re-route thru here, but I will need your code,"
Elizabeth asked.

"Ok. I also want to order Dr Bexley's assassination. I am told that she
was in league with Salah all along. How has it come to this, taken in by
a mere woman," Hassan complained.

"She is no woman or so I have heard. I have heard she sold her soul to
Satan. It shall be done. I'm ready for the code," Elizabeth replied
coldly. She was very tempted to add some snide remark but this was
the critical part.

Elizabeth saw Hassan reach over and type in a sequence of numbers and
letters. A green OK icon appeared on the screen and Elizabeth had to
force down a smile. She'd got it, she'd just blown the entire Guild
network and database wide open. There were some geeks back at
Harvard who'd have killed to pull this kind of stunt. All Elizabeth said
was, "You're online. GO!"

Hassan nodded is satisfaction and started to speak, his voice slow and
saddened. "Friends, we have been betrayed, betrayed by those who we
once called brothers. I call on those still loyal to the ideal of the Guild
to rise up and take back what is ours. To those fighting against us, I say
to you lay down your weapons and you will be spared. You have also
been betrayed. I give you my word that only the traitor Salah and his
evil whore Dr Bexley will be punished."

Hassan paused for a few seconds, letting his words sink in, "Why should
we fight each other. Together we are stronger. We are on the verge of
restoring ourselves to our rightful place. To those fighting against us,
you have 10 minutes to comply otherwise you will share Salah's and Dr
Bexley's fate. Hassan out."

Elizabeth stared at the screen, waiting for Hassan's instructions. Hassan
then ordered, "Transmit this right away. I must go now, I am on
emergency power and I need that to co-ordinate the battle."

The screen went blank and when she was sure it was clear Elizabeth
punched the air, "Matthew, we did it. The Guild is finished!"

"How so? You've still got Hassan and Osman to go? Plus all those
chapters and agents that are left. You can't kill it. Yes you've damaged
it, and yes your buddy Salah will be in charge but you haven't stopped

"I will have. If all goes to plan, and now Hassan is powerless to stop it.
Now watch," Elizabeth's fingers danced over the keyboard.

Matthew watched for half and hour, trying to figure out what Elizabeth
was doing, he tried several times to speak but each time Elizabeth told
him 'Hush, I'm concentrating.'

At long last Elizabeth took a pause, "What're you doing?" Matthew

"I'm dumping the entire Guild database onto the net. I'm also mailing
copies of all the Guild membership records, plans, finances etc to all
security services in the world. In around six hours the whole lot will be
public to a hundred million people. References to it will be on every
newsgroup and search engines will find it right away. The Guild's gone
global. By exposing the whole network I ensure that it will not survive.
I might not have the time or resources to shut the Guild down but the
combined forces of the world's intelligence services will. Even if a high
ranking Guild member in one country manages to cover it up, other
countries will have the same information. I told you the only way to
stop the Guild was to do it all once."

Matthew was amazed at Elizabeth's brilliance. Time and time again he
had admired her ability to think around a problem, predict what others
would do, and then use it for her advantage. He thought they'd
managed to outthink her during the fury he now saw that it was only a
lucky break that had finally stopped her. Matthew was about to
congratulate her when Elizabeth swore.

"What's up?" Matthew asked.

"I'm trying to find the files relating to changelings and the use of the
genetic warheads. I think I've found them but Hassan's encrypted them
with another key. There's no way in hell I'm going to be able to
decipher them. Matthew, we have to get this disk to the government,
maybe one of their systems will be able to do it. FUCK!"

Matthew thought for a moment and then the horror of the situation
dawned on him too, "You mean you don't know why they launched the
attack on Tel-Aviv, and what they're planning to do with all those
changeling organs?"

Elizabeth sighed, "Yep. We've killed the scorpion but the poison still
remains. If we don't find a way to prove the link between the Guild and
the attack on Tel-Aviv then we'll still have failed! Israel will still strike
back and kill millions. Fuck, there's no way we can get Hassan to give
us the key now.

"So now what?"

"We carry on and remove Hassan and the rest of the Guild. We HAVE
to get this to the government before Israel's given the go ahead to
invoke the Fury Directive. Fuck, Hassan's good. I won't underestimate
him again."

Matthew peered at a screen, "Elizabeth, the database copy has finished."

