The Good Doctor's Tales Folio Four

BOOK: The Good Doctor's Tales Folio Four
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The Good Doctor’s Tales

~ Folio Four ~

Randall Allen Farmer

 

Copyright 2012 by Randall Allen Farmer

 

 

The Good Doctor’s Tales
~ Folio Four ~

Author’s Introduction

This novella length document is a collection of short
pieces, stand-alone and otherwise, related to “All Beasts Together” (Book Three
of the Commander series).  As with the extra features common to DVDs, the
various parts of “The Good Doctor’s Tales” are not essential to the story “All
Beasts Together” tells; instead, they add to it.

 

The Horaces

The Inferno diplomat Transform, Sadie Tucker, marched
back to their juice-stinky Inferno loaner vehicle, a newspaper over her head to
keep off the rain.  Some damned weather system from the tropics, long degraded
to a heavy rainstorm, had washed out the bridge they originally planned to take
to cross the Greenbriar River.  She climbed into the front passenger seat of
the hippy-painted VW bus, a vehicle much too small for Sir Sellers and Hoskins.

“There’s another crossing in Bellepoint, five miles
further down State 12,” Sadie said.

“Bellepoint?  Where’s Bellepoint?  It’s not even on this
damned map,” Occum said, annoyed and grumbling as usual.  Sadie found a pencil
nub on the floor of the VW bus, from under a six month old newspaper want-ads
section, and circled a location on Master Occum’s map, just south of a town on
the map named Hinton.  “Well, dammit, I guess that’s not too bad.”

She passed the newspaper to Hoskins.  “Take a look,
Crabby,” she said.  Hoskins suffered Sadie’s abuse without comment.  Sir
Sellers knew his boss Beast, not yet Noble, felt down and chastised.  He had
wanted to do this mission by himself, a quest to make himself Noble, but Master
Occum decided one lone semi-civilized Beast versus two wild Beast Men would be too
much of a risk.

Sir Sellers glanced at the newspaper, not a local paper
but one all the way from Charleston, a goodly fraction of a hundred miles north
of their hunt location in southern West Virginia, and noted an article near the
bottom of the front page about howling and fighting Monsters.  Yep, those two
idiots were attracting too much attention.  He hoped Occum’s crew would get to
the Beast Men before some damned Monster hunters shot them to shit.  Dead Beast
Men wouldn’t make a good addition to Master Occum’s Boston family.

He leaned forward and looked at the map in Master
Occum’s hands, glad to be able to read maps again.  All thanks to Master
Occum’s work.  Sadie drew a pencil line on the map, north of the Greenbriar
River.  “There are county roads that follow the river all the way to
Bellepoint, and according to the gas station manager, they’re all open.”

“Good enough for me,” Occum said.  He started up the
weak-motored vehicle, backed it up with a clashing of gears, and started it
back up State 12, their third time down this most annoying road.

Sir Sellers put his left hand-like paw on Sadie’s
shoulder, on the checked blouse she wore today above her calf-high leather
skirt.  He made sure not to knock the purple beret off her head, as he did last
time he tried this.  “You did good, Sadie,” he said, attempting to speak
normally, and not get flustered and leave out any essential sentence parts. 
“Thank you.”

She flinched away, again.  He had been talking to their
household women Transforms, at least the ones they had been able to stabilize
in a human enough form to talk, about proper ways to woo women.  Difficult
conversations, as most of the women in Occum’s Noble household had lost more
words than Sir Sellers, but still interesting.  He was advised to ‘remain
calm’, ‘be attentive and helpful’, ‘go slow’, and ‘talk to her and tell her she
is beautiful’.  The latter would be a stretch.  He had no idea why he was
attracted to Sadie, save that his feelings ran deeper than his ‘available
woman, have sex’ emotion.

He couldn’t understand her reactions, though.  She liked
him, and even called him ‘Sir Sellers’ instead of something derogatory like
‘Doggy’.  But if she liked him, why did she keep saying she would never have
sex with him?  Or saying things like ‘Ewwww’.  She tried to tell him why,
several times, but her explanations went over his head.

So he kept trying.

 

They found Bellepoint, a one gas station town not worthy
of a name, and crossed the Greenbriar River without problems.  Both he and
Hoskins admired the raging river, more appreciative of nature in its rawest
forms than either Master Occum or Sadie.  Soon, both he and Hoskins rode with their
heads out the van’s windows, sniffing for their targets.  Master Occum drove
them up into the hills and the nearby low mountains, the chugging van struggling
to gain the necessary thousand feet of elevation.

