February 24, 1889
We made our way to the jungle before dawn, the air was damp and cold and thick with an atmosphere of danger. The trip to the jungle was cooling, though the walk there only took us twenty minutes, we knew we were heading towards trouble. The equipment we packed were mainly small items which we both carried in haversacks, they were mainly items with rudimentary electrical functions, and I prayed hard that the equipment would not be broken by either our own stupidity our by our dear Machina Tigris.
When we were finally in the jungle the sun was rising, having to constantly wipe the sweat off my neck was not my idea of a good time. We were in our explorer outfits, our legs protected from mosquito bites by our knee-high boots, though this didn’t help my arms at all. Mr. Burrows kneeled down and removed the wireless equipment, a large board with an assortment of buttons and transmitter arrays, onto the ground. With the large listening device on his head, covering his ears, he cranked the dial clockwise a dozen times to gather the necessary electric energy to power the device, then he tapped on the buttons lightly. The machine emitted a pitch higher than the normal human range, hence us mere mortals were not able to hear it.
In the distance a tiger roared, the bushes, the withered leaves in the forest crunched and shuffled, it was the tiger coming closer, but we did not move. It roared again, louder this time. I turned to Mr. Burrows to tell him, “I think you should stop now, Mr. Burrows.” The tiger’s features we clear to us now, its yellowed fur, its magnificent black stripes, the sharp teeth, beautiful and polished, its ferocious eyes, the sinew of metal on its forehead, the transmitters in place of its ears. When it ran to us with all its rage we were not at all frightened, it was all going according to plan, it did not pounce on us, it stopped barely a meter away, snarling at me and Mr. Burrows.
Its fierce eyes pierced through us, though this did not make us shiver. We were used to this tiger by now. It tilted its head sideways, regarding me with a familiar curiosity. It knew who I was, though that did not help matters much, as I feel he doesn’t like what I have done to him. I remember months ago, when we added the machinery onto his body, we also had the foresight to attach the transmitter in his inner ear, so that we could at least keep him in check. When I sent Mr. Burrows to run my errands yesterday, he went to readjust the transmitter on the tiger. I remember there were many signs posted on the city walls offering huge rewards for dead tigers. Suffice to say, the deep jungles in Choa Chu Kang were rife with tigers who were more than happy to sink their jaws into those foolish enough to roam the jungles at the wrong time.
The tiger is the exact mirror image of Aman in a sense. I found it injured, its blood spilt over the grass, its bones broken. It was in a fight with another tiger and got the short end of the stick. I nursed it back to health, fixed him, he was my fist machine/mammal hybrid.
I dangled a piece of raw meat in front of him, so he could smell it and recognize what I wanted it to do. I stroked his back to keep him calm, to let it know what he’s doing is good. The fact was, my motives were far from benevolent.