When driven and dominant advertising executive Emily Potter is promoted within her company, the bosses make it clear that the promotion comes with certain expectations: she is to purchase herself a morph–a customizable animal hybrid of the future that is both sexual pet and status symbol. Emily’s personal tastes require a very unique set of specifications for her morph. Emily desires a male pet that is both exotic and submissive–yet all of her expectations are exceeded with Wynn, a beautiful white fox morph with a desire to please his new Master and an unusual intelligence that intrigues her. But the soulful wisdom that makes Wynn so special is a challenge to the morph-culture status quo and could ultimately spell disaster for both Master and pet.
Beyond The Softness of His Fur Part One: Wonders of Modern Science is the first installment in TammyJo Eckhart’s provocative and edgy science-fiction trilogy. “A tale of genetics, sex, and love between owners and pets,” Part One is concerned with the bonding period between Emily and Wynn and the unexpected threats to their growing relationship. Beautiful and sensitive Wynn is naïve to the complex world outside of his initial laboratory home and it is Emily’s job to educate and discipline him according to her needs. But to her surprise, Emily finds more and more it is up to her to protect and care for the intelligent and sensitive creature from a world that would rather bend Wynn to suit its expectations rather than Emily’s own.
The story continues in Beyond The Softness of his Fur: Social Corruption and concludes in Beyond The Softness of his Fur: Private Revolutions.
About the Author: TammyJo Eckhart, PhD, is the author of seven previous books of BDSM fiction, and has been part of the BDSM community since 1990. 2010 saw the publication of her first non-fiction book from Greenery Press (At Her Feet: Powering your Femdom Relationship). She has been a leader in several BDSM organizations ranging from the AppleMunch to two difference university groups (Con- versio Virium and Headspace) as well as a private support group for tops. As of the spring of 2010, her “kinky family” is comprised of Tom, her husband since 1992, and Fox, her slave since 1999. She loves visiting conventions as well as organizations to read, sell books, or offer her experience and insights on various topics in the form of lectures or workshops. Feel free to visit her website at http://www.tammyjoeckhart.com.
And now, an excerpt!
Chapter One: Test Tube Pleasures
How long is this going to take? I uncross and recross my legs in the opposite direction as I try to sit patiently in the waiting room. Boredom room is more like it. This is taking a lot longer than I had anticipated, I realize as I check my watch again.
Didn’t their ads promise fast, efficient, and satisfying service? Well, I should know better than to believe ads; I do design them for a living.
So why didn’t Jim, Bailey, or Margaret tell me how long this would take? They all recommended this place–indeed, they insisted that I call immediately upon notice of my promotion. “You have to have a morph now, Emily,” I can hear Bailey saying to me as he walked into my office without so much as a ‘how do you do.’ “We all have them,” Margaret then insisted when I told her I wasn’t sure it was for me. As to why it was important she simply wouldn’t say though I’ve heard the rumors that executives have secret parties for years now. Wouldn’t be a secret if she told me, now would it?
I’ve been so involved in my career these past five years I haven’t had much time for a lover or a pet, let alone for both. Though the idea has intrigued me for some time. How could it not? To actually own something for my sole sexual amusement; isn’t that every perverted bitch goddess’ dream? Not really; most of my kind still follow that “safe, sane, and consensual” line developed a good century back. Which is great for dealing with human beings; just not what we all fantasize about.
I took Margaret’s advice and dressed very nicely in natural fabrics of cotton and silk, both of which take up precious farm space, even getting a few real paper business cards so the folks here at the Institute for Sensual Morphology would be impressed before checking my financial records. First impressions are the most important thing; those get you in the door, and until you are in, you can’t go anywhere. That’s what my mentor taught me. Professor Randolf would be surprised to see me here today.
ISM is one of the elite pet genetics services. There are dozens and dozens of others. As with most technology, once developed and then utilized for the wealthiest and most powerful, middle level and cheap companies appear, as do knock-off brands. Since this is tied to my promotion for some reason I decided to go top-of-the-line as per my new colleagues’ advice. I just didn’t know they were literal about me needing to take a day off to get the best pet possible.
I check my watch again. Two hours. Geesh, people, some of us have to work to make the money to buy these things; we don’t get to just play with them all the time. I’m relieved when the woman I interviewed with enters my line of sight and smiles at me.
“Ms Potter, we have found a good assortment for you to look at,” the representative says. I see now that she is followed by a man in a white lab coat and another man in business grays.
