A DREAM OF FREEDOM LOST

Chapter 1: The Problem

Dr. Mewser was extremely worried about his patient. He had been this kat's physician for five years and as each year passed his fears grew. Not being able to convince his patient to change his habits, he finally decided to seek the help of others.

Dr. Mewser went to see Dr. Abby Sinian at the Natural History Museum. Her knowledge could help him make his solution a reality that could help his patient and others like him.

"Thank you for taking the time to see me, Dr. Sinian" He said as he took a seat in her comfortable, specious office surrounded by the tools of her trade.

"You're welcome, Dr. Mewser, though I'm uncertain how I can be of assistance to you. Our fields aren't the same after all." She smiled warmly handing him a cup of tea and sitting down next to him.

"That may be true, doctor but it's your knowledge of a certain species that I need. I have a patient who firmly believes he can handle his problem but unfortunately, my instruments that I use to monitor him, tell me that he isn't handling it at all and the city is in real danger because of it." He said grimly.

"Well, that certainly sounds ominous. Please explain!" Dr. Sinian urged, her brow knitted in concern.

"My patient is a Sabren. As you know the Sabren race must have sexual intercourse on a regular and consistent basis to drain energy. When a Sabren succeeds in finding their perfect biological mate the energy drain is much stronger and keeps the Sabren safe. The temporary liaisons an unmated Sabren has most of his adult life only drains a small amount of energy. Until they find a mate their energy levels can gradually rise year after year till they reach dangerous levels. Some simply explode once the level gets too high and take out anything that's near them as well. There are various reports of this happening sporadically all over the city, quickly explained away as a natural disaster or having been caused by an Omega attack. But when you investigate the matter more closely you find the real truth. Obviously, the city council doesn't want the katizens of Megakat City to be aware of the danger from a small number of its katizens that are walking bombs." He finished soberly.

"I've heard about this problem before and no one has been able to come up with a viable solution." She said sadly.

"I think I might have the solution but not the abilities to carry it out." Dr. Mewser leaned forward urgently. "The problem for the Sabren is the inability to find a mate quickly and the additional difficulty of being a truly hermaphrodite species. It doesn't help that power dumping can only be accomplished with a male not female partner. They must mate with multiple partners until they hit upon the right one. For some that's not a problem they like the variety but for ones like my patient this method is distasteful. They can't abide casual sex. We need to find a way that they can detect the right mate without this endless sleeping around or trying to ignore the problem that leads to even more dangerous complications like blowing up. I was hoping you might know someone who could maybe invent some kind of device that could do this? I'm asking you because you have the knowledge here in your books to help the inventor understand what's needed."

"What a wonderful solution and I'm surprised no one thought of it before. You are quite right. If it is at all possible, it should finally end this threat to the city and give the Sabren peace of mind at last." She said excitedly. "I know a brilliant inventor, Professor Hackle, if anyone could figure out something that will work it would be him. I'll contact him immediately and see what we can do. I'll keep you informed." She told him as they rose from their seats.

"Thank you! I hope he can do it and do it quickly. I don't know how much time my patient really has before he loses control and destroys half the city." He said then added when he saw her look of shock, "Yes, he's that dangerous and powerful. I'll be awaiting your call." Dr. Mewser said tightly but with some relief that there might be a chance to save a species and a city.

He left the museum with a lighter heart. Now all he could do was wait and keep an eye on his patient, hoping there was enough time to save his life.

Dr. Sinian did as promised and contacted Professor Hackle quickly. Laying out the problem, he promised to work on it immediately with her assistance. Over the next few weeks, other projects were set aside as the two scientists labored to come up with a device to allow the Sabren to detect their mate.

Finally, four weeks later, a prototype was made. Dr. Sinian called Dr. Mewser and Deputy Mayor Briggs, whom she had briefed about the problem, to come and see the device.

After introductions were made, Professor Hackle briefed them on how the device would work, "The principle behind this device is very simple. It identifies the specific Sabren's energy signature then it searches out a compatible biological energy signature of a male kat. Sort of like the sonar of a bat. It will give off a loud tonal alarm when a match is found. The Sabren wears this as a medallion around their neck." He explained proudly.

"Certainly sounds simple enough." Deputy Mayor Briggs commented as she examined the seemingly innocuous necklace and medallion.

