To Be a Tiger's Eye:
Experiment 765395037, better known as Tiger's Eye, paced soundlessly on down the hall, a cup of warm milk in her hands, thanking whatever scientist had created her for the ability to pass without notice, with the way things had been going for her lately she'd been exercising it more and more.
Swirling the milk with her pinkie finger, she really wasn't in the mood for milk, she sighed before downing the whole thing in a single gulp. A group of military birds (avian hybrids who were more inclined to the actual fighting side of the war) passed by her, talking loudly among themselves. They grinned pointedly as they passed her and she knew they were talking about her. Not that she really blamed them. If she wasn't her, she would be gossiping about her too… Great, now she had even managed to confuse herself. Grimacing, Tiger's Eye swirled down the last bit of the skim junk they called milk here down her throat. It was painfully obvious they didn't get many feline hybrids in Dawna and that birds were more prone to bitter brews like coffee and tea. She glared down at her cup some more. Maybe she should take up one of those as well. Mint tea might be nice, or something rich and thick. That is, if they didn't kick her out before she had the chance. Maybe coffee would be just the thing to kick her brain into gear. Anything that could manage that would be well worth trying. Plus, skim milked sucked eggs.
A tiny introverted girl of eighteen years, Tiger's Eye had only been free on her own for two weeks before being scooped up and swept into Dawna. It had only been just over a month since the kindly-coat, the name Tiger's Eye had given to the nice White Coat who'd looked after her, and later set her free. She could still remember the day that Kindly had let her go. Kindly opened the door and hugged her to Kindly's breast.
"Your special, Tiggy." Kindly whispered. "You're a gifted, intelligent women with a stash of glorious curls, the greenest eyes on the planet, and a figure even a pixie would be proud of. You've got a strong mind and an active spirit. Don't you ever let anyone tell you different, you hear me? Now take this, I'll help you get to the rebel camps. Tell them 'Anne' sent you, OK? Those feathered trouble makers owe me a favor or two." Then Kindly pressed a handful of twenty dollar bills and a simply drawn map into Tiger's Eye's hands.
Tiger's Eye never saw Kindly again.
She'd cried, the first night after she ran away. She hadn't felt special. It all sounded so good, to be praised by Kindly like that, but what she'd really meant was a short, toothpick-thin girl with a massive mane of unruly locks the color of mud. She loved Kindly for it anyway. She was the only one who'd ever really shown her compassion besides Stone, but Stone was dead.
The twittering birds were really starting to tick her off. She glared at them as they passed… and almost tripped over her own two feet, which would have really spoiled the affect of being intimidating. As it was her cup fell to the ground, shattering. They giggled. She fumed. The Clumsy Cat. That's what they'd taken to calling her. Admittedly, it was better than 'worthless wrench' or 'thing', but she still wasn't particularly fond of it anyway.
Tiger's Eye looked left then right, the birds were gone, she was alone. With a quick wave of her hand the chips of glass lifted themselves into the air and deposited themselves into a nearby trash can. Tiger's Eye smiled. She hadn't seen fit to reveal that particular gift to the Dawna heads yet. The people around here called them 'The Flock'. Stupid name, left out the other hybrids. Admittedly, they were much lower in population around here, but that was no reason to alienate them. Not all of them had feathers, some are more scale inclined or fur or fins. There was even a human in the compound, girl who went by the name of Ella. Seemed like a weak-link to Tiger's Eye. Rumor was she was related to one of the heads.
Sighing deeply, Tiger's Eye dashed swiftly down the halls until she reached an empty outlook. Leaping up onto it with liquid grace (huh try that bird brains!) she scowled out at the glorious morning sky. She hated how this compound had been designed for avians. Even this cliff top faced the sky. Also, she hated how there weren't any real doors. Not only did this make bathroom arrangements difficult, but you couldn't slam a door if there were no doors to slam! She liked slamming doors! Was that so horrible? It was therapeutic. How were you supposed to expression your rage and frustration if you couldn't slam a door?!
