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|This story is based on Welchel Jeffrey's story Servants Of The Creator, which was published on the TSA mailing list. A lively debate was in progress between those list members who simply enjoyed writing transformation stories, and those list members who genuinely wanted to change shape. He proposed that maybe some of us had been miscast in the wrong bodies, and invented an organisation dedicated to correcting the problem. In his case the mistake was simply one of gender, but he kindly let me apply it to species too. (The people mentioned herein used to be prominant TSA personalities.)|
The man at my door conveyed a strong impression of greyness. His suit was grey, as
was his hair, impeccably combed, and his eyes, utterly humourless and framed by
rectangular wire glasses. His complexion missed grey by a few tones. He carried a
grey leather briefcase in one hand marked "SotC" and bore a clip board in the other.
"Mr Matthew James Webber, also known as Destrier to members of the Internet community?"
"Who are you?" I demanded, a little disturbed that he should know that.
"Mr Stone, Assistant Balance Co-ordinator," he said crisply. Tucking the clipboard under one arm, he produced a large diamond. Floating within its clear substance in letters of ruby were the letters SotC.
Servant of the Creator. One of the Men in Grey.
The odd thing was, until that moment, I'd never heard of the organisation, and I knew I hadn't. But now I had seen that seal, it was like some classified vault had been opened in my mind. And without a shadow of a doubt, I was convinced he was genuine. Higher knowledge?
"Mr Webber," said the man in grey. "On behalf of my employer, I must apologise for any inconvenienced caused to you, but I'm afraid you've been given the wrong body. I've come to correct that."
"The wrong body?" I repeated. "What do you mean?"
"About fifty years ago, one of our soul allocation units blew a valve," he said. "The fault was subtle: it was some years before we noticed. Several hundred souls were allocated to the wrong bodies, and sometimes even the wrong species. It could never happen now of course, with our new quadruple redundancy biomnemonic chip sets, and Microsoft have assured us the new OS is one hundred percent stable. Personally I don't think the job should be entrusted to machines. That's progress for you," he added bitterly.
"Um," I said sympathetically. "So it took you thirty years to find me?"
"Um, yes. Personnel had you filed under your intended identity you see. It was only by lucky chance we found you now. Seems a lot of you came together by chance through the TSA. Um, you don't happen to know where a Mr Thomas Hassan is, do you? I called at his address but he wasn't there."
"He's on vacation," I said. "Try again in September."
"Thanks." He made a note on the clipboard.
"Er, so how does this affect me, exactly?" I asked.
"Well, according to our records, you should actually have been the son of... um, where is it? One moment..." He ran a finger over his clip board, and flipped a few note-crammed pages over. "Ah! Here we are. Yes, you should have been born Sun Valley Dancer by Flying Dream out of Sun Valley Ballerina, at Sun Valley Andalucians. Not Maxine and James Webber of Faversham Avenue, Enfield."
"A horse?" I asked cautiously, not wanting to jump to conclusions.
"Yes. An Andalucian stallion? Grey. Is that okay? Not that it matters one way or the other really."
"That's okay," I said calmly, while my brain leapt somersaults and let off fireworks. "Um, so what do I do?"
"Oh, nothing, nothing. We'll take care of that. You've got until midnight to adjust to the idea, say goodbye to friends, donate your estate to some leading equestrian charities, and that sort of thing, and then we'll alter reality around you so to speak."
"Ah. And compensation?"
"Compensation," I repeated. "I've spent thirty years in this human body, in great discomfort and mental distress. You've admitted liability."
He looked outraged. "How do I go about compensating a horse?"
"I'm sure something can be arranged."
"Look, you're going to one of the best equestrian centres in the world," he said.
"Well, it's a good start," I admitted.
He sighed. "All right, all right. I'll have you instated as a foal. Thirty years minimum life-span to match the time you've spent as a human. Non-castration guaranteed. Destined to be breed champion. Satisfied?"
"Ten years running."
"Don't push your luck!"
"Done," he said grudgingly. "Sheesh. And you're only the second one on the list. Are you all going to be like this?"
"I doubt it," I said.
"Most of them will probably sue you for negligence and causing undue mental trauma."
"Great," he grumbled. "Just my luck to pull this assignment. My superior grabbed all the simple trans-genders of course. Well, I'd better be going."
"Out of interest," I said, "Were you intending to stop in Staffordshire at all?"
"Um, no, I don't think so. Why?"
"Any misassigned Arabian horses on that list?"
"Uh, one Clydesdale, a mule, a donkey, um.. Friesian, Appaloosa, Icelandic pony, one Hafflinger stallion... Yes, now that you mention it. Kieva, black Egyptian Arabian stallion. Al Abraam Stud, Cairo. We haven't pinned him down yet."
I gave him a name and address. "There's a problem there though."
"So what's new? Go on."
"He has a wife and children."
Mr Stone gave me a cold stare. "Are you doing this deliberately?" he demanded.
"Hey, I didn't make the mistake!"
"Okay, okay. Standard dependants special dispensation. If he wants, his wife can assume ownership. Something funny?"
"Just sneezing," I said, covering my mouth.
He glared. "If you will excuse me then, I'll be going. My most profound apologies for any inconvenience." Sarcasm dripped from every word.
I thanked him cheerfully and went to send a few final emails. Bob Stein, Jack deMule, Eric Schneider....
"Hey guys: expect a visitor: don't let him get away with anything less than thirty years minimum and breed champion status!"