MZ4 Conquering Fear
By Joanna Sears
First Published: April 2013:
(C) Copy write The Monster Zoo
Serious Warning. Major Steam punk
The Monster Zoo is a large Animal Preserve. It is home to dozens of Endangered Species.
Not just conventional ones, like Tigers or Whales. But also those strange mythical beasts,
that everyone has heard of. But few have seen.
It is owned and run By Director Michael Rackton. A brilliant scientist, who discovered a way.
To create a Bubble Universe within of our own Timeline. It is within this bubble, that he has
created his animal haven. No poacher or unscrupulous hunter can ever enter it. The zoo has,
just one, entrance. Which can only be opened by use of an:-
Entropic Displacement Chronomitor.
Rackton is ably assisted by a team of hand picked specialists. Not least of all! is the Renowned
Crypto-Zoologist and expert Animal Handler. Frank Corvin!
The regular Monday Morning Briefing was dragging on. It was that special time of year. So!
Many of Department Heads were proudly reporting Statistics.
The Rakzillia Keeper was positively crowing, with success. Eleven of his fourteen females were
pregnant. It was a phenomenal total and he was justified, in boasting a little. His weren't, the only
successful matings though. Some of the Zoo's, newest inhabitants, were also on the cusp of reproducing.
Harris the Knarlie Handler, was as excited, as the previous Keeper. He rose and reported. That
the rare Horned Rodents were, also going, to give birth within days. Frank inhaled hard and tried to stifle
his boredom. He was not directly responsible, for any of the creatures. His job was acquiring them.
But, there weren't any Capture Missions planned. He had been using his free time To repair his Steam Bike.
Frank glanced out of the window, at the bright sunshine, and then up at the wall clock. Inwardly he chaffed.
"Two hours!" he groaned. "How much Bloody longer, is Mike going to drag this out for?" He wondered
impatiently. "I could have had that new Aether Power Generation tank installed by now?" A different image
filled his mind. Drex! His adored, half horse / half insect pet. Frank stopped himself, from imagining. Just
how perfect a morning, it was? For a nice long ride? Instead he focused, on the latest speaker.
Especially! As it was the Lynx Handler. She, like all the previous Department Heads, was brimming with
pride. She had eight females gestating. Three were from the newly formed secondary pack. Frank shivered.
He would never forget the huge Sabre Toothed Cat. That had tried to eat him and almost killed his brother.
But! He was glad to hear that the beast had settled and was about to be a father. It boded well for the
Endangered Species. Then! Finally the last speaker resumed her seat and the meeting ended.
Frank was just collecting up his briefing notes, when the Director asked.
"Mister Corvin! Mister Harding! Could you two, please spare me a few more minutes?"
Frank scowled but sat back down. Sean Harding had spent the meeting, at the far end of the conference table.
Now he moved to a seat opposite Frank, and at a ninety degree angle. To the boss's chair.
Mike waited until the other staff had left. Then he pressed his intercom and spoke to his PA
"Three fresh coffees! Please Michelle!" Frank's heart sank into his boots. There went his ride! The simple
request told him. This, extra, meeting wasn't going to be over quickly.
Once, his Personal Assistant, had served them and withdrawn. Rackton got down to business. He opened
a file in front of him and flicked through a couple of pages. He raised his head, after a few seconds and
looked at Frank.
"The Senior Vet has informs me. That the Buopt calf is fully weaned?"
" Yes!" Frank confirmed. "She is also establishing herself within the main herd."
"Which frees your brother up, for other tasks." Frank immediately hastened to say.
"Jason hasn't let his training slide. He has been diligently practising and honing his Telepathic skills."
"I know" Mike smiled, at the way, Frank leapt to his younger sibling's defence. "I have received a very
favourable report, from his teacher." Frank relaxed a little. "But now I want to utilise those skills."
Frank wasn't displeased. He took this to mean.
"So he is going to be assigned, to my Capture Squad permanently?"
"You already have Annis on your squad. You don't need two telepaths."
"Then what are you going to do with him? Reassign him back to the liaison position?
That would be a waste of his talents." Mike ignored Frank's insubordinate tone."
"As you know. I have been toying with the idea, of forming, a Second Capture Team?"
"Yes! One that will be specifically trained, to round up and contain herd animals."
Suddenly! Without warning. Mike seemed to change the subject.
"Your brother's fear of heights is going to be a problem."
"I don't see why it should be. Jason can Portal out to any capture sites, in one of the Treviks or even
aboard the Wavecrest." Mike shook his head.
"No! They always lag behind."
"Usually, only by a few hours."
"A few hours can mean the difference, between saving an animal or losing it." Rackton forced himself to
be calm and professional. He had expected Frank, to be difficult over his decision.
"I want your brother over his irrational fear."
"That's easier said than done. Phobias are never rational."
"But they can be conquered." Mike turned to the third person in the room. Sean Harding had remained silent.
He's just savoured his coffee and listened While the other two argued. Now Mike smiled at him.
"Which is where you come in Mister Harding."
