Part 1- Qbit: Chapter 5

Chapter 5- You’ve Got a Boat?

{Chapter 2391 of the Book of Keepers}

Link to previous chapter(s)- http://keepersoftheblueplanet.blog/2021/11/13/part-1-qbit-chapter-3-literally-its-an-egg/

The professor unlocked the door to the lab and pushed it open. The lights flickered on automatically as they entered the room.

In a large cage in the middle of the lab was a classic example of the type of animal found inside the Barantz Dome. The female Griffin, called Aura by the professor, is a large, mixed species creature with an eagle-like front half and a lion-like rear half. Her head and neck as well as front legs are covered with white feathers while her body is more lion-like, covered in brown fur complete with a tufted tail. Large, feathered wings allow her to take to the sky.

In stark contrast to the usual demeanor of a young Griffin, Aura lay curled in the typical sleeping position of an older adult. As the lights over her cage came on, she opened her eyes, lifted her head, gave the two of them a dis-interested look then opened her beak wide in a lazy yawn.

Qbit moved to the side of the cage. “Wow, I really expected a different kind of reaction to us coming in. I heard Griffins can be very nervous and edgy when they’re confined to a small space.”

“If we had done this last week, she would have been a lot more responsive. But she’s one of the animals with the faulty gene sequence so she acts more like an advanced adult than a youngster. I need to get her out of here and to someplace safe so I can continue to monitor her while trying to identify the faulty DNA sequence. Hopefully I’ll be able to create a patch that will stop the ageing process.”

Qbit looked Aura over then ran his hand over some of the cage bars. He looked at the professor and asked, “Um, how were you planning to get her and yourself off of the island?”

She picked up a clip board and said, “By boat.”

Surprised by her answer, Qbit replied, “You’ve got a boat?”

She placed the clip board back on the table. “Well, it’s not my boat, exactly.”

“Whose is it?”

“Chads.”

Qbit let out a laugh. “Chads! You couldn’t find something less conspicuous and dangerous?”

She shrugged her shoulders and said, “It’s the only one on the island that’s large enough.”

“I see, and never mind about getting her onto the boat, how were you going to get her to the boat?”

The professor got defensive and said, “Hey, give me a break! I would have had more time to think this out if Chad hadn’t decided to leave so much earlier.”

Qbit put his hands up in front of him. “Easy professor, I’m sure your plan would have worked flawlessly. Anyway, we don’t have to worry about any of that part anymore. All we need to do is get her to the gate.”

“I’ve got a truck parked outside that door.” She pointed to a large overhead door across the room. “I was going to use that to get her to the docks.” Suddenly looking proud of herself she added, “Plus, it’s got a cover on the back so no one will know she’s in there.” She put her hands on her hips. “See, I know what I’m doing.”

He walked over to her. “I know that professor, I have no right to question your many talents. I wouldn’t be around if it weren’t for your problem-solving abilities.”

“That’s right! So, show a woman some respect!”

Qbit snapped to attention, gave her a swift salute, and yelled, “Ma’am, yes, Ma’am Permission to check to see if the coast is clear, Ma’am.”

“Permission granted soldier. While you’re doing that, I’m going to get Aura ready.”

Qbit slowly pushed open a metal door located next to the overhead door and stuck his head out to make sure no one was around. Satisfied they were alone; he pushed the ‘open’ button and watched as the door slowly raised. He turned to the professor who was standing next to Aura’s cage. She was holding a long nylon lead and was about to enter the cage when Qbit said, “Hold on, do you think that thing’s strong enough? I mean, how easy is she going to be to control?”

The professor stepped into the cage and clipped one end of the lead to a collar around Aura’s neck. “Don’t worry about that, I gave her a fast-acting tranquilizer so, along with that and how lethargic she is already, I doubt she’ll give us any trouble.”

Qbit shrugged his shoulders. “Okay, if you say so.” He turned and walked through the door to the driver’s side of the truck, climbed in, started it up and backed it into the lab. He was able to get it close enough to Aura so she wouldn’t have to walk that far. He climbed out and went around in case she needed some help.

The professor clipped one end of the rope to a wide leather collar Aura wore around her neck. Just as she had told Qbit, she was able to lead her out of the cage and into the back of the truck without any problems.

Qbit asked, “Do you want to drive, and I’ll get the door?”

“That’s fine.”

The professor pulled the truck through the door and waited as Qbit pushed the ‘down’ button and exited the lab. He pulled himself up into the passenger seat and searched for the seat belt. “Do you think she’ll be alright by herself back there?”

Watching him fumble around she replied, “Yeah, I think so. Besides, there’s not a lot of extra room and I wouldn’t want you to get smooshed if I hit a pothole or something.” She reached across him and pulled the buckle out from behind the seat.

He took the buckle, pulled it across his chest and secured it. “How considerate of you.”

“Don’t mention it. She reached out the window and pulled the mirror up a little to compensate for the extra weight in the back. She put the truck in gear and started forward.

Qbit yelled, “Wait!”

The professor jammed on the brakes. A grunt of displeasure came from behind them. “What! What’s wrong!”

“I just thought of something.” He undid his belt, got out, and stood just outside the door.  The professor watched as Qbit extended his right arm. She couldn’t make out exactly what he was doing. After a minute or so, he got back into the truck.

“What was that all about?”

“We need a diversion, so I created one. It should give us enough time to get to the gate without anyone following us.” He pulled out a small tablet from his front pocket and opened it up.

The professor looked confused. “What did you do? I don’t understand.”

He moved the tablet around in a small arc in front of him as he watched the screen. He stopped with the machine at about a forty-five-degree angle from their current position. “I’ll tell you later when we have more time, right now you need to go… that-a-way.” He pointed in the direction the tablet was facing.

“Okay, if you say so.” She put the truck in gear, a puff of black diesel smoke blew from the exhaust pipe as she stepped on the accelerator.

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