tagSci-Fi & FantasyThree Square Meals Ch. 041

Three Square Meals Ch. 041


Rachel stared in awe at the absolutely huge green tiger that now stood before them. Jade's powerful shoulders stood five feet above the floor, and the lighter viridian lines that normally accentuated the alien girl's formidable curves now formed the tiger stripes that covered her powerfully muscular feline form.

The other girls laughed with delight at seeing Jade transform into this shape, and they walked over to stroke her soft, dark green fur, while John scratched behind her ears. Jade began to emit a deep throaty purr, and her emerald, vertically slitted eyes watched Rachel curiously.

Fighting down the natural instinct to flee in terror, Rachel tried to rationalise with herself that the colossal feline standing before her was the cute and benevolent Nymph. The fact that Jade's eyes hadn't changed actually helped quite a bit, and Rachel built up enough courage to walk over and join them.

"You look breathtaking," she said in awe as she stood by Jade's side, and the huge tiger gently rubbed her head against Rachel's armoured hand.

Rachel began to stroke the green striped fur reflexively, as she marvelled at the incredible transformation she just witnessed. "Where did all this mass come from?" she asked in disbelief, as she gently touched the tiger's heavy flanks. "You feel as solid and convincingly real as your dolphin form, but you seem so much bigger!"

"That's a misperception caused by the water," Alyssa explained, translating for Jade. "She says that she copied the real bottlenose dolphins she met on Oceanus, and she was well over nine hundred pounds as an adult female dolphin. The biggest thing she's transformed herself into so far was a Tiger Shark, which was about fifteen hundred pounds."

"Why don't you show her how this tiger form has saved our butts before?" John asked the Nymph playfully.

Jade looked up at him, and her large feline face broke out into an amused grin, revealing the tips of her gleaming white teeth. She looked at Rachel and then slowly and carefully opened her maw, to show her the six inch long canines, and surprisingly the faint aroma of mint filled the vicinity. Once the inquisitive doctor had stared in amazement at those for a little while, Jade closed her mouth and then raised a heavy paw, before turning it over and tensing the tendons that controlled her claws. The five razor-sharp, curved claws slowly unsheathed themselves from her padded paws, extending out a good six inches.

Rachel held the paw in her hand, and knelt on the ground so that she could take a good close look. She gingerly reached out to touch one of the claws, staring at the ethereal green material it was constructed from.

"Normally a cat's claws are made from Keratin, but that certainly doesn't look like Keratin to me," she murmured to herself.

John nodded as he looked down at the tawny haired brunette. "We've seen her use them to effortlessly rip through plated armour before, which must have been at least as durable as steel."

"You really are quite amazing, aren't you?" Rachel said, as she stared up into Jade's emerald eyes.

In a shimmering verdant haze, Jade changed form again, shrinking quickly to her Nymph shape. Once she had finished the transformation, she moved from a crouch to kneel next to Rachel, and then gave her a hug.

"I think you're pretty great too," Jade said, and rubbed noses with the startled brunette.

John raised an eyebrow at her now nude green body. "Sorry about your outfit. I probably should have suggested you strip off first," he said, looking around at the shredded clothing on the floor.

Jade stood up and walked over to him to give him a kiss. "It's alright, it was more dramatic that way, and I've got plenty of clothes."

"That transformation was much faster than the last time you turned into a tiger, practically instantaneous, in fact," Calara observed, thinking back to Jade slowly transforming in front of them in the cargo bay.

"I've spent a lot of time shapeshifting on Oceanus now, so as long as I know what form I want to adopt, I'm much more confident about pushing my body into that shape," Jade explained.

Rachel stood up and shook her head in amazement as she re-evaluated what she thought she knew about the exotic alien girl before her. "How have I never heard of Nymphs doing this before?" she asked Jade curiously. "I'd heard some of the more lurid tales about your species, but even those I dismissed as some wild fantasies."

"As far as we know, Jade is the only Nymph who's been able to explore her shapeshifting like this," Alyssa explained to her. "It might well be something to do with John's cum, but that's just a guess."

"May I study you both at the same time? Please?!" Rachel pleaded with John and Jade. "I don't think I could wait to completely finish researching one of you before looking at the other!"

