The Silver Elite
The Lamb Ain't Real
The Silver Elite gather at a restaurant: The Clumsy Goat. The restaurant is located a few holes over from Sikal's lab, in the same general cliffside of the Kaibab Plateau. It first opened for business 50 years ago, in 4006. It has a warm and inviting hole, uwu, with a neon sign above, reading, "The Clumsy Goat," in glorious Gryphon XTC font. It was a much more inviting and welcoming hole than Sikal's lab, down the way, which did have a sign, but not a glorious sign. No, Sikal's Lab's sign simply read, "Nothing To See Here," in simple Arial font, and anyone without the proper clearance could still enter, but were limited to the underground hot spring area only. Fortunately for them, the spring was at the front of the hole, and the lab at the back behind all manner of security doors. Convenience all around–just the way everyone likes it.
Back to the Goat.
The Clumsy Goat is a steakhouse and alehouse where gryphons gather after work. The Goat serves vegan and non-vegan options for every single menu item, no exception. The vegan steak is Sikal's favorite. He and the other members of the Silver Elite visit the Goat approximately once per week for dinner, and normally they'd relax and socialize, but something big has just come to Sikal's attention so this particular visit to the Goat is one of business, not pleasure.
"So many new faces here today..." Gryph looked around the Goat lobby. The customers were mostly gryphons being served by anthro goats; however, the goats were actually gryphon employees disguised as goats, per company policy.
"Relax, Gryph. No one's gonna shoot you. I didn't even bring my gun!" Sikal stated.
"That's a fucking relief," Gryph cursed and glared at Sikal.
Silly bird, I BUILT X-2. I can send you to any dimension I want, WITH A THOUGHT! Sikal thought to himself, glaring back with a smirk.
Behind the Goat.
"Sasha, you're late again. Hurry up and get in uniform. We're seating some VIPs at your table." The host informed Sasha.
"Fuck, okay. Sorry. I'll be right there!" She held up her wrist and pointed to her smartwatch. "Software update's almost done, look!"
"Five minutes, Sasha." The host left.
In general, the Goat staff got along like a family. The host, Darwin, had been running the place for years. He was a middle-aged gryphon, with rich, dark brown colors, not unlike Sasha, who was a young brown female gryphon with lighter colors. They had no blood relation. They simply worked together at the Goat. It had been that way for years, now. This was just another day in the cut–'cut' being a cool way to say 'neighborhood' if you're a young gryphon living in the Kaibab Plateau in the year 4056, since all their homes were holes in the cliffside and did look like a cut in the ground when viewed from high enough up in the sky. Hence, cool.
The version update chimed to indicate completion.
"Finally," Sasha sighed and loaded her costume on her smartwatch. Like most of the gryphons in the cut, Sasha had a smartwatch and was a BirdWatch subscriber, meaning her particular smartwatch could project a hologram of her avatar and disguise her in it. She would look exactly like her avatar when viewed in the visible spectrum.
Sasha's smartwatch chimed again as it loaded her avatar. The smartwatch became invisible, as a safety feature as well as an aesthetic one, and encased Sasha's physical form inside a hologram of an anthropomorphic goat girl in a Clumsy Goat uniform.
Back at the front.
"So, then he said, "I'd drink your bathwater," right in front of his wife. Never in my life have I seen someone get hit in the head so hard!" Zero burst out laughing.
"HAHA, wow!" Bane remarked, sitting a couple seats away at the same table. Bane's pelt was silver, much like Gryph's, but with gold highlights. His color scheme was one-of-a-kind as he was the only gryphon in the world with 4 birth parents–the result of a successful experiment in Sikal's lab 16 years ago. Bane looks like a gryphon, but he is actually a gryphon-human-dragon-alien hybrid, and all of his parents are at this very table tonight.
"Oh, my!" Cg trilled from the other end of the table. He sat next to Sikal, really close, and held his hand lovingly, and in front of everyone, despite the fact Cg was a dragon and Sikal was a gryphon-alien hybrid.
Kilmera sat on Sikal's other side and leaned up against Gryph, secretly wanting to hold his hand, too, but was otherwise quiet and content. She was a human inside a gryphon hologram, a gold one, her personal choice to look more like Bane's mother, because she was Bane's mother, and she loved her natural human form outside the cut, but in here, especially in here, humans weren't particularly safe. They did try to destroy all the gryphons some 500 years ago. It's a touchy subject.
Gryph draped his wing around Kilmera and took a moment to gaze at her. He knew very well what she looked like underneath–more than most, in fact–and he did adore her gold gryphon avatar, but by now, after 16 years, he really only ever saw the human underneath.