Elizabeth walked over to the DVD-RAM system and removed six disks.
She gave them to Matthew and said firmly, "No matter what happens
you MUST give these to the government. You've not done much yet,
but now it's your hour Matthew. When you get out, and if I don't make
it, go to your apartment in New York. Salah will be there and ask him
to take you to my Lab in Libya you can turn yourself back from there."

Matthew said, "You sound as though you might not live thru this."

Elizabeth said softly, "With what I have planned next I might not. The
only thing that can kill me is myself."

- o - o - o -

Outside of the harem the gunfire stopped abruptly. It was almost as if
there was a pause, a waiting for something to pass. Marcel's fear rose
when the door opened and a black glad figure walked in. To his relief
Marcel spotted a red armband, it was one of the 'good guys'.

The man walked over to where Marcel, Scott and the senator were
sitting and he crouched down beside them. The man reached into a side
pocket and pulled out a small piece of white putty and a black device
that looked like a pager. The man checked both devices before saying,
"If you go down the corridor for a hundred metres and then take a right
you will see a heavy wooden door. This is Semtex, it's a very powerful
explosive," he showed the putty to Scott, "Put this on the door hinges
and then, when you are far enough way press this," and he indicated a
small button on the pager.

Scott thought for a few moments before saying, "This door is bound to
be heavily defended, we'll be killed trying to get to it. What's behind the
door anyway?"

The man nodded, acknowledging the questions and replied, "You are
women, they will not expect women to be against them. Besides, I am
going to create panic in here. The enemy will be swamped with
screaming women. They will not shoot and they will not suspect. As to
what's behind the door, that is Hassan's personal office. When we
destroy it we send a powerful signal to the enemy which will strike fear
into their hearts. It will ensure our victory."

The Senator thought for a moment before gesturing to the man to give
him the explosives. The man handed over the white putty to the senator
who then rolled it in his hands and tucked it into his cleavage, "These
are useful for something," he commented.

Pointing to the pager Scott said, "I'll take that."

Marcel looked a little disappointed. He wanted to blow something up.
Scott detected Marcel's look and offered, "You, my friend are our
diversion. We need you to scream and make as much fuss as you can.
You need to give us time to plant this and get away."

Satisfied that the plan was understood the Guild agent stood up and
pointed his Uzi into the air. He shouted something that Scott couldn't
understand and then fired several rounds into the air. The other harem
girls screamed in terror and fled out of the room. In all the confusion
Scott, Marcel and the senator followed them out and into the corridor.
The harem girls spurred on and 'herded' by regular bursts of gunfire
above their heads, ran screaming and wailing down the corridor towards
Hassan's office.

It wasn't until they had gone about 80 metres down the smoke filled and
body strewn corridor that Scott, Marcel and the Senator ran into
Hassan's forces. Hassan's forces were entrenched behind several
sandbags and were clearly unsure of what to do. Their guns were raised
and ready to fire -- a fact which caused the fleeing Harem girls more
anxiety and only added to the general mayhem. Marcel gathered up his
skirt and jumped, screaming over the sandbags, to the amazement of the
troops behind it. Scott and the senator followed suit, wailing as if

Unsure of what to do Hassan's forces decided that women, especially
Hassan's women were no threat and steeled themselves for the assault to
come. By now the other Harem girls had ran past and an air of quiet
serenity descended on the fortifications. Two Guild agents were
suspicious of the three women who'd vaulted past, and went off to

A little further on Marcel, Scott and the Senator reached an ornate
wooden door. Scott looked around and said, "This must be it, go on
plant the explosives and let's get out of here. Marcel you keep watch."

Marcel nodded and walked a few metres down the corridor.

The senator nodded his agreement and pulled the Semtex from his
cleavage and pressed it into the hinges of the door. Satisfied the
Senator said, "Let's go."

Suddenly Marcel came sprinting back down the corridor, "Guild coming
this way. Quick."

"If we leave they'll discover it and remove it," the senator was clearly
worried about their discovery.

"Then we have to deal with them," Scott stated.

Marcel gestured with his fist, "Got it!"

"What?" Scott asked.

"Just follow my lead," Marcel replied.

A few seconds later the two Guild agents came running around the
corner. As soon as Marcel saw them he let out a loud scream and ran
towards them. The Guild agents stopped and pointed their guns at

Marcel promptly stopped screaming and gesticulated down the corridor,
as if to tell them that the people they were after went that way. The
Guild agents looked at each other for a few moments and then one of
them ran off in the direction Marcel has been pointing while the other,
ignoring Marcel's pleas pushed past him and walked towards Scott and
the Senator.