John looked at Jade and she nodded to him with a smile. He then said to Rachel, "Sure. Go and remove your armour, and then we can go to the Medical Bay so you can take some samples to get you started. It's just around the corner from here, so we might as well do it while we're nearby."

The brunette walked over to pick up her armoured Phalanx helmet, placed it on her head and then stepped into one of the two equipping frames in the firing range. When she pressed her thumbs to the buttons concealed in the gauntlets, a series of soft rippling clicks unlocked the armour plating, and the robotic arms moved smoothly down to remove the body armour sections from her chest and limbs, while the helmet was lifted carefully from her head.

"Done!" Rachel said eagerly. "Let's go!"

They laughed at her cheerful enthusiasm, but before they moved anywhere, John picked up the XR75 rifle that Rachel had left on the table and began to strip it, years of marine training kicking in.

"Hang on!" Dana told him eagerly. "I've modded the weapons racks, and this is a perfect time to show you."

John looked at her quizzically, and she strolled over to the weapon locker, placing her rifle carefully on the rack. With a contented little hum, four robotic arms popped out of slots at the back of the rack, and took a firm grasp of the rifle. They ejected and stowed away the magazine clip and then began to dismantle and clean the weapon, before reassembling it with unfaltering robotic speed and precision.

"What do you think?" the redhead asked him eagerly, as the robotic arms slid back out of view, leaving a spotless and gleaming rifle ready for use.

John shook his head with disbelief and let out a snort of laughter. "My old Drill Sergeant would have an aneurism, but that's very nicely done," he congratulated her with an appreciative grin.

Dana jumped up and down, and clapped excitedly, overjoyed as always when one of her inventions received a glowing review. John smiled at her, and then he, Jade, and Rachel turned to walk out of the room, to head over to the Medical Bay.

"Meet me in the Engineering Bay afterwards," Dana called after John. "We'll download your old medical records!"

He nodded as he walked out of the door, giving the redhead a friendly wave goodbye. Rachel could barely contain her excitement as she strolled along beside Jade and John, and then led them into the Medical Bay. As they stepped inside the huge room full of medical equipment and dozens of beds, she darted over to the cabinets of medical tools, searching for the ones she needed.

"I'll just take a quick blood sample from you both," she said, as she walked over to join them. "It won't hurt a bit, I promise!"

John nodded, and rolled up the left sleeve of his shirt. "No white coat, Doctor Voss?" he asked her playfully.

Rachel looked up at him from the device she was examining and shook her head with a smile. "We only wear that as a badge of authority, it's not for hygienic reasons or anything."

"That's a shame," John said with a flirtatious wink, and the brunette let out a throaty chuckle.

Rachel then turned to Jade, sensing some discomfort from the green skinned girl. "Are you okay there?" she asked, then smiled at her sympathetically, "Afraid of needles?"

"No, it's not that... I just don't have blood," Jade explained awkwardly.

Rachel looked shocked for a moment, then smiled at the Nymph. "I'm not sure why that surprised me after seeing the wonderful things you can do with your body. That's quite alright, I'll take a skin sample if that's okay? It will be completely painless," she said in a soothing voice.

Jade nodded immediately, smiling once again, and Rachel took her blood sample from John with what looked like a long pen that she pressed against his arm.

"Didn't feel a thing," he said with a grin.

Jade walked over to them and presented her left arm too, so that Rachel could take a skin sample. The tawny haired girl produced another small rectangular device, that she carefully placed against Jade's arm, pressing the glowing button on the back. A light flashed green when it was done, and Jade looked at her arm, but couldn't see any marks.

"I didn't feel that, either," she said, then smiled at Rachel.

"I'll start my detailed analysis tomorrow, but I've just got to take a peek now!" Rachel exclaimed, her eyes gleaming with excitement.

John and Jade laughed, then joined the animated young woman as she darted over to the DNA analyser. With practiced, dextrous hands, Rachel prepared a sample to use on the machine, before carefully placing the tube of John's blood into one of the refrigeration units. She did the same with the sample from Jade and then held up the two discs, and grinned at the pair of them.

"Let's check out our mighty Progenitor first!" she said, barely able to contain her excitement.

She inserted the first disc into the machine, which hummed quietly as it analysed the DNA strands. It beeped when it was ready, and as Rachel hit a button, a holographic display of John's DNA strands appeared before them.