“There,” Sir Sellers said.  “I’ve got them.”  He was
good at hunting.  He found targets much farther away than anyone else.  Sadie
called him ‘Farsight’, the same name the other Inferno Transforms used, but
only in her notes.  “Not far away.  Three miles.  South.”

Master Occum abruptly stopped the van on the side of the
road, where it widened as it went around a curve over a three hundred foot
valley.  “I’m not getting anything, dammit.  I should be able to pick up any
Transform at three miles.  What’s going on, you two?”

“It’s all this rock,” Hoskins said.  Sir Sellers
nodded.  The hard rock in these mountains messed up their metasense.  He had
known this instinctively when he had still been Rover, and needed places to
hide.  Now he could almost understand and explain the problem.  He tried to put
together a sentence, but couldn’t come up with anything better than Hoskin’s
‘rock’ comment.  “Sir Sellers, where are they, exactly?”

“See that big mountain right there?” Sellers said.  He
pointed.  Master Occum got out a different map, one with extra curvy multi-colored
lines and incorrect road positions.  Some government map from a generation
ago.  “Wolf Creek Mountain,” Occum said.  “Three thousand feet elevation, about
five hundred feet up and three and a half miles south.  I sure as hell hope we
can get closer on these damned twisty roads, or we won’t be able to make the
capture before sunrise.”

Capture was their goal.  Two new Beast Men for the
family.  They didn’t worry about the Beast Men noticing them.  Master Occum
said he had that problem covered.

 

These were stupid Beasts.  Sir Sellers couldn’t help but
pity them, stuck with their minds going bad, and fixated on just one thing –
each other.  They fought.  Where one went, there went the other.  Even Monsters
were smarter than unstabilized Beast Men.  Lots smarter, according to their
most recent captured Monster, Suzie.  As soon as Master Occum had found a way
to help Suzie become human enough to have speaking parts – a trick of the élan
draw process – she had been able to talk intelligently.  A bit complainy,
Sellers thought, unhappy that becoming more human was making her less smart. 
Last week, Master Occum sold an interview with Suzie to Focus Rizzari’s
household, Inferno.  Sir Sellers got to sniff around Ann of Inferno again, but
he was beginning to lose interest.  He suspected Ann of Inferno liked her men
less Beastly than his current stable form.

They drove across the next valley and up the other side,
the van complaining the entire way.  “Got them,” Occum said.  He had them on
his metasense, the old Crow better with his true metasense tricks than either
Sir Sellers or Hoskins.  “They’re close together, on the top of the mountain.”

An image popped into his mind of two oversized gorillas
clinging to a sharp mountain peak, beating at each other.  “Won’t they fall
off?” Sir Sellers asked.

“No, you big galumph, the top of this mountain is fairly
flat.”  Master Occum shoved the old map in front of Sir Sellers’ eyes.  “The
red lines indicate elevation.”

Sir Sellers examined the area on the map.  “No red lines
there.”

“Uh huh, that’s what I’m talking about.” 

Sir Sellers scratched his head.  He didn’t understand. 
He would have Master Occum explain this later, when Master Occum had time to
repeat his explanation several times.

“No roads go there,” Hoskins said.  “We must carry both
of you.”

Sir Sellers smiled.  This sounded like fun, and a good
opportunity.

Master Occum stopped the van and they got out.  First,
Master Occum had him and Hoskins kneel, while they went through the hunting
Rules.  Important, as this was a real hunt.  The dreaded fiasco demon would be
after them again, in any open situation like this. 

After some arranging of their specially made packs,
Master Occum ended up on Hoskins’ shoulders, sitting on his pack, while Sadie sat
on his shoulders and pack.

Perfect.  Time for more wooing.

“I like you.  You are very beautiful,” Sir Sellers said,
as they started up the mountain.  They followed a wet creek bed, a part of the
old map where the red lines weren’t so close together.  Having Sadie on his
shoulders stiffened his manhood, but the household women warned him not to
mention that sort of thing.  So he didn’t.

Sadie sighed.

“Pardon me, Sadie.  I still do not understand.  You
asked us to treat you like a man,” Sir Sellers said.  “You are a woman.  You
have woman parts.”

She rested her much smaller head on the top of his much
larger head.  When they stood next to each other, the top of her head came barely
six inches taller than his belly button.  Sadie being on his shoulders worked
much better.  She sighed again, and he could sense her exasperation.

“I like women for sex, the same as you do,” she said. 
She had said that before, but he still didn’t understand.  How could that
possibly work?

“You must be mistaken,” he said.  “This I can fix.”

Sadie snorted.  “Next time, I’m going to see if I can
convince Connie to send Tina on one of these.”  That didn’t sound good at all. 
His wooing must not be going well.

