Behind Yellow Eyes: Chapter 15

Story by rhenthar on SoFurry

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Chapter 15.

Tatchit seems weird to me from the moment I step off The Hahkota's boarding ramp. Gravity is .89 Earth standard, I'm a little lighter, but that isn't it. I squint at the system's sun and notice that it's surrounded with an actinic blue haze. It burns hotter than Earth's sun. My fur feels like I spent too long in the drier. There isn't that much more UV hitting me than I'm used to, but you sure could have fooled me.

A human walks up to me, smelling eager and hopeful. He's old, with thinning gray hair and no signs of any longevity treatments. Or, maybe he's had them, and it's just been a very long time since. He has a friendly, wrinkled face, and he shakes my paw warmly. I'm careful to keep my claws away from his skin, though they're only short stumps. I've really been meaning to get the autodoc to fix them. I keep forgetting to.

"I'm Joe, you're the team Zach has sent to help me find my nephew?" His eyes are blue, like sun-faded denim, and I see a lifetime of struggle in them, but some success, too. He's partly responsible for my existence, and I'm uncertain when or what I'll tell him, if ever.

"That's us." I hook a thumb at Ash and Casey behind me. "I'm Keman, we'll do what we can to find your nephew. I want to find the guy who took him, at least as bad as you do." I glance away, considering. "I'll just put this out there from the start, I have my own personal reasons for finding Mist. You can't find anyone in the galaxy more motivated than me."

"Keman," he says. "I'm pleased Zach sent someone so quickly. It's been a long time since he and I last spoke. I'm not sure how much you know of my past, what role I played with CI's endeavors." He has a hopeful, searching scent.

I smile, trying to look gentle. "I know enough to understand the need for secrecy. We'd both be in a lot of trouble if prying eyes learned what you did." I wink.

Joe's eyes show a sudden increase in clarity, he nods. "Please, tell me anything I can do to help with this investigation."

I stand a little taller and motion Casey and Ash over. "Joe, this is Casey and Ash." I point at each. "They're going to inspect what was left behind, Marcus's clothes?" His name is particularly hard for me to pronounce without a lot of growl to make the first syllable. I sound entirely normal to myself, but whenever I deal with humans, I remember once being one, and it's almost like an old accent that wants to come back.

Introductions are made, and I spot two starport security officers approaching our group. Joe gestures at them and Casey and Ash walk away, conversing with them animatedly. I don't really expect them to find anything Mist didn't want us to find, which is to say, nothing useful.

"Joe, I've got some questions for you." He steps a little closer, the wind is picking up around us and the sound of ships using reaction drives to lift into the air is briefly very loud.

"Why do you think Mist abducted Marcus? Besides being immune, is there anything else about him that's... you know. Different?" I certainly remember what Mist liked about me. I worry about why he might want a human, though. That he's immune, that had to play a role. But it could mean he only took him to sell as a slave.

Joe shakes his head. "I've been asking myself the same question, over and over. I've had very little sleep these last two days. My greatest fear is that this has something to do with the project. But it's been so long... and no threats or demands have ever been made."

"Hm," I try a different thread. "Is Marcus straight?"

"Heterosexual?" Joe clarifies. "Yes, of course." His words say one thing, but his scent speaks another. This must be a touchy subject in Joe's world. I feel awkward pressing the issue, though.

" Something made him get noticed. That's going to determine just what Mist will do with him. I need his scent, can you show me his bedroom?"

"If you think it can help, absolutely. My trike is parked right over there," he points at a three wheeled open cockpit electric vehicle. "We're only a few minutes from my house."

I fire off a message to Ash and Casey both, of where I'm headed to, as well as some hints of what I'm looking for. They're busy trying to unscramble the starport's sentient AI to see if they can find any additional camera footage. So far, the only reason we've seen what we have is because it was in the middle of being cut to tape for data backup when the data was erased. The backup differs from what's current.

The windscreen offers decent protection from the elements, we cruise down the road at a brisk 60 KPH.

