Who Stole the Zmulobeast? Chapter 3, Scene 4


“Ahem, Chief? I’d like to tell everyone what I know about the Zmulobeast if I may.”

“What’s that? Oh…sure, Zippy. Sure. Go ahead.”

“Thank you. You see, the Zmulobeast was a gift from my people, my fellow Acabaguans, to yours, the Earthlings. It was a secret and experimental gift of sorts. At the time the gift was made, not much was known about how well the Zmulo would be able to adapt to Earth’s many different environments. Because of this, it was important to keep it quiet until more was known. Or so my sources tell me.

“As I have already told some of you, I don’t know many details about the beast itself because the Zmulobeast was not a member species of my home planet until years after I had made my home here among you. And because the gift was somewhat of a secret, I can’t find anyone willing to tell me much more about the nature of the animal we are searching for except that it is rather large and doesn’t look like anything any of us have seen. But I do know that it was a gift made just months ago, and that only a very few humans know of its existence.

“That is all. Thank you once again.”

“Well this is just great,” snapped Arthur. “Sounds to me like we’re going to be skipping around looking for a great big question mark.”

Chief held her hand up, signaling for Arthur to cool it down a notch.

“Before you go getting indignant and righteous, Arthur, maybe we should hear what Spike and Maria have managed to turn up. Who knows, maybe we’re making progress here.”

So Maria and I tell everyone how we found the fur, the feather, and the footprints.

“Good work,” Chief said.

So then we decided to talk about the trap and all the blood we saw. Maria said that with so much blood loss, she didn’t see how the Zmulobeast could make it much longer, no matter what planet it was from – if the blood actually came from the Zmulobeast, which we still don’t know for absolute sure. But absolute sure or not, just the thought of it made Zippy start levitating. Poor thing must’ve been floating 8 feet in the air before we even realized. The more worried he gets, the higher he floats.

“Good work,” Chief said again. “So is that everything?”

Maria and I looked at each other, both wondering why nobody seemed to be caring much about what we’d found. Personally, I was feeling a little upset, so I decided to growl. Chief looked over at me, then raised an eyebrow.

“There’s something else?”

“Just that we thought this was kind of important is all. But I guess you folks don’t, so moving right along.”

“Didn’t I just say ‘good work’? And didn’t I say that once before when you two first came through the door with the news?”

“Well, yeah, but…”

“But you were expecting a parade?”

“Forget it, Chief. I never should have brought it up.”

She gave me the funniest look, which made me know something else was going on. I decided to let it go. Sometimes it’s just not worth chasing after every cat in the yard, if you get what I’m saying. Nobody said anything for what felt like quite awhile.

“So what now?” I asked, finally trying to break the silence.

“Now we test,” said Chief. “Find out if there’s any real link between all these things you’ve found that might make us more sure they’re all tied in with our missing Zmulobeast.”

I guess the testing musta taken several hours. Then again, maybe I was getting bored. What can I say, I’m more of an action-type dog. Sitting around in a busted up lab waiting for conclusions and other scientific terms to come together just doesn’t excite me the way it does Maria. Chief likes it okay too, but mostly it’s Maria who lives for stuff like this.

Once everything was over, there wasn’t much doubt we were on the right track. After testing each bit of evidence for something Chief called the “chromosome test”, she found that each thing we’d brought in was loaded up with these chromosome thingies at the same exact number. That meant they all came from the same animal. Just to demonstrate the difference between the number of chromosomes  found in a Zmulobeast versus a human being, she pricked herself on the finger with a needle, then squeezed a drop of blood onto a thin glass slide. Once she got through testing the drop, she put the results up on a graph. No doubt about it. This thing wasn’t human, but then I haven’t seen too many humans with gold feathers either.

“So Chief,” I asked, “how do we know these chromosomes don’t match some kind of bird, or any other kind of animal?”

Chief grinned.

“Good question, Spike. Zippy can help me answer your question. Zippy? Would you mind stepping over here a minute?”

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