After the giant kaiju peacock mantis shrimp had been dispatched, Putin made sure the Fortress of Opulence was secure.
Then he hurried to join the Pals in sickbay, where Black Ops, who was a certified paramedic, was tending the injured.
The pygmy goat paramedic quickly checked the vital signs of Murder Cat, Peaches, and Herb, and determined they could wait for treatment.
Although Murder Cat appeared to have suffered a concussion, he was conscious and responsive, and did not seem to be in immediate danger.
Snowy, however … Black Ops felt queasy as he began to clean the blood off the fur around her eye. He took a deep breath and continued.
Luckily, it seemed to be a clean wound, with no bits of kaiju shrimp left behind, and the barb had not penetrated too deeply.
He could flush the eye, cover it, give her antibiotics … but he knew it would always be an ugly mess, and she would never see with it again.
When Black Ops moved down and began to bandage the War Bear’s broken ribs, she let out a faint moan, then bit her lip and was silent.
Putin, too, was silent, standing in the far corner of the sickbay, tears running down his face. He picked up C4 and held her tightly.
Almost as if she understood, C4 was quiet in Putin’s arms as she licked the salty tears from his cheek.
“The worst is over now,” Pulpo Paul thought to Putin. “Snowy has suffered, but she will wear her injury as a badge of pride.”
Having finished his work, Black Ops offered Snowy a pain tablet, but she turned her head away in refusal. The goat told her to rest.
“What I don’t understand,” Putin thought to the psychic octopus, “is how they found us.” “You mean Mantis?” Pulpo Paul thought in reply.
“Yes. The giant kaiju peacock mantis shrimp was clearly an agent of the Hive. But how did it locate the Fortress of Opulence?
“We are in a sterile environment hundreds of metres beneath the sea. There are no insects here, no agents to feed information to Hivemind.”
C4 grew bored and began to squirm in Putin’s arms. He leaned down and placed her gently on the floor, where she sat at his feet.
“Perhaps,” thought Pulpo Paul, “all their agents everywhere were looking for us, and the giant kaiju peacock mantis shrimp just got lucky?”
“No,” thought Putin, “I don’t believe …” He stopped abruptly as C4 began scratching vigorously behind one ear with a tiny paw.
Putin and Pulpo Paul watched as the little dog twisted around and began to gnaw at a spot on her flank.
“I will order flea shampoo with the next delivery of supplies,” thought the psychic cephalopod.
Putin scooped up the little Poodle and strode from the sickbay without replying.