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The Great Zoo Robbery


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Friday, January 23rd. 2:30 PM.


Some days, elbow-deep in elephant droppings, Tara had questioned her decision to intern at the Hanover Zoo.


She she swore she would take back all her complaints if she came out of today in one piece.


She'd been with Joan in the security station when it happened, thank God. The two of them watched through the cameras as the zoo erupted into utter chaos. Bobo the grizzly charged through the sliding doors of the visitors' center before they were fully open, shattering glass and scattering screaming crowds. Tic and Tac, two of the adult hippopotamuses, smashed headfirst into the zoo train, throwing the school kids riding it roughly onto the ground and scattering sparks that quickly caught in the dry grasses.


And then the power went out, leaving them in total darkness. Joan laid a reassuring hand on Tara's shoulder. "Call 911 and stay put," the security guard told her, her voice calm but firm. "I'm going to go break out the tranqs." Fumbling for the door of the security hut, she wrenched it open. Sunlight streamed in, catching on the older woman's silver hair and fierce eyes... and on the horn of the rhinoceros thundering past. Towser didn't even slow as he impaled the door, ripping it from its hinges; Joan leapt back inside, the wind of his passage tugging at her uniform.


"On second thought," she told Tara, "I think I'll stay here, too." They ducked under the computer console and stayed very, very quiet.



"It's a damn goat, Simmons! You put a 6'4" guy on his face a week ago, why is this so hard?"


Officer Ted Simmons wrestled with the ram, arms straining as he held it back by the horns. It snapped its flat teeth at him whenever it got close, and had already come perilously close to the end of his nose. "I don't wanna hurt the friggin' thing, Sergeant," he shouted back. "I might break its neck if I try to throw it down by the head!" Sergeant 'Pepper' Pettars grunted; he had problems of his own, trying to dissuade a pair of ewes from kicking his shins in. They'd be the laughingstock of the precinct for this.


And then Simmons heard the Sergeant's voice again. "Run! Drop everything and run!" He looked up, and the color drained from his face. He let go of the goat, a thunderous trumpeting sounding in his ears, and scrambled back, back toward the police perimeter. He stumbled as the ram butted him in the back of the knee, and it saved his life; a station wagon soared over his head, flipping end over end, and crashed down in front of him, spraying windshield glass in all directions.


Some days, he reflected as the elephants bore down on the police perimeter, it really didn't pay to get out of bed.

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Maybelle McQueen was playing hooky from the Southern Queen for a bit. The lunch rush was over, and well…it was kind of boring between rushes, to be honest. So, she went to the zoo. She’d never been, despite living in Freedom for a few years now. She did not order any food. She did not consider anything cooked on a glorified hot plate with the cheapest ingredients possible by someone who barely met the qualifications of fry cook, food. Dipping Dots, though? That was the finest mass produced ice cream on the planet, in her view. And then everything went wrong. Screams of terrified people echoed throughout the zoo. Roars of incited predators did likewise, as well as the noises of the other animals. A silver forcefield surrounded Maybelle McQueen. Queenie was on the job now. Whatever the issue was, she’d protect everyone.

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Anya Corazon stared out at a group of angry hippos backlit by fire, through a metal mesh, and decided that she was not having a good day.

She had been in the lavatory when everything happened. She was separated from the Joeseph Clark students, and her first instinct was to fly into the sky to get back to them. Caution won out over that plan, though; if she wanted to stay assigned to Earth, she needed to keep a low profile. She didn't have her armor with her, which meant she needed some other disguise.

There was a souvenir stand nearby, complete with a stand showing off the zoo's mascot. Anya had grabbed a bright yellow tee-shirt (discarding her forest-green blouse in the process) and a mask of an overly-happy lion. Clad like that, she had finally streaked through the skies and landed as close to the fire as she could. Now, though, she realized that the group from Joesph Clark had retreated from the fire into a nearby building. She needed to save them; after that she could deal with the fire.

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Once he'd double checked his headcount and made sure all of the students had made it inside the scaled down chain restaurant taking up more than its share of one corner of the zoo's food court, LaMarr leaned out the door to take stock of the situation. Most people would have started by barricading the entrance way but the broad-shouldered civics teacher was himself several times more durable than any of the tables or chairs at hand. Seeing the line of police officers near the north entrance, he turned to one of the older students on the trip, a heavyset young woman with short, spiky hair and a serious expression even when there weren't berserk animals running amok. "Chantal, I'm leaving you in charge," LaMarr told her in a bass rumble, looking the girl unwaveringly in the eye to make sure she was focusing on his words rather than the chaos outside. "I want everyone paired up, buddy system, and you stick together as a group until Ms. Corazon or I can come get you, understand? You should be fine in here but if you think any of the bigger animals are going to bust their way in, you make the call."

He'd seen Chantal run herd on her younger siblings with practiced skill and she was one of the few students who hadn't started panicking when he ordered them to run for the restaurant. Her curt nod when he finished speaking told him she was up to the task. "But where are you going, Mr. L?"

Rolling his aging shoulders with an audible cracking sound, LaMarr pulled his sunglasses from their resting place on the collar of his shirt and placed them on his face. "Looks I've got to go lay some hurt on a pack of elephants."

There were several moments of silence after the door closed behind him as the students looked back and forth between each other. Finally a boy with a shaved head and striped shirt opined, "That's a pretty good answer, huh."

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