Karma sat in her newly acquired room, looking around and feeling quite grateful. From what she had heard, this used to be the guest room, and Kaska had been given it—only to refuse and give it to her. How kind.

Karma dropped her bags, walked to the bed, and lay there. Wow. Her bed was more than comfortable, it was pure luxury. She smiled. Kaska sure was missing out on lots.

As she lay there, looking around the room, she spotted what looked like a journal. What's this? She thought, and picked it up. It was a brown, battered book, probably used as a diary. The title read, simply, "Journal" and had Kaska's name underneath it. Somewhat interested in reading her friend's personal writings, she opened it and began to read.

I recently moved here, and I thought I'd use this journal as a way to keep track of what's going on in here. Seems like a nice place, with forests surrounding the area. Maybe I'll go hunting with Dad once we get completely settled here, it seems like a nice sport and I won't have to kill anything as long as I bring my sedative dart gun.

That was all for the first page.

Hmm. Seems like the people here are Yoshis. Why didn't Dad choose a better place? I mean, to be surrounded by an enemy species, unprotected, and with no contacts around is just darn stupid. Ah well, I'll have to live with it. Literally.

Focusing on other matters, I have found a soothing place near the river, where there are no creatures to disturb me. I shall call it the Sanctuary. I'll go there whenever I have a bad day.

How mundane. Karma shifted her eyes towards the next page.

Spent today looking around, all the while walking in the universal gesture that I am unarmed. At least the people don't hate me.

I slipped trying to cross the river on a bridge of rocks, and my beautiful black shell now has an ugly scar running down the middle of it. What am I going to tell Dad? Oh, he's going to be mighty angry, that's for sure. I might not even be able to go hunting as planned, and Dad had promised. Oh DAD, what am I going to do?

Karma had to grin at that. Kaska obviously had some ego, and he wasn't shy about it. At least in his own mind, that is.

But she was also grinning about the strict father. Kaska's father was a grim, dark, serious, and forbidding Koopa. He hardly ever considered anything fun, and was continuously working on something. That fact that he enjoyed hunting and had some sort of personal bond with Kaska surprised her.

Ahhh. Ahhh. My butt is on fire! Dad punished me after I told him about my little scar, and now I hardly have the strength to even write. Ahh! .

The rest was ineligible, mostly written in such sloppy handwriting that Karma could not even guess what he was writing. Glancing at her clock, she figured she would read the rest of them later. She knew that she had a large amount of work to do, but also knew that she could simply ask Ludwig. And she knew that the crisis would be solved soon, the whole family could depend on Dr. Kalashnikov.

What she didn't know was lethal.

Dr. Sergei "Viktor", as he liked others to call him, began making calls to those who had last seen the missing son, a fugitive and possible murderer. He began by punching in the numbers of the Yoshis and the surrounding tribes of the Forest, but none gave him useful information. All they could say was either "You're a Koopa, aren't you? So shut up and leave me alone" or "Well, it was so long ago, I don't really remember" sometimes followed by "You're a detective, right? I lost this ring I was borrowing, and the person I'm borrowing from has a really tough hubby, and I don't want to get in trouble…" or other unimportant things like that. Kalashnikov, after hearing a plea for the eighth time, slammed the phone down in frustration.

"Проклятье!" If none had a proper answer, he had to interrogate the boy personally. He was right there in the castle, but Viktor was half a world away. But then again, he could always call him via phone, right? Viktor began writing questions for the boy to answer. If he couldn't answer these questions properly, and gave something away…the boy would be guilty of murder, no chance of bail, and he would be caught, just like that. Kalashnikov grinned. Perhaps this case wasn't as difficult as he thought.

A rat scurried down through the toilets of the laboratory, eyeing the bodies of the Special Forces team. They all looked fresh, the heat radiating off of them, and the rat was tempted. It didn't want to get caught by the horrid monster that was rampaging through—it might have a taste for rats, and it certainly didn't want to become monster-food. But it didn't hear the thing's voice, or the screams the would-be bodies gave off, so it figured it would be safe. As it scurried closer to the bodies, however, it smelled fresher food—and it was nearby. The rat scurried off, in search for fresher meat. Once a carnivore, always a carnivore.

Imp 5 lay on the ground, weakly wishing she had never joined the S.S.F. in the first place. Cursed businessmen…she had been picked as a back-up member, female as she was. But most of the males were dumb anyway, and she was second-smartest of them all. If only the leader had survived…

She grabbed the emergency cord on her communication system. Ironic that the back-up system for such a sophisticated device was so primitive…she pulled it anyway. After a second or so of static, the sound cleared and all was quiet. She knew this was a sign of communication between her and the rest of the team—a large group, 25 people—and began her plea for help.

"Imp 5 here." She gasped for breath. In her state, even speaking was harsh for her. "Currently in sector…" She looked around. She could see the letter T and numbers 3 and 4 etched clearly on the wall. It seems they remade the place. "Currently in sector T34 in the sewers. I require assistance…" She drew in as much air as she could, feeling the crushed state of her lungs. Calling for help was probably pointless anyway, but she might have a chance of survival, even in her state. She gulped in air and began to speak again.

"I need assistance, desperately. Is anyone out there?" No answer. She sighed, laying down her head. It had been pointless from the start. This whole operation had been pointless from the start. All they had to do was wait a little more, and he would have given it to them. But no, the businessmen had to have it now, and they couldn't wait. Typical…All too typical of them. Tears of frustration ran down her face. If only they had waited. If only—

"Hmm?" For one second, she couldn't believe her ears. The leader was alive! All thoughts forgotten, she grabbed the device. She began blabbering into it, half hysterical.

"Imp 5 here, please help! I'm in sector T34 in the sewers, can you help me? Don't leave me here leader! This is a group operation, right?" She began to say some more when the cold reply came through the speaker.

"This is war. Survival is your responsibility." And static, once more, buzzed through.

"Curse you! Curse you all! CURSE YOU ALL!" She screamed, sobbing. The leader was alive but he wasn't coming? It made no sense. He would save his own life but would totally ignore others'? What kind of bastard was he?

Lost in her thoughts, she didn't notice the infected rat scurrying over. It smelled blood, lots of it, and was eager to feast. Although there were meals that didn't move all over the place, this one was weak and probably couldn't do anything to it. It squeaked in delight as it reached its destination. It sank its fangs into the suit—and immediately regretted it. The suit tasted like…like sewer-food. It spat in disgust, not caring that by this time, the meal had noticed it. It moved over in search of a softer spot, sniffing the foul stench the dirty suit gave away. Once having found the perfect spot, it bit into the soft, unprotected neck. Blood spilled out, smearing the pink nose of the rat green. The rat fed greedily, taking in blood as well as flesh. Nothing like fresh flesh to a zombie—and this rat was in the middle of becoming one.

As it fed, another rat found its way to the dying Special Forces member…and another…and another. Soon a whole swarm of infected rats gathered to feed on the once-beautiful face and body of Imp 5. She twitched in protest, but there was no way the carnivores would relent. She uttered a hoarse scream—and all was silent. The only female member of the Shield Special Forces was no more.