Several unintended side effects of the genetic enhancement process have led chimeras to develop traits many people consider undesirable to the human condition, the most notable of which is the female chimera’s increased desire for sexual activity during the periods of heightened physical attraction brought on by estrus.

Similar to a woman’s menstrual period in nature, the estrus cycle is limited in frequency, often being experienced only once every thirty-one days. But unlike in humans, the estrus cycle marks a time when a female chimera is at her most fertile, a phenomenon that many have come to colorfully refer to as, being in heat.

While entering the estrus cycle early is not entirely unheard of among female chimeras, such occurrences are often marked by moments of extreme attraction or experienced after having undergone a period of prolonged abstinence.

The effect that estrus has on male chimeras is also worthy of note, since the pheromones produced by females in heat tend to serve as the key that unlocks the instinct to seek out a viable mate, prolonged exposure often leads to an increase in energy production, as well as heightened sexual desire. Thankfully, these same pheromones have little to no effect on humans, and while couplings performed under the influence of estrus serve to strengthen the social and physical bond between two chimeras, thus increasing the likelihood of their species survival, whether it is necessary for both parties to consent to what comes next, is still a matter of great debate.

B.O.D. Report #SX5

Chapter Thirteen : Gravity.

Running as fast as he could through the garden in the middle of the night, Kato found he was almost grateful to Johnathan for chosing this particular location for his little escapade. Since he had so often used it himself whenever he wanted to leave the estate, he knew that the fastest way for them to escape wasn’t to leave by the front gate, but by one of the many service elevators located at the far edge of the garden that led into the Undercity.

We’re almost there,” Said Kato as he jumped over a low lying hedge. “In just a couple of minutes, we should be coming across a sector checkpoint marker. From there its as simple as riding a service elevator into the Undercity and you’re home free.”

Lady nodded as above her, the stars passed by in a dizzying blur.

It was hard to tell which surprised her more, the fact he had been able to speak so easily, or that he had been running for over fifteen minutes while carrying a fully grown chimera without showing any signs of slowing. As it stood, there should have been some evidence that he was feeling fatigued. A shortness of breath, a faltering gait, something to indicate that her additional weight was at least causing him a modicum of distress. It was almost a frightening thought but, the way he was now, he didn’t even seem tired.

He must have incredible stamina to be able to run like this. She thought to herself. That, or he isn’t even trying yet.

When Lady felt that they had finally gotten far enough away, she started talking. “Those two pricks back there I can understand, but you I don’t.” Something about the way he was acting was confusing her to no end. “All the other chimeras I know would have jumped at a chance like that. Hell, we were practically designed to jump at chances like that. So my question is, why didn’t you?”

Kato’s reply was short and sweet. “I’m not like most other chimeras.”

Good answer,” Said Lady as she placed a hand over his heart. “But I’m not looking for an evasion. What I want to know is, why are you fighting so hard against everything that makes us who we are.”

Why am I fighting? It was a question that he had struggled to find an answer to countless times before. “If I fight,” Said Kato softly, “Then it is only because I don’t know what I’m supposed to be.” Thinking back to all the times Morishita had taught him how to conduct himself, to behave in the manner of the samurai of old, and follow the core principles of Bushido, Kato began to wonder if there was something else, something important that he might have missed out on along the way. “For most of my life, I have lived with humans who have told me only one thing. That I must act human, think human, be human. So if I don’t act like a normal chimera to you, then what does that make me? Just another human wrapped in fur?”

Kato,” Said Lady, “All of us are taught how to act human to some degree or another. Its those same teachings that allow us to fit into human society. And it isn’t like being told to act like a human can somehow make you any less of a chimera.” Brushing aside a lock of his hair, she said. “We simply have instincts that they don’t, that’s all.”

And I’ll not be made a slave to them!” Said Kato, feeling the fur on the back of his neck begin to bristle in anger. “Besides, if I don’t want to have sex just because the opportunity is there, then its only because when I do finally lie with the woman who choses me as her mate, I want it to actually mean something.”

Lady was silent as she weighed his answer. As a woman, she wanted to accept his words as truth, but as a chimera, she knew that she couldn’t believe them for a second. “So what you’re really saying is, I’m not good enough for you.”

