Dorf rubbed his chin. “Mmmm. Phed, run H4’s observation video. Let’s find out how the shell formed.” Phed ran the video from the beginning to frames showing the globular mass forming an outer casing. It bobbed then turned; each turn creating more casing until a leathery shell remained un-moving on the artificial turf.

“Nothing unexpected there. Not worth hanging around now. If it shows signs of hatching contact me. Path me if heart rate and respiration increase.” Dorf left Phed analyzing statistics and walked out of the OP toward the wraptrap hoping the absence of movement and growth was a sign of the embryo's approaching demise. He didn’t want another crisis. He'd a vaccine to develop.

Dorf approached the cleared ‘area of destruction’ as Phed’s path entered his brain. “Life signs active, Chief. You’ll want to see this.” He stopped in mid-stride, turned and ran to the OP.

Dorf saw the graphs above H4’s monitor dancing with data feed as he skidded to a halt in time to see a cat-like nose ooze from the broken shell’s inner membrane. Phed had directed the new data into an ID app for determining species and was focused on the rapidly changing results as more of the creature emerged from the shell.

Its head now fully visible revealed cat-like ears. Between those was a mass of hair, matted like a wet mane, some clumps plastered over closed eyelids.

Dorf’s oxytocin kicked in. “Hey little fella,” he said watching its eyes open then blink a couple times freeing the matted fur. It cocked its head rolling big blues toward the friendly greeting.

Dr. Dorf Tzeus didn’t understand why his brain’s neurons were creating this one-way conversation, but it felt right. “Come on Buddy you can do it.” He enthused. “You can squeeze all the way out.”

Phed joined in. “You’ve almost got it, don’t give up.” The little head turned toward the intern; its blue eyes peering into the gray of Phed’s, as it tugged its body forward. One leathery leg emerged. “That’s it, keep it up Champ.” Phed encouraged. The fullness of its body squeezed out and squirmed free of the broken shell revealing a long tail. Fur ridged its back from wispy strands over its eyes to a thickness that crowned its head and ridged its back to the tip of its tail.

“Yeah! Way to Go buddy!” came overlapping cheers. In response, the tiny creature lifted on its hind legs using its tail to balance and looked quizzically from Dorf to Phed and back again.

Phed scratched his head and looked at Dorf, "Chief, if he's going to stay alive I've got to find out what to feed him."