"I'm a retired mathematician," Joe says, loud enough to surpass the wind as it whips his hair sideways. "My specialty was always in pattern recognition. That was my role for CI, so many years ago. I helped them make sure they found what they were looking for in the chaos that comprises the infinity surrounding us."

"So, numbers?" I say, watching cars pass by us on both sides. "That's pretty dry work, you must be very patient." I pause. "Computers can't do that as well as you, or is that why you're retired?" I grin, hoping that didn't sound too harsh.

Joe laughs. "Computers can only find what you tell them to find. They lack the ability to look at the big picture. They wouldn't know something new if it fell out of the sky and landed on their circuit boards."

I change topics, wanting to get more towards something that might lead to Mist. "Tell me about your immunity. How long have you known?"

"About twenty years," he frowns. "Marcus has known his whole life. I spent his years wondering if the next day was my last."

"Hm. That must have been difficult," I say.

"The stress of it was incredible. Suicides were very high in my generation. That's how I lost my only son, just after Marcus was born. My daughter-in-law died two years later. Our race has had it rough, but perhaps Mother Nature isn't done with us, just yet."

I ponder that, realizing how I've cheated death, to a certain extent. Oh, I died for sure. But I skipped past all this Dee-eight stuff. I'm not sure what to feel about it, because I swear I'm Rhenthar to the core. My past life as a human was in a different body, a different era, and a different lifetime.

I've been reincarnated as a canine, and I got to keep my past memories. Has that made my life easier, or harder? I wonder. Dark clouds settle over me, when I think about what will happen if I can't get the Mark 6 off Sin's neck. Things will become very hard for me.

The trike's linear motors buzz to a halt and we get out. Joe's house is a single story, beige Caribbean style with palm trees surrounding it, brown clay tiles line the roof. We head inside and I'm assaulted with the smell of age. Old leather, dust, thousands of meals cooked. I catch the lingering trace of pipe smoke. It's all completely human, and I find it rather pleasant, welcoming even.

Joe shows me Marcus's bedroom, and I catch his scent and memorize it. I could have had it from his clothes, but there are other reasons I want to see his bedroom. Time to ask some interesting questions.

"Joe, look. Mist is... particular about his captives." I spot the confusion in his eyes. "I speak from experience."

Joe's eyebrows rise. "You mean..."

"Yes," I say. "And I'm still recovering. But we need to know if Marcus has any unique interests, something that sets him apart." If Marcus is anything like me. I remember when I was his age. I know what I had hidden away. Stuff I feel guilty about, even today, though I shouldn't be.

Joe shrugs. "I try not to pry into my nephew's life, especially at his age. But given the circumstances, lets dig. If it can help get him back, I don't think he'll mind." He stares off into the distance. "No, not at all..."

I start by looking under his mattress, afraid of what I might find. But there's nothing. Joe goes through his dresser drawers, one at a time. I look under his bed and sneeze on teenage human dander. Ugh!

Joe keeps digging and I stand up to look around, slowly, making a circle. There's a desktop computer, and I'll certainly go into it if I have to. But this could all end quick if we find a collection of dog collars and leashes. Then I would know. Combing through chat logs and internet history, assuming they even exist, I wrinkle my muzzle in disgust. That's invasion of privacy I don't want to step into.

I turn and look at casually obvious places to hide things. I'm a firm believer in security through obscurity, sometimes the best hiding places are right out in the open. A pile of magazines next to the computer desk catch my attention, and I tilt my head, reading the covers. Gaming and computer tech based, nothing surprising there. I spread them out and see a Penthouse magazine. How disappointingly normal.

I pick it up and notice that the pages are all crisp. I sniff at the edges, looking for exactly what you'd imagine I would find on a teenage boys Penthouse magazine. And I find nothing, in fact it's never been read. My nose does not lie. I can even tell how old it is, without looking at the publication date, and it isn't very new at all.

