The Shadow of the Progenitors: A Transforms Novel (The Cause Book 1)

BOOK: The Shadow of the Progenitors: A Transforms Novel (The Cause Book 1)
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The Shadow of the Progenitors

Book One of “The Cause”

Randall Allen Farmer

 

Copyright © 2015 by Randall Allen Farmer

 

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work, in whole or in part, in any form.  This is a work of fiction.  All characters, events, organizations and products depicted herein are either a product of the author’s imagination, or are used fictitiously.

 

The Arms

The living Arms in the United States as of January 1972,
with the year they transformed in parentheses.

 

Stacy Keaton (1963)

Carol Hancock (1966)

Amy Haggerty (1968)

Sylvia Bass (1968)

Florence Rayburn (1969)

Rose Webberly (1969)

Christine Naylor (1970)

Mary Sibrian (1970)

Grace Billington (1970)

Betsy Whetstone (1971)

Meredith Bartlett (1971) (student)

 

What Has Come Before

These are primarily the memoirs of Carol Hancock, a thirty-five year old wife and mother, and victim of Transform Sickness.

In 1966{in “Once We Were Human”} Carol Hancock, after her transformation into a Major Transform, finds herself confined to the St. Louis Transform Detention Center.  There, as she adapts to her then not-well-understood Arm transformation, Dr. Henry Zielinski, a physical trainer named Larry Borton, and numerous other experts come to manage her development, and to advance their understanding of Transform Sickness.  She learns she consumes juice, the chemical all Transforms possess in their bodies, and needs to kill other Transforms to acquire her juice.  Outside of the Detention Center, a new male Major Transform of the fear-dominated Crow variety, who names himself Gilgamesh, marvels at Carol’s changes and became mesmerized by her.

FBI agent Tommy Bates offers Carol an unofficial job hunting Monsters – victims of transformations gone bad – and Carol turns him down.  Immediately afterwards, a group from the FBI who do not like Transforms, led by Special Agent Patrick McIntyre, take over Carol’s care.  In the changeover period Larry Borton reveals that he is a she, the Arm Stacy Keaton, in disguise.  Keaton offers to break Carol out of the Detention Center, but she refuses, because of Keaton’s violent reputation.  Keaton predicts Carol will be tortured and killed.  Soon, the FBI team fires Dr. Zielinski and begins its torturous tests.  Carol learns that her transformed body is capable of surviving abuse that would kill a normal human.

While the FBI tests and tortures Carol, a more senior Crow named Echo chases Gilgamesh away from the Detention Center, claiming to be there to witness Carol’s death.  Gilgamesh journeys to the east, where he meets several other Crows working on a new project, the taming of the more violent variety of male Major Transform, the Beast Man.  He receives help from them and returns to St. Louis to see if he can gather his courage and help Carol.

Carol decides she made a mistake by not accepting Stacy Keaton’s offer.  She uses her wits to get a letter, asking for help, to a leading Focus (the less violent female Major Transform variety, the ones responsible for keeping regular Transforms alive by caring for them in what they termed households).  The Focus, Tonya Biggioni, passes on the letter to Keaton, who offers a deal – if Carol can escape the Detention Center building then Keaton will train her to live as an Arm.

Carol makes her plans and manages to escape by tricking the guards, although in the end she needs to fight her way past McIntyre.  While she escapes Crow Echo moves to inform the FBI of her tricks.  Gilgamesh interposes himself and manages to chase off Echo.  Warned of Carol’s impending escape, and knowing he is likely to get blamed, Dr. Henry Zielinski arranges an alibi by helping the Crows (and some Transform-friendly FBI agents) corral and tame the Beast Man named Rover.

{in “Now We Are Monsters} Now under Keaton’s care, Carol learns to be an Arm, and reestablishes contact with Dr. Henry Zielinski.  Keaton, however, proves to be violent and abusive, reducing Carol to menial slavery and torturing her for fun.  She does, though, teach Carol how to survive as an Arm, starting with an important restriction: you never take your juice from a Focus’s Transforms.  Gilgamesh finds Carol after several adventures, and falls in with a group of Crows subsisting off the dross (the waste product all Transforms produce) of the two Arms.  Unfortunately, Beast Men, including one by the name of Enkidu, a Beast Man Gilgamesh had accidentally helped during his transformation while thinking he was a Crow, soon attack the group of Crows.  During this time period unknowns attempt to assassinate Dr. Zielinski, but Focus Lori Rizzari, the Crow Occum, and Occum’s charge, the partly tamed Beast Man named Rover save him.

Carol graduates from her training by completing a near impossible mission – she has to capture a Transform she would normally kill for his juice and give it to her teacher, Keaton.  She succeeds, but her doing so triggers Enkidu and his partner’s attack on Keaton.  Keaton kills Enkidu’s partner and nearly kills Enkidu, and barely survives the experience.  Carol, as she leaves town, nearly falls to the unknown Major Transform boss of the two Beast Men, Wandering Shade, who is using the alias of Officer Canon.

