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[Fiction] Ziggy, Give Me Strength


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It was interesting, really. Teknokat rarely had enough time for personal chit-chat, and most decisions regarding TKI were made with all the Round-table. So, thought, Ziggy, as he strolled down the corridor to 'Kat's office, what could be so personally important to Teknokat that she'd want to see me in her office?

As he got closer, he recalled when the two had far more personal chats. Of course, that was when the two had far more time on their hands. And, well, they certainly had a far better reason for enjoying each other's company back then...

Ziggy got to the door. He didn't bother knocking, thinking that if she wanted him, he wouldn't mind the old familiarity. She saw Teknokat working (or, at least attempting to work) at her desk. "TK, you wanted to talk to me about something?" he enquired nonchalantly.

Teknokat looked up, and Ziggy noted something that he couldn't quite identify in her face. He searched through his mind, struggling to realise what was wrong, and then suddenly, it came to him.

On Teknokat's face was fear.

Ziggy went up to the desk, a new urgency on his face. "Katherine, what's wrong?"

Teknokat stood up. "I just noticed something about me. Watch."

Teknokat began to power up her node. As usual, her eyes began that somewhat unsettling process of reforming, becoming Feline instead of human. Most people, Ziggy included, usually merely watched that aspect of the minor transformation, noting that it was about the only thing that visibly changed.

Ziggy studied, his keen eyes this time looking over 'Kat's body, looking for something that could justify the fear in her eyes. But, he couldn't see it. "I'm sorry, Kathy, I'm not seeing it.

Teknokat stared, with a burning intensity, at Ziggy. "I'm not done yet."

She moved towards the closed curtains in the room, and quickly opened them. Ziggy moved closer. Then, he noticed what was wrong. Her skin was reflecting more light than it should have. Indeed, it almost glittered in the sunlight. Almost like semi-polished steel.

"Your skin..." Ziggy trailed off. He looked at Teknokat again. "When did you notice it?"

Teknokat walked back to her desk as she spoke. "I noticed it really when I got back from Mexico City. I was looking at myself in the mirror, and noticed that I looked a little washed out in colour. I had a closer look, and it had definitely changed colour. The new lustre I noticed yesterday."

"Have you run any tests yet?"

"No, not yet. But I already know what it is."


With the utterance of that word, silence filled the room. The two friends looked at each other over the desk. It was several minutes before Teknokat spoke.

"The scary part is, I don't think this just happened. I think it's been a gradual process."

"What makes you think that?" Ziggy asked.

"I had a look at a few security shots of me over the past few months. Put them together, and there's a clear rate of change happening."

"So, do you think it will continue?"

"There's the thing – the rate of change is increasing. It's been incredibly subtle for the past few months, but after Mexico City, the change has been accelerating. At the rate it's speeding up, I'll probably be completely silver within a couple of months."

Ziggy thought for a second. "Why has it accelerated after Mexico City?"

"Probably due to the fact that that little confrontation I had forced me to do a little more pushing of my capabilities than I normally do. That'd fit with the theories, anyway."

Teknokat stood up, and looked out of the window. "Ziggy, I don't know what I should do about this. I can't hide this like the cat's eyes, and frankly, I'm not sure I should anyway."

Ziggy pointed out the obvious solution. "Then don't."

He walked up to Teknokat, and looked out at where Teknokat was staring. "It's not like it's a particularly gruesome change, 'Kat. Really, if it stabilises soon, it'd actually look kind of cool."

Teknokat continued staring. "But what if it doesn't?"

"Then we'll just have to live with it. I mean, think about it, it's not the end of the world. In the grand scheme of things, it's about as bad as Endeavor's hair. Certainly, it's nowhere near as bad as, say, Sydney, Leviathon, even Vixen. Put things into perspective for god's sake!"

Teknokat looked over to Ziggy. "It's just..."

"Just what?"

"I've tried for ages to keep this from happening again. Remember what happened last time? I got thrown out of a good job, for no other reason than someone decided my eyes were the wrong shape!"

That's when it dawned on Ziggy. "This isn't about the skin, is it? You're not terrified about the change itself, you're worried about the perception of everyone here."

"It happened last time." Teknokat whispered.

"Last time, the people who threw you out were arrogant pricks who were terrified that a tiny change would cause you to start defecting to the Teragen!" Ziggy said forcefully. "They were the ones in the wrong, not you. Everyone here is just slightly more open-minded about these sorts of things. If we weren't, a few of our clients would probably set a few of us on edge, wouldn't they?"

Teknokat looked at Ziggy, tears welling in her eyes. "You really don't care?"

"Oh, I care, but not about something so stupid as shiny skin. It's you I worry about. God, those idiots at the directive have screwed you up rotten, haven't they?"

Teknokat slid down to the floor, the tears falling openly. "Thankyou." She whispered softly.

Ziggy could only sit there with her. He'd stay with her, for as long as she needed him to. But he knew that the instant they left this room, there'd be no more tears. Really, I guess that's why she still keeps me around, Ziggy thought. She needs to be able to talk with someone who knows that she isn't invulnerable.

"You're welcome Kathy. You're completely welcome."

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