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Dr. Akaisha Ross

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Akaisha looked up the sheer cliff wall and was trying to decide if her luck was good or horrible. Not long ago she'd been driving along the ridge up there. Everything was fine one moment and then the next thing she remembered was the world upside down as her rented Nissan Rogue rested on its roof at the bottom of the cliff. She vaguely remembered the tremor that sent her SUV tumbling down.

Through some sort of dumb luck, she was mostly uninjured except for a few scratches. Nothing that some hydrogen peroxide and a couple bandaides couldn't solve though. Fortunately she had a first aide kit in the trunk which made it through the fall unscathed. That was about the end of her streak of good luck, which she had to admit, was dubious luck at best given her predicament. She had a bag of trail mix and her water bottle had been smashed so she was already low on supplies. Her chances of being spotted from the road above were slim given the tree cover. Even worse, her absence wouldn't even be noticed for a while.

She cursed her own stupidity for being out here. Her friends weren't due to arrive for a few more days so she thought she'd take a drive through part of the park to get away from all the tourists and maybe get a little closer to nature. She got her wish alright. Fortunately there was plenty of water to be found in the park so that was her main priority for the time being.

Akaisha sighed and gathered what little she could into her day pack and consulted her map. She knew her general location at least so if she could just hit another road she could flag down a passing car. She grimaced as she set off, thinking of what the rental company was going to say when she explained where the Rogue was sitting...

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Akaisha checked her watch and then looked up at the sky. She'd been walking for several hours now along the small stream she'd found. It would be faster if she could just head straight towards civilization but with no way to carry water she wasn’t going to be able to strike out into the forest. It was starting to get late though and while she enjoyed camping, this is what worried her more than anything else. Yellowstone was a large park and many places were still quite remote. Akaisha’s fall had brought her to one of those places.

Akaisha put her pack down and started looking around the area. It was important that she find somewhere to sleep where she would feel safe. A quick survey of the area revealed several trees with branches large and dense enough that she felt comfortable climbing into one.

“I’m sure it would be quite ironic if I kill myself falling out of a tree after surviving the fall off a cliff,” she mutters to herself. Still, up she climbed anyway.


The next day, Akaisha climbed down from the tree and downed some of her trailmix before drinking some of the cool water out of the stream. The mix was almost gone already and really wasn’t doing much else other than take the bite out of her hunger. She was about to set off again when her blood ran cold.

One of the trees nearby had large, fresh gashes in it. Gashes that hadn’t been there last night. And on the ground leading out of the forest to the stream were large tracks that she was sure were those of a bear, probably a black bear judging by the size of the prints.

Quickly now, she set off, hoping that the bear wasn’t as hungry as she was and had long left the area in the night…

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The going had been a bit more difficult than Akaisha had anticipated. The rugged terrain of Yellowstone coupled with her lack of food for almost two days was beginning to take its toll. Sure she could keep going and there was plenty of water but it would be another day before anyone even knew she was missing. A flash of color caused her to pause and she squinted off into the woods for a moment. Quickly, she begins heading towards what looked like a suspended bag hanging in a tree.

A few moments later she was finally standing below the bag. Now that she was close enough it was clear that it was a bag that contained supplies for backcountry campers. Akaisha let out a woop of excitement and turned around quickly, looking in all directions for the camp that was sure to be somewhere nearby. She couldn’t believe her luck. If a slight breeze hadn’t caused the pack to become visible for a moment, then she would have walked right on by.

After squinting off into the distance for a few minutes, Akaisha still couldn’t see any sign of the camp. But the camp could very well be 100 yards away and the tents wouldn’t stand out unless they were also brightly colored. She pondered what do as she glanced back up at the pack. She could stay here. They were likely to come here eventually to get food. But sticking around a large sack of food in the middle of bear country didn’t seem like a great idea to her either.

She was about to give up and just sit down when she spotted it. Sure enough, off in the distance, the straight lines of a small tent was visible between the trees. With some renewed quickness in her step she made her way over, calling out as she did, hoping someone was there, “Hello!? Is anyone there?” Her calls are only met by silence though and when she finally did make it to the camp it was immediately clear that whoever was staying there wasn’t around. But it was also clear that this was not an old campsite which meant all she had to do was wait here and someone would eventually come back. Hopefully it wasn’t some creepy serial killer . Sitting down against a tree, her eyelids drooped closed as she waited, and she fell into a peaceful sleep now.


Akaisha’s eyes snapped open and she jumped as she looked around, startled. It was dark out now. Glancing at her watch she could see she’d been asleep for several hours. But something woke her. The campsite was still dark though so what was it? Hopefully she wasn’t wrong and for some reason this site had been abandoned, as unlikely as that seemed.

“Aaaaah!” the scream came from off in the distance and Akaisha jumped up. That’s what woke her. It had to be the campers. Now the scream came mixed with the chilling sound of a roar. It was a bear. Without thinking, Akaisha ran towards the sounds. If she had time to think about it she might not have thought it such a good idea but what else could she do?