I didn’t say that!” Kato sighed, once again he had failed to convey his feelings properly, and now he was going to pay the price for it. “I just . . .”

Don’t approve of my lifestyle, I get that.” Lady knew there were things he wasn’t telling her, that there was something essential she was missing, but it didn’t matter. That he was interested in her, physically if not mentally, was obvious. Because no matter how hard he might try to hide them, the signs would always be there.

Even now, his body was betraying him in a dozen different ways. The tension he held in his chest and shoulders, the way his lips were pulled back in a grimace as he ran, all of it proved that he was constantly tasting the air around them, drawing in with every breath the chemical signals that served to activate the biological drives that had been hardwired into his brain. Even his scent marked him, for it carried within it all the subtle undertones of a male chimera seeking a mate. Lady shivered. It was something that, no matter how hard he tried to deny, no matter how hard he tried to fight against, in the end he was going to have to seek sexual release before the needs that had been programmed into him overwhelmed his ability to think. Everything she had ever been taught about chimera physiology from the days she had spent training as a companion told her that much. But even in spite of all that, there was something about him, something she just wasn’t able to put her finger on. And as someone who prided herself on her ability to read people, she hated it when there was something about someone that even she couldn’t understand.

Then tell me why?” She said. “If it isn’t instinct driving you, then why are you trying so hard to help me?”

Kato didn’t miss a single step as he lowered her to the ground. Suddenly, he didn’t trust himself as much as he once did. “Because even a prostitute, has a right to her own body.”

That was his answer? His reason for wanting to help her? Lady laughed, and the sound was harsh and bitter. “We’re chimeras, we don’t have a right to anything.”

I know that!” He said softly. “Don’t you think I don’t know that?”

Lady was incensed. “I don’t think you do! Seeing as how you live in a place like this. Do you have any idea what its like to wonder where your next meal is going to come from, or what its like to struggle each and every day, just so that you can watch the people around you slowly descend into oblivion?”

Wanting to argue, to tell that her she was wrong, Kato couldn’t find it in himself to do so. How could he, when everything that she had said had been true. “Maybe you’re right.” He said. “Maybe I haven’t seen the things that you have, but do you really think that that alone gives you the right to judge me? You who have no concept of the hardships that I’ve had to endure simply because I was born into a world some might consider privileged?” Placing his hand upon her shoulder Kato tried to reach out to her, to make her understand that what he was saying was more then just words. “Lady, if I could trade places with you for even a single day then believe me I would!” Only to feel what had become an all too familiar pain as she turned away from him in the end. “You know what?” Said Kato. “Just forget it. Its my own fault for saying something stupid in the first place. I never have been very good at talking to women.”

Having listened to him speak, a part of her wanted to believe that he was telling the truth, that he meant the things he had said. But all too often she had found out the hard way, that no one was truly motivated by altruism. That there was always an ulterior motive behind the things that people did. And that it was even possible that the only reason he had saved her was simply so that he could have her all to himself.

Now who’s being a hypocrite? Said the voice of temptation in the back of her mind. You just want to find a reason to hate him, because that way, you won’t have to admit that you might not even be in heat.

Yeah, and just you watch, She said to herself. Because any second now, he’s going to turn around and force me to the ground. And I’m not even going to stop him, all because some stupid quirk in our biology says I shouldn’t.

Lady blinked as, for the second time that night the reaction that she had expected didn’t come. Instead, when she turned to look at him, she found that he was just standing there, silently pointing towards the exit.

Could it be that he had been serious when he said that he wouldn’t be made a slave to his instincts? That even now, he was fighting to resist them just as much as she was? Because if that was so, then she had sorely misjudged him.

I’m sorry,” She said at last. “I know that you’re risking everything just to help me, and I didn’t mean to sound ungrateful.” Lady sighed. “Its just, its hard for me to trust people. A lifetime of being used by others isn’t exactly something you can overcome in a single day.”

No, you’re right.” Kato couldn’t have felt worse if she had physically slapped him. First she had questioned his honor as a man, then his pride as a chimera. Now she was stepping on his feelings as if they were nothing. “I shouldn’t have even said it in the first place.”

