Out of Options- Chapter 1- Seeing Red

The penguins were hatching their newest 'mission', changing the frequency of their feedings, via the zoo computer. "Now Kowalski, let's bump it up to a nice 5 times daily." Skipper smiled as his second in command typed up his request. Rico wrung his flippers together in joy, and continuously giggled 'feesh' under his breath. Kowalski did as he was told and imput the data into the zoo's feeding schedule.

"Alright Skipper, I just added two extra feedings onto the roster. We shall be swimming with the fishes by day's end." Kowalski smiled happily at his handiwork. Private also began to dance around with excitement.

"Good work Kowalski. Let's just turn off the computer and return to-" Skipper was interrupted by the sound of footsteps outside the office. "We've been compromised boys! Move move move!" Skipper commanded, the four penguins belly sliding to the office wall. Private glanced up at the monitor.

"Skippa! The feeding schedule's still on screen!" he pointed his flipper. "What do we do?" he panicked. Skipper turned to Rico.

"Quick, Rico! Turn off the monitor!" Rico leapt from the office floor, landing with a thump on the desk. He pushed as many buttons as he could, until the feeding schedule disappeared from the screen. He turned around to face the team, smiling and waving.

"Ay! I diddit!" Rico croaked. Rico's flipper accidentally slapped the side of the screen, where a basket of pens and scissors had been precariously perched. The basket began to fall, and the scissors' sharp blades were aimed dangerously at Rico. Before Skipper could yell a command, Kowalski lunged for his comrade, desperate to get him out of the way in time.

"Rico! Look out!" He yelled. From there, Kowalski's mind went black. The area around him however, grew red.

"Kowalski!" The three other penguins gasped. They rushed to his side, which was now sliced open in a particularly gruesome manner.

"...Walski...?" Rico gasped in sadness, holding Kowalski's motionless body.

"Kowalski! Speak to me man!" Skipper looked over his lieutenant in fear. Kowalski didn't answer.

"Look Skippa! He's still breathing!" Private began to cry. "We need to get him to the doctor!"

"Agreed. Rico, carry him to Dr. Singh's. He should just be coming in for work right now." Skipper tried to keep his cool as he saw his soldier dying in front of him. He averted his gaze from the gaping wound, and pointed forward. "Move out! We don't have time to spare!" Rico gently grasped the scientist's body, with more care than he ever gave to even the most volatile explosive. The penguins hurried faster than they thought was even possible. They arrived in front of Dr. Singh's office in record time. Skipper began to knock furiously at the door, trying to get the veterinarian's attention. As they heard the doctor approaching, Skipper and Private began to hide so they wouldn't be discovered out of their habitat. Rico however, stood his ground, still desperately clutching Kowalski, trying to make him as comfortable as possible. "Rico! Kowalski will be fine! Just leave him to the doctor! There's nothing more we can do!" Skipper yelled urgently at Rico. Rico's steely eyes just faced forward at the door, not for one second contemplating leaving Kowalski behind. "Rico!" Skipper attempted one more time to reason with him, to no avail. Skipper was about to retrieve the weapons expert when the door opened, and Dr. Singh looked down at the injured penguin.

"Oh my goodness! What on earth happened here?" The doctor gasped in surprise. Rico held out Kowalski so Dr. Singh could reach him better. "What a good friend you are to bring him to me! Poor little fellow, we'll get you into surgery right away!" Dr. Singh carefully scooped up both penguins and brought them inside. Skipper and Private held each other in worry.

"Do you really think Kowalski will be okay, Skippa?" Private asked in a quiet and sad voice. Skipper just pulled the smaller penguin closer to him.

"...I really don't know Private... All we can do now is wait..."