Haotris

By Joanna Sears

Dated: June 2013

(C) Copy Write The Monster Zoo

Prologue

The Monster Zoo is a large animal preserve. It is home to dozens of endangered species. But not just conventional ones,

like Tigers or Whales. But also those strange mythical beasts that everyone's heard of. But few have seen.

It is owned and run By Director Rackton. A brilliant scientist, who discovered a way

to create a Bubble Universe outside of our own Timeline. It is within this bubble that he has created this animal haven.

No poacher or unscrupulous hunter can ever enter it. The zoo only has one entrance. Which in turn can only be opened

by use of an:-

Entropic Displacement Chronomitor.

Rackton is ably assisted by a team of hand picked specialists. Not least of all is the Renowned Crypto-Zoologist

Frank Corvin.

Chapter One

Mike sat in his office, planning the mission. Pete and Frank walked in.

"Hey Boss, What's going on?" Corvin asked.

"I'm planning our next mission."

"Our next Mission?" Pete raised an eyebrow, then grinned. He was the Monster Zoo's Head Keeper.

"Well yours and Frank's. You are going to seek out and hopefully capture one of the world's oddest creatures. One I've

long wanted here."

"Any chance you could give us a clue as to what we're going to be looking for?" Frank's tone was as jovial as Pete's."

Director Rackton was used to the off beat sense of humour his two top men shared and so continued.

"The Herd beast Haotri." He unrolled a picture that an artist created on it. The creature looked similar to a giraffe but

smaller with a long shaggy coat. Pete suddenly became excited.

"Oh my God! You're serious? Some of them have finally been found?"

"Yes and I want this last surviving herd safely here," he consulted his notes. "Scientists believe the creatures are like cows

Gentle docile beasts."

Preparation began in earnest the following morning. Pete had just began getting a Trevick ready When his assistant came over

the radio and alerted him, that one of the park's feathered serpents, Citulali had escaped from her enclosure. Pete was forced

to put the latest mission on hold while he and his team went to try and recapture her Which wasn't as hard as you might think.

Citulali is like a lot of the Coravoi, a notorious food fanatic. All they had to do was feed her some extra meat, laced with

with a tranquillizer, while Sean and his senior people re-enforced the fence around her habitat.

Citulali and her brother Patacuchi had arrived the park as babies after losing their mother to injury caused by another

Quetzacoatl. Now an adolescent, Citulali caused endless problems. She was forever fighting with her brother. In the end

Sean and Caron had been forced to separate the pair before Citulali killed Patacuchi.

While Pete supervised the reinforcement of the Quetzal enclosure Frank had the IT techs upgrade the restraining force field

around the whole of the Coravoi sector. This was the third time in under a month. They'd had a Dragonoid escape from the

quarantined area. Slater had just soldered the last rivet into the new fence when Director Rackton approached

Before Pete and Frank could leave to seek out the rare prehistoric Giraffe herd. A new habitat had to be constructed to house

them. Rackton had done a considerable amount of research and was certain he knew what sort of environment would be best

for the incoming creatures.

"Pete instruct your team that the new area needs to be situated closer to the waterfall. It seems the Haotris mostly inhabit

savannahs and pastures near lakes and rivers." Pete read through the Director's detailed specifications then passed it across

to his assistant who would continue the work while he and Frank were away.

Jason and Sue were standing near the Portal Generation Gate. Neither of them were going on the latest mission. The two

Sand Whirler Coravoi were expecting and Jason was not going to leave them so close to their eggs hatching. Chirrup too had

become fascinated by the impending births. Sue was surprised that neither of the Sand Whirlers seemed bothered, by the

presence of the Fire Lizard in their nursing cave.

That morning she and Jason wished the capture team a safe journey and a fruitful hunt. Frank waved goodbye to them adjusted his Quantum Displacer then drove his Trevik through the Entropy Gateway. But as they came out they ran smack

bang into a herd of Audumal. The huge creatures started to stampede as the Trevick wrestled its way through the pack.

Pete had just managed to manoeuvre the steam vehicle out of the way when an adult male Audumal whacked the side of it. The resultant jarring made the main boiler to release an out rush of steam. Causing it togive off a high pitched whistle.

The sound clearly terrified the gigantic beast. It roared in terror, before charging away.

"Pete, are you alright?" Frank asked after the rhino sized quadraped had galloped off.