I push more magazines off the stack to get to the bottom, and there is a Doghouse magazine. The Rhenthar equivalent to Hustler. Based on the shaved male canine body on the front cover, make that Playgirl. I give it a couple of sniffs, and stifle my laugh. Bingo.

"Joe? Ah. Yeah. This... sets him apart, I'd say." He gets up and walks over, staring at what's in my paws.

"Oh my." I glance at his blue eyes and shake my head, trying not to sound angry but at the same time feeling impatient.

"Joe. I need your honesty, and I can smell that you're holding something back. So why don't you just level with me?"

He stands there, quiet. Finally, he speaks. "I didn't think... this would have anything to do with why he was abducted." He wipes his hands on his legs. "Yes, I've known for a little while. I raised him like my own son, and we human parents always know when our children are different." He looks away, "this is embarrassing."

I reach out and touch his shoulder. "Don't let it be. This could be a very good sign." The wheels in my head are turning like crazy, my thoughts race. If he's into Rhenthar, then he's not just a simple human resistant to Dee-eight that can earn Mist some quick cash. He's a keeper, as Mist would say.

"He doesn't look at other girls like I did, at his age, not like any of the other kids do. He doesn't look at boys, either, for that matter. I wish it were that simple. But he certainly looks at you guys." Embarrassment twists into shame. "He would probably like you a lot, Keman."

"Hunh." I say, hiding a grin. I know_I_ would have liked me, too. In fact, I do like me, a whole hell of a lot. Very few people in this universe can stand in front of a mirror and paw themselves off by just staring at their own reflection. I've done that plenty of times. I have the body of a god, from my own perspective.

"We can scent that kind of attraction," I state. "Marcus might not even realize that, it's an easy mistake for you humans to make. Our nose is five thousand times more sensitive. I can read all of your emotions as soon as you feel them, pretty much."

Joe nods. "In this day and age, I certainly told Marcus how to handle himself around Rhenthar. We're painfully aware you can scent our lies. Attraction, though. I wouldn't consider that. I knew I should have talked to him about this."

"So... Marcus is attracted to Rhenthar. But..." I frown. "Mist isn't attracted to humans. Not even slightly. I'm stumped on that one." What could Mist do with a human who's attracted to Rhenthar? What could Mist have done with me ? But I'm a Wolf, and he liked that aspect. He could push virtual onto Marcus, but so what? Mist isn't that much into VR. He uses it more as a tool than for pleasure.

In the 12 years before Sinclair, I've met my share of wireheads, people who live more in the computer than reality. They're easy to spot, everything is better with the current flowing, to them. They frequently don't even care about what their partners look like or are interested in. They're not much more than living dildos. Mist doesn't fit that at all.

A message pings in my wetware, it's Ash. She's found out that Mist has frequented this starbase a few times over the years, and he always visited one ship in particular. That ship is currently docked, The Clarkson.

This, I need to see. I tell her to send a transport and get that ship locked down ASAP. We need to know what's on it.

"Joe, I've gotta run. We just found something at the starport, a ship Mist has frequented in the past. It's there, right now. If it's what I think it is, might just shine some light on this situation." Hope fills the air, thick and fresh. I hold out my paw and he takes it. "I'll let you know as soon as I find out more."

Behind Yellow Eyes: Chapter 16

Chapter 16. AVTO air transport sets me down in a special restricted area of the local starport. After I step out, I spot a very dark colored German Shepherd Rhenthar approaching me; he's one of the security officers I saw previously speaking with...

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Behind Yellow Eyes: Chapter 14

Chapter 14. I'm on board _The Hahkota_, but it's from a different perspective than I've ever seen her. Zach's chair is firm under my butt, his ready-room has equal amounts of his scent and personal belongings both. I headed straight to it after...

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Book Three: Behind Yellow Eyes *FULL LENGTH*

Behind yellow eyes ©2015 Sinclair diavante Prologue The black limo cruises around quietly, maglev holding it a half meter above the road....

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