tagSci-Fi & FantasyMyka's Tail Ch. 05

Myka's Tail Ch. 05

byMagical_Kitten©

Hi all! Here it is, finally! My greatest thanks go to my wonderful editor, Tccrusher, who not only puts up with me missing the deadlines I give myself, but does so without complaint. Myka's Tail would not be even half as good without his endless support and guidance. As I mentioned in my bio section, what I wrote for chapter 5 was huge. Both Tccrusher and I felt it best to split it down the middle so as not to overwhelm anyone, and as soon as he has the second half edited, I can get that to you ASAP. And thanks again to you all, my dedicated readers. You make all of this worth it.

***

My thoughts drifted for about the fifteenth time. I had to put my mind in the present so that I could be there for the students that were now my responsibility. I wasn't a professor yet, but part of the program was to assist the professors with their classes. In fact, it was a requirement of all students that were receiving funds to cover their graduate tuition, and it was especially rough for me because I was both a third semester PhD student, and I was the director of the McAllister Wildlife Refuge. Don't get me wrong, I loved being in the program, and I was thrilled that the university was willing to partner with the refuge for both graduate and undergraduate classes, but sometimes it was a highly complex juggling act to keep up with all the work I had to do.

And to top it off, while I was out here with the students I couldn't run like I usually did, which meant naked. It would cause a never ending scandal that nobody needed, and I had class with many of the people that were here on a regular basis. It made both Kelli and I laugh about how I would look trying to tell someone that they had failed a midterm after they had seen me dashing around without my clothes on. I would have no credibility whatsoever.

I was not sure why I was having a hard time focusing, other than the incessant prodding that my link to the earth had been doing over the last few weeks. It started small, with only a nudge or two, but over time it became progressively more insistent. It was almost like having a child pester you for candy, but every time you tried to turn and scold them, nobody was there. I tried to run when I could with the students around, which usually meant after one or two in the morning, but the time I spent running was not calming enough. I shook my head once more and then turned to keep track of the ten undergrads that I had with me in the field.

My responsibilities this semester included the practical course work for the second level eco course, and for the next three weeks I was in charge of seven talented young women, one very bright young man, and two guys who I suspect took the class because they wanted to have an excuse to hang around the sexy cat-girl teacher. I was flattered, sure, but I always let anyone who got flirty know that I was taken, and happily so. I also let the persistent ones know that sucking up would not get them a date, nor a better grade in the class. Experience had taught me that after a few days they would finally get the idea and then I could get down to the business of teaching without fending off hopeless attempts to gain my interest.

It was the evening session of the first day of the field practicum, and I was walking between the students who were in groups of two, making sure that any questions they had were answered. The day began earlier with a two hour orientation at the new field house that the McAlister group had built. It allowed students to stay in the area for the class, instead of traveling the three hours every day between the university and the refuge. It was a very nice building with four classrooms, a communal kitchen, and separated sleeping arrangements which could house twenty of each gender, along with space for three instructors and a small lab. I didn't have an office yet, but I had planned on talking my parents into letting me use the other room in the basement until I had secured funding for another building.

"Hey Myka," one of the girls called out, and I headed over to answer her question.

I know that some would say that letting the students call me by my first name was being a bit too familiar, but I would not have my doctorate for another three years at least. That meant that I couldn't use the title of doctor or professor yet, and there was no way in hell that I was going to answer to Miss Carlisle coming from someone who I barely had five years on.

"What do you need Shelly," and I crouched down to get a look at what she was documenting.

"Well, umm," the redhead began, and pushed her glasses back to the top of the bridge of her nose. "Can you explain what you want from us for this assignment a little better? Carrie and I really want to do well in this course, and your instructions seemed a bit broad."

Shelly's partner, Carrie, was nodding in agreement with her, and I realized that I had my first two super-achievers. I made a quick decision that if they wanted a simpler explanation then I would give them one, so I hollered out and called everyone over to us.

"Ok, some of you have expressed some concern that my explanation of what we are doing for this class was too broad. Do most of you feel this way?"

I sighed to myself as several of the other students raised their hands, indicating that I might have truly caused some confusion. This was my first time leading this kind of course, so I knew that it was not going to be completely smooth the first time around.

"Alright, put simply this class has two goals that you are going to be graded on," I explained to them once more. "First, you need to show that you can do basic research on a specific topic. Second, you need to show that you can formulate a well thought out and reasonable hypothesis. Tell me again what the difference is between a hypothesis and a theory."

"A hypothesis is a well educated guess about a future result based on available data, and a theory is an idea or principle that has been found to be correct through repeated testing."

I was surprised that the answer came from one of the guys that had tried to suck up at first, and who had tried to get a look as my ass on numerous occasions when he thought I was not paying attention.

"That's right Brad. I'm glad you were paying attention," I replied, and I managed to keep most of the sarcasm out of my voice. "So, since I want you to form a reasonable hypothesis, you need to pick something to study that you can hypothesize about."

"What do you mean by pick something," one of the other students asked.