"I'm fine. It was bit hairy for a minute there though. That was an Audumal. Looks like there's a whole group of them."

The herbivores had finally calmed down and settled in a meadow half a mile away. Frank and Pete surveyed them

"They are gorgeous. Look there are some calves with them." Frank and Pete got out of the Trevick to get a better look at

the herd. A large male gave a warning bellow but that was all.

"I count about a dozen to sixteen in that herd. I say we get the whole caboodle to the zoo." Frank declared.

"Oh dear! Poor Mike." Pete muttered under his breathe. Frank set up a temporary portal. He then got into the Trevick.

"Pete. I suggest getting in the jeep so you don't get trampled" As Slater climbed in, a loud growl was heard behind the herd.

Among the trees behind the Audumal herd were two Loasatu Another roar sends the herd running towards Frank, Pete and

the Gateway Frank seized his chance. He activated the portal. then backed away to allow the herd to move through they

were closed followed by the Loasatu pair. Pete sighed in relief and closed the portal then he leaned down and picked up the

four power generation bulbs. As silence and peace descended he and Frank were able to focus their attention on their original

mission.

Meanwhile on the other side of the portal.

Pandemonium reigned It took twenty men to separate the Audumal herd from the predatory Loasatu pair.

"Ashli. We need you here immediately." Rackton spoke into a walkie-talkie. Ashli was Pete Slater's assistant and in charge while he was away. She leaned over from a high walkway and waved.

"I'm here Boss. What's up" He pointed to the herd.

"Can you tell me how many there are?"

"I make the count fifteen."

"Fifteen? That's too many for us to have. Where am I going to put these? When Frank comes back he's got some explaining to do." Ashli couldn't help but laugh at the flustered Director. A roar distracted her.

"And do you know what species they are?" Mike looked puzzled at the two hungry predators. That still prowled about

Although they were unable to get close to their prey. A dozen handlers were keeping them at bay.

"They are Loasatu. Looks like a breeding pair. See how the dull coloured one is smaller. That's the female."

"And where am I supposed to put them?"

"They're Coravoi so I'll alert Sean, but until he can come and collect them. Let's keep them away from the Haotri."

Far away through the Entropy Portal. Frank glanced up at the gloomy sky.

"It's starting to get dark we should set up camp for the night. We can start our search tomorrow" A nod from Pete showed

that he agreed. Once they'd erected a small base camp, Frank made some suggestions about where they should begin

searching.

"I think our best chance of finding the Haotri is to head for this area here," he tapped his map "It looks to be a wide expanse

of grassland. I'm betting that's their feeding ground."

"What about rivers and waterways?" Pete asked.

"Yes those too but the lakes and waterfalls might have better dens" He swigged from a water bottle then added "I'll set up

the Criyolite Generator to inflate a Sky Skimmer for the morning. It'll be easier to search from the air.

"OK. See you then. Pete walked across to a small one man tent, to rest before dawn."

The next morning.

Frank woke up to the low hissing similar to escaping gas but louder. He got up and out of his tent and was surprised to see the

low bulky shape of a Haotri, walking through the trees. He hadn't realised the animals made any sort of vocal noise. The

creature was on all fours but its back legs were thicker than the front and its rear feet had three toes, Features more

characteristic of a carnivore than a ruminant. It made another low hissing sound as it continued through the forest. Pete stuck his

head out of his tent as the unusual animal walked past. It's body shoving aside the sparse undergrowth Frank got a glimpse of

large grinding molars as it paused to nibble at a juicy leaf above it's head.

Pete was already prepping a small Dirigible for launch He like Frank knew the best way to follow the beast was from above.

"I guess we are going to track it?" Pete grinned as Frank leapt aboard the platform suspended beneath a small cigar shaped

balloon.

"Yes! I think it's going to its home. Hopefully it will lead us to the rest of it's herd." An hour later they hovered over the centre of the wide grassy plain and what a sight. At one end a waterfall cascaded down into a wide lake. It was beautiful place. Frank noticed they had lost sight of the Haotri they were following.

"Where did it go?" Pete's brow furrowed.

Suddenly a loud lowing was heard and a group strange white sextaupeds appeared over a nearby ridge. They proceeded to

the water's edge to drink. An adult male was further out in the water then the others. Without warning the Haotri they'd been following emerged from the water grabbed hold of the male and dragged him under. The rest of the herd ran back towards the forest. Soon the Haotri, A male with blue and green colouring, came out of the water dragging the dead Alaberno onto land. The waterfall quivered and a group of Haotris, all female, trailed out from behind the waterfall followed by 12-16 infants.

