Chapter 2.2 (Naomi)

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Chapter 2.2 (by Naomi)

Edgar turned his full attention to Chelsea. With claws carefully retracted, he patted her on the top of her snowy white head, right between her jet black ears, his oversized Maine Coon paw making soft thuds. Chelsea did not respond, instead sitting perfectly still, staring straight ahead, unblinking. Searching for any clues as to snap her out of this trance, Edgar sniffed her face. That musty, offensive canine smell filled his nostrils. Attempting to rid himself of the odor, Edgar shook his head. Regaining his composure, he turned to Penelope, who sat at the table with her head in her hands, oblivious to his frustrations.

“Dr. Glyndor, if you please, I require assistance,” Edgar began. “It appears Chelsea is in some sort of comatose state.”

Penelope looked up to see Edgar gesturing politely in Chelsea’s direction. She warily took in the situation and muttered, “Try her paw. Front right. Front left locks, front right unlocks.”

Following Penelope’s instructions, Edgar managed to release Chelsea, who arched her back in a shuddering stretch and leapt clumsily from the table. Edgar leaped gracefully to the floor to follow. Guiding her to a small flapping cat door, Edgar and Chelsea disappeared into “the back.”

A few moments later, Edgar reappeared and leapt back onto the table to settle right in front of Penelope. “Why? Why canine? And how?” implored a distraught Edgar. “And is she part… ROBOT?!” exclaimed the large cat, as if this was even more offensive than the canine horror.

“Well, technically speaking, the process is threefold…” Penelope launched into what sounded to Edgar a very “science-y” sounding explanation.

Edgar reached out and put a tabbied paw onto Penelope’s gesticulating hand and very patiently told her, “I am a cat. I already know science-y things.”

Across the room a little brown bird twittered in laughter. Penelope held her breath. Edgar glared in Horatio’s direction.

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Chapter 2.1 (Grace)

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Chapter 2.1 (by Grace)

Edgar’s fur seemed to grow and make him seem twice as large. With an angry growl, Edgar demanded, “What do you mean there are no such things as cats?!”

That was Rowena’s cue to step in before Edgar became so upset that he ate one of the birds. Or worse, threw up in one of her shoes. Again.

“Edgar!” Rowena sang his name, “Won’t you be a dear and help this poor creature –” Rowena looked at Fiona, no, Penelope.

“Her name is Chelsea,” supplied Penelope with a weary sigh.

“– Chelsea back to the back? She seems a bit dazed. I’ll take care of our newest guests from here. Thank you, dearest,” Rowena cooed to Edgar.

Edgar shook himself out and then set Eric and Horatio on the arm of the chair. He chirped at Rowena and then sauntered over to Chelsea.

Rowena walked over to the wrens and then flashed back to her bird form.

Horatio immediately began chattering away angrily, “Tiny! What is going on?! WHAT IS THAT THING?!”

Edgar hissed angrily from the table but continued to groom Chelsea.

“Horatio, please calm down!” Tiny/Rowena pleaded. “I’ll explain everything, but please stop insulting Edgar.”

“But Tiny,” Horatio whined, “he said he was a cat!”

Edgar bristled and started growling.

“Shut up, Horatio!” Eric whispered fiercely, “Let Tiny talk and stop making Bi– I mean Edgar angry!”

Chapter 2 (Naomi)

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Chapter 2 (By Naomi)

Penelope heard Edgar sigh for the hundredth time that day. She rolled her eyes. Edgar was certainly Rowena’s cat. The two of them resembled each other on the dramatic scale. Despite all of the modifications she had performed on Rowena and the two years she had looked after Edgar, neither had ever warmed to Penelope.

Rowena’s life work and research had always come before personal relationships. Edgar was the one great exception, but even then, Rowena hadn’t been able to resist a tiny modification on even him.

