Disclaimer: I don't own Wild Kratts.
Shaddup, I know it's a kid's show! I love it anyway!
"We're happy to help Professor Baldwin, we're just not sure how you think we can."
Martin and Chris Kratt looked around the extensive laboratory complex as Professor Baldwin, an aging older gentleman in a white lab coat, led them down the halls. Professor Baldwin coughed slightly, clearing his throat. "Yes, yes, I can see how you might get that impression. It seems modern technology and wildlife do not get along on a regular basis," he answered Chris's question. "Rest assured however that your reputation as, er, 'creature adventurers' precedes you. That is to say, I had never heard of you before, but one of the people working for me has, and she is insistent that you are just the people she needs."
Martin leaned over and whispered in Chris's ear, "Is it just me, or is he silently mocking us?"
Chris shushed his older brother as Professor Baldwin stopped in front of a door labeled 'Lab 23'. "And here we are," he announced, opening the door and leading them in. Through the door was a pristine lab, other than the various mechanical parts cluttered on the surfaces. A tech was working at a counter, engaged in her work but she looked up when Professor Baldwin and the brothers entered. She was a young woman with black hair pulled away from her face in a ponytail, and she hurried over to them with a wide grin on her face when she saw them, practically bouncing.
"Fantastico! You're here!" she exclaimed without preamble, then grabbed Martin's arm and started dragging him over to where she was working.
"Woah woah woah woah, what?"
"Aviva is... rather enthusiastic about her work," Professor Baldwin explained to a snickering Chris. "She is the one who suggested I contact you. I suspect there was a small amount of hero worship in that suggestion."
Aviva meanwhile was shoving some sort of vest thing at Martin. "Here, put this on!"
"Oh, and the gloves!"
Aviva's face fell, a glove in each hand, as she realized that Martin had no idea what she was talking about. "You mean Professor Baldwin didn't explain?"
Martin nodded, still holding the vest.
Aviva made a show of a long-suffering sigh, but it was obvious that she was going to enjoy this. "When used right, technology can help animals just as much as it can hurt them when used wrong. Like when park rangers use radio tags to keep track of herds or packs, or when people put extra effort using technology into making their lives more eco-friendly. But a lot of these inventions are just subsets of inventions initially intended only to help humans. I've been working on technology designed foremost to help animals, to help us understand them and understand how to really help them. This slant to my research has resulted in the creature power suit!"
"Creature... power... suit?" Martin and Chris asked in tandem.
Aviva nodded, whistling. "Come Suzette, come 'ere!" she called, patting her thigh.
There was a clicking noise as a sad-looking German shepherd appeared from behind a counter, toenails clacking on the hard floor. "That dog's not looking too good," Chris pointed out, starting to feel a bit wary about the whole thing.
Aviva reached down and scratched behind Suzette's ears, whose tail started to wag. "She's a rescue dog, poor thing. I needed a familiar animal that we really, truly understood for testing, and she enjoys keeping me company."
"Testing?" Martin squeaked.
Aviva took one look at the similar expressions on the the brothers' faces and looked a bit sheepish, waving it off. "Don't worry, not like that. The creature power suit is complicated, it needs an animal to... well, it's sort of hard to explain without it coming off really wrong. Better to just demonstrate. That vest that Martin's holding... I can call you Martin, right?"
Martin shrugged, looking over at Chris. "Well, Mr. Kratt would get kind of confusing."
Aviva grinned. "Great! Anyway, that vest that you're holding plus these gloves," she waved, "are the creature power suit. Up until now, people studying animals have only been able to observe, never continue on to the next step and become. The creature power suit helps you to become the creature. You will have all of that creature's powers, truly able to understand what makes them tick! If you just put it on Martin, I'll explain how it works."
Martin held out the vest and gave it a once-over. "Right. Which side's the front?"
"The one away from you. Just slip it on over your head!"
Martin did so, and it went on with ease. He tugged at the side. "Is it supposed to be this loose?"
Aviva shook her head, holding out the gloves. "Not really, but obviously I had to make the design a bit one-size-fits-all. I can trim it down easily though, and I'm thinking of adding straps."
Martin nodded, grabbing the gloves and slipping them on. If he were to admit it, he felt a little silly. "Okay then. Now what?"
Aviva's eyes got a little wider, and her excitement was practically palpable. "The dog disc is already in, so all you've got to do is press that middle button while touching Suzette! Touch the dog! Become the dog!"
"Become the dog?" Martin asked, a little skeptical. He knew that if this didn't work, he'd never hear the end of it from Chris.
"Yes! The creature power suit taps into the dog's DNA and gives you the power of dogdom! You will walk like a dog, smell like a dog, see like a dog! It's a breakthrough in the area of animal research!"
Martin looked over at Chris, who shrugged. Can't hurt, can it? his face said. Martin took a deep breath and crouched down, beckoning to Suzette. The German shepherd walked over, and her tail started wagging very happily as Martin rubbed her back.
