Swamped Chapter 32 Page 21

You walk towards one of the larger pens.

Drillbeak doesn’t need this much space, but you can’t simply put another longbird in here. The adjustment period would be too harsh, with how aggressive Drillbeak can be. Greywing was able to handle it, but you doubt you can find another longbird with that level of patience and stamina.

Of course, leaving Drillbeak alone has had its issues, as well. For all the fuss he makes when anyone else is around, he doesn’t like being alone. And if he gets really angry… well, his beak is stronger than most of the armor you’ve got on base.

It would definitely be in everyone’s interest to soothe him. You head into his pen.

“Shrike,” you say.

“Whassat?”

“You may want to pay attention here.”

Drillbeak starts honking aggressively. Even you don’t fully have his trust; that’s just how he is. But you do know how to calm him.

You begin singing.

You don’t particularly like being watched when you do this, but there’s little choice. Somebody’s going to have to take care of the poor thing until you get back, and you have no idea how long it will take to sort things out in the desert. You might not even be able to take a gateway back.

Drillbeak honks along with the song, and then falls asleep. You step out, grab the feed bucket and toss a large bogfish in, then close the pen.

Shrike just stares.

“My singing’s not that good, sir,” he says.

“Drillbeak doesn’t care much for the quality. Just stick to roughly the same melody and he’ll be fine.” You glance around. “I have to go now, unfortunately.”

“Hang on, hang on,” Shrike says. “I get you’re in a rush for whatever reason, but your friends here can be a real handful. Anything else I need to know before you leave?”

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Suggestions:

Well, the other one that might give you trouble is right over… Why is its pen empty?
that one has diabetes; see ya!
I fucking love resident animal nerd Rider.
> Rider, give a massive detailed list for every single one of them, including but not limited to: eating and sleeping habits, traits, likes/dislikes, a mating manual and a list of cool (dorky) names you want Shrike to pick from for the new additions.