Allen stumbled through the hallway of his dingy, run down apartment building, a cigarette dangling out of his mouth. He felt nearly as worn out as this shitty place was, bags under his eyes, head hanging down. The long hours at the diner had taken their toll. Even in the 2060's, when automatic kitchens were commonplace, there was still a spot for human dishwashers, since they could be slightly cheaper and could be convinced to ignore certain health violations. It was dirty, degrading work, but it meant he could keep living in his tiny apartment, and that had to count for something.
His steps quickened as he neared his door, knowing the moment he waited for was near. Every day was simply a waiting game to the evening, when he could finally enjoy himself. Placing his thumb onto the barely working scanner, it recognized him and slid the hatch open. As Allen walked in, his lights dimmed on, the few appliances he owned humming to life as the subroutines ran. The apartment's A.I., Sarah, became active as well.
"Welcome home, Allen," she said, in her always pleasant, but cold voice. "Shall I boot the simulator again?"
"You know it," Allen replied, putting the cigarette out on the wall. "Today was brutal... I've been dying to get back here."
"You know, the simulator is packaged with thousands of educational and instructive programs. Perhaps you could work with one and obtain a more desirable job. Why don't you tell me what you would be intereste-"
"Nope," Allen said, cutting her off. "The TF program."
"You have run that program for the last 138 nights in a row, Allen. Would it not be better to-"
"UGH!" Allen's eyes rolled up into his head, tired of being lectured by something he owned. "Look, I don't know why you have this weird guilt-trip about me 'Wasting my potential' or whatever. Just do what I tell you to already! Boot the TF program!"
"Very well. Please sit in the platform."
Allen smirked and walked over to the only prominent piece of furniture in the studio besides his bed. The platform resembled a dentist's chair, but had an array of smooth ovals protruding around the headrest, tinged with blue lights. They would alter the sensations his brain received, changing his perception to whatever the simulation was running. It was obscenely expensive, but Allen had managed to cobble together enough to afford it after years of hard work and living as cheaply as possible. And he was addicted.
"All right, all right." He mumbled as he removed his coat, laying down in the chair and attempting to relax. The insertion into the simulator was always kind of a jolt, and even now it was hard to get used to.
"Allen, it appears the TF Program has released a beta upgrade. Would you like to apply it?
"What does it do?"
"It will enhance and make more tangible various factors regarding all related processes."
"So it makes it feel better?"
"Yes, but there are several documents of recorded problems and possible dangers that I suggest you-"
"Apply it! Apply it and let's go already!" Allen's eyes glimmered, the thought of the TF program being even MORE enjoyable was intoxicating. No one ever read all that legal crap anyway. It was a total waste of time.
"Very well. Prepare for simulation." Sarah said, as the platform hummed to life and began to scan Allen's brain. It wouldn't be long now. Sure enough, a few seconds later, every part of Allen's body spasms as all of his senses were suddenly telling him completely different things at the same time.
"WHOAH!" Allen yelled, as he was suddenly standing in a vast green field, short grass as far as the eye could see, a bright cloudy sky in every direction. Completely isolated and apart from anything else. The only person who was here, who could ever be here, was Allen. Allen was different, as well. His face was brighter, his body more well-defined, like an ideal version of himself.
Allen looked down at his body, now wearing nothing but a pair of black boxers. The simulator could load clothing, but he wouldn't be needing it for what he was planning. "You there, Sarah?"
"Yes," Sarah replied. "I assume you would like me to load the species menu?"
"That would be fantastic." Allen grinned as the huge transparent window sprung out of nothing in front of him. An array of different creatures displayed in a grid, with relevant statistics, information about the species, and how many times each had been selected before. That one in particular showed how much Allen had used the program. The number for most of them was over forty, and he had owned the simulator for less then a year.
"Ahhh, decisions, decisions." He muttered as he paced back and forth. The first selection was always the best, although he usually went through several in one night. After the rough day he had had, he needed to make this one carefully.
It had originally come with a few simple and obvious choices, a wolf; a lion; a raven. But Allen had been collecting others from the network and had assembled quite a collection, even some creatures that didn't even exist, created by die hard fans of several dead franchises that contained interesting possibilities for transformation. Which one would it be tonight?
Allen's gaze halted over the icon for 'Rabbit'. There was one he hadn't done in a while. It might not have been as fierce or powerful as the other choices, but few were more energizing, and that was what he needed to get out of his career-induced stupor. His hand gesturing at that area of the window, the options came up. Level of Change; Fur Color; Change Speed; Size; even the option to temporarily replace the human consciousness with that of the animal.
There was no need to go that far today though. Allen quickly flipped through all the choices, settling for a white, human-sized, anthropomorphic rabbit. The large green 'ENGAGE' button appeared, and Allen slapped it, finally ready to be transformed!
"I suppose you'll want some privacy," Sarah chimed in. "You do remember the code phrase to disengage?"
"Of course! See you later!" Allen said. Closing his eyes, he could feel the cool breeze on his skin. This was his place, and no one else's. It wasn't long before he could feel the telltale signs of what was coming. A tingling feeling on his skin; a slight quivering of his muscles; and a numbing calmness over his thoughts.
The first changes began in his face, his nose twitching as the nostrils began to flare involuntarily. The tip of Allen's nose rose up a bit as his face seemed to slowly stretch forward. As it changed position, his nose altered its texture to be more rough, the color quickly shifting to a light pink. His jaw popped as it slid forward to match the upper part of his face, showing the beginnings of a muzzle.
As the same time, the tingling all over Allen's body became more intense and pleasurable, as thousands of tiny hairs began to emerge from his skin. His chest and the back of his hands at first, but they were spreading from there to reach his sides and upper arms. Allen slowly rubbed the developing tuft on his chest, reveling in the strange feelings.