“So everything checked out fine then?” I counter. I like to make sure of all my facts before I jump in. My company was so insistent that I get a morph that I didn’t spend as much time researching this as I’m normally comfortable with.
The representative blinks, then stops directly in front of me. “Oh, of course, of course, I’m so sorry if you thought there was a problem. I’ve been spending most of my time looking for what you described,” she explains.
I have been celibate for a number of years, living off of vids, books, and auds as I worked my way up quickly in the business world. I just earned vice president of administrative services, so now I think I can take a few risks. Getting a morph was not one of the risks, just a confirmation that “normal” wasn’t normal in the company, confirming in my mind that I’d chosen a good place to work. Every executive has a morph of some sort, generally of the erotic specialty.
The man in business grays leans toward her and whispers in her ear.
“Of course, we’ll discount our price for this inconvenience,” she adds after a frown passes over her face.
“Good, I wouldn’t want to have to go through this all at another company, but I will,” I retort. The customer is always right; many businesses make the mistake of forgetting that, and when their customers leave, no amount of advertising will win them back from the consumer rights groups that monitor the net and airways like rabid hounds. Ironic choice of words here, I realize.
The woman blinks again, then motions to her companions. “This is Mr. Chase, our Vice President of Customer Relations and Doctor Batswinow, Head of Exotics,” she introduced the men. Guess my records checked out very well to receive such personal attention.
“Yes, your interests are fairly unique, a good thing,” the businessman assures me quickly. “We thought we might be of assistance to Ms Gaines in helping you chose the best ISM pet for yourself. The choice will, of course, be yours, but we hope we can answer any questions you might have.”
“How very thoughtful of you?” I reply, though I’m wondering how much of a fool they take me for. I get it now: I have the money, so let’s try and take her for all we can. It will work, just not if the customer is wise to it; they should have paid more attention to how I make my money, not just how much of it I have.
We walk further into the Institute, where I begin what I soon realize is a type of education process. It almost seems that they really do want contented customers. Of course, as the businessman points out, they never sell used morphs, and returns are fully refunded. Best to cut back on that possibility right from the start.
There are, it turns out, a few problems with my request. First is the requirement that it be male. Actually, fifty percent of all their morphs are male, so that isn’t so much of a problem by itself as a complication to my other interests. Second, something unique or at least different; an exotic, they called it. Third, a pet which will be able to enjoy the rougher pleasures without wanting to return roughness and without getting moody about such sexual demands. The representative informs me that mostly such requests come from het male clients, so most of their stock in that category are female. I restate that I want a male morph. Geesh, haven’t women gotten equality in being sadists yet? Most of the sadists I know are certainly female, but then I’m talking about consensual sadists, so maybe the wackos buy their victims.
They have three options for me at the moment–that’s what they call a “good assortment?” They could specially design one, but that takes a bit more than a year to create and do basic training. This promotion seems connected to my getting a morph, hints are that I could find myself downgraded or at least denied future advancement if I don’t get with the corporate culture, so that time lag is serious. I decide to see what they have. There are at least four other companies on Earth that deal in morphs, so if I don’t find what I want I can look elsewhere.
We enter a fairly long white room with glass cages along each side. I’m informed that they aren’t glass but one-way mirrors, so I can look in without the morph knowing that he is being watched. This way I’ll see them as is and not performing as trained.
The first mirror cage houses a truly exotic morph-tiger. The size of the tiger has been curtailed, so the creature inside is equivalent to an average-sized man. It sits much as a cat would, tail twitching around, licking its paws in low strokes. It looks very bored and very self-absorbed. No, no cat morphs for me, thank you very much. If I want self-absorbed, I’ll start dating again.
The next is a bear morph about the size of those furry warriors in the old space opera–what was it called, Star Battle or something like that? Chocolate brown fur, black eyes, and chubby. This one is pacing around the cage, first counterclockwise then clockwise; it makes a good three rounds each direction. Then with almost a shrug it lies down and curls into a ball. “It seems to tire easily,” I say as I walk away. I could never get one of those. It would remind me too much of Mister Wentworth, my old teddy bear, and there are just some things that one should not do with a teddy bear.
The last one makes me stop before I reach the cage. A fox morph, and I can tell it is white–likely an albino, with those nasty little pink or red eyes. Now there would be something to have nightmares about. “I really don’t like albinos,” I begin to say when the scientist holds up his hand.
“Of course–who would?–and we would never sell such a defect. No; look more closely, and you’ll see it was genetically engineered to be this color,” the scientist instructs me.
“Very rare combination of white fur and blue eyes,” the businessman adds.
