Chapter 5 – Infant

"There, there!" Mittens said as she patted the baby giraffe on its head, "Mittens is here!" Bolt gave her a strange look, one eyebrow up and the other furrowed into a half frown. 'It's like the first few weeks of parenthood all over again!' he thought to himself as he watched his wife comfort the much larger animal. He furrowed both his eyebrows when he noticed something, the mother's hoof was covered in something. Bolt tiptoed his way over while Mittens and the baby were distracted, and found something green staining the hard fibers of the hoof. With a single sniff, he knew it was blood, "Green blood?" he asked, "I don't know anything that has green…" He was interrupted when he turned his head, hearing the faint sound of scrapping coming from somewhere. With caution, he tiptoed towards the sound, finding a door that led to the back of the pen. He let the lasers fly from his eyes, quickly cutting the door from its resting place and letting it fall to his side. Something fast darted out of the open door before he could look, forcing him to turn his head, "MITTENS!" he called out, getting his wife to break from her new obsession. "Huh?" she asked and jumped over the neck of the mother giraffe. "CATCH IT!" Bolt called out, and she quickly reached out her paw, slamming it down to where the blur would be, and stopped it in its tracks. She found a squirming skeletal rat under her crystal claws filled inside with what looked to be red hamburger. Its eyes shined a bloodthirsty red while it flipped its tail around wildly. Bolt ran up to her, looking down at the rat in her grasp. "What the…?" he asked, and watched the green blood begin to drip from the punctures in its flesh, "We need to show this to Tarnildra!" Bolt said, and Mittens nodded her agreement. Bolt lifted a paw to his ear, "This is Bolt! We've found something and a survivor, an infant giraffe. Requesting transport and…" he said and looked to his wife as she looked to want to go check on the baby, "…substitute mother for the infant!" Mittens turned her glare to him, her eyebrows furled in irritation. "I'm not picking anything up on the radar except you two and the infant." they heard Rhino say, "Are you sure you've found something?"

"Positive!" was all Bolt said to his friend. "I'll send someone over with a transport shield to help!" Rhino said. "Roger!" Bolt responded and turned to his wife, "What's a transport shield?" he asked her. Mittens simply shrugged her shoulders.

Bolt pressed his paws down on the rat, keeping it pined as it struggled against his strength. Mittens comforted the baby giraffe as they waited, returning with a large bottle of milk in her paws that she now fed the animal. "It's a shame he can't talk yet!" Mittens said catching Bolt's attention, "Maybe he saw what happened!"

"Remember how long it took our kids to talk?" Bolt asked out of nowhere, "Mike said his first word almost two weeks before Wolf and Hazel!"

"That was when I knew he'd be smart!" Mittens said with a smile as she held the bottle up with her wind claws. "Oh sure!" Bolt said as he teased her, "You didn't know he'd be that smart!" Mittens placed a paw to her chin, "Yah," she said, "That's true."

"And this is why we bears don't get married!" they heard a gruff voice say. They both looked up from their banter to spy a large grizzly bear lumber on up to them. He had on what looked to be a bullet proof vest covered from top to bottom with large bullet chains. He had a focused, almost angry look on his face, but his mouth was tweaked up in a sly smile. The man that walked next to him was also large and muscular with a perfect tan. He also had on what looked to be a bullet proof vest, but instead of bandoleers, he had a rather large Felarian gun on his back. The gun itself was almost as large as his shoulders, with an encased trigger and silver plated shell casing. The barrel was made up of almost eight pipes that circled around a large pipe in the center. Even with the four piece shell over top covering it, Bolt could tell it was designed to spin rapidly. "Hello Max!" he said to the human and turned to the bear, "Hello BronzeClaw!"

