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Barnaby is Cromwell's pet, and lives under the Aurora Bridge. While Cromwell maintains that Barnaby is a large dog, the following news clippings may raise some suspicion.

TENSE FT LEWIS STANDOFF OVER CAPTIVE BEAR ENTERS SECOND WEEK

FORT LEWIS (Horizon News) — A tense three-way standoff entered its second week on Tuesday, as protesters affiliated with the Seattle Bear Doctors Society refused to leave prohibited space just outside the Fort Lewis Zoological Gardens research center. Security forces from both the UCAS Pacific Army Command and the Salish-Shidhe Council have mobilized outside the Center, which operates as both a public zoo and research center for paranormal and augmented animals.

At issue is a large adult American Black Bear, known to visitors as Barnaby. The bear was donated to the center by the Bear Doctors in 2075 after the bear swam to Council Island and became habituated to human food. “We clearly stipulated that Barnaby would be left to live as naturally as possible in the Fort Lewis facility.” said Bear Doctor Spokesperson Dr. Brenda Treesplitter. “We should have known better than to trust the UCAS’s offer to provide a home for this wayward bear. When we received reports that Barnaby had undergone cybernetic augmentation, we knew we had to take action!”

The Bear Doctors, a Council Island based group of shamanistic healers, is popular among the Amerindian population of the Seattle Metroplex for its free clinics. It has, nonetheless, drawn harsh criticism from the Salish-Shidhe council. “While we appreciate the Bear Doctors’ concern, and everything they have done for this community, we are concerned that their rash actions will undermine Council/UCAS relations, and we insist they stand down immediately!”

UCAS Pacific Command Press Secretary Brock Hamilton made himself available for comments on Monday morning: “We have talked with the Ares contractors who run the facilities, and they have assured us that any work done on animals in the facility is humane and improve the quality of life of the animal. These allegations are the typical lies we’ve come to expect from eco-terrorist groups. If the Salish-Shidhe Council will not clear their people from the prohibited space outside the Fort Lewis Zoo, our Soldiers will remove them with extreme prejudice.”

Salish-Shidhe Council Ambassador Margaret Lone Feather urged calm in a rare joint press release with Governor Kenneth Brackhaven. “We are well aware of the situation at hand, and while we respect the Bear Doctor Society for their healing skills, we fear they may have let their tempers override better judgement. We encourage everyone, regardless of their nation, to avoid the area and leave it to our security forces to negotiate a peace. We value our relationship with Seattle and the UCAS, and believe that to jeopardize it over something as insignificant as a single bear would be incredibly unwise.”

“Stupid, even,” added Governor Brackenhaven. “Fortunately, the facility is in lockdown and the protesters have been unable to breach the hardened doors and magical barriers.”

UPDATE: SEVERAL EXPLOSIONS HEARD WITHIN FORT LEWIS ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS

FORT LEWIS, UCAS (Horizon News) — A series of explosions, followed by sounds of growls, shrieks and howls have sounded from within Fort Lewis Zoological Garden Research Facility, late this evening. This, after an intense three-week standoff over the fate of a donated bear named “Barnaby”. The UCAS Army, Salish-Shidhe ground troops, and Bear Doctor Protesters all appear to be caught off guard, with each group preventing the others from entering the building.

“Frankly, we have no idea what’s going on in there: the fraggin’ protesters forced us to evacuate the facility of most personnel,” claimed on-site UCAS commander Rick Naskin. “I place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Salish-Shidhe council for failing to control these so called ‘Bear Doctors’. As soon as the politicians get their fraggin’ heads out of their collective asses and give us permission, we’ll clear up whatever the problem is.”

Salish-Shidhe ground forces were equally flustered. “Our presence here are centered solely around ensuring a peaceful resolution to the ongoing tension.” claimed Council Elder Jim Whitewing. “If the Bear Doctors have taken illegal action, they will have to answer to the governments of both nations, but until that is proven, we will consider any violent act the UCAS takes against the shaman to be an act of war!”

The Bear Doctors, who have chained themselves together around the main and back entrances to the facility, claim to have no knowledge of what has caused the explosions. “We are healers, doctors and religious leaders,” explained Dr. Brenda Treesplitter. “While we stand by our protest, and we have resolved to take no action. Our primary concern is that Barnaby, and the other animals within the facility, are not injured by whatever in the Great Bear’s name is going on in there! The mana barrier that protected the facility is down, and we’re working on getting a spirit in there who can tell us more.”

Local peer-to-peer networks are buzzing about a trid-cast that was posted this afternoon from local trid-caster Buggs Fink. In the video, footage shows his unauthorized drones being shot down by UCAS snipers. In the background, he claims his enhanced filters show several grainy images of a “large gargoyle-looking creature, wearing a three-piece suit and some kind of hat, climbing the walls of the facility at incredible speed”. Horizon News considers this information highly speculative and unreliable, and recommends Mr. Fink leave the reporting to the professionals.

We will have more on this story as it develops.

UPDATE: FORT LEWIS STANDOFF RESOLVED; BARNABY THE BEAR STILL AT LARGE

FORT LEWIS (Horizon News) — The tense standoff at Fort Lewis Zoological Gardens has come to an end, after a foggy night filled with explosions, mayhem and escaping animals. Salish-Shidhe ground troops completed their withdrawal this morning, while UCAS troops struggled to recapture a number of paranormal animals who escaped into the wild through large, mysterious holes in the facility’s walls that appeared during what was an abnormally foggy night.

Notably, Barnaby, the bear who triggered the protests, has not been located. Head researcher, Dr. Anderol Gleeson, was caught on trid in a heated exchange with Bear Doctor Society Protester Dr. Brenda Treesplitter, most of which is unsuitable for publishing. “Where the **** is the ****ing bear, you ****ing hippy!?! Do you know how much ****ing money Ares poured into that thing!?!” Gleeson was eventually sedated and carried off by UCAS HTR operatives, and an Ares spokesperson called the doctors comments, “unfortunate and misinformed. Ares respects all life. The bear was obviously not modified in anyway, but may still be dangerous–anyone with information on the bear’s whereabouts should contact Ares representatives immediately.”

Bear Doctor Society protesters appeared surprisingly calm, providing medical aid to several researchers who had been knocked unconscious during the as-of-yet unexplained events. “Our spirits are currently working to drive these animals south,” said Dr. Treesplitter. ” We have people across the border who can help reintegrate them into Salish-Shidhe lands.”

The researchers, themselves, appeared to have no memory of what happened. “We were locked inside and then… I don’t know, it’s like a dream I can’t quite remember. I think someone threw an awakened walrus at me! The next thing I remember, this Bear Shaman was muttering something over my head, and I now I feel better. I think I’m going to need a new job, though.”

Salish-Shidhe representatives expressed anger over the incident. “We’re still not clear on who breached the facility last night,” explained Elder Jim Whitewing. The Bear Doctors have given us their word that they were not involved, beyond the cleanup this morning. Whoever is responsible for this took a number of reckless, and frankly, stupid risks. That said, the most foolish risk was the UCAS’s failure to live up to its agreements concerning the treatment of these animals. Perhaps the generals of UCAS should look to the volcano to the east more often, and remember the consequences of their past choices.”

The public section of Fort Lewis Zoological Gardens will remain closed for several weeks while damage is assessed, doors and walls are repaired, and the remaining animals are corralled. This is the second time explosives have been detonated in a research facility in the last month, after the Red Blossom Clinic sustained damage in what Shiawase claims was a hate crime against disabled elves. Barnaby the Bear remains at large and officials from both nations have promised to return him to the facility when found.