Poor Alexi Devers: Bitten by a "dog," then finding himself naked in a park on the morning after the next full moon, a pulpy mess of unidentifiable victim, dewey and glistening on the ground around him. News stories that day confirm that a terrible murder has taken place by a rabid "dog," and Alexi looks up from the paper with the wide-eyed stare of the recently diagnosed. What will he tell Debbi, his girlfriend? How will he keep her safe? Fortunately for him, after a Google search and a few false leads, he discovers WereSafe, a service for people with "dog" problems just like him. It's expensive, sure, but what choice has he got? One web form and credit card number later, he's joined the service and a special package is on the way.
The WereSafe service has two main service aspects. One to keep the monster contained, and the other to hide the problem from the innocent.
This offshoot of ZipCar offers full-moon rentals of specially-constructed, industrial-grade, automated cages located throughout most major metropolitan areas, with a complete guarantee of secrecy, security, and soundproofing. Weremembers can schedule favorite ones in advance, and have a fresh set of clothes waiting for them when they wake up human again. (ZipCage is even experimenting with automated espresso machines in its Parisian and San Franciscan locations.)
Full Moon Alibis
Partnering with existing alibi services that cater to philanderers, this part of the service arranges fake evidence of a thoroughly normal, non-werewolf life. Boys-nights-out, sudden business trips out of town, and ailing grandmother excuses each come with carefully designed pieces of evidence that are perfectly convincing to loved ones, and make easy explanations for full moon absences.
These two services might work well enough, if it weren't for the fact that the wolf pushes its way into Alexi's sunlit psyche and encourages risky behavior; making him order his steaks grotesquely rare, taking that tiny detour by the park before the full moon rises, assuring him that there's plenty of time, and tempting him to the eternal hunt. Managing these animal instincts takes more than services. It takes a special dog collar.
Two days after joining, Alexi opens a delivered package and pulls out the device that helps to manage the beast within. It's the WereChoker, a silver-alloy necklace that—the informational card within informs him—only gets harder to adopt the longer he puts it off. Each one is custom-made to avoid easy identification. Glancing at his favorite photo of Debbi, he lowers the choker around his neck. It senses his body heat, turns on, and tightens, using woven lengths of memory wire that can shrink or expand with electrical current.
Reading the card, he learns that individual components along the choker additionally house a GPS receiver, a cell receiver, a clock chip, a battery, an induction coupler, and a processor, enabling the major features of the device.
The "squeeze" of the choker serves not just a sartorial effect, but also as a mechanism of control. If he ignores repeated warnings from the service that tell him to get to a cage, the WereChoker silently but firmly tightens. As the situation becomes more dire, the choker can begin to press against his windpipe and actually choke him, setting off an adrenalin-fueled panic that ensures it's Alexi, and not the wolf, that's in control.
The choker is additionally outfitted with multi-variate haptic actuators that allow the choker to direct him to the nearest empty cage. As he's making a sundown dash for the nearest one, if he needs to take a right, the right side of his neck vibrates, telling him this is the direction he needs to run to avoid both asphyxiation and the bloodshed of the innocent. Once he makes it into the cage and its bolts clang into place, the choker relaxes and lets supernature take its course. Overnight, the induction couplers wirelessly recharge the device's batteries for the next month, even as the beast paces within.
Following these signals, Alexi is almost guaranteed to make it to the cage before the full moon transforms him into a viscera-craving, glowing-eyed werewolf who hungers for the throats of the living. In the morning, as he wakes in a cage to find clothes neatly folded up on a chair just outside the bars, perhaps accompanied by a warm and comforting latte, he can rest assured that WereSafe has his evil side—and our safety—well under control.
And if you're concerned about a nameless organization that has remote control of a Pavlovian-trained army of vicious full-moon killers, let's just note the service isn't exactly called YoureSafe.
WereDesigner Chris lets us know why this is awesome for Alexi.
- ZipCage provides him with a set-n-forget way to secure a secure place for nights of the full moon.
- Debbi's not only safe but unaware of the bloodthirsty nature of his Beast Within.
- The choker helps keep the beast in check when he's outside the cage, and his conscience clean.
- Should a cure become available (and WereSafe need to provide it) the ongoing relationship of the service provides a way to contact him.
- Yay, Zipcar! (Cooper's not just a member, but fans.)
- Yes, alibi services are real.
- Memory metal can shrink with an electrical current, though not yet this much.
- Immersion Corporation has already got HD haptic actuators on the market.
- Induction coupling exists as well.
- The pictured choker, by MissingLinkJewelers, is still available on Etsy last time we looked.
- That tiny little wolf logo was based on Freakzter's freebie wolf drawing on DeviantArt. Hey Freakzster, we think it's awesome.
- Special thanks to Benjamin Remington for the photography help. Happy Halloween!