“Quiet, you two non-lovebirds,” Occum said.  “I can
cover your glows from these idiots’ metasense, but I can’t cover your big yaps.”

Sir Sellers nodded, sending Sadie bouncing on his
shoulders.  No, she had to be mistaken.  Those were definitely woman parts
bouncing on him. 

Perhaps he should nod again.

 

After hiking uphill for a half hour, the creek bed above
them filled with boulders, forcing them to clamber up the last bits of steep
slope, slowly, boulder to boulder.  Soon they reached the top of the mountain,
and as Master Occum amazingly predicted, the land was indeed flat up here.  The
rain picked up, as did a gusty east to northeast wind.  Master Occum kept them
downwind as they approached the Beast Men, which Sir Sellers had no trouble
smelling now.  He also smelled Monster, and blood.

Master Occum stopped them; with hand signs, he indicated
Sadie should climb down.  Sir Sellers knelt and readied himself.  He metasensed
the two Beasts clearly, a quarter mile ahead.  The two Beast Men pawed and
growled at each other, a dead and partly eaten Monster between them.  Ah.  The
source of their current disagreement.

The Beast on the left was bear-like, a black furred
Beast with armored plates where skin should be over much of its body, with its
fur growing out of the armored plates.  The Beast on the right had just as much
heavy armor, but his armored plates were red, and covered by scales.  The Beast
on the right stood on two legs, his body humanoid, his face naked feline, also as
red and armored as the rest of his body.  Demon, already flame-broiled.

Sir Sellers turned to Hoskins and followed his signaled
instructions.  They crept forward, to within four hundred feet.  Great rounded
rocks covered this part of the top of Wolf Creek Mountain, as did numerous
trees.  Flat it wasn’t, with rocky undulations twenty to thirty feet deep all around
them.  They wouldn’t have an easy charge.

Hoskins pointed out a path, to the left, and finished
his point showing a place where a sharp right turn would lead them the last
hundred feet to the Beasts.  He held up fingers: one, two, three!

They charged.

Their targets finally noticed the two of them after they
made the sharp right turn.  The two armored beasts turned at them and charged,
the bear-Beast growling magic fear, the flame-broiled Demon hissing like an
angry cat, a hiss with barely any magic in it.  Sir Sellers growled, his
magical growl far more powerful than either Beasts’.  Hoskins joined in, with
an instinctive scrape of his chitinous claws on his own tough skin, a sound
reminding Sir Sellers of fingernails on a chalkboard.  Hoskins had found his
magic!  Both Beasts froze.

Sir Sellers’ opponent outweighed him and out-muscled
him.  However, the Beast Man felt weak, low on juice, and half starving.  Sir
Sellers knew well how hurting this poor flame-broiled demon must be, as he had
been in a similar position not so long ago.  Sir Sellers bowled over the
terror-frozen Beast Man, and, fighting much faster than the demon, pummeled him
about the head until the Beast collapsed.  Sir Sellers doggy-sighed.  He had
hoped for a better fight, but silly Beast Men such as this were no contest for
a stabilized trained Noble.

“See what I mean, Sadie?” Occum said.  “The advantages
of keeping my charges well-fed and up on élan vastly outweigh the detriments of
their near-human shapes.”

Sir Sellers sat on his former opponent; whenever the
Beast twitched, he bashed him in the head with a rock.  He agreed with Master
Occum’s statement, save that he was certain he and Hoskins weren’t as far up on
élan as Master Occum thought.

Hoskins hadn’t won yet, getting in a much better fight. 
Hoskins would trip the bear-Beast, give him a few swift kicks, back off, and
wait for the bear-Beast to get up on a couple of his feet.  Then Hoskins would
knock down the bear-Beast again.  “Remind me to never grow armor,” Sellers
said, to Master Occum.  “Makes you slow.”

Master Occum and Sadie scrambled over to Sir Sellers
just as Hoskins finished off his opponent.  Master Occum did his thing, the
Crow dross trick Sir Sellers could barely metasense.  The fight went out of the
flame-broiled demon Beast.  A moment later, Master Occum did the same to
Hoskins’ opponent. 

“Master Occum, how will we get these Beasts home?”
Hoskins said.  “With this armor, my guy weighs a ton!”

“Damn, you’re right, Hoskins,” Occum said.  “Perhaps…”

Sniff.  Sniff sniff.  Monster!

Acting on instinct, Sir Sellers turned to his right,
growled with magic, and charged.  Hoskins, a moment slower, did the same.  Intruders! 
A man in a police uniform riding a bipedal Monster that looked like a bulked up
ostrich!

BOOK: The Good Doctor's Tales Folio Four
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