"I knew it!" she gasped, overjoyed to see exactly what she had suspected. "Triple-helix DNA!"

John walked over to look at the slowly rotating helical structures, which looked identical to those he had seen in Rachel's presentation, when she had spoken about the modifications to Alyssa's DNA. He stared at the third strand that curved around the other two, thinking carefully about the implications.

"Yes, you almost certainly have psychic powers as well," Rachel said to him, when she noticed him studying the DNA strands so closely. "Why they've only manifested for Alyssa so far remains a mystery. Well, for the moment at least," she added with a cheerful grin.

Rachel then turned back to the machine, and swapped out the discs, inserting the second metallic circular object into the DNA analyser. It hummed softly and then beeped a little while later, letting them know it was done. She glanced back at Jade as her finger hovered over the button that would display the results, and the Nymph nodded eagerly. Rachel pressed it and Jade's DNA then hovered above them in a holographic image.

"I have triple helix DNA too!" Jade said in surprise.

Rachel stared at the strands excitedly, and leaned in closer to get a better look.

John took Jade's hand and squeezed it gently, as he said to her soothingly, "This doesn't come as too much of a surprise to me. We already knew that you had some form of telepathy, with your species' ability to sense your Master's desires, and shapeshift into his perfect mate."

"I think it's awesome. It means I'm more like you," Jade said, as she stood on tiptoe to give him a kiss on the cheek, and then grinned up at him.

"Genetic compatibility is very important," he murmured in her ear, as he let his fingers gently brush over her svelte green belly. "I have plans for you, remember?"

She looked up at him with big eyes, and nodded slowly, biting her lower lip with arousal. John smiled down at her and then leaned in to give her a tender kiss, before glancing back at Rachel, who was staring in fascination at the holographic display.

"Let's go Rachel, you can start finding out what makes us tick tomorrow," he said with a smile.

She nodded, and reluctantly tore herself away from the image, turning off the display with a mournful sigh.

"You're as bad as Dana when she gets absorbed with one of her projects," John said with a chuckle, and then pulled her over to him with his right hand and gave her a hug.

Rachel giggled and then kissed him, before smiling at them both. "Thanks for letting me study you like this. Hopefully I'll be able to provide you with some of the answers you've been looking for."

" I have every confidence in you, Doctor Voss," he said playfully.

She grinned up at him as she replied, "I'm delighted to have your trust in my abilities, Commodore Blake."

They walked out of the Medical Bay, the three of them laughing and joking together, as they walked up the corridor to the Engineering Bay. Jade hit the button and they walked into Dana's workshop, but John was shocked at the changes she'd made since the last time he'd been in here. His Chief Engineer had expanded her workshop to take up a significant extra chunk of the huge armoury, with big metal frameworks supporting what looked like four metallic torsos, which were clearly Dana's latest project.

"Come and meet your new robot overlords!" Alyssa said to him cheerfully, and she waved the three of them over to join her and Calara.

Dana appeared from behind one of the machine assemblies, and waved to them happily. John walked over to join them, and looked at the new robots with interest. They had roughly human-sized metallic torsos, with strong looking arms that ended in four pairs of fingers. Instead of legs, they had a sturdy base, and when he ducked down to glance underneath, he immediately recognised what looked like four anti-grav cyclics.

The redhead strolled up to him, and gave him a quick kiss, before turning to look at her newest creations with her hands on her hips. "After replacing all those heatsinks in the Invictus' weaponry turned out to be a huge pain in the ass, I thought making some maintenance hover-bots would save us a lot of trouble," she explained.

"That's a great idea," John agreed. "It'll make it harder for us to flee from them when they hunt us down, so that's a bonus as well," he added, nudging her playfully with his shoulder.

"Do they not have heads to make them more terrifying?" Jade asked feigning curiosity as she joined in the gentle ribbing.

"I'm surrounded by luddites!" Dana complained dramatically, throwing her hands up in the air and shaking her head, before turning around to grin widely at them. "And I'm still working on the heads, they're over there," she said, pointing to a nearby table.

Calara was currently leaning against the table, and she picked one of the heads up, and turned it around, so they could see it's horrifying visage. John laughed when he saw the benign smile on the metallic face, and Dana grinned self-consciously.