Scott was now worried that Marcel's scheme was falling apart, started
pointing also. The senator followed suit but this too failed to distract
the Guild agent, and he continued his advance towards the door. The
Guild agent stopped dead when he saw the Semtex lining the door
hinges and he raised his Uzi, pointing it at Marcel to indicate that he
should move back towards the door. Marcel obeyed, moved back to
where Scott and the Senator were standing. For Marcel time seemed to
slow down, each heartbeat taking an hour to complete. He saw the
Guild agent aim his Uzi at the senator and an eternity later saw him start
to squeeze the trigger. In an instant Marcel threw himself in front of the
gun just as the Uzi went off. Bullets ripped into Marcel's body and he
collapsed to the floor.

Scott was the first to react, years of police training and experience
sprung into action and he leapt at the Guild agent. The Guild agent
tried to block a bone shattering move from Scott but Scott was too
quick, he brought his knee upwards and into the Guild agents groin.
The Guild agent went down, dropped his gun and started to groan. The
Senator took the opportunity and picked the Uzi up and promptly
struck the Guild agent around the head.

Scott had knelt down beside Marcel's bloodied body, checked for a
pulse but he already knew there would be none. The senator gave Scott
a glance as if to say 'is he?' Scott gave a sad nod and stood up.

"We'd better go, his buddies will wonder where he's got to," Scott said
gesturing to the fallen Guild agent.

The senator nodded his agreement, "Yeah. We'll mourn Marcel later. I
didn't think he'd have it in him, but he saved our lives. Let's not make
his sacrifice an empty one."

Leaving Marcel's body behind Scott and the senator ran off down the
corridor until they were a safe distance away. Scott fished out the
detonator and pressed the button. Instantly there was a loud explosion
and then a deafening silence fell around them.

Scott and the Senator held position for a few minutes until the Guild
agent who'd rescued them ran towards them. He gave a 'thumbs up'
sign and called out, "Well done, go back to your room we'll take it from

Scott walked slowly back to the room where they'd been held only a
few minutes ago. What was Marcel thinking? Why did he have to die?
Scott was reminded of the time a few years back when he'd lost his
partner to a drunk driver. He'd complained about her replacement, Tina
who was just a rookie at the time but eventually he came to trust her
insight. This train of thought brought Scott's thoughts back to Tina.
Where was she and was she ok? The thoughts of Tina brought forward
thoughts of home. Rebecca, how he missed Rebecca and the happy 15
years they'd had together. The sensation of his breasts pushing against
the dress he now wore finally brought him back to reality. If he got out
of here what the hell would Rebecca say and do? Suddenly he felt an
arm grab his, and he was pulled towards the harem again. The senator
had spotted more enemy Guild agents, closing fast and had started to
pull him towards safety. Scott got the hint and ran inside.

- o - o - o -

Elizabeth concentrated hard. Matthew looked on as he saw Elizabeth's
skin turn gray all over. He saw flesh ripple inside her, and he knew her
organs were being re-arranged. Elizabeth seemed to grow taller by the
second until she stood nearly eight feet tall. Her body fleshed out and
muscles grew taut and strong. She stretched out her arms, and
Matthew looked on in amazement as the skin became scaly and
armored. Fingers grew points until each finger was a sharp blade of
bone. From her wrists, forearm and elbow more blades grew and small
outcrops of bone pushed their way thru the already armor plated skin.

Elizabeth took a breather for a moment and managed to say "Not done

Her whole skin took on scales until heavy looking armor encased her
entire body. Her breasts retracted in and her crotch was encased in
heavy bone, leaving only her curved shape as evidence that she was still
female. Her legs and torso rippled as muscles and joints reformed to
more efficient configurations. From her chest and back burst a series of
small spines, and Matthew recognised them as the same type that
contained the same deadly poison as she'd used on the fish so long ago.

Breathing hard and looking strained Elizabeth sat down for a few
minutes. After recovering she stood up and closed her eyes. A 'bud'
appeared each side of Elizabeth's torso and just under her arms. These
buds grew until two additional arms formed, each looking exactly like
the two she already had.

Matthew couldn't help but smile at the ridiculous sight of Rachel
Martin's head atop a four-armed killing machine body. Elizabeth turned
and said, "This is all your fault for making me watch too much Sci-fi."