"Aaaaaah. Oh man," Allen lifted his hand up and stared at it as the tips of his fingers began to pulsate. Right before his eyes, they were slowly but steadily swelling into pads. His nails pushing out and darkening as the white fur become more and more thick. He caressed his own cheek with the leathery fingertips, a serene smile on his face. "They weren't kidding... I don't think it's ever felt this good before."
His legs began to fill with an intense, warm sensation. Allen looked down and watched as his thighs began to swell, his muscles growing in preparation for the speed and agility that was part of a rabbit's everyday life. His feet suddenly took part as well, the bones crunching and straining as they stretched to double their previous length in a less then a minute. It seemed like something that would be quite painful, but thankfully the program wasn't designed with negative feelings in mind. Allen lost his balance and fell down into the grass, laughing. He didn't know what they had changed about the program, but he felt even more giddy then usual, his eyes shining with delight as the fur began to blanket his legs as well. Soon enough, they were snow white.
His neck tilting, Allen felt his ears begin to grow, the sound of his own breathing and the virtual wind becoming infinitely more detailed. They stretched upward and upward, quickly becoming covered with fur, the insides turning a bright pink. Allen reached up and felt the tips with his clawed fingers, his new ears easily a foot long and still going.
"NNnghhh! Nnnfff!" Allen grunted as his feet continued to become even larger, huge pink pads ballooning at the soles as his legs compacted and condensed, changing to a digitigrade formation. His heart began to race as they reached their full size, perfect for leaping and springing to a degree that any human would find impossible. Having no need for modesty, Allen tried to remove the boxers, but they were difficult to move past his more developed thighs. Grinning as he looked at his handpaws, he shredded them with his claws with ease.
"AAWwwh YEAH! I feel great! I feel GREAT!" Allen yelled as he got back up, bouncing up and down as he tested his new legs. He couldn't sit still anymore, an insane amount of energy coursing through him. "Ohh! Ohh, here we go!" He crouched down as his spine protruded out of his rear, slowly poking out in a thin tail. His entire back popping pleasantly as it made its way out, until it stopped about a foot or so away. The fur claimed the tail's naked skin quickly, blossoming into a huge tuft of fluff. Allen turned to stare at it, a huge grin on his face. His new tail flicked back and forth, unable to hide his joy.
His fur thickened and spread until it had covered him completely. "Hmmm... So warm... So.. So..." Allen lost his train of thought as he felt his body all over with his large handpaws. Nothing felt better than this! He wished he could stay here forever! His face began twitching again as his muzzle began to move, his entire head changing shape in the process. "HnnnggHGHH! Nnyyyaaaaaarhh!" His mouth drooped open as it felt like every part of his face was stretching. The feelings were so intense he nearly couldn't handle it. Six whiskers grew out of his snout as his forehead condensed downward. Allen shut his eyes as his ears tensed behind his head. This felt more real then ever!
His teeth flattened and rearranged themselves in his mouth, his front two lengthening and protruding from his now cleft lips. His brown hair quickly losing its pigment and becoming the same bright white as his fur. And with a jolt, it seemed like everything relaxed, and Allen could breathe again. He opened his eyes, now a vivid red, and looked over himself. He was fit; energized; completely transformed! He was a rabbit!
"Oh man, I'm lookin' GOOD!" Allen yelled, hopping straight up and down a few times. He felt like he had drunk an oil drum full of coffee. He had to run, and he had to run NOW. He crouched down a bit and bounded, taking off in a sprint towards the horizon. Running with these strange legs took practice, but Allen had spent enough time in here to be an expert. The infinite field passing by him, he ran and ran, feeling nothing but happiness and exhilaration. Faster and faster! There was nothing else like it!
Hours passed, and Allen eventually tired himself out, although it took quite a while. Laying in the grass, he sadly came to the conclusion that it was time to go. He did have to work in the morning after all. He needed to try and get a couple of hours of sleep. Clutching his handpaws together one last time, he looked up and said the escape codeword 'Jellyfish'. The scenery suddenly erasing itself as Allen returned to reality.
He immediately know that something wasn't right. The normal sensory jolt had happened, and he was back in the platform, but everything felt wrong. "Wha- What the hell?" Allen's bleary eyes were having trouble adjusting to the light, and he sat bolt upright as he tried to focus. As his vision began to clear, Allen felt a cold feeling of dread in his gut. It was impossible. It had to be.
His shoes had burst into ribbons, his huge white paws poking out the top. His pants totally destroyed by his completely different legs. He lifted his hands in front of his face in shock, seeing a rabbit's pink pads, covered in fur. Allen's ears drooped down in terror, his nose twitching uncontrollably. "SARAH! S-SARAH! WHAT THE- WHAT- WHY- WHAT-"
"It appears as if the program update has caused the simulator to rewrite your genetic structure. This phenomenon was clearly mentioned in the warnings that were included with the-"
"YOU DIDN'T THINK THAT WAS IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO MENTION?!? HOW THE HELL CAN THAT EVEN HAPPEN? W-W-What am I gonna do?"
"Perhaps you could replicate the process by choosing Human in the simulator."
"Yeah! Yeah! I could-... Uh..." Allen's mind raced, remembering all the species he had bought for the program. Human wasn't one of them. After all, he would revert once the simulation was over. What would be the point?
"Oh no." Payday wasn't for another week, and he didn't have nearly enough to cover purchasing a new species off of the network. Allen sank to the floor, overcome by the sudden ridiculousness of his situation. He was a rabbit, and would be until he could afford otherwise.
"How am I gonna explain this to my boss?"