Lab Rat, a story of Tir na Cali for the Giraffe Call (@lilfluff)

For [personal profile] lilfluff‘s prompt.

Tir na Cali has a landing page here.

“Engage in some scientific experimentation,” the Agency guy had said. “Earn your freedom,” they’d said. “Just two years in our scientific facility, and you can go free,” they’d promised.

They’s strapped Robert and Eric to tables, at which point they’d both started complaining.

“This isn’t what we meant by ‘experimentation.'”

“Weren’t we supposed to be lab assistants?”

“Lab assistants! We’re supposed to be helping you guys!”

The skinny ginger guy had just tightened the straps. “You are helping. Now sleep.”

The drugs had slid into their veins, pushing away the last of the panic and replacing it with sleep.

Robert woke twitching, jittering. He wasn’t tied to a table anymore. He was back in his room, back in the little cell he shared with Eric and two other lab assistants.

Lab assistants, ha. Assist by being a lab rat. What kind of freedom was that, if there wasn’t anything left of him after two years? Cancer? Was that what this was about? AIDS? Something worse?

They were in California, after all. There had to be something worse. Anybody as evil as the Californians had to have come up with some nastier disease.

He looked at his hands. They seemed to be oka… wait. Wait. Had he had that many knuckles before? Had he had white hair, no, not hair, white fur on the back of his hands before?

His ears twitched. That wasn’t right. That wasn’t right at all. And something was moving behind him. He darted, twisted, and…

“Hey!” He pounded on the door to their cell. “Hey, let me out. You got the wrong guy! I wasn’t supposed to be a lab rat! I wasn’t supposed to get a tail!!

“You think you’ve got problems?”

Eric’s voice was wrong. Too high. Nerves? Robert turned around, slowly. He hadn’t seen Eric when he came to. He hadn’t seen…

Erica? “You think you’ve got problems?” His oldest buddy repeated him – her – self. “They just turned you into a rat. They turned me into a girl.

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