{in “All Beasts Together} On her own for the first time, Carol chooses the city of Chicago as her territory.  After a violent encounter with Enkidu, a wounded Carol stumbles into Pittsburgh, where her juice hunger overwhelms her and she takes juice from a Focus-supported Transform.  Hunted by Focus Shirley Patterson’s Transforms, she barely escapes with the help of a Crow named Rumor.  Realizing she did wrong, Carol gives herself up to Focus Rizzari, who impresses Carol, and who assigns her as penance a mission to figure out how to solve the problem of ‘out of control Arms’.  Focus Rizzari also ends up giving shelter to Zielinski, who becomes her household’s top researcher and who makes an important discovery about Transform training.

Carol slowly learns how to hold a territory.  Her activities, however, attract attention from Wandering Shade and his growing coterie of Beast Men, who now call themselves Hunters.  Her activities also attract the attention of Gilgamesh, and he and Carol meet during one of Wandering Shade’s coterie’s attacks on her.  Carol wants friends and allies, and so she befriends Gilgamesh.

All of Hunter attacks fail (one failure thwarted with Focus Rizzari’s help), and Wandering Shade decides to handle the problem in a different way, by arranging for the police and FBI to take Carol.  They succeed, severely wounding and capturing Carol.

{in “A Method Truly Sublime”} The FBI incarcerates Carol in the CDC’s Virginia Transform Detention Center.  At first she feigns cooperation with the authorities and the Focus aiding the authorities, Focus Sarah Teas.  Gilgamesh, for his part, attempts to arrange a rescue, and finds few people interested in any such thing, even his own Crow Guru, a Crow by the name of Shadow.  He eventually turns to the Arm, Stacy Keaton, first contacting her through letter drops, and later, by meeting her in person, a terrifying ordeal.  She agrees.

Not long after, the authorities realize Carol is playing them, and turn to a more forceful Focus for aid, Focus Tonya Biggioni.  She isn’t happy to be involved with this, but her Focus bosses back this, and she tells the authorities how to break Carol.  As they begin to follow Tonya’s plan, Zielinski shows up, presumably to help, but mostly serving as Keaton’s eyes and ears.  Keaton needs muscle to pull off the rescue, and she follows Gilgamesh’s suggestion and turns to the only possible source of willing help, Focus Rizzari and her household.  Gilgamesh contacts a Crow by the name of Sky, who works with Focus Rizzari, and Focus Rizzari herself, to talk them into aiding Keaton in the rescue.  He ends up in their debt, a debt that will haunt him later.

Focus Biggioni successfully breaks Carol and forces her to answer the authorities’ questions in a truthful manner.  The authorities learn from Carol that Zielinski had been aiding the Arms in secret, and they arrest him.  After tough negotiations with Keaton, Focus Rizzari and her household agree to help in Carol’s rescue.  As the rescuers gather, an enemy Focus interferes with the ability of the authorities to provide juice for Carol, and Carol goes into juice withdrawal, ending her usefulness before she can answer all the authorities’ questions.  Focus Biggioni learns of this and realizes the leading Focuses set her up to fail, and to destroy Carol, and she switches sides.  After several failures, Keaton and the rescue team break into the Detention Center, rescue Carol and destroy the place. Carol at this point is in a vegetative state.  With Focus Biggioni’s help Keaton and the rescue team get Carol enough juice for her to begin to heal, though none of them know what, if anything, of Carol will survive this ordeal.

{in “No Sorrow Like Separation”} Carol, under Keaton’s care again, slowly recovers.  To help Carol recover, Keaton traps Gilgamesh into helping her, and as they work on bringing Carol’s mind back, Keaton decides to train Gilgamesh.  After much work, Carol does recover, but with severe mental problems leaving her trapped in a ‘magical thinking’ state.  In this open and receptive state, Carol remembers a discovery she made while a captive, based on Focus Teas’ suggestions, that of the Arm tag, a juice-based trick mirroring the ability of Focuses to tag their Transforms.  The Arm who tags another Arm makes herself officially the master of the other Arm, lessening the tension between them and allowing more cooperation.

This idyll ends when the Crows call in Gilgamesh’s many debts, giving him a mission to figure out who is behind a spate of recent Crow killings. Carol goes out to reestablish herself as a free Arm, but under Keaton’s orders, working for her now.  The first thing Carol does is break Zielinski out of prison and, after tagging him, gets his help in finishing the job of putting her broken mind back together.  Gilgamesh works on his mission, visiting Crows and Focuses, and discovering the Focuses have been suffering from their own losses as well.  In a visit to Crow Occum, who has now stabilized several Beast Men of his own, he puts his evidence together and figures out that the Hunters, under Wandering Shade’s direction, are behind the Crow killings and Focus losses.

