The (Other) Lion Tamer Incident

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Warrl
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The (Other) Lion Tamer Incident

Post by Warrl » Sat Jun 08, 2019 12:08 am

The phone on Brandi's desk rang, a tone indicating an internal call. She set aside a wad of paperwork and picked up the receiver.

"Director Oduya."

"Director, this is Andrew in social-media screening. We have a weird one. Either we can ignore it completely, or it's big. Over a hundred eyewitnesses, quite a few with smartphones, and at least one TV news crew that was doing a live broadcast."

"Why the confusion?"

"I'm not certain it's a para breach. The facial-recognition software only gives a 90%-confident ID of the girl, and the person it names definitely should have been somewhere else."

"Send me a sample."

"The best clip I've found so far is on its way."

Brandi's computer beeped and announced an incoming email from Andrew. "Got it." A few mouse-clicks and she was watching the video. "Andrew, hold on."

She pulled a printed list from her drawer, and wrote "Lion Tamer" on the top line that didn't already have a note in the second column.

"Andrew, send everything to Task Force 17. Add comments as you see fit."

"It's big, then."

"Yes. Run facial recognition on some of the kids in the background to confirm the computer's ID. I gotta grab some people for this."

She hung up and quickly created the "Task Force 17" mailing list. Then she picked up the phone again and dialed an outside line.

"Neil, it's Brandi. I need you in my office... Five minutes is fine... Leave Phix out of it for now... No, don't keep it from her, but I don't want a worried Sphinx in my office... Okay, that works, bye."

She hung up and muttered to herself as she went through the pictures and video footage Andrew was still sending in clumps. "Why the HELL weren't we notified?"

Warrl
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Re: The (Other) Lion Tamer Incident

Post by Warrl » Sat Jun 08, 2019 11:24 am

A second-grade field trip to the zoo occasionally results in interesting stories that will be retold in teachers' lounges and continuing-education workshops for decades. When the second graders are from Gryphon Elementary, the conversation decreases somewhat but the interesting reaches an entirely different realm.

A pair of lion cubs - ordinary ones, zoo residents - got into a wrestling match. Their mother attempted to dodge out of their way and collided heavily with the fence around the lion pen. The fence broke. (Later investigation would determine that several maintenance orders on that section of fence had been misfiled.)

The two cubs promptly decided to explore the new, larger domain. Their mother followed to supervise. And the male lion went through the gap and headed off in another direction.

As the screams began, a child's voice rang out: "WALK! DON'T RUN! IF YOU RUN YOU ARE PREY! WALK!" In moments the crowd melted away, leaving a seven-year-old girl in a blue dress staring across the grass at the lion and walking slowly toward it.

Warrl
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Re: The (Other) Lion Tamer Incident

Post by Warrl » Sat Jun 08, 2019 10:15 pm

Roger, working crowd control in the Nocturnal House, heard a lot of screaming from outside. And it wasn't the usual screaming of kids playing.

He stepped to the exit door and looked out. To his left, he saw a male lion calmly strolling across the lawn.

To his right, a little girl in a blue dress, walking toward the lion. She looked a lot like his daughter.

He started running toward her.

She saw him, and started to say something, but something large slammed into him from behind. He fell, smashing his shoulder into the ground followed by his glasses, nose, and ribs. It felt like he had a heavy weight on his back, and something wet running down his side.

Hot whuffing breath, and fur, in his ear.

The bottom edge of a blue dress, over bare feet.

A child's voice, loud and angry.

"GET."

He fainted.

Warrl
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Re: The (Other) Lion Tamer Incident

Post by Warrl » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:43 am

"OFF.

HIM."


The lion roared his displeasure at the intrusion.

The child roared back, straight in the lion's face.

The lion abruptly flopped on its side, tail thumping on the ground.

"That's better. Now roll over." The girl grabbed one of the lion's front paws and forced the cat to roll away from the fallen man, then grabbed an ear and tugged on it. The lion meekly belly-crawled in compliance.

A couple more zoo employees emerged from where they had been hiding. "What the he-eck!"

"That guy," the girl said, "hit the ground hard. Prob'ly claw marks too. I'll keep Kitty busy." She continued dragging the lion away. The two employees, summing up the lion-handling expertise of a cotton-candy vendor and a ticket-taker and getting a total well below what they were witnessing, turned their attentions to their fallen co-worker.

By then some of the big-cat handlers were also appearing, armed with tranquilizer guns and other equipment. They stood flabbergasted as the huge beast submitted to a blue-clad little girl hardly larger than his head.

"Is this kitty yours? Where do you want him?"

"Um... on this cart, unconscious. But he gets crazy while the drugs are taking effect, and he's behaving himself. John, guide her to the indoor enclosure. Grace, Rocky, stay with them, one on each side. Sue, come with me, we need to find Mama and the cubs."

"I think they went thataway," the girl pointed vaguely, "there were some screams from over there. But I was kinda busy."

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Re: The (Other) Lion Tamer Incident

Post by Atomic » Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:54 pm

Off to a fun and interesting start! Looking forward to MOARRR (ha ha)!
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Warrl
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Re: The (Other) Lion Tamer Incident

Post by Warrl » Sun Jun 09, 2019 5:40 pm

(Wondering if you figured out who the girl is. Just yes or no, please. The clues are there but I'm hoping it isn't too obvious.)

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Re: The (Other) Lion Tamer Incident

Post by FreeFlier » Sun Jun 09, 2019 6:06 pm

I feel like it's Pickle, but I can't say why . . .

Good start!