This morph is also walking around the cage, though slowly, and pressing his paws against the one way mirrors. I stop just a foot from where he is heading and place my own hand on the glass. The fur is more light gray than white, really, but I recall something to that effect about all animals, or at least horses. I note the blue eyes as they move past me.
Then the fox morph does something that makes us all gasp. He stops, backs up, and places his hands almost opposite my own. “I thought you said these were one way?” I state.
“They are; he shouldn’t be able to tell anyone is looking at him,” the businessman scowls.
“I want him to see me,” I say, surprising myself. “Can that be done?”
The businessman looks at the scientist, who merely shrugs his shoulders.
“Of course; we’ll lower this front mirror,” the businessman replies.
The businesswoman nods and presses a few buttons on the side of the cage. Slowly the mirror sinks down, and soon I see the morph jump back a bit as it reveals the four of us looking at him. The morph tilts his head, then moves back to place his hand opposite my own again. He’s shorter than me by a good foot or so, probably weighing about seventy pounds, so a bit too thin.
I place my other hand on the glass, and he matches it with his own. Moving my hands slowly, I test him, and he matches my moves. After a few moments of this I glance back at the Institute trio with a grin. “He’s very clever.”
“Yes, fox morphs tend to be quite clever,” the businessman says as though the thought annoys him.
When I look back the morph has approached and is licking the glass right over my palms. His jaw moves as though he’s speaking every now and again between licks.
“They can talk?” I ask without looking behind me.
“Very limited; he’s probably saying he likes you,” the woman chimes in before the men can reply. “Fox morphs are very sensual creatures–very loyal, too,” she adds.
I take my hands down, and the fox morph presses himself against the glass. As the mirror is lifted again, he rises to his tiptoes and attempts to watch me for as long as his height allows.
“I want to see some information on him first, then meet him face to face, where I can get a better feel for him,” I say as I turn to the trio.
“Of course,” the woman replies as she takes me gently by my arm and steers me to the exit. “I think you’ll be quite pleased,” she adds with a glance back toward the men.
“Yes, he is a very interesting specimen,” the scientist confirms.
As we walk down the hall, I catch bits of the conversations between the men. They seem concerned about something, and I’m not sure what or why.
* * * *
i yawn and stretch a bit, my fur tingling as though from a long nap. Nap? Did i fall asleep? Oh, no! Customer, human, can’t have fallen asleep, stupid stupid morph. i jerk up and find only white walls in front of me. Not the same ones as before, because these don’t shine oddly; the room smells different too.
“Please,” i beg softly as i launch myself at the walls. “Please, no big sleep, no, this one will do better, please better, be better,” i plead as i press my body against the smooth surface. Figured out a while ago that white coats watch me when i’m in rooms like this, punish or reward based on what i do or don’t do. If i’m here then i didn’t get sold. “No big sleep, please,” i beg as my claws try to crack the surface.
“So you can talk after all,” a human voice says behind me, making me freeze, silent. i’m not alone. i should try to remain calm but instead turn around, my back pressed to the wall, my tail flat down in shock and fear.
She–i’m assuming female from the cues the videos the white coats have supplied–is sitting not more than a few feet from me. Dressed in colors, an oddity around here, and even rather bright hair falling along one side of Her face. The woman who was looking at me earlier. A buyer!
i drop to all fours and move toward Her cautiously. She must want to see me, otherwise why would She be in here? Be docile and submissive when approaching a human, the trainers say, so i inch forward then stop, head bowed and wait.
She leans forward, placing Her forelimbs–arms, i believe–at an odd angle, and rests Her head on Her hands. “It’s all right. Don’t be afraid of me. I’ve just come to meet you,” She says. Her voice is slightly different from most of my trainers and the white coats, with something foreign but gentle in it. “I’m Emily, Emily Potter,” she adds, placing one hand on her chest.
i crawl forward, pausing again once i’m within a foot of Her. She asks me to repeat her name. Don’t blow this. “Em.. a.. lee,” i venture, earning a shrug and nod in response. i jump a bit when She sits back and takes something sitting next to Her on the table in the room. There’s Her, me, the table, and a chair. A quick but stealthy glance around reveals nothing else but a door opposite me.
“Here we go,” She says, putting the container on the floor. She opens it, and the aroma of something meaty hits my nose. “They said feeding you might help with introductions,” She adds.