Seeing the wounded look in his eyes as he turned back, Lady felt as if her heart had just forgotten how to beat. It was an expression of such profound innocence that it forced her to stop and think, what if he was telling the truth? What if he really is different from other chimeras. And then it hit her. “You really meant it!” Her voice started to crack. “Because you actually care.” It was something she just couldn’t understand. No one had ever cared about her before, not her handlers, not her clients. Pretending to care about someone was just another part of the game, it was something that you did in order to keep yourself from getting hurt.

And just like that, Kato slipped past all her carefully laid defenses, along with the armor she had used to surround her heart.

Shit. Shit. Shit. Don’t cry. Don’t break. Survive first. Tears later. She began repeating it like a mantra in her mind, using it to drive back the fear that she felt, hoping that it would keep her safe.

In that moment, more than anything else she wanted to run away, but stronger than the need to run was the desire to know. “Why?” She was on the verge of tears. “Why is it that you can still care about someone like me?” What is it that makes you so different, that the humans haven’t broken you as well?

The sheer openness of the question caught Kato off guard. “Just because the humans tell us that we’re property; that doesn’t make it true. We’re still people, with our own thoughts and feelings, our own hopes, and dreams.” Fingering the collar around his neck, he said. “They think that as long as we wear these collars they can control us. And as long as we believe that to be true, they always will. As for why I care about you enough to help you.” He held his hand out to her. “I just do.”

Standing before her, Kato was like a beacon shining in the darkness, a source of light that all the ugliness in the world couldn’t snuff out. He truly believed in the things that he was saying, and more important then that, he made her want to believe in them too.

Kato wrapped his arms around Lady as she broke into tears. Holding her while she cried he said. “The humans may have been the ones who made us.” And as he spoke, his words steadied her. “Even created us to be the things they wanted us to be.” It was as if he was allowing her a glimpse into his innermost world. “Deciding for us our destinies,” Along with the secret he kept locked away in his heart. “Without ever allowing us the chance to choose for ourselves.” It was the same as hers. “Even if it was only once . . .”

I wanted to defy that destiny.”

Whispering into her ear, he said. “Thank you. For giving me that chance.”

You’re too soft Kato.” Said Lady, wanting to take hold of him and never let go. “Don’t ever lose that.”

I’m sorry,” Said Kato as he pushed her away. “But from here you have to go on alone.”

His words surprised her. “What?”

I have to go back.” Even as his own mind raged against the reality of what would occur he knew deep inside his heart that the one who needed to be convinced wasn’t her. “Don’t you see, it’ll buy you the time you need to get away.”

Lady was incredulous. “You can’t do that! If you go back now, there’s a good chance that bastard could kill you!”

And going back now is the only way to know for certain that you’ll be safe!

Looking back the way that they came, Kato tried not to think of what the future held in store for him, and instead, chose to focus solely on the moment. “Maybe,” He said aloud. “But even if I were to follow you any further, then he would just be able to use my collar to track you down.”

Lady knew that it was true, and she hated him for it. “But . . . you can’t.”

I have to.” Knowing he may never get another chance to see her, Kato stepped forward to cup her face in his palm, and feeling the delicate softness of her fur, stole a kiss beneath the moonlight.

Lady eyes flared wide as she felt herself responding to the kiss. It was so unlike anything she had ever felt before, filled as it was with a kind of shy innocence, and a longing to turn it into something more.

She was also the first to break the kiss. “Kato.” She said.

Looking into her eyes, Kato pressed a finger to her lips, silencing the words that he knew would cause his heart to waver. “Lady, you have to go, its enough for me just to know that you’ll be safe.” Holding her one last time, while engraving forever her face and scent into his memory, Kato knew that everything about her he would remember, so that this moment would serve to sustain him, no matter what came next.

Forcing herself to step away from him, Lady said. “Kato, you, you have to promise me, you have to promise me that no matter what happens from here out that you’ll find a way to survive.”

Smiling an errant smile he said. “I promise.”

Lady cursed her own stupidity. She had gotten careless, and now the first decent guy she had ever met was going sacrifice himself just to take the heat for her. Sparing a moment to look over her shoulder before she finally broke into a run she thought, Kato. I’ll find a way pay you back someday, I swear it.

Standing alone beneath an uncaring sky, Kato watched as she disappeared into the night.

He closed his eyes for only a moment, and just like that, she was gone.