The New Pet

The docking bay echoed to life as the cargo ship calmed itself to dock. It hovered over the steel floors, lowering itself with a hissing cry of steam. Its wings sliced through the air as it aligned itself with the small space, the front end glistening as the lights focused on the transparent glass of the cockpit.

Gerald Robotnik limped his way down the ship's side as the steam covered him in a silky white, his hair being brushed back by the oncoming breeze and his long white coat dancing about. He was the drawn appearance of a more serious, but unhealthy Einstein. Wrinkles buried into his face and made wavy textures that etched his jade green eyes. A shiny, silver beard laced and curled from his chin like an ever-flowing stream.

Gerald's cane tapped lightly on the metallic floor as he inched his way towards the back end of the ship. It made a creaking noise as cargo door opened, slamming onto the floor with a big clang.

Men ran up along the sides of the ship, guns in hand, a group of fully armed guards surrounding the active vessel in a linear esque. It let out another hiss as the cargo was lowered off the end by a small conveyer belt built within the door.

Two large crates rolled along to the floor where they were lifted by the line of guards and carried off. Suddenly, one of the pilots of the ship exited from a side door that slid to the side. He wore that of a mail worker and a small black beret. Holding a few forms in his hands, he marched quickly towards Gerald.

"Sir. Would you please sign these before I leave? The shipment has been completed as requested. One large crate of animals from all regions, all frozen, and the other a large portion of meats and vegetables."

Gerald reached for the papers and struck his pen along the dotted lines, "Good, good. I appreciate the fast delivery. Give your boss my thanks and tell him I will have the pleasure of doing business with him more often."

"Yes sir!" the pilot said as he hurried back to the ship, signaling for take off.

Gerald limped towards a large door. He clicked in some codes into the data codex on the sidewall. The door slid open quickly and he faded into the darkness, a small laugh crawling throughout the halls.

Little Maria ran up and jumped onto Gerald's leg. She squeaked with delight as she ran her mouth off with meaningless questions, her short blonde hair glimmering in the dim lights. Her figure dwarfed by that of her grandfather's leg. He looked down and smiled, giving a small grunt as a sharp pain filled his thigh.

"Oh! You're getting heavy little one! Maria, darling, give grandpa a rest, I have work to do."

"Grandpa, grandpa! When's uncle gonna come here?" she asked.

"Your Uncle Eggbert won't be joining us this summer darling. Just keep calm and go off to play. I'll be with you shortly." Gerald said as he limped down the lit hallways towards the lab.

"Awwwww. Grandpa! I wanna have someone to play with!" Maria wailed.

Maria, an energetic five-year-old girl, was a sweet, anxious, bag full of excitement and love. She was small for her age, but her spirit towered over many. She often came to the colony to visit her grandfather when school was out. Her parents would often allow it since they were wealthy and could pay the expenses to let her travel there. They also took comfort in knowing that their daughter would be safe in the hands of her loving grandfather.

"All right, all right. I'll get you a friend to play with. Follow me darling. Let's go get a new pet!" Gerald smiled as he limped his way to a door.

Two guards patrolled the entranceway and gestured to Gerald as he came up.

"Are all the animals properly situated now?" Gerald asked one of the guards.

"Yes sir! All in the cages and ready to be examined and given experimentations!" he replied quickly.

"Ah. Good, good. May we inspect the animals now? I wish to take close eye at them."

"Yes sir!"

The guard reached for the door and opened it swiftly. Gerald calmly entered the room as Maria dashed by him.

"Now darling, be sure to pick something small and don't put your hands in the cages!" Gerald yelled.

"I will Grandpa!"

Maria raced back and forth between the varieties of animals incased within the bared structures. She smiled as she glanced at the baby tigers, cats, dogs, bears, and other assortments of animals.

Gerald walked by the noisy cages and smiled at Maria's excitement. He came across a small cage with the words imprinted on the sides "Echidna: Male".

"Darling…how would you like an echidna as your new pet?" Gerald said as he pointed at the small baby echidna.

Its paws were massive and it squeaked impatiently as if wailing for food. It dug about the dirt in its cage energetically and gave out small squeals.

Maria walked up to the cage and stared at the small baby, "No grandpa! It's ugly!"

Gerald laughed and pointed towards the next cage. It had the words "Hedgehog: Male" imprinted into the sides.

"What about that one?" Gerald said.

Maria went over to the cage to see a small, spiky, hedgehog running about. It squeaked and purred as it ran around and rolled on the bottom of the cage playing with some hay.

Maria's eyes lightened up as she saw the small brown hedgehog hit the end of the cage, falling over.

"Yes grandpa! I want this one!"

Gerald opened the cage and took off a small card on the top of it, "It says on this card here…that the keepers called him Sonic. No wonder…he's a fast little devil!"

Maria reached in and took hold of the baby hedgehog…it purred in her arms and glanced up at her with its big, jaded eyes.

"Sonic. Good boy. We'll be friends now!" Maria said as she cuddled her new friend…