When she got closer she could see that a still body lay on the ground, his clothing and body torn to shreds. The bear wasn’t paying attention to him though. It was looking up a tree where a man had climbed up into the branches. He was screaming at the bear to try and scare it off but the bear didn’t seem to have any fear of his voice. The man’s voice was the one that became fearful as the black bear hooked its sharp claws into the tree and started to climb. In just a moment it was up the tree to the camper. With just a single swipe of its powerful paw, the man was easily knocked out of the tree, landing in a bush below, which fortunately broke his fall.

His fortune would be short lived however as the bear quickly dropped back out and started to approach the bush as the man struggled to get out and away from the oncoming beast. Everything seemed to slow down for Akaisha though as this happened. She suddenly hurled herself at the bear, swinging at it with her hand. This seemed strange to her because she felt sure that she had covered the ground to the bear on all fours.

There was a roar of pain from the bear as she felt warm, sticky liquid splatter on her.

The man’s was screaming in panic now but Akaisha knew she had to keep the bear away. Before the bear really had time to react she spun on it and pounced back at the bear, this time making sure to clamp on its throat. She didn’t know why that seemed like the right thing but it was as she felt a satisfying crack in her mouth as the bear’s neck snapped in two, causing it to go limp. And then everything went black.


Keith stared at the dead bear, unable to believe his eyes about what he just saw. He was sure that he was as dead as his friend surely was when the bear started to come at him after he fell from the tree but then, out of nowhere, a mountain lion sprinted out of the woods, apparently taking the bear by surprise. After a very brief but fierce fight the cougar had killed the bear. Slowly he stood up. He was pretty sure that this was worse luck for him than the bear but if he was lucky he could slowly back away and it would concentrate on the fresh kill it had and not him.

When he stood he expected to see a lion crouched behind the mass of the bear. What he actually saw was the last thing he really expected. A girl was laying face down next to the bear. Shining his light on her he immediately noticed three things. She was covered in blood. She had a tail. And she was naked. With a sigh and a glance at the body of his friend, he mutters, “Well…”

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The memories were a bit vague to Akaisha. The last thing she remembered was something about a bear in the woods. She was lost and hungry. And she had a splitting headache. Slowly she opens her eyes and squints at the harsh lighting beaming down at her. The sterile white walls and soft beeping of the machines that seemed to lance into her brain with her headache revealed her location to be not exactly what she last recalled. She was clearly in a hospital but she was alive. She had an odd recollection that she actually fought the bear. But that had to be impossible. And judging by her headache she didn’t escape unscathed.

The voice came suddenly, making her start, “Ah, you’re finally awake.”

Akaisha snaps her head and sees a doctor standing at the door to her room. He was an older man with friendly features. He made his way over to her as he flipped through some papers. She struggled to pull herself up and discovers that other than the headache she felt pretty much none the worse for the wear, “Where am I? How did I get here?”

The doctor chuckled and pulled up a chair, “You’re at the Madison Valley Hospital. You have the man you saved to thank for getting help out to both of you.”

Akaisha narrowed her eyes and tried to make sense of her memories and what the doctor was telling her. She didn’t really fight that bear…or did she? It was all a blur now, “I’m confused. Who did I save? This headache is making it hard for me to think. Is there anything I can take for it?”

The doctor patted her shoulder and shook his head, “I’m afraid for people like you, normal medications aren’t going to do very much.”

“People like…” Akaisha’s head was spinning now and she let herself slide back down into the bed, “I don’t understand.”

“Ms. Ross is it?” said the doctor as he stood up.

Akaisha grinned faintly, “Dr. Ross, actually.”

The doctor nodded and held out his hand, “A pleasure, then, doctor. I’m your attending physician, Dr. Cuttle. Let me help you up? It may help put things in perspective for you.”

Akaisha let Cuttle help her up and her world started spinning around her as the migraine threw off her balance. She was really just hopping if she followed directions he’d leave eventually so she could sleep through this pain. Slowly she walked with him and noticed a mirror in the corner of the room. When they stopped in front of it she jumped slightly. There was something behind her which she realized immediately was very much under her control, “I…I have a tail…”

“And according to the hiker you saved, you were also a mountain lion at one point,” the doctor chuckled, “I may not be an expert in the field but I think I know a Nova when I see one.”

Akaisha slowly made her way back to the bed and sat on the edge, trying to wrap her brain around what she was hearing, “I…don’t…wow.”

Cuttle nodded and placed a card on the counter as he started to head towards the door, “I’m sure it’s overwhelming. You should contact the people on that card though. They’re the experts in people like you.” Without another word the doctor slipped back out into the hall to see his other patients. The ones he could treat.

Akaisha slowly stood again after a few minutes and picked up the card on the counter. On the card was simply a phone number, done in some sort of reflective embossing. When she flipped the card over, the other side also had similar reflective embossing and simply stated ‘Project Utopia’.

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