“Food,” i say, then dive in, pausing a second later, then continuing when there’s no kick or slap heading my way. She must not have heard me–stupid morph, lucky morph. i attempt to eat as delicately as possible, but it tastes so good, and i’ve been hungry for so long, it seems. Once a day in the kennel, then when training started maybe twice, depending on my behavior. Usually twice–i can be clever when the goal is food, when the goal is no beating.
“My, you are hungry, aren’t you?” She says.
i stop and wipe my jaw on one paw before glancing up at her. i nod and blink my eyelashes as taught, making mewing sounds in my throat. A whispered “thank you” emerges before i can stop myself, but She smiles at that, so i venture again. “Tastes good, thank you.”
“You are welcome,” She replies with a wide grin that i’ve been told is a good thing. “You finish it, though, whatever it is,” She commands, so i turn my attention back to the container. i can feel Her gaze on me, so i try to be as attractive as possible while eating. Humans like to watch our tails, so i make sure to have mine move a bit more than normal. Also i make eye contact several times, showing that i am a good morph, focused on my superior, ready at a second’s notice.
After i finish, i push the bowl away and lick my paws and jaw as well as i can. She’s leaning down, one hand out stretched, so i move closer. “Pet?” i ask as i dip my head under Her hand.
So rare this touch, a gift for the best behavior, a taste of favor in a white coat, a reward from humans. She caresses my head with Her hand, first just stroking it back then pushing it forward as well. i arch my neck offering more of myself to Her hand, a soft growl which i pray does not offend drifting up from my throat. The fur at the top of my head is longer and different than the rest; we suspect it is to mimic the fur on the tops of humans’ heads, though the white coats have never told us. They tell us very little, but the songs sung in the dark since the time i can remember tell us much.
“I’m trying to decide if I should buy you,” Her voice reaches down through the caressing, my ears going up automatically to catch every sound.
“Fox morphs make good pets,” i say as i rub a bit against her leg. Her scent surrounds me; Her clothes are so strange and soft beneath me; everything feels overwhelming, so i fight to stay completely aware of Her movements and words.
“So I’ve read and been told,” She replies. “But you are not inexpensive. Three months salary, you know?”
i look up at Her, rubbing my jaw against Her leg. “Buy 4753. 4753 will make best pet ever,” i promise.
“4753?” Her voice goes up at the end, signaling a question.
i whine as i back up far enough to bat at the ear tag with my number. “Number. Will make best pet ever,” i repeat. i can feel my body racing in ways i’ve never felt before. Is this what the songs call bliss? Is this what being owned feels like? Do i heed the warnings repeated in the choruses or give in? i sit back and watch as She examines my ear tag.
“Well, I am intrigued, but it is a huge amount of money. Do you know what money is?”
“Will make best pet ever,” i say before laying down at Her feet, my head resting on Her shoes, my eyes looking up in what i hope is good form. “Buy,” i whisper.
i jump back, my hands trembling as She stands up. Oh no, what have i done? Stupid, stupid, stupid morph! i’m surprised when she bends down and caresses my head again.
“Well, then, it’s been a lovely visit, 4753,” She says before heading out the door.
“Buy.” The word i want to say is choked in my throat, so i just voice it internally, “me.” i watch, then as soon as the door closes i rush to it and press my body against it. “Please,” i whisper over and over.
i don’t hear anything until they’ve entered the room; a grave mistake on my part, one i should know better than to make. i turn then relax a bit at seeing my regular handler, Frank, then tense at the sight of his new companion, a smaller man unfamiliar to me.
“So this it?” the new man says as he moves toward me.
“Now be careful, it don’t know you,” Frank tells him, putting out a hand to stop him. Frank has always been fair with me, never hurting me more than necessary, i think. Sometimes the white coats laugh when they hurt us, sometimes the dark coats laugh when they watch, sometimes the handlers laugh loudest; Ronald did when he corrected me. i’m glad Ronald isn’t here anymore, even if it took several med visits to achieve. We are not really stupid; we know how to survive; the songs tell us how.
Frank looks at me with a grin and holds out a leash. “Here now, 4753, time to go.” His voice is very different from the woman who visited, the one who will buy me, must buy me, rougher; the sounds are more what i’m used to, and his new companion sounds similar.
“Yeah, get a move on, morph,” the new one says.
“Don’t raise your voice, ain’t no need,” Frank says, lifting a hand to pet me briefly as i submit to the leash clicking onto my collar.
“No big sleep?” i ask. Frank is amused by my speech, so i’ve used that fact to glean pieces of information from him. Information is valuable–guard it, sing it, share it in the night.
