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Dogs of War by cloud

The Baby Thief

The Dogs of War


Baby Thief

 

(Done for Dokuga prompt: Skin)

Transition Station 4XK was one of the few stations between the outer federation and the inner empire. Any ship heading for the inner empire had to stop at 4XK to refuel and receive their travel paperwork. This made it one of the busiest ports in the system. Travelers never stayed on for more than a few days, but for some reason the birth rate on 4XK was higher than any other active port. It was here, that Ambassador Inutaisho and his mate Sakura brought their first child into the world. 

Dr. Watan sighed as he walked from the labor and delivery ward. He was one of only two doctors on the station. It made for a very long shift, but even in his weariness a smile tugged at his lips. Nights like tonight were the reason he loved his job. An ambassador from planet Yumeria had come into the station with his pregnant mate going into premature labor. The little baby boy now rested happily in the delivery ward. 

A right turn brought the doctor towards the large glass window that looked in on the newborn babies. A figure in the hallway brought him up short.   

The hallways were quiet, but for the humming of machinery, everyone off to sleep. Sleep, however, meant little to the man standing by the window. He was dressed in black cargo pants tucked into shined black boots. He wore a black micro fiber shirt that Dr. Watan recognized from one of the Technology channels on the Com screen. The simple shirt was worth more than his entire year`s paycheck. It was made from the silk of a spider found on one of the most remote planets in the federation. The silk made the shirt bullet proof and thin panels of reflector plastic made it laser proof. 

Only one group in the empire wore such a uniform. The man turned to face the doctor. Revealing the small, winged wolf pin on his high-neck collar. "Doctor Watan, I am Colonel Bankotsu from-"

"The C.O.R.E," Watan interrupted as he took the man`s hand. The Colonel had long black hair pulled into a tight braid. His bangs framed a purple starburst on his brow that could only be from a high concentration of nanomites in the blood. "May I ask why you are visiting at such a late hour Colonel?" Watan was afraid he already knew the answer. 

A pleased smile twisted Bankotsu`s lips. " A Yumeria dog was born here tonight, a boy." 

Dr. Watan`s brows furrowed in concern. "Yes, I just delivered him an hour ago. He is the ambassador`s first child. His heir."

Bankotsu turned to the window and looked at the only child in the ward. He was small, only 5 pounds. His tuft of hair appeared silver and his squinted eyes shined with the golden hue of a wild animal. "C.O.R.E has chosen this child," he grinned as he handed over a thick folder of paperwork. "This will give you all you need to make the child disappear. Don`t fret doctor, he was a premature birth. Sometimes things happen."

Doctor Watan took the folder with limp fingers as he watched the Colonel move. The dark haired man entered the room and pulled up a large brief case. The case clicked open with a hiss and he realized what it was with dawning horror. "Sir, you can`t place a baby in a cryo chamber. It could kill him," Watan raced in the room, unable to believe what he was seeing. 

"Doctor, the child is no longer your concern. Consider it his first test as a new member of the CORE elite," Bankotsu turned to face the doctor as he placed the squirming babe in his disguised cryo chamber. "After all doctor, the son of Inutaisho is already dead." Bankotsu smirked as he clamped the crying child into the container and injected the cryo gel into his veins. The cries became murmurs as he closed the case. 

"Thank you for your service to the empire, Doctor." Leaving the room, Bankotsu gave a mock salute 

Doctor Watan stood frozen as he watched the Colonel disappear. The papers in his hand seemed weight the world as he tried to comprehend how to lie to ambassador Inutaisho and tell him his son was dead. 

***

When Colonel Bankotsu stepped off the ship, he was greeted by one of the only two females on the planet. "Doctor Onigumo, what a pleasant surprise." His voice was smooth silk. 

"Shove it Bankotsu," Kagura snapped. She was the head doctor of the CORE operation and the eldest daughter of the commanding General.  The later giving her more respect than any degree ever could. 

Bankotsu gave her a wry grin and followed the fiery female into the lab. "Such a hostile greeting, I`m hurt milady." He gave her a wink, placing his brief case on the table. 

Kagura scowled. She sent Bankotsu a deadly glare even as her fingers worked the clasp of the case. " You shouldn`t have put a premature birth in the cryo case."

The baby inside was completely still. His skin was cold and lacked color. Kagura`s hand worked over him quickly. Switches inside the case started to slowly warm him up and a saline iv began to purge his system. While the baby was brought out of his unnatural sleep, his body was scanned and tested until a full scale image was formed. 

"Show nervous system." The words made the 3-D model shift until a baby shaped series of neurons formed. Kagura`s scowl deepened until lines formed across her brow. "I don`t know why father keeps collecting aliens. Just because the kids look humanoid doesn`t mean they are."

"What`s up doc? Can`t alter the puppy?" Bankotsu teased as he leaned over the baby. "Weird looking kid really. Silver hair. Gold eyes. He was even born with these purple stripes." 

Thumb and forefinger rose to rub a building headache from Kagura`s brow. " Of course he looks strange you slow witted buffoon. He`s a yumeria dog. The markings are the signs of an alpha male."

"Like a wolf?"

"Gahhh," Kagura screeched and slashed her long nails across Bankotsu`s face. "Get out, you stupid soldier I can`t deal with you right now. 

Bankotsu left without  a word. He knew when he had pushed his luck.