"I've also thought of something else that could significantly improve the Sabren's image with the katizens of this city. Because of the amount of energy they produce, during the initial first mating the Sabren will dump a significant amount of power that is released harmlessly into the air or ground through their new mate. I propose we harness that energy. I've been able to extrapolate that the amount of energy expelled by a single Sabren's initial mating could supply at least a month's worth of free electricity for the city's use. I don't think it will take much to convert a room that allows privacy for the mating while capturing the expelled energy. Such a solution will benefit all katkind." Professor Hackle smiled at the gaping expressions that greeted his announcement.

"That would be fantastic and definitely go a long way to gain acceptance of the Sabren as a useful member of society and help them come out of hiding and find mates more easily." Briggs said pleased with the pair's work.

"Let me work up a press release for this and see if we can convince some Sabrens to give it a try." She said thoughtfully. "How long do you think it will take to build or alter a special room at the power plant, Professor?"

"I couldn't say, Ms. Briggs. I could use some help and of course I will need your backing to allow the alterations to be done. I could get it done quickly if I had Razor's help. That young kat is a brilliant inventor in his own right and with his help we could probably get it done in days." Professor Hackle said thinking of all the things needed to complete such a project.

"You'll get everything you need Professor and I'll contact Razor about needing his help. Just give me a few days to get things arranged." Briggs said already planning what she needed to tell the Mayor to get the ball rolling.

"That will be fine, Ms. Briggs. I will use the time to design what will be needed." Hackle agreed.

"Thanks to all of you for your hard work and that was a wonderful solution you came up with Dr. Mewser." Briggs told everyone warmly as she got ready to leave.

"Thank you Ms. Briggs. Umm, could I speak to you privately about a very serious matter that started this in the first place?" Dr. Mewser asked her nervously.

"Certainly! Where would you like to go to talk?" She asked eyeing him in concern.

"Uhh, Your car would probably a safe bet. I can't risk anyone overhearing us right now." Dr. Mewser said leading the way outside.

Surprised, Briggs followed him out to her car. Unlocking it, she climbed in and waited for him to get in.

"I'm sorry to seem soo cloak and dagger, Ms. Briggs but the kat I need to speak to you about is well known and is in grave danger." He said uncomfortably. "You see, I've been his physician for the past five years. No one else is aware that he is a Sabren and he wants to keep it that way. I'm actually breaking a confidence by revealing who he is. If the danger wasn't so imminent I'd just keep my mouth shut and wait for the device to help but he is running out of time and is horribly stubborn. He hasn't taken even a temporary partner for some months. His power levels are so high he could lay waste to half the city." He said gravely.

Briggs gasped and stared at him in shock.

"So you see, I have to break my word to protect soo many others. Please understand he isn't deliberately endangering the city, it's just he isn't able to just lay with any male. It's demeaning and upsets him a great deal because its so shallow an act. I suspect there is a much deeper reason but he's never told me what that is. He might not wear the device even if it does work because of that hidden reason so you may have to order him to wear it. I fear his strong will soon fail him and he will die spectacularly." Mewser said heavily.

"Why would he listen to me? Do I know him?" Briggs asked confused.

"Oh yes, unfortunately, you know him only too well. It's Commander Feral, Ms. Briggs." Mewser said wincing at Briggs shout of surprise.

"Commander Feral is a Sabren?" She said in shock.

He nodded solemnly. She turned and stared out her front windshield. Things had just become really complicated.

Sighing, well there was nothing for it, she turned back to the doctor, "Alright I'll speak to him but only after everything is in place. It will be easier to get his cooperation after the device has been announced and we have some Sabrens using it."

"I understand, Ms. Briggs. I only hope there is enough time left to get everything done and still find a mate for the Commander." Mewser said worriedly.

"We'll get it done as fast as we can and hope its quick enough doctor. Don't lose hope! You're right Feral is a very strong willed kat. If anyone can hold out he can." Briggs said and praying that it would be so. She said goodbye to Dr. Mewser as he got out of her vehicle. She hurried to city hall. She had a lot of work to do.

Over the next few weeks, Project Sabren was launched. With Razor's help, Professor Hackle and the power plant crew got the energy capture room, as it would be called, completed and operational. It took a little time to convince the Sabren's to come out of hiding but once they did the devices proved themselves fairly quickly. As more and more Sabren's found mates and the city began to benefit from the surfeit of electricity created, the Sabren finally found a niche in the kat world and acceptance.

During this time of success, Commander Feral found himself under attack. Ms. Briggs with the backing of Mayor Manx threatened dire consequences if Feral did not wear the device. Grumbling with anger that his secret was known and making it clear that he was wearing the device under duress, Feral wore the necklace under his shirt.