Tiger's Eye had only been in Dawna for two and a half weeks, but it felt like ages longer. Oh, it was a dream come true, no doubt. It wasn't like she missed the torture, cramped quarters, bland rations, and experimentation. Plus, for once in her life she had a purpose: destroy Itex. It was a mantle she could wear proudly and wear well. She hadn't believed that Dawna had existed at first, not really. But she followed the map anyway, if only because Kindly had asked her to. Even when she met Shady-Dude at the meeting spot she figured she was having her leg pulled.
She had been annoyed.
But not nearly annoyed as Shady-Dude had been.
Tiger's Eye had followed him to Dawna still doubting. And when they'd brought out the little blonde shrimp to 'read her mind' she'd laughed in their faces. Really, considering her attitude, it was amazing they let her in Dawna at all.
But now here she was, looking out over the horrid bright blue sky of a dazzling spring morning. She was living in a modern day legend and someday, she figured, the marvels of Dawna would be cached right up their next to Atlantis and the Garden of Eden in a 'Lost Wonders of the World' list.
Tiger's Eye let herself relax a little, leaning against a conveniently placed boulder, letting her abhorrent hair blow about in the breeze.
She remembered when she'd first arrived in Dawna. It wasn't till she'd finally gotten there that she'd finally believed what Shady-Dude had been trying to explain to her.
It had taken her a few days to adjust to things. She couldn't believe it when one of the avian strike team reported her school had been destroyed. She prayed for the first time that night. Prayed that Kindly was OK and had made it out safely. Then she got up off her knees, and poured herself into her new life.
Tiger's Eye found she wasn't really much use in battle, but her intelligence was rather beyond the average hybrids. For this reason, she was assigned under Mr. Walker to study various devices captured by the avian fighters.
Of course it had only taken her a week after that to mess everything up. Annoyed beyond belief, she'd managed to transport Mr. Walker, Shady-Dude, and then, as if she hadn't caused enough trouble, the Madam herself, commander of all of Dawna, to some undisclosed location. Tiger's Eye had been so sure she'd be sent away after that she'd rushed to her room and cried for the first time in a long time.
That was where Motormouth had found her. Tiger's Eye liked Motormouth, although it didn't think it was fair that anyone should be allowed to have a body like that while her own ribs stuck protruding out on either side of her chest, and she found it hard to remember Motormouth was one of the avians herself. Mr. Walker's sister even! In fact, if she was completely honest, she really did have trouble wrapping her mind around the relationship the heads all shared. Dawna's leadership was divided in pieces. The Madam was in charge of everybody, then there were the rest of the heads under her: Shady-Dude was head of the military portion, Mr. Walker, Stink-Bomb and the humanoid Ella person were co-heads of science research and development (which was a fancy way of saying Mr. Walker was in charge, but didn't want to do paperwork), the Blonde Shrimp was head of medical sciences, and Motormouth was head of public relations. Under them was everybody else, usually according to the order of arrival. Which left Tiger's Eye in dead last. The heads, save The Humanoid, were once a rebellion themselves. They called themselves 'The Flock'. They were close, it was impossible not to catch that. Which Tiger's Eye probably would have had found really sweet if she wasn't so jealous.
Anyway, back to Motormouth, Motormouth had found her blubbering in a pitiful heap of tears and snot. Motormouth had plopped down next to her, sat down and patted her on the back. "You know," She'd said in a voice normally reserved for small children and hybrid screw-ups. "I've worked with Max for nineteen years, which happens to be all I've ever lived. And I've never ever, not once, ever seen her write someone off just because they messed up. In fact, you wouldn't believe the times Max herself has caused the world to practically explode. If you just calm down, and go and help Gazzy, God only knows what help that boy needs, fix that device and get my brothers and Max back here safely I'm sure everyone will forget all about it."
And the bizarre thing was, they actually had. Tiger's Eye managed to help Stink-Bomb, and then everybody had been way to busy making jokes about The Madam and Shady-Dude to bother with her. Tiger's Eye shook her head and watched a small strike team of avians, 'Team Fang' they were called, fly gracefully into a cave opening not far away. She's been here all of two and a half weeks and even she already knew as well as anyone else the two fancied each other. Tiger's Eye had no idea why they still bothered to deny it. Tiger's Eye shrugged. She thought they made a cute enough couple, but if they wanted to play denial, that was their business. Still, she was rather under the impression that if Shady-Dude was hers she'd stake her claim loud and clear, clawing out the eyes of anyone who came to close.