John put his arm around her shoulder, and asked, "I'm sorry honey, are we giving you too hard a time? You know we trust you implicitly, and we're only joking, right?"

"Yeah, I know," she said, leaning into his chest and sighing happily, before she darted out of his grasp suddenly. "Would you like to see a demonstration?" she asked them eagerly.

They all nodded excitedly, her enthusiasm quite infectious, so Dana then turned to the Latina.

"Could you throw me the first one on the left please? It's nearly finished," she asked Calara politely.

Calara nodded and picked up the metallic object, but walked over to Dana and placed it carefully in her hands. "I wouldn't want to damage it," she said with a smile.

Dana grinned at her, then tucked the robotic head under her arm, and climbed up the supporting metal frameworks with the surefootedness of a mountain goat. She leaned over and plonked the head on the robot, and produced a bolt tightener, which whirred then clicked as she secured the head in place. She then jumped down and landed lightly on her feet, before taking a remote from her pocket, and walking over to stand next to John and the girls.

"The remote is just a temporary measure," she explained to them. "I'll program them for tasks we need them to complete, be it maintenance, or ship upgrades or whatever. When I get them working properly, we'll be able to send them out into space, and remove damaged plating from the Invictus, then bring it into the cargo bay for Alyssa to reshape and repair. It'll mean we won't need to find a drydock for her to work her magic."

"Now that's a great idea!" John told her, immediately appreciating how much hassle that would save them, and when he glanced at Alyssa, she nodded in agreement.

Dana pressed a button on the remote, and the cyclics powered up with a smooth whir, while the metallic torso straightened up slightly. She turned the remote to the side and placed her thumbs on two pads, which she then used to control its hovering flight through vertical and horizontal planes. The robot floated out of the supportive metallic framework, and then glided quietly through the air, before stopping to hover in front of them. She rotated it through 360 degrees so that they could take a good look, and then brought it down so that it was levitating about a foot off the floor. She walked over behind it, and then stepped onto the back of the base, and the anti-grav cyclics whirred a little louder, but the robot didn't drop in height.

"It's very stable," Calara said, nodding appreciatively as she walked around it, before stopping to look at Dana as she stepped off the back. "I assume you immediately realised their potential as heavy weapons platforms?"

"Considering the way you guys normally freak out at the thought of killer AI robots, I thought I'd save that idea for another time, but yes, of course," Dana nodded with a sly grin. "The arms are modular, so if you decide you needed a Gatling laser with you in the field... then, hey presto!"

She walked over to stand at John's side and looked up at him with anticipation, as she asked, "So, what do you think?"

"I can't think of a better designed robot I'd like to be hunted down and murdered by. Really nice work," he told her approvingly, with a playful smile.

Dana giggled happily, and then wrapped her arms around him and gave him a hug. "Thanks," she said with relief, squeezing him tight.

"How long do you think it will take to finish them?" Jade asked curiously, as she walked over to the suspended robots, and looked at them more closely.

Dana let go of John, and then turned to look at the Nymph. "Oh, not long. Probably just a couple more days, and we'll be able to start using them for repairs or maintenance. There's just a little more work to be done to finish off their chassis, then I'll have to get to work on their programming.

Giving them simple, straightforward tasks, like removing a damaged piece of hull plating from the ship, will be relatively easy. It's going to be a lot more complicated to turn them into combat bots though, so if you want me to go ahead with that, I'll have to create some much more sophisticated software. Targeting and tracking algorithms, friend or foe identifiers, combat behaviours... It opens up a huge can of worms trying to create programs detailed enough to cover potential scenarios."

Dana stood lost in thought, a delicate finger tapping her chin as her incredible mind turned over the additional steps and safeguards she would need to implement, to turn the plans into reality. John watched her absorbed in her thoughts, and thought back on Rachel's revelations about increased brain connectivity. He smiled as he realised that a brain scan of the redhead at that moment in time, would be an impressive light show indeed.

"Stick with focusing on getting them ready for repairs and maintenance for now," he said firmly. "After the firearms demo you girls just gave me, I think we're good on the firepower front for the moment. Being able to perform deep space repairs will be invaluable though."

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