Harry and Anastasia are expecting their first child, but there are forces in the world that do not and never will accept Harry’s kind. Transgenics frighten people, and in a bid to win over public opinion, Harry puts his best foot forward.
However, other forces are at work. Allenby, a mad scientist, is still alive and out to reshape humanity to his whims. Government officials also stand in the way of societal acceptance.
Added into the mix are the arrival of some new transgenic creations, and Harry is forced once again to take them on with the help of Pavel, a Russian dog-demon, and bring the fight to one of the coldest regions in Russia. For his wife’s sake as well as his daughter’s sake, this is one fight Harry intends to win.
Harry Goldman sat alone on the bench in the hospital corridor across from his wife’s room. The upholstery was white, cracked, and stained, and an unpleasant aroma of disinfectant hung in the air. However, his mind was not on his surroundings. Instead, it looked inward as a riot of images, instant replay in Technicolor, ran through his mind. None of those images was pleasant.
He’d been sitting in that spot for the past three days, going without food or drink, sleeping very little and waiting for the doctor’s verdict. On the rare occasions he’d drifted off to sleep, the same horrible nightmare returned, sounds, colors and even smells, which was illogical as the last point always seemed magnified in dreams. In this case, what predominated was the explosion. It verged on the magnitude of a sonic boom.
Equally terrible was the smoke, thick and hot... something that choked his throat and made it hard to breathe. Accompanying it was the awful, sick feeling when he’d seen his wife, Anastasia, unconscious and the damaged, bloody body of their new handler, Agent Overton of the FBI...
Worst of all, once he’d awakened, was the knowledge he’d failed in stopping the monster responsible for it all...
“Can I get you anything?”
The voice startled Harry into looking up. A nurse, young, dark-haired and wearing an earnest expression, stood across from him. “Can I get you anything?” she repeated.
“Um, no thanks. I’ll be fine.”
After she left, he reflected on his words. No, he wouldn’t be fine. The notion of responsibility weighed heavily on his mind. It came in many forms, and one of Harry’s jobs had been to ensure the safety of his friend, Istvan.
Istvan, a dwarf pig-man originally from Hungary, had become an unwilling pawn in the grand scheme of things. He’d been kidnapped by a scientist named Allenby, an individual with a monstrous ego, strength and force of will. Allenby’s goal was to become a god among men, and he’d stopped at nothing in order to achieve it.
It all had to do with transgenics, the field of transposing animal genes into humans. In some cases, such as Harry’s and his wife, Anastasia, the theory had become fact. His father had been a transgenics researcher, creating hardier fruits and vegetables. Harry had taken it a step further and gone beyond the limits of what science could allegedly do—and found out later on others had been doing the same thing.
The Russians, in particular, had pioneered the work during the Second World War, and had continued it in secret all these long years. Nurmelev, Grushenko... Kulakov, all scientists, they’d performed experiments and had created aberrations beyond any science-fiction writers’ sickest fantasy.
In particular, Kulakov, the head of the program—now dead—had perhaps gone the furthest, although his disciple, Nurmelev, had used something called a Genesis Chamber to combine the DNA of a human with a feline. The result had been Anastasia.
“How are you doing?”
It wasn’t necessary to look up this time. Harry knew the voice belonged to Parker Overton of the FBI. Overton, a chunky man in his thirties with sparse brown hair and a bland pasty complexion, had a bandage wrapped around his head. He’d come over assisted by a nurse, and while he didn’t look overly healthy, he waved off her help. The nurse left after giving him a look of disapproval.
“Anastasia’s in there, being examined,” Harry said and pointed to the room. “I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
“You heard what the doctors said when we brought her in,” Overton said in an overly jocular tone, as if it would undo what had been done. “She’ll make it. She just needs to sleep.”
In Harry’s case, sleep would have been a good thing, but right then he couldn’t afford it. The clock on the wall showed six P.M., and while he felt monstrously tired, he didn’t want to insult his wife by nodding off.
Overriding his personal thoughts were thoughts about the baby. Anastasia had gotten pregnant, it had advanced quickly in the space of only two weeks, but something like that had never happened before. So many things could go wrong, so many things...
Overton took off, and Harry sat back to wonder what it all meant. Washington, a city of politicians and bureaucrats, controlled everything. In essence, they controlled Harry’s destiny as well as that of his wife’s, a fact he was keenly aware of. He also knew they’d been watching him, his movements, and the possible movements of other transgenic creations.
Thinking back to his own origins, Harry recalled the reason why he’d become a cat-person, the same as his wife. He’d gone through the process in order to stave off certain death at the hands of another monster. That had happened in a Chernobyl laboratory roughly a year earlier. Since then, he and Anastasia had fallen in love with one another and gotten married.
They’d been trying to lead a normal life, as normal as possible under the circumstances. Then, this egomaniacal would-be overlord, Horace Allenby, had unveiled his own plans for world domination, and Istvan was the key to it all.
Istvan’s blood carried a peculiar enzyme, one that allowed anti-cancer and anti-leukemic drugs to work with greater efficacy. They prevented him from aging, and also carried a variety of other benefits.
Allenby was seeking the blood. He also sought vengeance, as he’d been turned into a freak and an aberration of humanity out in the location of Lake Shasta, California. In a battle with Harry and his wife, he’d been tossed into a chamber and his body’s DNA had mutated. “You’ve turned me into a freak,” he’d cried. “You and your kind are finished.”