"Look," I began, with mild irritation. "Pick something means just that. You're all out here to find an insect, or a leaf, or maybe an interesting patch of dirt. There are trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses out here, along with a bunch of birds. What you need to do is pick one of those things, or any other thing in this forest, and research it. I want you to gather everything you can find out about what you pick, and then make an educated guess as to why it is here in this forest in this climate, or whether it is food for something or not and why, or any other interesting question you can reasonably answer, and then defend that answer with facts and data."

"Holy shit," the other suck up gasped before he turned to me. "Can I observe and research them?"

He was pointing behind me and I turned as the rest of the students there also made startled exclamations. I had an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach as I finally saw where everyone else was staring. If I hadn't been so distracted with the class and the nagging from my link to the earth I would have noticed and headed off the three wolves that were approaching us long before the students would have had any idea that they were there. We weren't in any danger because I could sense that they were just curious about what we were doing out in their territory.

Since I regularly ran with the pack, and since the wolves would sometimes come to visit my family and Kita, the presence of other humans with me did not alarm them. My problem was that now I would have to give some sort of explanation as to why the wolves were so interested in me. It was the main reason that I didn't think that it was a good idea for any of the students to make the wolves their topic of study. I sighed as I shook my head and walked up to the trio of young males that had come to say hello.

"Actually, I am going to make the wolves that make the refuge home out of bounds for the assignment."

Many of the students proclaimed their disappointment at my declaration, and some of them pressed further and asked why not. Their surprise when I walked up to the wolves and knelt to scratch their ears like they were my family dogs silenced anymore complaints.

"The reason that I am not going to allow using the wolf pack as a study project is complicated," I began as I continued to interact with our visitors. "I am a Neko. The ears and tail are a dead giveaway of that. What you may not know is that because of what I am I have a strong connection to the natural world."

"But why are they so tame," Shelly asked as she stared at me and the wolves in wonder.

"They aren't tame," I replied and indicated that everyone needed to stay back. "Almost a year and a half ago there was a problem with a group that came in and decided to poach a bunch of the wildlife here before we finished establishing the refuge. You might have seen it in the news."

Several of the students were nodding and indicated that they did indeed remember those events. I did not tell them about many of the details that had been kept out of the press in order to make the story believable to the general public, and I knew I needed to be careful with what I told them here.

"I ended up out here with some of my family and a really brave fish and wildlife ranger, and we were able to stop the group before they did too much damage. My guess is, that because of my nature, the pack understood that I was there to help them and they have treated me like this ever since."

The three wolves were done by this point and each gave me a last sniff and lick before they turned and moved off into the forest, vanishing like ghosts. It was a sight that I was sure these students would remember for the rest of their lives, and the excited buzz of their eager conversation made me smile.

"So, the wolves act differently from regular packs around me, which means that I would be a confounding variable that would invalidate any study you did on them. For whatever reason, the other animals and things in the forest do not react to me in an abnormal way. Since there is no way to perform an unbiased study of the wolves, I can't let you use them as your subject. Sorry."

It was easy to tell by the looks on their faces that pretty much everyone was disappointed that I wouldn't let them use the pack as a study subject. My guess was that some of the students were probably hoping to get as close to them as I had just done. I decided that I would nip the possibility that that would happen in the bud, and so I put just a bit of an edge into my voice.

"Ok, I can see the looks on some of your faces and I am only going to say this once. If any of you happen to see any members of the wolf pack that lives near here, or any wolf for that matter, you will stay as far away from them as you can. You will inform me or one of the professors immediately, and you will let us handle it. If you fail to do this I will make sure that you are headed back to main campus ASAP and you will be removed from the class, no take backs, and no appeals. Is everyone clear about how serious I am?"

The nervous looks on everyone's faces let me know that they understood the gravity of the situation, but the muttered acknowledgements indicated that most of them were pretty bummed about it. The fact was that, even though I could probably have brought the entire pack to come and play safely with everyone as long as I was with them, I didn't want to push the boundaries of what people knew about me very far. I had no idea what kind of problems that information could cause, so I felt that keeping things quiet was best.

The rest of the afternoon passed without any major issues, and by the time we left I was satisfied with all of the projects that the students had picked. The rest of the day was theirs to do with as they wished, but I warned them that they would need to devote a significant amount of time when not in the field to research. I did take pity on them, though, and gave them directions to where the nearest pizza dive and hangouts were, and within minutes they were making their plans for the night.

Once I had the students squared away, I poked my head in the field house faculty space and let the two professors who were here with me know about the wolf incident. They agreed with the measures that I had asked the students to take, and they also were just as adamant as I was about the consequences if one of them decided to violate those rules. Following that, I spent a short time in the lab checking on some soil and water samples that I was running for one of my own classes, and as soon as I had the data that I needed, I said goodbye to everyone and headed home.

I was done for the day and had all of my busywork completed so I was able to calm down and focus on what waited for me at home. Walking away from the field house I could hear some of the students chuckling and making comments at my retreating form. Apparently, I had a definite swish to my tail and swing in my hips that had some of them wishing it was them that I was going home to. I did find it somewhat amusing, and since I could still make out what they were saying, I gave them a bit of a show.