Rachel Martins head began to ripple and reform and it grew bonier.
The neck vanished under bone and armored skin and the hair receded
into the skull. Elizabeth's jaw swelled outwards, making her cheeks puff
outwards. The bone that now encased her skull grew down making an
almost medieval helmet shape over her face. She turned to Matthew,
opened her mouth and Matthew jumped back in shock as a second
fanged jaw shot out from inside her mouth. She hissed at Matthew and
continued to concentrate.

A few minutes later Elizabeth walked out into the corridor. They heard
the sounds of gunfire in the distance and with Matthew taking up the
rear they picked their way thru shattered walls and smoke filled rooms.
Elizabeth was unperturbed by the carnage around her, as if she felt she
was impervious to all the Guild could throw at her. Matthew for his
part didn't share in her confidence. He noticed the bodies grew ever
more frequent the closer they came to the battle. This time more of the
bodies wore red armbands than not and Matthew deduced that the
battle was not going as well as Elizabeth had hoped. Suddenly the noise
grew much louder, and the floor rumbled with the vibrations of
grenades and heavy machine gun fire.

Matthew ducked down behind a wall and looked on at the pitched battle
going on outside. Apparently Salah's forces had rallied as on one side
Salah's forces were slowly gaining ground but it was a close run thing.

Suddenly, Elizabeth spotted something and sprinted off, oblivious to the
small arms fire that was being directed at her. Matthew lay flat on the
ground, and watched in awe as he saw that Elizabeth was running
towards a set of closing heavy doors. Suddenly a Guild agent leapt out
from nowhere and tried to plunge his knife into Elizabeth's armored
chest. Before he could get anywhere near Elizabeth's lower right arm
slashed out and almost decapitated him. The agent went down as
though he'd been pole-axed and Elizabeth continued unaffected and

"Cover me," Elizabeth called out.

Salah's forces set up a heavy suppressing fire, which, had the desired
effect of stopping much of the gunfire directed at Elizabeth. Matthew
could have sworn that he saw bullets strike the running Elizabeth, as
occasionally she would pause, as if concentrating before continuing

In a matter of seconds Elizabeth reached the Guild stronghold and was
surrounded by Guild agents. Matthew looked on in awe, as Elizabeth's
movements became a blur. The Guild agents set upon her as a lion
does to a wounded zebra. The glint of their knives making deadly
sparkles in the pale glow of the emergency lights. Suddenly one of the
Guild agents was lifted up off the ground as Matthew saw a large arm
size blade rip thru the agents sternum. Another blade-arm entered the
man and with a swift, bloody movement the agent was torn in two.

Matthew turned away in horror as blood covered the walls. The Guild
agents who had been so cavalier in attacking Elizabeth backed off and
Matthew got his first glimpse of Elizabeth since she'd ran off. Her body
had several bleeding holes where bullets had struck and that had not
been sealed yet and her armored skin was slashed in several places.
Blood poured from multiple gashes where her throat should be and
Matthew could see the strain her body was under.

For their part the Guild agents backed off and circled her, wary of the
killing blades two of her arms had become. Salah's forces watched,
transfixed by the sight before them. One of the Guild agents roared at
challenge at Elizabeth, and stepped forward, brandishing his curved

Elizabeth cocked her head to one side, and took a single step towards
her challenger. Her challenger was about to rush Elizabeth when, in a
movement too fast for the eye to see Elizabeth had raised an arm at the
man. The man fell as though struck by a heavy weight and started to
writhe in pain on the floor. His comrades annoyed and disheartened
rushed Elizabeth once more, but Salah's forces starting to fire once
more halted their advance.

This distraction was all that Elizabeth needed and all of a sudden she
was a blur of slashing limbs and spines. She moved between the Guild's
forces as if on a different plane of existence. It was almost as if
Elizabeth was toying with them, letting them have their best shot before
swatting them aside, and in a matter of seconds she was surrounded by
the dismembered bodies of her attackers, blood, entrails and body parts
were everywhere.

Salah's forces looked at Elizabeth in awe, but Matthew noticed how
Elizabeth was starting to slouch and her breathing was heavy. In spite
of her impressive performance that last assault had taken a lot of energy
from her, clearly she had little reserves left.

