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Herreas went to smash the viewing mirror. Saturn pulled it away before the shattering destruction. “That is a bad idea, sir,” Saturn said. He placed it on another table in the tent.
A piece of eggshell fell and disintegrated in the acid below with a hiss. The three commanders had grown deaf to the sound. The egg shivered violently. Another crack formed around the top of the egg.
“I am surrounded by those who are most incompetent,” Herreas said.
Starkio moves from behind Herreas. “It shows why we should take care of those eggs now, or we’ll all be killed,” he added.
“That will only send Dracex and the other generals right after us,” Herreas said. He stuck his face inches away from his subordinate. Starkio scampered away.
The top of the egg shattered away into the acid. A yellow ribbed tail with brown stripes squirmed out and wrapped around the remainder of the egg.
Starkio backed away, his rear-facing the nest. “Do you honestly think you won’t become food for the 12, or the sacrifice for the finale?” he asked. He pointed to the half-opened egg, face staring down Herreas. Herreas smirked. The remainder of the yellow ribbed body with brown stripes emerged from the egg, with a white chest, and a beaked mouth. “I say we take these things out now to save our skin now, and not get kil-ledd.” A ribbed tail wrapped itself around Starkio’s neck.
“I am quite hungry,” the first of the 12 said. “I am not picky.” He pulled Starkio closer to him. His beak opened wide.
“No, no, no. Stop, stop. If you eat me, you will have less help taking over the new world,” Starkio pleaded.
Herreas walked to the first of the 12. He rested his arm on Starkio and forced him down to a knee. He followed. “Hello, next generation. I am Colonel Herreas of invasion operation, Earth X12. Who may we address you as?” Herreas side-eyed Starkio. Starkio’s gaze was fixed on the ground.
The First unwrapped his tail and stepped out of the nest. Saturn bowed when he walked toward him. The First examined the large tent. He dragged his feet over the fur carpets to savor the feeling and rubbed the leather. His feet touched the dirt. He dug his toes into the shallow dirt. He pulled them up. The dirt rained off, back toward the ground. “This world has so much to feel. My egg was wet and warm. This place gives me many different feelings to have.” He looked back at the three commanders. “I would like to have all the feelings.”
“Should we call you Feelings?” Starkio asked. He attempted to rise but was forced back down by Herreas.
“No,” the firstborn said. “I am Sctellou. My father Dracorex gave me a name before birth. He imbued us all with names.” Sctellou stepped into a crack of sun coming in from the tent’s flap. He felt a growing comfort and heat in the sun. “I want my brothers to feel what I feel now. I want them to be free from their incubators! I want them out now! That is not possible at the moment so I would like to be fed instead!” He pulled the tent flap open and looked out at the raptors moving and marching along to their own stories and jobs. He walked over to Herreas. Herreas looked up at Sctellou. Herreas attempted to hide the anger behind his eyes. “You can sacrifice yourselves, give over your men, or get more humans from across the portal. I don’t care which because I will choose for you if you don’t.” He placed his foot on Herreas’s back. “Hm,” he pondered, “how odd.”
“What is odd?” Herreas asked.
“Your skin is cold. You spend so much time in the warmth. Yet, you feel like you have not left the cave you were born in. Why is that?”
Herreas dug his claws into the ground. His claws turned into fist. The dirt in his palm poured out through his fingers.