They sat in the chamber. Poultreus began his tale:
"I am not the original Poultreus. My father told me all he knew. He was a greater man than I. He foresaw a society where poultry could claim their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of corn. This he instilled in me."
"Some of the rumors were false. He had no hand in the Great Roast, and his research on chickens had been perverted by his superiors. I don't say this lightly; none were superior to him. He was undone by the premature emancipation of Death Chickens. His goal was to create a self-sustaining utopia for chickens, but they freed the birds in the midst of his trials. His grief was maddening. Only the companionship of one lone rooster kept him from giving in to self-annihilation. I see the look in your eyes. Yes. Capon Frank.
Frank was his childhood companion. He looked after him as he would a son, a genetically experimental son ensured a long life through regular facials and collagen implants. His last words to me were, "Look after Frank. Keep him safe. I am alive in his survival."
I studied at Rensselaer, and then at Cornell. My life's work has been to protect and care for Capon Frank. My Dad loved him dearly. It is my tribute.
And here I am, entertaining two poultry mercenaries on the quest to kill him. I see your basters. You have the spice, and you think you control the universe. I think there's one worse than you, no less lethal, but mentally incapable of ethics: Snake B. Bauer.
I ask too much. I'm asking you to stand against Snake, protect Frank and walk away. Leave him the half-believed legend that he is, to descend into myth and continue his peaceful life."
"Peaceful!" Grimironie blurted, "Half a dozen families say otherwise! They're homeless!"
"It wasn't intentional," Poultreus answered, "those homes were baited. Bauer's been busy."
"Prove it," she hissed.
Poultreus grabbed his remote and ran surveillance tape of Snake B. Bauer in a gated cul-de-sac. There was no question; he'd laden the neighborhood with chickenfeed.
She thought of Uncle Otto. There had to be justice!
Poultreus foresaw her reaction. "I remember an old colleague, Bartholomew, who complained that he missed all of the good drama. I took him to Frank, explained the story. Once he met Frank, he fell in love as surely as any nubile woman would love Orlando Bloom. He stuck with me, despite the stalkers and the feds. Soon I had a group of allies- Barty, Dolores Haze, Talps, Squicky Voyager, Melanie Hoo, Anthony- they fought with me, kept Frank's whereabouts a secret. One tragic day, I lost them all. They were lured into a time-share condo brunch with promises of mimosas, and Bauer was behind it. Not one of them made it out without putting money down on time-shares in Florida. The time and effort they had to put into cancelling their contracts was all consuming. I never saw them again after they received their legal bills. Life can be that cruel." He stopped, and gave them time to let it sink in.
* * * * *
They took off their blindfolds and set off on their ATV's. It was near dawn. She saw the silver RV, but too late. Snake B. Bauer had set a trap around his camp, and they had run straight into it. She was off of her game. The spike strip had thrown them from their vehicles, and they were trapped in a net.
"You came to me! I had no idea you could be so stupid. I overestimated you both." Snake gloated.
Grimironie was working on unwedging her hand from Three's clavicle. The net was constricting. One wrong move, and she'd be pinned by his pecs.
"Go on!" Grimironie shouted.
Snake was dense enough to let her buy time. "One real man versus a pretty boy and an angry girl: who wins? Me, that's who. You have no match for my testosterone and manly chest hair."
"Sweater" Three muttered. Their ensuing giggles and twitching set her hand free. She grabbed the keys from her pocket and remote-started Mongoose. Snake spun around. She cut the net with her swiss army knife, and they struck the ground.
Now she had Snake, mano a mano. He squealed like a spring chicken. She descended upon him instantly with a roll of duct tape. Grandpa Otto would have been proud.
They held him steady and man-scaped his chest hair. "Do we leave him?" Three asked after he added the finishing touches with the electric trimmer: "I I I."
"Yes." Grimironie said. They had no legal claim for arrest, at least, none that would ensure his permanent removal from Death Chicken hunting. She instinctively knew Snake would lose a day getting chest hair extensions at his stylist.
They rode off. Ole Plucky hadn't been avenged yet. It would have to be something more grand to honor his memory.