by Lester L Weil
“Are you sure you want to do this,” he asked. “If so, you need to sign this release. We may be on another planet, but on this station, Earth laws apply.”
Hell yes I want to do this. I grabbed the paper and signed. I was excited.
We had captured an alien beast yesterday. The beasts resembled the grizzly bear, except were much larger. I was going to enter and take over this beast’s mind and body. A chance of a lifetime. Chance of a million lifetimes more like it. Controlling—becoming—this creature was beyond anything I could have ever imagined.
This planet’s atmosphere was caustic to humans, hampering our exploration. Using the beast we hoped to explore certain otherwise inaccessible parts of this wild planet. That I was a geologist was a decided plus. Our expeditions always hoped to turn a profit, and licensing mining projects was a sure way.
We had studied the beasts and knew quite a bit about them. They were magnificent physical specimens with very large brains. But in spite of the large brain, our intelligence tests had determined that they were no more intelligent than the bears of Earth. They were almost always seen alone, so we had little knowledge of their social patterns.
I stood at the lab window and stared at my Beast. I was beyond excited. I could not wait till tomorrow.
* * *
We started the process before daybreak. The initial set up seemed to take forever. But at last it was time.
“Last chance to change your mind,” the tech said.
“Not a chance.”
He pushed the button.
* * *
I slowly regained consciousness. I flexed and stretched, getting the feel of this new body. I brushed off the wire leads and stood, gave the “OK, I’m good” sign to the tech and walked out into the meadow. Then I began to run. I ran like the wind. Wow! Fantastic! What a great body this is!
I spent the day roaming the area, becoming acquainted with my new body and what I could do. My strength was amazing, the quickness of movement astounding. I could not get over the sheer joy of controlling this magnificent body. I also began reaching into the edges of Beast’s mind for information. There seemed to be no language to master. The only sounds I could make were bearlike growls and roars.
That night I dug deeper into Beast’s mind, trying to get a feel for his life. It was all very confusing. The beasts seemed to be solitary wanderers most of the time and only gathered for mating and… Here, I could not quite understand the rest of what was involved. But there would be plenty of time to figure all that out.
Beast’s mind started to push back a little, but it was weak and I had no trouble keeping it down. As the night deepened, my mind grew tired and I slept.
* * *
I awoke suddenly. Something was wrong. I was not in control. Beast was moving through the meadow near our compound and I could do nothing to affect his movements. He brushed aside my attempts effortlessly. He seemed to be talking with others, but made no sound. Telepathy. He must be using telepathy. More beasts appeared, coming to join us.
Beast began picking my brain to determine how best to destroy the “alien invader’s” compound. My efforts to resist were futile against Beast’s vastly superior mind.
Well, so much for our intelligence testing.
A beast laughing is a unique and terrible sound.
Originally published in 365 Tomorrows 2014
Lester L Weil
Lester L Weil, an ex-professional bassoonist, ex-professor, ex-custom furniture builder, ex-house builder. He is retired in Arizona near the Mexico border.