Chapter 2:

Welcome to the New You!


Lucky’s only been in the aptly named Breeder’s clutches for a couple of weeks when Lester comes by with a tablet in hand for the first time.

“Wish I could put you lousy lot up for adoption already,” Lester grumbles. The blue light from the tablet makes him look ghastly pale. “All these seasonal adoption events with limited edition Pets just makes things annoying for Breeders like me who have to put up with maintenance costs.”

Lester raps his knuckles against Panic Button’s cage. “Smile.”

Panic Button blinks as the flash on the tablet’s camera goes off. Lester looks down at the screen and nods to himself.

“Still, it’s a good time to let people know what we’ll be offering. There are some real nuts who are into specs, personality, gender, whatever.”

Lester continues to type something onto his tablet, and Lucky wonders how involved he is with their creation. Is he just the guy who puts them up for adoption, or is he truly the “Breeder?”

Lucky hears a ding. At first they think it’s coming from the tablet, but they quickly realize it’s coming from Panic Button. “Your gender setting has officially changed to boy,” Lester says. “It will make you more marketable.”

Panic Button’s eyes are dilated as he hears Lester’s words, and Lucky can see all the fine circuits behind his eyes for the first time. “…Okay,” Panic Button mumbles.

Lucky begins to feel concerned when he doesn’t say anything else beyond that. After deeming Panic Button a boy, Lester goes through them in quick succession, putting them each through their own gender reveal.

Viper is a boy. Bliss is a girl.

Lucky is a girl too.

“I don’t even know why a low-spec Pet like you even ended up here, but if you wind up going around biting people after you’re adopted, it’s better if you’re a girl. We can sell you as feisty instead of aggressive." Lester's expression is filled with malicious glee when he says, "The muzzle stays though."

Lucky’s vision becomes a myriad of white text sprinting across a blue screen as the new setting is recalibrated into her system. It happens quickly, much more so than for Panic Button and the others, who are still rebooting.

It feels so natural to be a girl once he changes the settings that Lucky doesn’t even feel like fighting it. It’s now a part of her code, her technological makeup. It’s who she is, and she’s angry that Lester manipulated her gender so easily.

The anger that’s wells up inside her is a huge relief. She hasn’t succumbed to the numbness of being a Pet like the others.

At least, not yet.