Carol visits Focus Rizzari and pays off her debt by showing her the Arm tagging system and how an Arm tag hierarchy solves the ‘out of control Arm’ problem.  Carol learns the place she wants to claim as her new Arm territory, Houston, has its own problem, a rogue Focus not cooperating with the other Focuses and enslaving several of them.  She gets permission from the Focus authorities to deal with the problem, and does so in a way that shows an unexpected talent for military organization.  When she presents her victory to Keaton she shows the benefit of cooperation with Crows and Focuses, and sells Keaton on the idea of allying with the Crows.  She also presents Keaton with a present, a just transformed Arm by the name of Amy Haggerty, and Keaton decides to take on the job of training new Arms.

{in “In This Night We Own”} Carol attempts to get political payback for Focus Biggioni’s part in Carol’s incarceration.  The Focus authorities respond by ordering Focus Biggioni to rein in Carol (still blaming Carol for the depredations of the Hunters), additionally punishing Focus Biggioni for the failures associated with Carol’s rescue.  As part of her punishment, Focus Biggioni acquires the job of coordinating the mentoring of new Focuses, and she finds an extremely promising new Focus, Gail Rickenbach, in need of help, which she gives.  Focus Rizzari, disgusted at the events associated with Carol’s incarceration, decides to challenge Focus Biggioni in the coming partly-rigged election for Focus Biggioni’s seat on the Focus Council, the source of Biggioni’s political power.

Gilgamesh reveals the identity of the Crow killer to the Crow authorities and they tell him they need better proof.  While he plots and plans, Focus Biggioni makes Carol’s life miserable, turning Focus Rizzari and Keaton against her.  Focus Biggioni eventually tries to sucker Carol into a mistake by providing her a ‘free’ Transform for his juice.  Carol ducks the bait, but figures out Focus Biggioni is the one behind all of her problems.  After talking with Gilgamesh, Focus Rizzari and Crow Sky, they come up with a plan to solve all of their problems – they plan to show one of the Hunter’s captive Focuses to a close Focus compatriot of Focus Biggioni, thus proving that the Hunters are responsible for attacks on Focuses.  Carol kidnaps Focus Biggioni’s top local Focus friend and Biggioni’s top Transform and takes the two of them along on this rescue, as witnesses (under the nominal lead of Focus Thelma Laswell, Carol’s top Focus ally in Houston).  Not only do they prove to the Focuses that the Hunters exist and hold Focuses captive, they also force Wandering Shade to reveal himself as a Crow.  In the escape afterwards Carol learns that her Crow nickname, the Commander, is also part of the Focus’s mythology, a military savior they are waiting for.

The revelation of the Hunter’s possession of a captive Focus forces Focus Biggioni to negotiate with Carol, and Carol accepts the chance to interrogate Focus Biggioni as payment for the wrongs done to her.  During this interrogation, Focus Rizzari discovers that the powerful Pittsburgh Focus, Patterson, has Biggioni tagged and partially controlled.  When they discover this, Focus Patterson takes over Focus Biggioni long distance and attempts to kill them.  With Carol’s help, Focus Biggioni removes the tag, and changes sides, becoming Focus Rizzari and Carol’s ally in what Focus Rizzari is now calling
the Cause
.

{in “All That We Are”} At a gathering in Focus Rizzari’s home, the members of the Cause decide to set a trap for Wandering Shade and the Hunters by publicizing the upcoming wedding of the young Focus, Rickenbach.  As Carol and Keaton recruit troops for the proposed wedding fight, they uncover a plot to subvert at least one of the Focuses attending the wedding, and learn about a new Arm transformation.  Gilgamesh, feeling something is wrong, starts to investigate some anomalies he’s found in Detroit, and while doing so makes contact with Focus Rickenbach, and they strike up a friendship.  Carol and Keaton rescue the new Arm, Sylvia Bass, from the experiments of a company named United Toxicol in Kansas City, and end up in a confrontation with a different group of Wandering Shade’s Beast Men charges, a group named the Patriarchs.  Carol soon uncovers evidence that she has a spy in her ranks in Houston, and while she attempts to find the spy (who turns out to be Crow Echo), the spy kidnaps Gilgamesh.  Unable to sell Gilgamesh to Wandering Shade, Echo instead sells Gilgamesh to Crow Guru Arpeggio.  Carol tracks Gilgamesh to Arpeggio’s place and walks into a confrontation between Arpeggio and Wandering Shade.  Arpeggio forces Wandering Shade to flee, also revealing Wandering Shade’s hidden identity as Crow Guru Shadow.

BOOK: The Shadow of the Progenitors: A Transforms Novel (The Cause Book 1)
8.3Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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