“Big sleep?” the new one says. “Oh, you mean you think you’re getting snuffed, put down, killed?”
i whimper and pull back on the leash, earning a frown from Frank.
“Hey, don’t scare it! What are you, stupid?”
“Nah, it can’t understand us, can it?”
“Of course, it can understand us, Joe,” Frank replies. i drop to all fours quickly to keep up as we head out of the room. This door was hidden and must be how i got in. Little sleep, that’s how they move us around. Could just tell me, i can go where i’m told. “Jesus, how many times I got to tell you. This here ain’t just an animal, it’s got some sense in it too.”
“Looks like a big freaky fox to me,” Joe replies, adding a harsh fondle of my head, which makes me tremble again. Not another Ronald, please.
“Damn it, Joe! Why I let my kid sister talk me into getting you hired here? You are so stupid!”
Soon this breaks down into yelling, and I’m pushed against the elevator wall at one point, unnoticed. We’re going down, i realize suddenly. Down is big sleep. “No!” i scream and feel Frank grip the back of my neck.
“Calm down, there,” he says. “See what your yelling is doing? Doc said to bring him in nice like. He’s going to a nice lady who don’t want him roughed up none.”
i go limp in Frank’s hand, and soon i’m released. “Woman buy 4753?” i ask, looking up at Frank.
“Yeah, kid, you been bought,” he replies with a grin. So grateful, i yip and begin fluffing the fur on my face; must look my best for Her.
“See, told you it can understand us,” Frank says.
They lead me into the med room, where i’ve been before; i’m not happy, but if i’ve been bought i can handle anything they have to do to me. i get up on the table when told by one of the white coats.
“We’ll use a local for the punisher, then moderated for the sheath work,” one of the white coats says. i’m concerned when my sheath is mentioned, but my arms and legs have already been strapped down to the table.
“Why not a full anesthesia?” the other asks.
“Too much of a risk that it won’t wake up. One of those things the geneticists didn’t think enough about.” i realize now that the one speaking with authority is an older male, while the other is a younger female. Humans seem to place a lot of value on those things, but then they are only human.
The male white coat looks at my handlers. “Have you told it its name?” Name? i have a name, not a number?
“No, sir, wanted to make sure we had all the facts straight first,” Frank replies.
“We should begin using it immediately; it will help with this last phase of training,” the male white coat replies. “Denise, why don’t you tell it its name?”
“We keep saying ‘it’. Why not ‘he?’” is her reply.
The elder white coat frowns. “Until purchase it didn’t really have a sexual identity yet; certainly no sexual use has occurred. Correct?” the male white coat directs his gaze to my handlers again.
“Of course not, sir,” Frank replies. “Only videos, tapes, and computer training in that area.”
“It will become a he after this operation and delivery to its owner. Now give it a shot and a name, please, Denise.”
“Yes, doctor.” The woman leans over me and smiles. “This will just hurt a little,” she says as she presses the gun to my head right next to my tagged ear. i don’t believe her for a second, but at least she seems sincere. The shot works quickly, and soon i start to lose feeling on that side of my head.
“You have a name now, 4753,” she continues. “Do you want to know what it is?”
What a stupid question! i nod my head eagerly, adding a whimper for good measure. White coats don’t like our speaking much at all; it is wisest to be dumb around them unless they urge you to speak.
“Your owner has given you a name. The name is Wynn. Can you say your name?”
i blink at her. “wind?” i reply. Isn’t that something outside?
“No, no. No ‘d’ sound,” she corrects but doesn’t seem angry. “Just Wynn. Try it again.”
No ‘d’ sound. OK, i can do this. Very slowly i repeat, “win? wynn?”
“That’s it!” She taps my head. “Feel that?”
“No,” i reply, which is actually a lie. The sooner this is done, the faster i’m out of here. Anyway, how bad can this be; i’m bought, and anything else must be easy. It only hurts for a bit, then everything is numb anyway. That horrid thing that shocks me has been removed, but my joy is short-lived, because they place another below my ear on my neck and some type of decorative thing to cover it; the female white coat tells me everything as they work on me.
“Now breathe deeply,” the female white coat orders me as she places a cup over my mouth…
To read the rest, download the ebook today!
When Emily is promoted, her bosses make it clear that there are certain expectations: she is to purchase a morph, an animal hybrid of the future that is both sexual pet and status symbol. Her own tastes require the unique: an exotic and submissive male pet. All desires are exceeded with Wynn, a white fox morph. But Wynn's uniqueness challenges the morph-cult status quo and could spell disaster.
Omnibus edition now in print!