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Re: The (Other) Lion Tamer Incident

Post by jwhouk » Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:31 pm

I was thinking one of Castela's classmates from when she was in Kindergarten, but I could be wrong.
"Character is what you are in the dark." - D.L. Moody
"You should never run from the voices in your head. That's how you give them power." - Jin

Warrl
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Re: The (Other) Lion Tamer Incident

Post by Warrl » Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:06 am

A few minutes later the girl shooed the large cat into the pen, just as John got a call on his radio.

"John, we don't have another free pen in there for Nessa and her cubs, do we?"

"Negative, boss."

"Damn. Sedate the big guy. We'll be back in five minutes and sort it out then."

"Sedate Caruso. Please confirm."

"Oof. Confirmed. No, Tabby, you may not chew on my boot while I'm wearing it."

John raised his tranquilizer-gun and fired. The lion twitched at the sting of the dart, stood a minute, then turned and leaped at the child still standing in the doorway to the pen.

She stepped into the pounce and put one of her small fists directly into a shoulder joint. The lion flipped backward, landing hard on its spine.

The girl ran and jumped on its chest, wedging herself between its front legs, and buried her face in the fur at its throat. Soon it was obvious that the tranquilizer had done its job.

Grace went to retrieve the youngster, and was met with a muffled feral growl, followed by "Oh... sorry."

The girl crawled off the lion and stood. "I almost lost it there, thanks for interrupting me... why're you staring at me?"

"You're hurt."

"No, I'm fine."

"There's blood on the corner of your mouth."

"Oh, that's his. He'll be okay though. Where's the bathroom, please?"

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Re: The (Other) Lion Tamer Incident

Post by Warrl » Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:59 am

The task force, assembled in the conference room, finished watching the only video that covered the end of the incident. Neil - an extra in the group - chuckled. "Good job, Dixie. And you didn't break form once. Phix will be so proud."

"I'm sure," Brandi agreed. "But where do we stand?"

"I'm actually surprised how little we have to explain," Andrew began his summary. "Suppressing the one video of Aeterna Antonia knocking an adult male lion on his kiester - routine, and I'm told it's already done. It seems only one non-para got her name at all, and that video clip simply has some kid's voice calling out to 'Dixie'. That leaves the roar, and her dragging the lion by his ear."

"I'm sure," Glytch said, "that the reports of her roaring are exaggerated. People's ears were still ringing from the lion's. Complete bull, of course, but enough people will buy it. If the tech people will create a virus to edit it down appropriately, that will help."

"A person who knows how," Neil added, "can intimidate a lion surprisingly easily. Like that scene at the circus a couple years ago. Perhaps this lion grew up on a game preserve as an orphan and was conditioned to be bossed around by a little girl, and just happened to be faced down by a little girl who had spent a few years on a game preserve and learned how to command a lion - it takes both together to be plausible. Could the appropriate documentation be fabricated?"

"No, but that isn't necessarily a problem - this lion was wild-caught, and there were several male lions of about the right age who escaped or were freed from such preserves and are not known to have died or been recaptured." Philip had done his background research well.

"So an entirely legitimate hole in the lion's documentation," Brandi replied. "Not a problem. Too-perfect documentation can look suspicious. How about the child's fake origin?"

"I have a couple candidates that I think fit, but they'll need a bit more investigation."

"I believe we have a plan, and everyone understands their tasks?" Nods all around, and the meeting ended.

Warrl
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Re: The (Other) Lion Tamer Incident

Post by Warrl » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:02 am

<BugsBunny>That's all folks!</BugsBunny>

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jwhouk
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Re: The (Other) Lion Tamer Incident

Post by jwhouk » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:07 am

Oh.

Aeterna.
"Character is what you are in the dark." - D.L. Moody
"You should never run from the voices in your head. That's how you give them power." - Jin

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TazManiac
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Re: The (Other) Lion Tamer Incident

Post by TazManiac » Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:00 pm

I thought it was going to be Scarlett... (having some experience wrangling Timmy...)

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Re: The (Other) Lion Tamer Incident

Post by Just Old Al » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:02 pm

{Applause}

Good one, Warrl. Good to see one of the smaller bits make it out - we crank out a lot of these but few of them make it here.

BRAVO!
"The Empire was founded on cups of tea, mate, and if you think I am going to war without one you are sadly mistaken."

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Re: The (Other) Lion Tamer Incident

Post by Warrl » Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:02 am

Just Old Al wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:02 pm
we crank out a lot of these but few of them make it here.
Somebody gets a silly idea and throws up a rough draft of the first two-thirds of the story, then other people pitch in ideas for the other two-thirds (yeah, the math is a bit weird), and some scenes get written up and then re-written up and then self-parodied...

... but somehow we don't often get around to pulling the mess into a cohesive story and polishing it for publication.

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Re: The (Other) Lion Tamer Incident

Post by jwhouk » Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:53 am

My only question is - what was the original Lion Tamer Incident? Monica and Kevin's Halloween costume?
"Character is what you are in the dark." - D.L. Moody
"You should never run from the voices in your head. That's how you give them power." - Jin

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Re: The (Other) Lion Tamer Incident

Post by lake_wrangler » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:16 am

jwhouk wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:53 am
My only question is - what was the original Lion Tamer Incident? Monica and Kevin's Halloween costume?
My personnal guess would be Neil vs. Phix...

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Just Old Al
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Re: The (Other) Lion Tamer Incident

Post by Just Old Al » Tue Jun 11, 2019 5:16 pm

lake_wrangler wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:16 am
jwhouk wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:53 am
My only question is - what was the original Lion Tamer Incident? Monica and Kevin's Halloween costume?
My personnal guess would be Neil vs. Phix...
Heeheeheehee.......
"The Empire was founded on cups of tea, mate, and if you think I am going to war without one you are sadly mistaken."

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