"You could have just told him to leave, not fake a tantrum." 

"It was easier that way," Kagura sighed as she looked up at Suikotsu. 

He was a young man with dark brown hair and grey eyes. He wore the tradition CORE uniform, something that would normally keep him from an initial alteration, but he was a special case. CORE raised and trained babies to become cold blooded killers, the Empire`s dogs of war. Every once in awhile a child failed. Usually they die early or disappear, but Suikotsu adapted. His mind split to handle the stress. General Naraku, her father, had found the concept so curious that he had allowed doctors to inject nanomites into Suikotsu`s spinal cord. The microscopic machines could turn the personalities off and on when needed. The little robots even marked his face with green stripes when his personality was more murderous. Though Kagura was amazed by the off/on switch for a brain, she thought the use disgusting. 

"I suppose the higher ups don`t want the CORE soldiers to know what they do to us, huh." Suikotsu muttered, walking around to look at the child. "So the usual," he asked pulling out the required instruments. 

Kagura shook her head. "Look at this." She moved thumb and forefinger, enlarging the image of the baby`s brain. Sections of the brain were lighted in different colors. 

Suikotsu gasped," His brain is completely different."

A nod. "His Amygdala is larger than humans. Probably because Yumeria Dogs rely so much on their instincts. His Thalamus is advanced for a newborn. His senses will be strong- smell, hearing, touch. He might not see in the full color range of human`s, but his night vision will be keen. His hypothalamus seems enlarged. It appears his pituitary gland produces more hormones than us. I won`t be abel to put in any inhibitors until his brain has stopped growing. By then it might just be a waste." Kagura flicked her hand and the hologram disappeared with a zap. 

"But what about his err..." Suikotsu blushed , gesturing suggestively. 

Kagura chuckled at that. "We got lucky there. Yumeria dogs only ever mate once and their mate is very important to them. It has to be some one that smells right to them, or that`s what the books say." 

Every soldier in the CORE army had an inhibitor chip placed on their hypothalamus as babies. The chip increased their human growth output to allow the child to reach their maximum height, but it stopped any sexual urges. Kagura knew that she could walk into the soldiers` barracks without a stitch of clothes on and know that they would do nothing to her. None of them wanted to, or could, have sex. It kept the soldiers from doing anything stupid and helped to control them better as they go through puberty. Another chip stopped the soldiers from becoming too intelligent. It allowed them to learn anything and everything military related, but inhibited anything unneeded. Over 50% of CORE couldn`t read or write and the other half couldn`t do either very well. All a part of designing the perfect soldier.

"Then he`ll be a loose cannon, what is the General thinking? I thought he was trying to prevent another Kiren disaster?" Suikotsu slumped into a chair in frustration. 

"I don`t think he wants to just prevent it. I think he want`s to annihilate any chance of it."

***

Bankotsu picked at the scratch Kagura had made. That woman had a vicious temper. "Don`t want to be in the lab anyways," he scowled as he scanned his finger to enter the conference room. 

It was a semi-circle room with a huge screen taking up the front and nothing else. Bankotsu watched as the screen flickered to life. When a blurred face appeared, he snapped to attention and held a salute. 

"At ease, Colonel," the man on the screen ordered. His face took up the screen, highlighting his red eyes. "Did you get what I ordered?"

Bankotsu dropped his salute and sharply tucked his hands behind his back. "Sir, yes sir. I brought the Yumeria Dog in this morning. The Lupine child and the Draconian twins were just as easy to obtain."

"Good, place them with the new batch of recruits. I want them to receive the strictest training. Give them the test of the red cloak when they are five. If they fail, kill them. I`m done making excuses for my soldiers. At 8 they will be tested for alteration and trained. At 10 I will place them with a unit for a purge." General Naraku Onigumo was a frightening man, and he gave orders with a ferocity that made Bankotsu`s skin crawl, but like every member of CORE he was fiercely loyal to his commanding officer. 

"S..s..Sir?" Bankotsu was astonished by such a training process. He was speeding the training by years. 

The smile on the screen was sickly sweet. "I know what you are thinking Colonel, but that is why I did not pick humans for the mission I have in mind. I suppose you heard about the Kiren debacle?"

Bankotsu could only nod. 

The smile turned sour. "Kiren was found in a routine orphanage sweep. We knew he wasn`t human, but it wasn`t until his 5th year that we realized he was a Kirin. Its where the name came from. The planet Avalon has a strange humanoid race on it. Every male is born with a unihorn and unicorn tail. An asian chancellor gave their species its name. Apparently they reminded him of an old chinese legend. I had Kagura remove Kiren`s tail when we got him, but his horn had to stay. What we did not know was Kiren`s black hair and blue eyes were a sign of the royal family. A line of Kirin that have unique gifts, such as telekinesis. All Kirin are empaths, but the royal line is exceptionally powerful. It was his empathy that made him betray CORE, his family. He couldn`t take the killing any longer. He was such a stain on the organization that I have decided Avalon needs to be destroyed. The group you took will lead the assault in 18 years. I want them to be ready. The planet is advanced, this won`t be easy. " Naraku flicked his wrist. "Dismissed."

Bankotsu snapped to attention and saluted as the screen flashed back to black. "Damn, I almost feel sorry for these babes. The General is right, this won`t be easy."

 

INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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