Chakats © Bernard Doove/Chakat Goldfur used with permission




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НазваниеChakats © Bernard Doove/Chakat Goldfur used with permission
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School, for the most part, was an exercise in controlled chaos, the same as it's always been since schooling was started. On Pandora, that meant a variety of 'morphs of all kinds wandering about the halls between classes – from the familiar canines and felines, to the various centauroids, to the even more exotic and truly alien species.


Sasha found her way to the office, where she had to turn in her medical papers, stating any special needs she may have, and then was taken to her homeroom class, which was truly a mix of what was considered the more exotic students. Fortunately, the class was small, perhaps a dozen individuals, ranging in size from the smaller than average Puiha (a hamster 'taur, and actually quite pretty), to the average (herself, and the 2 chakats,), to the huge (Connor Taggart, who took after his father, and Xitili, a rare arachnoid).


The teacher was human, to round out the menagerie. Everyone liked Mrs. Casull, she was about as friendly and open as they came, and was lusted after by about half the male (and some of the female) student body, as well as some of the faculty.


“Good Morning!” she said, cheerfully as she entered. “You've got a new classmate, but most of you already know her.”


Sasha hauled herself to her feet without too much trouble. “I'm Sasha Rasalka-Enderchai, pleased to meet those of you I don't already know,” she said, politely, then sat back down. Her tail was nervously twitching. Fortunately she didn't stand out too much, which only would have made her case of nerves worse.



Fortunately, she didn't have much time to dwell on her nerves before the tedious business (or not so tedious, depending on the teacher and subject) of education got underway.


Sasha chatted with a few of her acquaintances, many of whom were happy to see her, asking her all sorts of questions about what had happened, whether or not it was contagious, and how was it going to affect her relationship with her would be boyfriend. She answered them as truthfully as she could, the last being “I don't know.”



The answer came at lunch time; Aalekz was an adolescent cougar, fairly good looking, and somewhat popular. Sasha came up behind him at lunch. “Hi, Alex,” she said, her voice hopeful.


He turned around at the mention of his name, but the cheerful greeting died on his lips. “Oh, it's you.” he said, turning back around.


Body language could convey much to those who were skilled in reading it. Sasha may not have been as good as her grandmother, but she could see something was amiss. “Is there something wrong,” she asked, hope beginning to fade. She reached out an arm to place on his shoulder, something she had done many times in the past. Unlike those times, however, he moved his shoulder away from her hand.


“Nothing's wrong,” he said, coldly. “Go away.”


“Why?” she asked, quietly. She could feel something, a roiling storm of emotions.


Aalekz rounded on her, and if he had ever shown any kindness towards Sasha, it did not show in the set of his ears and muzzle. “I said, Go Away, Freak!” His voice was loud enough to carry to the rest of the room. It did not help his case that his point was made with claws splayed. The only thing that saved Sasha from getting clawed was her recoiling in horror at his response.


Off in one corner of the room, Connor Taggart and the two chakat students began to move towards the confrontation.


The words had hit Sasha hard, like physical blows. What was worse was that she could feel the hatred packed into those words, making them bitterly cold, cold enough to burn. Then, and only then did Sasha realize what he had just tried to do to her. The room went very, very quiet, and people began to back away from Sasha, who was now radiating rage. “Do you think I wanted this to happen to me?” she growled at him, rearing up on her hind legs. Connor Taggart was beginning to move, smaller students getting out of his way. One of Sasha's handpaws swung back, ready to strike, and Aalekz realized he'd just set off her temper. He also came to the sudden realization that the appendage about to strike him was nearly the size of his head, and backed by nearly twice his body mass. He saw the swing start...


Something flashed behind him, pulling him out of the way before the blow could land.


Connor had grabbed Sasha in a loose hold, his sheer size given him the needed leverage to keep Sasha from clawing the face off of her former boyfriend. “Now, lass,” he rumbled, quietly, “Ye don't want to be doin' that to 'im.” He easily held the struggling Sasha off the ground, despite her thrashing about, angrily.


Another motley felitaur, an all black chakat with a white nose and one white handpaw, laid hir hand on Sasha, and quietly concentrated. It had the act of calming Sasha down to the point where Connor could let her go. Her shrieks of rage had become quieter sobs of heartbreak and anguish.


The unfortunate cougar morph looked at who had pulled him indecorously out of harm's way. The chakat was coppery colored, with random black spots. Shi looked down at Aalekz with some disdain. He was not pleased, and was about to say something when he was hauled roughly to his feet by one of the vice principals.


“You've got some explaining to do,” muttered the wall of fur that was Mr. Vilbowski, a polar bear morph. “Down to the office with you.” He turned his attention on the Sasha, the two chakats, and Connor. “You'd best get her down to the counselor's office. I felt her rage all the way up in my office.”

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