The Mind manifests part 11
I was led through a series of corridors, a shotgun held to my back, and a Kevlar clad soldier in front of me with another, the doctor at my side. After some distance of walking past other soldiers, scientists, doctors, and technicians, we passed another anthro, like me.
The gryphon and I locked eyes, and I saw a glint of fear just before they looked back down at the floor, continuing to shuffle along in their many chains and restraints. I sighed and looked down at my own scaled body "Doctor, I have to ask, what became of the fox that came in just before me? can I see her?"
"That's quite impossible, she's been sent to section three, I don't have authorization for there, You're not likely to see her again."
"What's section three?"
"I don't know, I just know I'm not allowed, ah, and here we are."
He stopped at a door, and put his hand on a palm reader before typing in a ten digit code quickly, and opening the door "Welcome to your new home."
I stepped through, it was a well made laboratory, tons of gizmos and gadgets, and one wall completely filled with cages, a different lizard in each one, the largest cage catching my eye. Inside was a dragon, like me, but smaller, and quadrupedal. They were curled into a tight ball and shivering in the corner, an untouched raw steak in their food dish.
I stood in awe of the place for a moment before Maxwell shooed the soldiers away and closed the door, handing me the key to my muzzle "I'm sure I can trust you, but I can't trust those guards to not be trigger happy, the world is rife with dragon slayers, I'm afraid. You painted a target on your head when you said the 'D' word."
I removed the muzzle, and flexed my jaw, somewhat surprised at how far I could open it now. "Thanks, and may I ask what the story is with that other dragon in there?"
"I was hoping you could tell me, it was brought in five days ago, just before the reports came in about the meteorites. It had no crystal with it, and it's never attacked me, but it lashes out at anyone else. It hasn't touched any food yet, and I don't want to have to force feed it. I have however managed to confirm it's male."
"Mind if I have a go?"
"Knock yourself out, but I insist we get started on your testing, they only fund my research if it provide results."
I went over to the cage, and dopped down, going to all fours "Hey little guy, are you alright?"
The small dragon looked up at me, still shivering, and didn't respond, it just stared blankly, fear written like bold print all over its face. I opened the cage, and he recoiled, pressing his body against the back wall and hissing at me.
I opened the cage the rest of the way, and stayed there "It's alright, I'm a friend, you got a name, little guy?"
The dragon still didn't respond, he just stared at me, his wings fanned out and pressed against the top of the cage in a failed attempt to make himself look bigger. I inched closer and held out my claw, palm up, holding it there "Friend?"
He inched closer, sniffing the air, then ran at me. I braced for an attack, but he leapt into my arms, and clung to me, shivering. "it's okay, you're safe." He didn't respond, he just stayed clinging to my chest "Maxwell, I think he likes me."
"Apparently so, but he still needs to eat, he hasn't had a bite in five days, and he's barely touched his water."
"Maybe dragons don't need to eat that often, ever think of that?"
"Nonsense, his body temperature and yours as well are too high, you're lukewarm blooded, meaning not quite as fast a metabolism as humans, but you still need to eat at least once every couple days."
"Alright, give me some fresh meat."
I walked over to Maxwell, carrying the dragon, and he opened a fridge, pulling out a piece of beef with a medical label on it, which he removed before handing it to me. I offered it to the dragon, and he turned his nose up at it, looking away. I just sighed "It's food, I know you must be hungry, you have to eat something."
I thought for a moment "Maxwell, do you have any cooked meat?"
He went back to the fridge, and pulled out another steak, fully cooked, which he carried over to a microwave. While he was tending to that, I set the raw steak down on a tray, and waited. With the smell of cooked beef came a rumbling from the dragon's stomach "I think I found out what it was, he prefers cooked meat, maybe dragons aren't just animals after all."
"It does make sense in a way, you have fire breath and a human mental capacity."
Maxwell pulled the steak out, and I cut a piece off with one of my claws, offering it to the dragon. He sniffed at it, but then looked away, burying his head between his wings. "Look, it's food." I ate the piece, and then cut off another. The dragon sniffed at it again, then looked at me chewing. He looked back at the meat, and timidly took it, chewing cautiously before swallowing.
"Well, doc, looks like he just needed someone to show him what's safe to eat, who better than one of his own kind?"
"But this still doesn't explain how he can remain alive and well without a crystal, every other one of your kind shows decreased vital signs in the absence of the radiation they emit."
"I guess we'll have to find out later, first things first, He's still hungry."
I shared the rest of the steak with the small dragon in my arms, some sort of paternal instinct was taking over, and I couldn't take my eyes or my thoughts away until the dragon was full and contentedly sleeping in my grasp.
I gently rocked him back and forth, I was actually feeling a joy from keeping him safe and warm, and when I looked up, I saw Maxwell watching intently, a camera recording everything. He stepped away from the camera, and smiled, before saying "I think this is the first time a male dragon adopting a hatchling has been caught on film."
"His sexual reproductive organs aren't mature yet, he's a child, and a very young one, so the obvious term is hatchling."
I carried him back to the cage, but couldn't bring myself to set him back down on the cold, unforgiving metal. "Isn't there somewhere else you can keep him?"
"Of course, he can stay with you."
"Where would that be?"
"The testing room"
Maxwell walked over to a door, and opened it, on the other side was a white room, slightly dimmer lit, with a single bed, a padded chair, a sink, and a toilet in it. I walked in and looked around. It was bland, but it was a room that was livable, not the cold and harsh concrete cell I woke up in "This will do nicely, I'm almost okay with being a test subject with living conditions like this."
I set the dragon down in the chair, and he curled up in it, only waking up for a moment before going back to sleep. "I just feel compelled to protect him, I think I might have gained a few paternal instincts, what do you think, Doc?"
"I think you're due for some tests."
I nodded and followed the doctor out of the room, closing the door behind me. The tests weren't actually all that bad, Doctor Maxwell really seemed to care about his test animals, which was a status I was forced to accept. He actually left me in the middle of an ultrasound to check on a snake that was acting erratically. It turned out to be that the terrarium was just too hot, and it was looking for cover, but still, he really cared, I couldn't envision myself in better hands, maybe dissection really wasn't in my future.
Over three hours later, I sleepily went back into the room, and took the crystal out of my pocket, placing it on a stand next to the bed, and curled up, going to sleep.