One of Salah's men crouched up against the door and attached a small
lump of plastic explosive to the door. He reached into his bag and
placed in on the door and gestured for them to run back down the
corridor. This they did and a few seconds later there was a loud
explosion and the ground shook. Elizabeth was first up and she ran
down the corridor and into Hassan's stronghold. Matthew, in a moment
of rashness followed her in time to see Hassan's Tiger emit a blood
curdling roar, and leap at Elizabeth's throat.

Elizabeth jumped backwards, one of her hands reforming into a blade as
she did so. Just as the tiger was about to land on her she thrust her
blade-hand upwards and buried it into the tiger's throat. The tiger
collapsed, twitched for a few moments and then was still. Elizabeth
turned towards Hassan who was sitting at his desk and gave a blood
curdling hiss.

Hassan stood up and backed against the wall. Looking in awe at the
killing machine Liz had become. "Wait, Dr Bexley, you could have it all.
You wanted someone to love and be loved. I am that person. You want
to know why I kept you safe? Protected you? Well, it's because I more
than admire you. I love you. You are the only woman I have ever
loved, come be with me."

Breathing hard Elizabeth said, "I know. I did all this for you Hassan.
How else could I prove myself worthy of you, but to beat you at your
own game."

Hassan smiled, "I knew we were kindred spirits from when I first saw
you. What's mine is yours, come to me Dr Bexley, be my queen."

Elizabeth moved closer to Hassan and moved to kiss him. Hassan
looked on as the killing machine that was Elizabeth changed form until
an exhausted looking Rachel Martin stood in its place. Her hair was
wet with sweat and her body was showing signs of great stress, such
was the effort of such rapid series of radical changes. Elizabeth put her
hands up to show she had no weapon and embraced Hassan.

Matthew recoiled as he saw their lips meet and they shared a passionate
kiss. Suddenly, Hassan jumped and a plume of blood spurted out from
the top of his head. Matthew stared on as he saw Elizabeth's secondary
jaws rip thru the top of Hassan's skull. It quickly retracted its self and
Elizabeth let go. Hassan crumpled into a bloodied heap on the floor.
Elizabeth turned around and Matthew gasped as he saw the jaws start to
shrink back into Elizabeth's mouth. Hassan's blood covered Elizabeth
face and mouth and she wiped it away with her hand. By now the
second jaw had gone and Elizabeth turned to Hassan's limp, blood
covered body and spat "Liar."

Seconds later Elizabeth collapsed. Her breathing was slow and labored.
Matthew ran over to her and tried to give CPR, his hands frantically
pushing down on her chest. His efforts were in vain and a few seconds
later her breathing ceased and her body went limp. He checked for a
pulse and rechecked again, there was none. Matthew lifted Elizabeth's
limp body in his arms and started to cry.

- o - o - o -

Cathline could hear the gunfire from outside and Tina was getting a
little bored. "Why aren't we out there doing our bit?" she complained.

Cathline too was getting a little bored of sitting around. But she didn't
particularly want to join in the battle outside, she wanted out. Better
sense prevailed however and she reminded herself that if they went
charging about outside they would end up dead. They didn't know
whose side was whose, where the front line was and what they could
use as a weapon. She reminded Tina of this and Tina had to agree.

They waited in silence, listening to the sounds of battle around them.
The fighting seemed to die out, like a forest fire that has run its course.
A loud cheer could be heard reverberating around outside.

"Somebody's won," Tina commented.

Cathline nodded, "I just hope it's the good guys. Shall we go outside?"

Tina was about to reply when the door started open. They quickly hid
behind it, ready to pounce on whoever came thru. A tall muscular
figure walked in, his catsuit was torn and blood seeped from a cut in his
arm. Tina was about to strike when Cathline called out, "Tina wait, it's

Salah nodded, "Come quickly. The police will be here soon and we
need to go. Here take this," Salah reached into his belt and produced a
slender bladed Guild assassins knife. He gave it to Cathline who tucked
it into her belt.

Cathline looked at Salah, as if in thought and then said "What's going
on? Can we help?"

Salah shook his head. "I have taken control of the Guild. Reports from
Australia say that Hassan is dead and that his forces are surrendering as
we speak. The best help you can be is to get out and be ready to testify
for me when the FBI come."

Cathline looked at Salah in amazement, "You're in charge now, Hassan's

Salah nodded, "Yes the Guild is now back under control. I just hope
that Dr Bexley managed to obtain the proof we need to stop the Fury
Directive. We could never have succeeded without her."

