Steve released TAMaxwell from the cage. The perfectly round Smibble rolled onto the bench. Choc peered closely and then gave the Smibble a gentle prod. The Smibble yelped as it began to roll back towards the cage.
“Oh dear,” said Choc. “It seems to have turned into a literal fur ball. I’ll have to extract the radish DNA before I can start work.”
“Are you sure that’s the right explanation?” asked Steve. “It seems to be in some pain.” The Smibble continued to roll around, whimpering.
“I only gave it a gentle poke. I don’t see how that could cause it pain, ” said Choc. “What else could it be?”
TAMaxwell’s whimpering became more high pitched. Then there was a yelp and a loud noise of escaping gas. Taking off over Choc’s head, the Smibble shot across the room. Too astonished to move, Choc and Steve were unable to help the poor Smibble as it flew full-tilt into the lab’s rubber plant and bounced back toward them. Ducking, Choc felt fur brush her cheek as TAMaxwell shot past her ear and landed on the bench with a ‘Boing!’
Choc peered at the Smibble now lying, deflated, on the bench. “I think it’s dead,” she said.
“It would appear that the radish gave it a severe case of gas,” said Steve.
“What a horrible way to go,” said Choc. Just then TAMaxwell got up and looked around slowly. After a moment or two it began to twitter happily to itself. Choc shook her head in wonder. “Amazing,” she said. “Right, let’s get going then. Scalpel please, Steve.”
A few hours later, Choc took a break, as Steve placed a badly shaved and highly irritated TAMaxwell back into its cage.
“It looks like the Pentanite might give us the best results,” said Choc, looking at the data displayed on the lab screen. “The data seem to indicate that it should make the Smibble carbon-negative within the next 48 hours. If we can stimulate the breeding cycle we can give it a test by the end of the week.”