SCENE: A typical suburban neighborhood. We're seeing it from perhaps 50 feet overhead; the camera glides along what is obviously a typical suburban road, oh-so-gradually losing altitude.
Voiceover (Gene Hackman): Parents. Do you know what your offspring are getting into?
As the camera drifts forward and down, we can see the usual complement of SUVs, basketball backboards, swimming pools...
V.O.: Do they know what they're getting into?
...and an occasional wizened old 45-meters-from-head-to-tailtip Silver Dragon, curled up on itself like a two-story-tall lump of solder, sleeping in the occasional front yard.
V.O.: Remember -- it's your job to know. Let's take a look at what can happen when you let things get out of control.
The camera slows as it edges away from the road, moving straight for a livingroom picture window. We see a beat-up couch, currently occupied by an inert, green-scaled body a foot too long to fit comfortably on it.
Subtitle (large letters in the middle of the screen}: What Are Friends For?
At this point the body twitches, regaining consciousness...
Alex woke up with a start. The sun was shining in through the window and birds were singing outside... but the young man knew something was wrong. He was interacting with the couch in a most uncomfortable manner which had resulted in numerous cramps. After blinking the sleep out of his eyes, Alex found his vision obscured by a long green muzzle; when he managed to lift his head up, Alex saw the tattered remains of his hewman clothing spread all over.
"By the Ancestors... what happened..?"
Alex lay on the couch, too stunned to move, trying desperately to come to grips with his current situation. He was about to panic when he saw the small magazine laying on the floor, its pages now creased from its thoughtless placement.
"Oh, great. I must have nodded off reading TSAT! Ugh -- I transformed in my sleep. Fuck!"
Alex rolled his new bulk out of bed and began to take inventory of his new body as he removed the remains of his clothing, muttering darkly to himself as he noticed what was left of his last clean pair of jeans.
"What the hell am I?" said Alex, rubbing his clawed paws over his smooth hide. "Stripes? Bleah, what's wrong with my feet... and hands. At least I've got hours before... Ahhh!! My wings -- I don't have any wings!! Gaah! Why did it have to happen after the raptor issue?"
Alex breathed a sigh of relief, gathered himself and then closed his eyes, forming a picture of his hewman shape in his mind and allowing his body to flow into it. A short while later Alex opened his eyes and was dismayed that nothing had happened.
Alex tried again, this time picturing his trueform in his mind and calling upon the power deep within him. Still, when he opened his eyes nothing had happened. Not knowing what else to do, Alex grabbed his phone and dialed his best friend, carefully pressing the small buttons with his pointy claws.
"Hello?" answered the sleepy voice at the other end of the line.
"Procris? Its me, Alex. I, um, had a little accident last night."
"Accident? What, you wet the bed or something?"
"Oh man, I wish... I transformed in my sleep."
"Well, why call me about it? Change back."
"I can't. Whatever this form is, it lacks the ability to shapeshift."
"Oh. Wow... that sucks."
"Thank you, Procris. I hadn't noticed."
"My pleasure... yawn... okay. What are you?"
"Some sort of wingless Raptor-type thing."
"Hmm. That's rough, I know your kind is big into wings."
"Look, can you just get over here and help me out? If my parents catch me like this, they'll flip. They'll totally ban me from reading TF stories."
"So what? Why are you so into that, anyway? I mean, it's just transformation. It's not like it's something we don't do every day."
"Shut up, it's cool. I didn't call you so you could make fun of my interests, I need your help to change back."
"Heh! Okay... I guess I could help, but how do you want me to do this? Should I inject you with nannos, or change your DNA, or perhaps buy you a magical costume from some crazy old wizard?"
Alex growled as his friend began to laugh on the other end of the line.
"Rrr... Come on, Procris. Please. I need your help, and you're being a dick."
"Okay, okay, I'm sorry... I just couldn't resist."
Alex rolled his eyes. "Just bring yourself and your horn over here and fix me, will you?"
"Fine, fine. I'll be right over."
Alex had no sooner ended the call when there was a flash of light from an opening portal: Procris stepped through into the living room. Procris took one look at Alex and had to hold his hands to his mouth to keep from breaking out in laughter.
"Pfaugh," snorted Alex. "Why don't you take a picture so it lasts longer?"
"Great idea!" said Procris, pulling out his camera-phone.
"Gimme that!" Alex shouted as he snatched the phone away. "Please -- just fix me. This is really embarrassing."
"Fine, fine... le'me see here..."