Cathline was stunned. What was going on? "Dr Bexley helped you?"

Salah's face became serious "There's no time to explain -- all will be
explained when Dr Bexley and Matthew Stephens get back here."

Cathline breathed a sigh of relief and her sprits soared, "Matthew's ok? I

Tina interrupted," What about Scott and Marcel?"

Salah's face dropped, as if some carefully arranged plan had gone
tragically wrong, "That I do not know. One of them has been killed. I
know no more than that, I'm sorry. Now, please we must go."

Salah, Tina, and Cathline made their way thru rubble strewn corridors
and the bodies of several Guild agents. Guild agents wearing red
armbands were moving the bodies into lines. They snapped to attention
as Salah walked by and Salah took the time to congratulate each one.
He paused and gave a long series of instructions to one Guild member.
Eventually they came to the entrance hall and they were about to walk
towards the door when there was a gunshot and Salah fell to the floor.

Osman stood, blocking the entrance hall, holding a still smoking pistol.
His elaborate robes were torn and bloodied but the grim smile over his
face showed triumph. "Alas poor Salah, the shortest Guild reign in

Cathline bent down and saw blood seeping from a bullet hole in Salah's
chest, "Noo," she cried out and lifted Salah's limp body to her chest.

Osman smiled and gestured for them to turn around and go back inside.
Cathline refused and still held onto Salah's body. Osman turned to Tina
and pointed the pistol at her head, "Inside please ladies," he demanded.

Cathline placed Salah's body on the floor and stood up. "Come on Tina,
let's go."

Tina was about to rush Osman when Osman detected her plan and said,
"I don't think so. I may be large but I'm not slow and not stupid.
During my life I've killed fifty thousand of people like you, what's two
more? Now GO."

Tina and Cathline started to walk back out of the entrance hall and back
into the Guild stronghold and incarceration.

They had only gone a few paces when suddenly Osman let out a cry.
Cathline whirled around to see, to her amazement Salah pinning
Osman's arms behind his back. Salah called out to them "I have him.
It's over."

Cathline walked back to the struggling Osman and said to Salah, "How?
I saw you shot..," she paused for a few moments and then voiced a
thought out loud, "The only way you could repair that was if."

Salah managed to nod and finished Cathline's sentence "I had a
changeling organ. Correct. It's nowhere near as sophisticated as Dr
Bexley's was and I've no idea what repairing the damage done by
Osman here has cost me but it was worth it just to nail this bastard.
Now what shall we do with him?"

Osman struggled but he was powerless to resist. Cathline walked closer
and looked him up and down.

"Not so tough now are you. You bastard," she spat.

"Go on then, kill me," Osman replied unconvincingly.

Tina saw the fear in Osman's eyes and said "Go on Cathline you hate
him. Look what he's done to you, done to me, done to Scott and
Marcel. He's nothing but a bully, just look at the fear in his eyes."

Cathline drew the short slender blade of the Guild's assassin's knife.
"I've never killed anyone before, Osman. I valued life above all things.
You treat it with contempt. Life was cruel to you so you are cruel to
life. Thanks to my best friend, Kat, I learnt that revenge is no match for
forgiveness. Salah tie him up we'll let the cops deal with him," Cathline
turned and walked away.

Osman saw his chance and managed to pull free from Salah. He
reached into his tunic and pulled out a long curved knife. Tina
screamed "Cath." And Cathline turned in time to see Osman lunge
towards her. She dived to one side and screamed as the blade plunged
into her shoulder. Osman let out a cry and fell on top of her. With all
the pain and shock Cathline passed out.

Cathline awoke some time later and saw her wound had been bandaged
and that the bleeding had stopped. She saw the unmoving body of
Osman, still lying where it fell. A short slender blade was sticking out
from the base of his neck. Salah saw she was awake and walked over
and knelt down.

"Cathline, I'm sorry I had to kill him, there was no other way. I too
have never taken a life until today. I've sure felt like it sometimes
especially that of that 'hell bitch' Liz."

Cathline turned to Salah and said "Kat? I knew."

Salah put a finger to his lips, nodded and said "Shh, later."

Cathline already weak from blood loss and physical exhaustion fainted
in shock. Kat gently lowered Cathline's limp body to the floor, pressed
her finger to Cathline's lips and stood up to inspect the carnage around

- o - o - o -



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