A pioneer in her field, Dr. Rowena Siobhan Crane, Ph.D. was the top scientist in the known multiverse in genetic research. She quickly became known for mocking her colleagues and being difficult to work with. Nevertheless, she was heavily sought after.

In reality, she had little patience for pettiness and a biting sense of humor which was often misunderstood. After abandoning a series of posts at both public and private institutions, she founded her own research facility. Looking to distance herself from her former colleagues and to fly under the professional radar, she named her facility Odd Mods. Other than the random call looking for automotive modifications, the facility stayed out of the general public’s attention.

She brought on board the only colleague she could trust- the fully competent and highly respected P. Fiona Glyndor, Ph.D. Rowena had known Fiona for thirteen years and had never known the P stood for Penelope. Who would have guessed?

“You think you know a person,” mused Rowena. After realizing her data was intact she had let her mind wander. Now she glanced over and saw Edgar talking to her field companions. They had no idea what they had just flown into. Horatio and Eric were just run of the mill wrens. She heard them in turn scoff at the idea of cats really existing. “Uh oh!” she giggled aloud. The birds turned to her with alarm.

Chapter 1.8 (Naomi)

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Chapter 1.8 (by Naomi)

Dr. Glyndor stared down into her tray of medicines. They were useless now. The small window of time she had to administer them to Chelsea had expired in the chaos of Dr. Crane’s re-entry into the facility. She muttered something incomprehensible under her breath.

“What was that?” Dr. Crane asked snidely.

“I said, ‘my name is Penelope.’ I’m going by Penelope. Fiona’s my middle name. Last year I decided to go by my –”

“Stop, stop! Is this really what you want to say right now?!” Dr. Crane whirled around to face Dr. Glyndor, eyes flashing. “You could’ve corrupted all of my data!”

“I’m sorry, Rowena. It wasn’t intentional…” Dr. Glyndor trailed off, unsure of what to say.

Dr. Crane pulled back her lab coat and pulled down the elastic waistband of her pants about an inch to reveal a quarter inch clear nylon zipper on her right hip. She carefully unzipped the compartment and gently extracted a micro memory card. “Well, let’s see if you ruined everything,” she sighed. She handed the card to Dr. Glyndor.

From his chair, Edgar sighed along with her. He might be all feline, but he wasn’t unmodified. His only enhancement was an ability to communicate across species. It was time to comfort the other two birds. Another undignified task.

Across the room, Dr. Glyndor was wrangling Chelsea onto a table across from a projector screen. She gently pressed Chelsea’s front left paw, causing Chelsea to sit upright. She inserted Dr. Crane’s memory card into a slot in Chelsea’s chest and briefly folded her left ear. Chelsea’s eyes emitted an eerie light.

 

Chapter 1.6 (Naomi)

Chapter 1.6 (By Naomi)

“Chelsea, please!” Edgar implored. They had both nestled into Edgar’s favorite chair, favoring the worn tweed to the slippery leather sofa.

“Wha? Wha’d I do?” Chelsea looked around the room absently.

“Your tongue!” Edgar felt helpless trying to train this ridiculous creature.

With a flash of sterile fluorescent light, the door leading to “the back” swung open. Dr. Glyndor’s silhouette filled the doorway. She slowly approached Edgar and Chelsea, taking care not to alarm them. She carried the usual metal tray filled with pointy needles and small shiny glass vials filled with foul liquids. Edgar bristled at the sight of her. Although she gave him grief, Chelsea was still his ward.

“Chel-sea!” Sang Dr. Glyndor. “Time for your meds!”

At that very moment, a clicking noise caught the attention of all three. Edgar’s birds! The teeny tiny one was pecking at the glass of the window.

Before Edgar could stop her, Chelsea was on the table, deftly turned the lock and slid open the window. She stuck her arm outside and scooped all three birds into the room and closed the window, locking it with a click.

The little brown birds flitted nervously around the room as Edgar’s and Dr. Glyndor’s jaws silently fell open.