The kras met at a park in the silver sphere, middle-middle-class housing and retail. Their nanoshades kept them from suspicion. They sat at a picnic table enjoying the sensation of eating without worrying about the food floating away. Syrge was sitting on the grass looking into a series of vials he had prepared.
Several small artificial rain clouds were floating around the park watering the lawns. Lisa had taken Scroot’s computers off of him and pulled him with her to play in the rain. Syrge was torn, but he stayed at the table to help plan the bird caper.
Blue Kay projected the schematics of the Monster Zoo onto the table and superimposed the data given her by The Custodian. Years of layering new building projects on top of old structures has turned the entire station into a tangle of passages that went nowhere, and entire stretches of corridor with no way in or out. The archive room at the zoo had somehow been sealed completely away from any passage that they could easily get to.
Black Elvis grunted.
“So. What? Do we have to cut our way in? What if we cut out of the bulkhead?”
Kay and Syrge both pointed to the same point on the map.
“There,” said Kay.
The hatch they were indicating was inside of a water tank. There was a large group of spherical water tanks with clear sides in the zoo. Cat-walks and stairs ran around and up and down them so people could look at the strange animals inside. The schematics did not have the tanks labeled. The hatch in question led to a small vent, which led right over the archive room. There appeared to be an air vent going into the small room.
“This station is haunted by the accumulated idiocy of a million architects. I wonder if that hatch is airtight? The room could be flooded.”
“If we have to go in through the water, it would be better if it was. If we try to open a hatch, the water pressure will be dangerous if there’s not water on the other side.”
Kay added, “Have you seen some of what they keep in those tanks? Crowds come for monsters, and that’s pretty much all they have these days.”
Elvis, “The zoo site should tell us what are in these tanks.”
There was a pause while Kay and Vince raced to pull up the data.
“Got it!” said Kay. “Sorg. It’s cthulhus. A whole school of them.”
Vince got to the file a second later.
“Yikes. Ugly hamlets.”
Black Elvis gestured in frustration, “What the man are cthulhus?”
Kay opened her mouth, but Vince blurted out.
“That video of Kick? With the shogoth? They’re like that! Underwater shogoths man!”
Elvis frowned and shook it off, “Show me a picture.”
Kay projected a short video of them tearing a large shark apart in the tank, the audience cheering wildly at the release of blood into the water. Tentacles and teeth and weird flaps of flab.
“These shogoths all come from ancient legends and stories,” started Syrge, “In the Angel Sphere they have tournaments where they fight these things against micro-kaiju. Lot’s of gambling, slave trading and other stuff goes on there too. Got to be super rich to go.”
Kay nodded, “Roman has box seats reserved.”
Elvis looked at Vince, “Does that thing work underwater?”
“Hold on,” Vinces eyes darted back and forth a moment blinking purposefully, “Yeeeahh… Looks like it does. Aquatic phasing… Refraction Resistance… Refraction Optimization… So. Yes. It appears the technology can either adapt to minimize the effects of the water, or adapt to take advantage of the medium.”
Lisa and Scroot returned, soaking wet. Syrge was a little baffled at how easy it had been to get Scroot out of his rig for Lisa. He could react violently to having it removed at times. Lisa pointed at the cthulhu picture and whistled low while Scroot reattached his computer rig.
“Hey Syrge,” Lisa said, “Is that your mom?”
Lysergic Adam rolled his eyes.
Kay had just downloaded some information about shogoths into her consciousness.
“So. In the original legends, some of these things were supposed to be, like, inter-dimensional ancient gods or something. The ones in the zoo are just animals. Carnivorous, massive, weaponized animals, but at least they aren’t smart.”
Elvis snorted, “All these so called monsters in this zoo… man. All nothing but animals really. Take, t-rex, just a big ostrich, grabbing food and eating it. What about saber tooth tiger, back on prehistoric Earth, gets hungry and finds food and eats, then sleeps, then sorgs, and whatever, gets sick and dies eventually. Or, going along, hasn’t eaten in like two days, smells some monkey meat and heads into the cave where they are, you know, has to make a kill to feed her cubs. Suddenly this squidgy brown wormy thing somehow has like a bunch of little tentacles on its forepaws instead of claws or whatever, and he can stand on his back feet only and even move around somehow like that, and for vents sake he pick up a stick in his slimy little tentacle fingers and instead of dying like a good monkey, he kills momma tiger and the babies are orphans. Who’s the venting monster there? Not the tiger! Then he learns to write and tiger clan is well and truly extinctuated. Now. Bam! Thousand years later, goes and makes himself immortal and breaks the planet in half. Monster zoo my sweaty genitals! Humans are the only monsters, and this whole stinking station is a monster zoo!”
The kras nodded along until he was done. Elvis tended to rant when nervous.
“Still,” remarked Vince, “When we’re in that tank, I bet they seem like monsters.”
“Grant,” said Elvis, “Kay, can we get some tech so we can breathe in there?”
“Of course. I’m downloading patterns already for the four of us.”
“Whoh! It’s just going to be me and Vin.”
Lisa jumped on the table, “But I want to go!”
Kay said, “I’ll be of a lot more use than you in there.”
“Maybe,” shrugged Elvis, “but it’s just me and Laser Boy. You two are going to be ready on a fast cart to take the seeds to The Custodian. Also doing lookout, assisted by Syrge and Scroot off site. Vince and I will get in and out with the seeds as fast as possible. If no trouble arrives, we’ll all take the cart to the wild and get the seeds to crazy man. If he holds up his end of the bargain, then we’re done. I have a feeling getting out of the zoo will be harder than getting in though. So if the law shows up, Vince and I will keep them occupied while you two get the seeds downstem. I am in charge, and this is how it will be.”
Lisa frowned. Kay felt a little turned on, but didn’t let it show.
They ate in silence for a few minutes, enjoying the humid air and the smell of rain. Syrge stretched and looked over at Lisa.
“Hey Lisa? When you and Vince have kids you should raise them here.”
He started running away before he finished his sentence. Lisa’s face turned bright red and she looked away from Vince. Vince pretended not to notice.
Blue Kay shook her head smiling, “I can’t believe that all of those lives are depending on this crew!”
Lisa spun on her, “This kras! That’s right! We’re fucking super heroes now! And we are going to kick every last ass on the station if we have to!”