"Hey buddy!" Max said and took one look at the baby giraffe, "AAAAAWWWWWW! Poor little guy!" BronzeClaw looked to his partner with a look that said he knew it was coming, "Max! I think THAT…" he said and pointed a razor sharp bear claw at the squirming rat, "…is more important right now!" Max turned to his partner with a glare, "Nothing's more important than our future generation, Brawn!" he said almost angry, "But I get your point!" Max moved himself away from the baby and pulled from behind the bear a large crystal box, "Made from Diaqurotioux Crystal Nano Material!" he said as he patted the box, "Rhino said I just place it over your paws and…" He did exactly what he told Bolt he'd do, and it was like it just melted over Bolt's paws, encasing them and the rat. "Now lift it up, and drop it. Then quickly pull your paws out!" Max said, watching as Bolt wrapped his paws around the rat as he let up on the pressure, lifting the creature just inches off of the ground, "Alright, ready? Set! NOW!" Bolt dropped the rat and quickly pulled his paws out of the box, like water, it seeped back into shape, leaving nothing but a box in its place. The rat tried to turn and bite Bolt but found nothing there. It scratched the walls and tried to free itself as it continued to bleed from its side. It stopped quickly and turned to the baby giraffe, glaring at the animal with a blood lust. "So now what do we do with him?" Max asked as he lifted the cage with the creature inside. Mittens smiled brightly, only to open her eyes and see the rest of them glancing towards the bear, "Wait! No way! Not a chance! I am not taking care of that kid!" Brawn said. "Oh come on, it's only until we get back to base! Then he'll have a proper care team look after him." Max said, trying to convince his friend. Mittens let her ears fall in disappointment and frustration as she watched them ignore her. BronzeClaw turned to the giraffe, the baby's large eyes nearly pleading with him. No!" he said and folded his paws over his chest, "No way. And there's nothing you can do to get me to change my mind!"

"How did I get talked into this?" Brawn asked as he walked on all fours close by the baby. They had taken to the back of the zoo, trying to keep the baby from seeing the horrific sight lying out around the surface. The infant fumbled a little as it walked, barely getting used to his legs that day. "Aw, come on Brawn!" Max said as he patted the giraffe on the side lovingly, "He's kida cute!"

"I'm supposed to be a grizzly bear, a great big grizzly bear! I eat animals like him!" BronzeClaw said gruffly to his partner. "Hey, you wanna give Henry nightmares?" Max asked. "Henry? You named him already?" Brawn asked. "Yah. What of it?" Max asked. "Henry's just boring, you got a name him something cool, like…" the conversation trailed off as the two in the back followed at some distance.

Mittens let her head hang as she slumped over her husband's back, "I feel abandoned!" she said with a groan. "Ok!" he said with a sigh, "I'm sorry I ignored you. I know how you are around babies." Mittens sighed again, letting her head slump further, "I just can't help it!" she said, "He reminds me of when our children were young and nearly helpless!" Bolt chuckled, "Rhino?" he asked as he lifted a paw to his headset, "Are we at the transport point yet?"

"I'm glad you asked Bolt!" the hamster said, "The nearest satellite is coming into position…now!" He turned around, just as the vive of them appeared, the baby becoming frightened and trying to hide behind BronzeClaw. "HEY!" the bear said, and turned to the baby. A small medical team cautiously came up to the platform, and the nurse patted the baby on his side, "There, there!" she said, "We won't hurt you!" she said, and the monkey that was latched to her back reached out, patting the back of the giraffe as well. "He's so soft Miranda!" the monkey said. "That's right Buddy! Because he's still got his baby coat of fur!" she explained. "What do we do now?" Buddy asked after a short time. "BronzeClaw is going to have to help the baby trust us. Come this way!" Miranda said, and turned away. "Wait, I have to go…with this kid…into your clinic office?" the bear asked. "Why do you ask BronzeClaw?" Mittens asked. "You're not scared of the vet are you?" Bolt finished off. Brawn growled inside his throat as he glanced to the two smug looks. Then he turned to the crowd, each person waiting for his answer. "I'm not scared of anything!" he said, trying to keep his voice low. "Then you won't have a problem!" Bolt retorted, causing Bronze Claw to realize what his words had just done. "I hate you two!" he said under his breath before turning around and stomping off towards the clinic. Bolt and Mittens turned to each other, smug looks and gleeful laughs shared silently between them. "Wow, that was…" Dark Bolt began, "Weak!" Bolt ignored him, looking deep into his wife's eyes instead as they smiled at each other. "Ho brother!" he said. "What would Nightmare want an infant for anyways?" Kelly asked, catching the attention of the two. "It looked like he was the last giraffe alive to me. Maybe he's experimenting with animals and powers!" Mittens said. "Or he's trying to Chimera again, each time he does he tends to get bigger!" Bolt added in. "Either way, we have a problem!" Max said as he held up the crystal cage, instead of a rat inside, there was nothing left but a pile of bones and rotted flesh. "What?" Bolt asked, "But it was alive just a second ago!"

"Rhino, do you think you can get any useful info out of this?" Ducker asked. "I doubt it, it looks like decomp is being accelerated by the parasitic toxins." the hamster said, "I'll need to catch one out in the field to really examine it!"

"Very well, you go with Bolt and Mittens back to the zoo, I want you to see if you can trace those things back to where ever they came from!"

End Chapter 5