I stuck my tail straight up in the air as far as I could comfortably put it, and allowed it to sway back and forth like the seductive weave of a cobra. I also started walking more on the balls of my feet which flexed my ass a bit more, and it really defined my calves. For the final touch I put another two inches of sway in my hips as I moved off into the distance, and I was rewarded with several gasps and a dayum or two. I felt Kelli's curiosity over our bond, and giggled at how entertained she would be once I let her know what had me so amused.

"Hi mom, dad," I called out once I had made it back to the house.

Since my new responsibilities included spending a lot of time at the refuge, both for my job and my classes, Kelli and I had asked my parents if it was ok to move back in and use the basement to live in. They had no problem with it, and because Kelli and I regularly used the transport circle that she had inscribed to move between our apartment and my old room, it was not like we weren't already there a lot anyway. They were probably glad to have us around a bit more after all the issues that we had dealt with since I became a Neko, and it was nice to be surrounded by connections of love all of the time.

"Hey there little girl," my dad called out from the couch where he was enjoying a beer while watching some sports on TV. "Lilly and Amanda are out tonight doing... something, and Steve will be over in about half an hour. You and Kelli are both welcome to join us."

"Yeah, maybe when football season is in full swing," I joked with him. "And I mean what the world considers football, not the American garbage that stole the name."

"Bah! Bite your tongue little girl. I thought I raised you right."

"Yeah, you raised me so that I could tell what is real and what is fake," and I injected as much arrogance as I could muster into my voice. "So the fact that I like real football is your fault, not mine."

My comment hung in the air for a brief moment before the both of us burst out into laughter. Times like this were becoming fewer and farther between, even with Kelli and me living in the house, mainly because we all had separate lives and different things that kept us all busy, so I relished taking the time when it was available.

"Anyway, dad," I said as I walked over to give him a kiss on the cheek. "Today went well, and the class is squared away for now so I am going to spend the evening with Kelli rather than try and infiltrate the man cave."

"So that's how it is," he chuckled, and gave my hand a squeeze. "Well far be it from me to keep you from your girl. Oh, we were also going order food tonight. Did you guys want some, maybe pizza or Thai?"

"Thai sounds really good, but I am not sure if Kelli wants to go into the city tonight or not. Let me find out and I will let you know."

"Not a problem little girl. And whatever you decide, you two have fun."

I gave my dad a simpering look along with a pleased tail swish and flick of my ears before heading down to our room in the basement. Having already kicked off my shoes when I entered the house, I was able to pad down the stairs with little to no noise, and I had been careful to be soft when closing the door to the floor above. I found it fun to try and sneak up on Kelli from time to time, though it was infinitely harder ever since we had become bond mates.

"Hi Myka," Kelli called out before I even rounded the corner to our room. "How was your day sweetie?"

"You know it's not really fair that you can use our bond to keep me from surprising you on occasion," I huffed before I flopped down onto the bed next to her.

"Yeah, no sympathy here love," she giggled back at me and laid aside the magical tome she had been reading. "But seriously, how did it go?"

I spent the next while wrapped up in Kelli's arms going over the events of the day. I expressed my concern that I wouldn't be up to the task of running the refuge as well as working a full load of course work towards my doctorate, and let her pull me to her chest so that I could listen to the calming thump of her heartbeat. I was right about her being entertained by the strut I gave to the students as I left, and we both laughed for long minutes as we speculated how the boys were going to react. We also decided that we didn't want to go anywhere so I told dad to order enough food so that we could have some too.

"I've been having a bit of a problem these last few days though," I mentioned, which caused a concerned look that made me feel bad. "No. Nothing serious baby. It's just, I'm itchy and stressed like I haven't run for days, even though I was able to get out with Kita for a few hours three times this last week."

When she heard her name, Kita got up from her corner and put her front paws up on the bed so she could greet me. For people who met her, she appeared to be a very well behaved pet with a great deal of intelligence. In reality Kita was a full blooded wolf who had bonded with me, and by extension Kelli, after the fight with Mathias' mercenaries a year ago, and I had developed the ability to almost talk with her over time. I gave her a good scratching and received several enthusiastic licks in return before she returned to her corner and laid back down in her bed.

"It feels like my runs, with and without Kita and the pack, are just not effective anymore. And I am starting to see flashes of red just out of sight in my dreams, when I remember them. I'm wondering if the Betrayer has found a way to cause problems in my head again."

"Sweetie, why haven't you talked to me about this," and Kelli's question made me feel guilty. "We always talk about everything, and there is no reason to keep it secret. I know you've been more on edge lately, and now I have a good idea why."

I laid my head back on her chest and almost whimpered, "I thought it was just stress and the issues with my work load, and the fact that I have to wait until really late at night to run."

"That is probably what is going on, but please, don't keep it to yourself. I want to help you shoulder the load."

"God I love you," I whispered as I looked at her with the first signs of tears in my eyes. "And sorry, I won't keep something like this from you anymore, no matter how silly I think it is."

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