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Pen Your Pride

Part Two: Jason Frost, EMT

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        Frost sat in the back seat of Team-4's HMV, keeping an eye on the venom-baby as she slept.

        "I think we should name her Emma."

        Some things he never got used to, no matter how many decades went by, no matter how many years went by. Finding a terrified venom-baby after it had been driven to feed off it's dead mother was one of them. God, it was horrible. It was a completely different kind of evil than what men did to thier fellow men. He couldn't hate anyone for that; he couldn't shoot it in the head and burn the body and be done with it. And it haunted him. The screams of tortured men didn't bother him -- he still felt that somewhere along the line one of them at least deserved what they got -- but those of women and children did bother him. Crying children -- that despreate screaming and sobbing from being ignored, or neglected, made him crazy.

      "Fine by me." McGee said as he drove to the CDC holding facility in south KC. When they arrived there, Team-4 got out of the HMV and walked into the building, McGee holding the female venom baby in a 3 foot by 3 foot blanket they'd found with her dead mother. Just inside the front doors were 2 elite soldiers, what would have been Marines before the invasion.

        During the war venom-babies were used by the star-devils as perimeter sentries. Due to thier small size and speed, they were ideal because they could hide and ambush platoons of soldiers, who would be paralyzed by their venomus bite,  and thus made easy meals for star-devil and necromutant patrols.  Even battle hardened veterans had a problem with killing them, thanks to thier ability to manipulate the paternal/maternal instinct within those soldiers who had children. By some bizarre turn of events, the CDC ended up taking possession of any venom-babies rescued from the field, along with all other civilian necromutants. Venom-Baby numbers did dwindle over the following decades, mostly because they were a delicacy among the cave-horrors, flesh-hunters and living predatory animals such as wolves and coyotes which lived in the forests and abandoned parts of the cities. Before the invasion, which started the war, star-devil thralls within the CDC oversaw 'disposal' of dead fetuses from abortion clinics, which meant that each of these unwanted dead infants were ripe for conversion into venom-babies.

       Heaven knows he'd faced enough of the poor, sad little creatures during the war. As a combat medic any paralyzed soldiers would become his responsibility until they could be taken back to the closest aid station. By the time the war ended he could time a soldier's venom recovery rate down to the minute, depending on how many times the soldier in question had been bitten and a variety of other factors.

        Nowadays venom-babies were milked for thier venom, which not only worked well as a neuroparalytic, but could also be distilled and used as an anasthetic, among other things. Studies indicated that venom-babies could develop a near-adult level of intelligence, but were sociopathic and manipulative by nature. Those discovered by mothers, especially new mothers would be taken home, where they quickly became the primary focus of these mothers, often to the exclusion of thier own biological children. The mothers would then recruit other mothers who would work together as a group to nurture and protect the venom-baby. These groups were known as harems, and would never number above 8 or less than 4. The mothers (and sometimes fathers) in the harems would do whatever they needed to do to protect and provide for the venom baby. This included a lot of misdemenanors and lesser felonies such as burglary, grifting and pyramid schemes, some would even go to extremes such as gun running and drug dealing -- insofar as these illegal activities did not take them too far away from the venom-baby they cared for.

        Nowadays there were special facilities for venom-babies, which cared for them and protected them, but kept them from recruiting any harems or causing any harm.

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