"Me?" Mike nodded.
"Like you, I have spent a considerable amount of time researching your field."
"And?" Sean prompted, curiously.
"There are a lot of rumours that imply; Humans of a certain persuasion can telepathically bond with, like minded,
Coravoi." Sean pushed his luck a little.
"Truthfully! I'd rather have the girl."
"The personnel assignment is not up for debate. Besides Annis is a trained Field Medic. Her skills are needed
in that realm. Jason Corvin, has no specialised training. He's a blank canvas That makes him perfect for your
"Except, he's afraid of heights!" Harding retorted.
"But if he can bond. His partner will cure him of it."
"If!" Frank growled.
"He has already proved. That he can enter and influence animal minds." Frank gave an acknowledging nod to
this. Mike decided the time for discussion was over. He wanted the job done. He returned his attention to
Harding. "Start him off as a groom. See how he gets on around the Coras." Sean accepted the inevitable.
Mike gave Frank a small smile.
"I'll leave you, to inform your brother. He's to report to Sector Nine at 10:30am tomorrow."
"What about his lessons?"
"He is to continue with them. Miss Annis has been told He will study with her from 09:00 hours Until 10:00
hours daily." Mike stood up. Concluding the meeting. He looked back at Frank "Oh and be sure to let Mac,
over in Transport, know. Harding's area's way out. Jason's going to need a Stripper, long term."
With that the Director gathered up his papers and strode out.
Sean wasn't, particularly displeased. He doubted the Teep would ever Mind Blend. There was no proof any one
ever had. But Harding reasoned, that had least he'd get a spare body, to help out. His department was seriously
understaffed. Few people ever volunteered for his unit. He suspected many were scared of the Coravoi.
Jason was leaning ona paddock fence, watching the Buopt herd. Baby Fluffs was cavorting about, with several other,
similarly aged, calves. Jason had worried at first. That she'd be rejected by the adult cows. But they hadn't seemed
bothered by her introduction. Even though he knew it was in her best interests. Jason was feeling the wrench.
He'd spent the last two months pandering to the calf's every need. To see her settle so easily was painful.
He sensed movement behind. His brother was approaching. Without looking round he said.
"I hate it when you do that?" Frank griped. Then he chuckled. "But it does explain. Why I could never creep up
on you? When we were kids?"
"So! The Director has decided what to do with me then?"
"Stop reading my mind miscreant," Frank jovially scolded.
"Sorry! It's sort of second nature now."
"But, you know where you're going?"
"Only the location of the unit. Sector Nine."
"It's on the North Side, over ten kilometres from here." Frank told him. Then added. "Transport is expecting you.
You're going to need a personal Stripper."
"Side Winder?" Jason asked hopefully.
"Yeah! In about a million years! Not!" Jason grinned. He'd known, he wouldn't get his brother's Bike. But!
It was fun to tease him a little.
Morning dawned. Jason enjoyed the twenty minute ride across the Zoo, to his new unit. He wasn't exactly sure,
what type of animal he'd be working with. As a rule and to be polite. He didn't invade other peoples minds, without
invite. Not even Sue's! He had learned he was going to be working with called a Coravoi. But that was all.
He assumed it was some sort of creature, like the Buopt. As he'd shown he was good with that type of breed.
He was met at the entrance, to the mysterious Sector Nine. The smiling man had a head covered in unruly black curls
and a smartly trimmed goatee beard. Jason was six years younger than Frank. He reckoned this stranger to be aged;
somewhere between them. He parked his bike as directed then took off his helmet. The stranger held out a hand,
for him to shake.
"Hi! I'm Sean Harding! You must be Jason Corvin?"
"Yes!" Jason shook the proffered palm.
"Well! Let's get you introduced to everyone and shown around." Sean led the way towards a large entrance.
Jason glanced up as they walked beneath the high portico.
"You work in caves?" He expressed astonishment.
"In! Around! Above!"
"Above?" Jason suddenly felt anxious. "Eh! You have been told, I'm not good with heights, haven't you?"
"Yeah! But you are good with babies and I've been told. You are one, freaky, hot shot, telepath!"
"I'm still learning to control that," Jason replied, lowering his head, modestly. A young woman approached.
"Jason Corvin, meet Caron Vane! My second in command. My professional partner and," his eyes twinkled.
"My old Ball and Chain." Jason grinned as Caron playfully punched her husband. Then he shook her hand too.
"On a day to day basis, Caron's your immediate Superior." Sean continued. Jason had, had female bosses before.
So wasn't bothered by this news.
"Let's go find you some Coveralls," she said. "Then I'll give you the Ten Cent Tour." Sean patted Jason on the back.
"I'll check in with you later. To see how you're getting on," he walked off In to the gloom of the dimly lit cavern.
Caron took Jason down a stone passage in the opposite direction. It gave out onto a large concreted yard.
At that moment! He got his first glimpse of a Coravoi. Jason's mouth went dry, his eyes popped and his jaw almost
hit the ground. The Coravoi was a.. a.. a.