Exposure

Off: This is my challenge post.

On: A roar of laughter erupted across the entire hall. “Poppycock!” an elderly man in a high starched collar shouted out. “The very notion is a construct of sheer fantasy. If I may remind the member, this is a body of science, not fiction. These findings are an insult to this august gathering and the spirit of scientific pursuit!”

The Lady D’moonh stood upon the cathedral chair procured for her. She grimaced. Letting the waves of mockery wash over her. She raised her tiny arm to try and hush the crowd. “These are facts gentlemen, not theory, you can repeat the experiments yourself in your own laboratories.” She turned rapidly and pointed at the large chalk diagram on the board behind her. “Here, the vector p is the momentum of an object mass multiplied by velocity. In the case of constant forces, you can replace the time derivatives with just the change in momentum divided by the change in time.”

Laughter erupted again from the assembled audience. Doctor Vatsskellion stood from the third row and shouted. “The physical sciences are based on laws that are not open to your relative interpretations.” Aji’s cheeks would have turned bright red if such a thing were possible through the dark fur covering her face. She shook her tiny head. “Models. These are models to explain reality. I am just stating the model we have based our understanding of motion phenomenon is not accurate!” she squeaked out, her voice growing hoarse from shouting.

Vatskellion shook his fist towards the speaker’s dais. “Leave it to a woman to take it upon herself to insist the greatest minds of the Royal Academy, and indeed history are wrong. And to think we are being lectured by this malformed creature. I would suggest it would be best were you to be studied instead of your inflicting your fanciful flights of illogic upon us.” The crowd took up the stance and began shaking their fists as well, shouting out boos and mockery of disfavor.

Aji closed her dark eyes. “Fools.” She squeaked quietly. Gathering her roll of notes she jumped off the dais and retreated from the hall.

***

Aji sat in the parlor of her Exporitorium surrounded by vials, tubes and machinery of fantastical purpose. She flipped the calling card over in her hands ruminating on her actions of the past 12 hours. The kindly looking man in the suit sitting across from her broke the silence. “Lady D’moonh, thank you again for agreeing to meet with me. I am in fact, stunned. Thank you for the opportunity.”

Aji looked up at the man from behind the black veil covering her face. “Mr. Prendick, you came with impeccable credentials and references. I apologize for the long delay I left your inquiry. I am most interested in your analysis of my circumstances, and thus I agreed to this interview.”

A young man pushing a trolley of trunks entered the parlor. Prendick stood and motion to him. “Over there Herbie, near the mantle piece.” He turned back to the diminutive woman sitting in the chair. “Thank you for your consideration milady. Please bare with my assistant as he sets up the equipment. It gives us a few moments to get better acquainted.”

Aji nodded and waved to the assistant to continue his work. “Please sir, indulge me with conversation for I must express my distress at this undertaking, it is beyond my usual experience.”

The man looked around at the gadgets and inventions adorning the room. “Certainly milady, although if these examples of your work say anything, I doubt there is much outside your experience. This menagerie is fantastical. Do they all function?”
Aji smiled from beneath the veil allowing her self to relax a little as they discussed her marvelous contraptions. “Some more successfully than others, but each serves its purpose. The intricacies of fine gear works comes as naturally to me as using a brush with paint.”

“And you learned this from your time at Exeter?” Prendick asked.

“No, as a result of my condition, my upbringing allowed me a considerable amount of time to myself or in the capable hands of tutors. I learned welding and mechanics before ever entering university.” the lady responded.

“Quite impressive. I cannot say that I can even guess the purpose of many of these devices. It belies an incredible imagination.” Prendick stated still taking in the scene about him. “Milady, if I might be so bold, your condition has a considerable amount of notoriety, would you mind if I were to look upon your face?”

After a long pause Aji responded. “Of course Mr. Prendick, it is of course why you are here.” She reached up and unlashed the strap holding her veil up, and slowly removed the mesh fabric to reveal her dark furred face.

The man paused for a long time, taking in her countenance. “Marvelous.” He uttered, taking in the full impact of her Hypertrichosis. “Have you always looked this way? From your youth?”

Aji’s deep black eyes met the mans. “No. According to my parents I looked like any regular baby. When I failed to thrive by age two they grew concerned, my height has changed little from the time I was a child. The fur began when I was six and has grown steadily since then. For several years my parents tried to keep me shaven, but eventually it was impossible to hide, and chose instead to keep me secluded from others.”

The young man with the trunks was assembling his equipment upon a tall tripod. Aji paid him no heed, keeping her attention on Mr. Prendick. “Doctors had no explanation for either my size nor the hair. Some suggested lycanthropy and other myths. I assure you I am not drawn to the moon or crave human flesh.” She said with a hint of edge in her voice.

“Ha! I would never consider that you might.” Prendick assured her. “In my experiences with transmorgnaforcation, these changes are brought on through considerable external manipulation. Usually through vivisection or alchemistic experimentation. You have arrived at your state of being naturally. That is most remarkable.”

“I am as I am and have been Mr. Prendick. I too have experimented with chemical remedies to my condition. None have borne any results.” Aji admitted, tears welling up in her large almond eyes. “I just do not understand what I am or am becoming.”

“Dr. Prendick, the dry plates are prepared. When ever you are ready to begin.” Herbie interrupted.

Prendick held up a finger. “We will be with you in a minute Wells.” He kept his attention on Aji. “Milady, while I have only been among transmogrifying creatures for a few short months, I have observed that free from external manipulation, most creatures revert to their natural state. Might I suggest, you are not becoming anything, you are returning to what you are. Quite simply, there is nothing wrong with you. You are only becoming more of who you are."

A quizzical look crossed over Aji’s face. She had always considered herself a mistake, a random freak of nature, a defect. What he was suggesting…

“Milady, we are ready to begin if you are of temperament.” Prendick stated motioning for Aji to stand and follow him.

She leapt up from her chair, her mind spinning with the implications that she was reverting to her natural state, the prefect form of her nature. Perfect… not… broken…

Herbie pulled the drape up over his head as he stood behind the tintype camera. He held up the flash rod as he prepared the plates inside. Aji stepped up before the fireplace with a deep breath she let her dressing gown drop. The rod burst in a flash of smoke. Aji’s dark eyes stared into the lens as she for the first time felt at home in her own fur.

“Study this Royal Academy of Science!” she squeaked.

-Aji D’moonh
Inventor/Scientist

By Zuzutoo

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