Circling to the other end of the table, beyond Gryph, were Xarxazeroth, Malvagio, and Bane. Mal normally liked taking the end seat, but Bane and Cg were late again and Cg always makes himself a seat beside Sikal, which left Bane to accompany Mal, Bane's uncle. The situation was... tolerable. It wasn't ideal for Mal. Ideally, Mal would rip Zero away from Gryph, throw Bane beside Gryph, Zero beside Bane, and he'd mount the end seat gloriously. But, alas, he was already too comfortable, and so was Zero, and no one, not even Mal, not even Gryph, was foolish enough to make Zero uncomfortable.
It was a very interesting family, indeed.
"Welcome back to the Clumsy Goat, guys! Sorry for the wait. Anything I can get started?" Sasha asked, finally reaching her table. She was required to work in her goat avatar complete with uniform. The store's policy ensured that only the host can work without a goat avatar. Fortunately for Sasha, she really liked her avatar. She worked hard on it.
Speaking of which, Sasha's smartwatch beeped loudly at her, and her hologram disappeared, right in front of her VIP guests.
"Oh no!! What happened??" Sasha panicked and stared down at her wrist. The watch was still invisible. "Is it a bug?" She tapped her wrist, but the watch didn't become visible or respond at all. "I'm sooo fired!!"
"Wait, let me see." Sikal reached his hand toward Sasha's. "I've seen that glitch before. All you have to do is this." Sikal touched his thumb and index finger together, placed the tips on the screen where the invisible watch was hiding, and then he slowly stretched the two fingers away from each other. The watch chimed and rebooted. Sasha's hologram loaded back up instantly.
"Wow! That's super helpful!" Sasha cheered in excitement.
"I actually helped develop those watches. I can talk to the software guy tomorrow about that bug, no problem."
"That's amazing! Thank you so much, sir! So, what are we ordering? Drinks? I've got half-price lamb today."
"What's wrong with it?" Mal asked, grinning a bit.
"Hmm? Nothing, sir! It's just our special today."
"He was kidding," Zero chimed in and kicked Mal.
"Guys, before we order, I have to know, are we breaking our diet or not?" Sikal asked. Everyone took a moment to consider, but no one spoke up. "In that case, I'll have the lamb, VEGAN, please, with wine, white please."
"Sure thing, sir! Vegan lamb and white wine," Sasha repeated the order, writing it down.
Cg leaned closer to Sikal, his voice soft, "Vegan lamb, huh?"
"Of course. It's delicious! You can't even tell the difference," Sikal said with a smile.
"Oh, well, I don't know about that. I am a dragon, after all. We have a long history with sheep."
"Oh, is that so?" Sikal smirked and kissed Cg on the lips.
"Mmmm... I'll have the same. Yes, I'll have more of that, please," Cg smiled up at Sasha, who wrote it down.
"Okay, who's next?" Sasha asked, looking around the table.
"I'll have the same, actually," Gryph motioned to Sasha.
"Same for me, too," Kilmera spoke up.
"I'm not hungry, thanks," Zero admitted. "Can I just have water?"
"Well, I'll definitely also have lamb and wine, please," Mal stated.
Bane looked at the menu again. He always had trouble deciding. "Can I just have the Caesar salad, please? With a water?"
"Alright, guys! You got it." Sasha walked to the kitchen.
"Too bad the rabbit isn't on special today. That would be ironic," Sikal stated.
"I don't see the irony," Zero immediately retorted.
"Oh... Well, we're actually here to talk about Killer Rabbit," Sikal confessed.
"The serial killer?" Kilmera turned to look at Sikal.
"Yes. I've been personally asked by the United States military to capture Killer Rabbit."
"Why?" Kilmera looked worried.
"He's slaughtering people in the human world and he's using our technology to do it. I can nail this guy, easy," Sikal replied, then turned to Gryph. "Why do you think I went through the trouble of making you guys bulletproof? Rabbit always uses a gun."
"Wait, who's this guy?" Mal looked across the table at Sikal.
"Have you been living under a rock?" Gryph put Mal on blast.
"I guess so," Mal replied.
"Technically, all gryphons live under rocks. We're under rocks right now," Zero remarked, staring at the ceiling. Everyone else facepalmed.
"He's not a BirdWatch subscriber but still uses a hologram. We think he's using a hacked smartwatch. We won't know exactly until we catch him. I'm still crafting a plan," Sikal explained.
"Here you go, guys!" Sasha returned with a helper goat and they both got to work loading the food and drink on the table. Sasha stepped back and bowed courteously. "I'm here if you need me."
Cg stole a piece of lamb from Sikal's plate. "Oh, that is good!" He laughed and stuck his tongue out at Sikal.
"What!? Ugh... You have your own~"
"But yours is better~ And weren't you on a diet, anyway?"
About the author
I like gryphons :)
Previous project: Have a look at my original animation, based on my Vocal story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSUAtVCQaTg
Current project: Another OA based on this: https://vocal.media/fiction/the-silver-elite-v4g8gx0urz