“Well,” you say, “the shirt keeps the hen from squawking.”
“And why, Marshall, is there a swamphen in the base in the first place?”
“Well, it’s supposed to rain… I mean, I think it must have wandered into the base, and I was thinking about taking it back out, but then I heard the rain was coming and I thought, well, with all the fuss everyone makes about the rain should I really let this poor thing out, and, er, um, then you came in and started shouting.”
“We can’t have wild animals in the base, Marshall. I’m also quite sure that you’re not the one who found it, you’re just the poor fool who got stuck with it.” She laughs. “That used to be me back when I was in training. Still, I won’t look too closely into the matter of who’s really responsible, as long as you get that thing out of here promptly.” She glances at her injured arm. “I’d do it myself, but I’d want both arms free in case it got away. Just take it to the front door and let it out. Don’t go any further than that, not with the rain warning.”
You nod slowly. After the way everyone’s been talking about the rain, you’re still not sure if this is a good idea, but getting on the wrong side of Sergeant Burgundy is definitely a bad idea. You head off towards the front door and explain to the guards what you’re doing.
“Poor thing,” one of the guards sighs, walking towards the gate lever. “I know we can’t have animals, we’re not set up for it and they don’t fare well outside of the wild. But it won’t stand a chance in the rain.”
“You really think it’s going to rain?” the other one asks. “It’s too soon after the big storm, if you ask me.”
“Well, I certainly hope it doesn’t. But we have to take the report seriously.” He pulls on the lever and the gates slowly open.
“Be quick,” he says. “If it does rain, we don’t want to hold the gates open long.”
You take a careful step out, but it seems bright and sunny. Or as close to it as you’ve seen it get in the swamp. Maybe Riley’s brother was wrong about the rain after all.
Whether he was or not, you’re the one stuck doing something about this chicken. Are you just going to let it run free until the rain comes, as you were asked, or is there something else you could do?