Procris closed his eyes and allowed a soft white glow to envelop his body. His form began to shift, hewman skin and clothes melding to soft white fur, his face pushing out into a muzzle, fingers fusing together and feet solidifying into cloven hooves. Procris next began to bulk up, growing taller, his chest, arms and legs expanding with new muscle. A long sinuous tail with a floofy end sprouted from his rear as his legs cracked into a digitigrade stance. Lastly, a long spiral horn erupted from his now-equine forehead, planting itself firmly in the ceiling.
"Watch it!" yelled Alex. "You just put a hole in the ceiling!"
"Ack, sorry," responded Procris, gently trying to get himself unstuck without making the hole bigger.
"Your hooves aren't muddy, are they?"
"Hey. When you come to my house, I don't make comments about you getting blood everywhere."
"Okay, okay, I'm sorry, just hurry and fix me, willya? My parents could come home at any time!"
Procris gently bent over and touched his silver spiral horn to Alex's chest.
"You have enough room in here? Maybe we should go outside."
"No, I don't want to risk it. Just trigger my anthro form."
"'Anthro'? That's one of those crazy hewman terms, isn't it? You really need to stop reading that stuff."
"Enough with the commentary; just change me back."
Procris rolled his eyes and accessed his magic, causing his horn to glow. The unicorn gently probed Alex's spirit to uncover the trueform hidden within, and then willed his friend's body to change back into its proper shape. Although for Procris this was a rather mundane activity, akin to purifying a polluted lake or healing injuries, Alex took great joy in being transformed by another. The saurian watched as his striped green hide turned into metallic silver, two large wings sprouted from his back., his paws became more slender and his neck became longer and thicker. When the transformation finished Alex shook his head, working the cramps out.
"Thanks, dude... mmm... it's nice to be back. Thanks for the TF! Felt good... real good."
Procris raised an eyebrow as Alex realized what he had said.
"Ah... I mean... "
"Man, you are messed up. What is it with you? How come you're so into being 'transformed'?"
"Leave me alone -- it's cool. Hey, why don't you just give it a try yourself? You might like it.
""You mean read that TSAT rag? I don't know, don't most of the stories deal with centaurs?"
"I know, it had a bit of a Centaur slant for a while, but it's gotten better... why don't you read the special dragon issue?"
The unicorn gave his friend a peculiar look (which was ignored). "Why do you read stories where people turn into something you already are?"
"Shut up. That's not the point. Just... try it, okay?"
"Ugh, why do I feel so pressured here."
"Beats me. Maybe 'cause you know that dragons use unicorns as sex toys and food..?"
Procris shot Alex a deathly glare before rolling his eyes and grunting.
"Fine... I'll read the stupid stories... just stop threatening to eat me."
"It's a deal," replied Alex.
"And that's another thing: Why do I have to, like, make concessions with you? I just saved your ass, pal!"
"Maybe Unicorns are pussies."
At those words, Procris' whole demeanor changed to Stern And Merciless; his horn, suddenly glowing with magical energy, pointed straight at Alex's chest.
"No not... um... look, um, you know I love you... right?"
Procris kept up the act for a couple of moments... before he snorted a laugh, opened a portal, and left Alex's living room.
"Ah, Procris..." mused Alex to himself. "What a good friend... and I'll bet he'd taste great with butter and garlic sauce."
Fade to black.
V.O.: And then, a few days later....
Fade in on a different room -- someone's bedroom. On the walls are posters for death-metal groups like EOHIPPUS and Mustangbreath; the floor is cluttered with farrier's nails, back issues of Studz and Playmare, and loose sheets of hastily-scribbled homework. We see a bed against one wall, occupied by something large-ish that gleams with metallic yellow highlights.
Procris woke sharply. The sun was high in the sky, flooding his room with light. He groaned, realizing that staying up the night before had caused him to oversleep. As he began to rise from his bed he noticed the sheets were all torn to shreds.
"No... oh, no."
Procris was staring down at his arms... instead of hewman skin or soft unicorn fur, they were covered in golden scales.
"Ugh... Alex, you bastard... what did you do to me!!!"
Still, no matter how mad Procris was, he couldn't help but be excited at having to get changed back to his normal form.
Fade to black.
V.O.: Fortunately, Alex's little misadventure had a happy ending. And if you want to ensure that your offspring will come out right when they discover TF, here are four pieces of good advice you'll want to give them: One: Stay calm. Two: Concentrate on getting changed back. Three: Enjoy the new corpus. Four: Recruit your friends to TF fandom.
Subtitle (along the bottom of the screen): A Public Service Announcement. Paid for by the Ad Council.
V.O.: Get involved, parents. Your offspring will thank you for it... later.
Subtitle (fine print just below the 'Paid for by Ad Council' line): ©2006 Sturmovik Productions. All rights reserved. Unauthorized copying will be punished to the fullest extent allowed by 5,000° dragonflame.