"Well, theoretically anyway."
Martin immediately stopped. "What do you mean, theor – woah!"
Suzette, annoyed that she was no longer getting a back rub, had nuzzled her head against Martin's chest... right on the button that Aviva had indicated. He immediately felt something contort around him, forcing him into a strange pose that he could feel pulling on his muscles.
"Martin? Bro?" Chris asked, his voice laced with worry.
And then suddenly everything was all right, though a tiny voice at the back of his head was telling him that he should be more worried about the fact that he was lying on the ground with his legs splayed out, and that indeed he did suddenly have four of them. He blinked several times up at everyone. "Everything's black and white all of a sudden."
Chris smiled down at him, leaning forward and putting his hands on his knees. "Well, dogs are colorblind. How do you feel?"
Feeling something, Martin twisted his head around and saw that he was indeed a dog now. He looked back up at Chris. "I have a tail now." He twisted his head back around, then made the tail twitch. He slapped the floor with it a few times. Oooh, that felt weird. Not just the slapping of the floor, but the very fact of having an appendage where previously there was none.
Aviva was vibrating. "It works it works it works it works!"
Chris turned his head away from Martin with a deadpan look. "You mean you've never tested it before?"
Martin meanwhile was trying to figure out how dog legs worked when attached to a human brain. He got halfway up before abruptly going back down again. "Linoleum is my new least favorite type of flooring," he grumbled.
"Well I obviously couldn't test it on myself, how would I collect data?" Aviva explained as though it were obvious. "And no one around here wanted to do it for some reason."
"Wahoo!" Martin cheered, drawing their attention back to him. He had managed to get fully upright. "This is actually pretty cool!" He tried taking a few steps forward... which resulted in another faceplant. "How do you turn it off?" he asked from the floor, sounding rather like a growling dog.
Aviva chuckled. "It's just the same button as activating it."
Martin twisted, and managed to bump the button with his dog snout. There was a flash of light and Martin was back to normal, albeit lying on the floor. He gingerly stood up, seemingly testing his legs. "That was weird," he stated definitively, slipping off the gloves and putting them on the counter beside him.
"So you just got in touch with us because you needed a test subject?" Chris asked, slightly flabbergasted.
"Not exactly," Aviva answered. "Theoretically, the creature power suit could emulate any creature in existence. However, I need to program each separate creature in, and of course in order to activate it I need access to those creatures. As you can imagine, this means that the creature power suit will require extensive field testing. I would like to propose a partnership. I'm sure that you can see the positive impact my creature power suit could have on your creature adventures, and your creature adventures would be the perfect way to field test them."
Martin and Chris shared a look. "Well, we'd love to help you Aviva," Martin started.
"But our lifestyle just isn't suited to lugging around a bunch of scientific equipment," Chris finished with a shrug.
"Oh that's okay!" Aviva answered, still cheerful. "We've got that covered, right Professor?" she answered with an elbow.
Professor Baldwin was caught off guard. "Ahem. What? Oh yes. In order to facilitate young Aviva's research, Baldwin Laboratories is prepared to offer one of our turtle bases on long-term loan."
Martin and Chris's eyes grew as wide as saucers. "No way!"
"A turtle base?"
"Awesome!" they indoor-voice shouted in unison.
"Then you'll accept my business proposal?" Aviva asked, clearly excited.
"Yes!" Martin and Chris answered enthusiastically.
Two weeks passed by, wherein Aviva trimmed down Martin's creature power suit to fit and made a second one for Chris. When she wasn't working on Martin's, he and Chris took turns getting used to it with the help of Suzette.
Chris, for his part, did a little happy dance when he first saw their new turtle base. Martin settled for staring in awe, then ran forward and gave one of the legs a hug. "Awwww! It's so cute!" he exclaimed. "I'm going to call you Tortuga. Tortuga the turtle base!"
A young black woman poked her head out the door. "Tortuga, huh? I like it."
The brothers jumped slightly. "And you are?" Chris asked, slightly confused.
"Oh me?" the woman asked, gesturing to herself. "I'm Koki. Me an' Jimmy Z will be coming with as techs alongside Aviva. Professor Baldwin's worried about the equipment, you understand."
"Do we ever," Chris responded, staring up at the newly-christened Tortuga. "Turtle bases are expensive."
"And we get one nearly to ourselves!" Martin sang out, still very much in turtle base inspired bliss.
Aviva walked up carrying a box. "This is the last of the supplies. You guys ready to roll?"
Martin grinned, punching his fist. "Let's get this show on the road!"
"It's creature adventure time!" Martin and Chris shouted, punching the air together. Aviva and Koki laughed as the four of them entered the Tortuga and the door closed behind them. And that was when Tortuga flew off into the sunrise (an early start, you understand).
Oh man, I'm not even going to hope for reviews for this. It's just going to exist away in a dusty corner of the internet.