The little Haotris ran up to the carcass and started ripping into it. The females came up behind them. There were 6 females but only three tore into the carcass. The waterfall quivered again and the five more Haotris came out. One female and four males. The female was Black with patches of red and a male was the same but instead of patches. He was spotted. Pete was open mouthed The Haotri were definitely not Giraffes. They were predatory. He was stunned by this new development.

"I think the darker coloured ones are the alphas like in a wolf pack. So that means they are indeed ranked. But the colours

from Haotri to Haotri are different. Even the young ones are differently marked." Frank noted.

"Frank, look at that" Pete pointed at a female Haotri chewing on the leaves of a low tree. He gave a knowing nod. Frank's

mind had already grasped the importance of what he was seeing.

"I think they are omnivores. Able to eat fauna and flora. The only reason they hunt is because the young ones and mothers need

to keep their protein levels up I suspect that as they get older the young are weaned on to plants."

"Frank, how are we going to get them to the park?" Frank already had a plan forming in his brain.

Back at the park. Ashli was making a report to the Director.

"I finally managed to complete an enclosure for the herd of Audumal and a nice sturdy run for the Loasatu So now I can finish the enclosure for Haotri." The Director listened to the Assistant Head Keeper's report then told her.

"Corvin has radioed in with some startling news The creatures we thought were gentle ruminants are in fact predatory

omnivorous hunters He is hopeful of bringing back a whole pack of them here so I hope this will do," he passed a new

schematic across to Ashli. "I've asked Liam to send over some extra bods to help you get everything ready in time."

"Thanks From the sounds of things we don't have much time. I'm going to need the extra help."

Just as the builders got started on the next set of fencing, Pigloff, the pig/ape hybrid suddenly appeared nosing around and begging for titbits. Ashli groaned. The last thing she need what Pigloff. Okay he was a sweet natured little fellow but he was also a pain and had a tendency to be (unintentionally) destructive. As evidenced by him crashing into a newly erected line of planks causing them to collapse.

"Oh no. Not again." Ashli grabbed her radio and called for back up. Liam answered her distress call.

"What's up?"

"Pigloff has found his way out again. Can you get over to the Haotri Enclosure quick" she spoke into the walkie-talkie.

"On my way!" Within minutes a truck with tempting treats was despatched. Pigloff smelt the enticing goodies and clambered

up into the restraining cage, to feast. Ashli gave a sigh of relief as he was driven away.

"Okay people back to work!" Ashli and her team work feverishly to finish the enclosure before Frank and Pete get back.

Across the Abyss Frank has thought of a way to entice the Haotris through the portal.

"So what we are doing is we will drive the Trevick around the group of Haotris and herd them towards the gateway, and if it

works we," a loud Roar interrupts Frank as five Loasatu appear above the waterfall. Frank now has to change his plans. He

set up the portal and sent Pete ahead. Suddenly the Loasatu charged towards the herd. The herd moved forward but the

Alphas males turned and faced the Loasatu To give time for the herd to run. Suddenly the alphas stood on two legs then

pounced forward on top of one to the carnivores. While the other Loasatu turned to gorge on their fallen comrade the male Haotris wisely follow their mates and young into portal. Frank in the Trevik with Pete above steering the Skimmer follow them

The portal is programmed to close automatically behind them. Once safely home Frank marshals a squad to round up the

bewildered and still frightened Haotri. Gently they steer them into the newly created and suitably designed habitat. Ashli and her team had been thorough the enclosure is situated around a waterfall, complete with cave behind the falls, Clearly it was

exactly what the Haotri needed. Almost at once they dived for the water, even the young ones. A dozen handlers sit on the high fence and watch the newest additions. Frank is smiling. The capture had been a success. He is actually feeling quite pleased with himself. His brother and Sue are among the first visitors to view the Haotri and congratulate Frank and Pete.

Frank is feeling extremely pleased with himself. But not as pleased as Director Rackton. He is relieved he doesn't have to

build any more fences for a while. A least not until Frank's next mission. But then his radio starts to shrill. It is Sean.

Jason has to get back to the Coravoi sector immediately. IT IS TIME!

Fin?