So it all had blown over like nothing had ever happened. Tiger's Eye had just put on a brave face and gotten back to work. Of course, that had meant going back to the lab and working under Mr. Walker with the device that was causing her so much havoc and another one brought back from a raid on Area 51 of all places!
Tiger's Eye had been shocked that Mr. Walker had asked her back to work in his lab at all. But that shock quickly dispelled after, in the span of about thirty seconds, he told her in no uncertain terms what he thought of her and the trouble she'd caused and that if it wasn't for the fact that she had been raised in the same institution the first gizmo had come from she wouldn't have ever set foot inside his lab again, let alone have the honor of working with him personally. It didn't matter that she was one of the smartest hybrids in all of Dawna, which had rapidly been growing with each new raid. New hybrids were coming in all the time and one could easily be found to replace her if need be.
That she could deal with, her pride was relatively flexible, if it hadn't been for the fact that it came from Mr. Walker himself. Oh, she understood the important role he played in Dawna; it hadn't taken more than a few days to realize that if it wasn't for him and the rest of his family, Dawna wouldn't have a prayer. But while The Madam treated Tiger's Eye with the same respect she treated every member of the compound, and while Shady-Dude was really kind of mysterious in an almost attractive sort of way, Mr. Walker was just annoying. She wasn't even sure why he bugged her so much. She admired his resolve, and his dedication to helping people. She envied his insight and vast experience. She respected his self-confidence. He wasn't even unpleasant to look at when he wasn't yelling at people. But he still managed to rub her the wrong way. She didn't know why… To be honest though, she really didn't need a reason. She didn't like him and that was that.
And as if that wasn't enough, she couldn't get anything done effectively with him hovering over her shoulder like he always was, criticizing her every move. Then she managed to 'accidentally' spill his coffee all over him and prayed that would be that. Apparently so had Mr. Walker, because he'd immediately gone sulking off to The Madam and asked for a new assistant for the lab. But The Madam had just looked at him and smiled saying "The two pyros will just have to learn to play with friendly fire." She had found this incredibly amusing. Mr. Walker hadn't and neither had Tiger's Eye, to be quite honest.
Then there had been The Laptop Incident. For the love all of that was good and holy, she had no idea why Mr. Walker had asked her to do the computer work. She may understand the unusual machines they were studying from Itex, but as far as actual computers went she had no idea whatsoever. So she'd tentatively suggested Mr. Walker do it himself. He'd gotten all sour and told her to act her age... Then exploded when she managed to wipe his hard drive clean. She hadn't even known that was possible!
That was about the point people had started recognizing her in the hall. Tiger's Eye almost found it amusing. It wasn't until she'd managed to break one of his 'favorite' handheld gadgets and he demanded a swap with Gasman's assistant (and had gotten it to, since he'd basically gone on strike till The Madam really didn't have a choice) that the bets had begun to circulate on what Tiger's Eye's next big screw up would be. In a way, she was insulted, but she was also relieved to be working for someone other than Mr. Walker, even if he was three years younger than her. She rather liked Stink-Bomb anyhow. The way Mr. Walker treated him just like everybody else was just another reason she disliked the blind pyromaniac. Stink-Bomb was really sweet. In fact if he had been just a few years older and got a haircut… Ah, but she didn't have time for romantic fantasies.
Still. The chaos she had caused had been nothing compared to the stunt pulled today. She had actually managed to reprogram a captured Flyboy.
It was like she had done it on purpose. In fact, she had no idea what she'd done. The newer flyboys were keyed to respond to the thoughts of their human leaders. Apparently her brain waves must have been really close to whatever white coat was in charge of this one's group because with a mere thought Tiger's Eye had managed to completely rearrange it's programming.
It wasn't much of a wonder that the avians in the hall had been grinning at her. Maybe she should have placed a bet against herself; she could have made a small fortune. Maybe even enough to buy a plane ticket somewhere far, far away. Africa maybe. Or Australia.
Because when Mr. Walker returned from his scouting mission with Team Fang, he was going to use her in an experiment to see just how long it take one underweight feline hybrid to drop from the lookout cliff to the ocean floor.
Yeah, to be a Tiger's Eye was a devastating experience.