The Amity Incident

By CM_Weller All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi / Adventure

20.

It took a week for Shanice and Susan to explore the possibilities of the perimeter of Wiwazheer. During which, the two of them got more sample credit than any of the erratic meanderings of Jaime and his crew of discontents.
And today, the day they re-discovered the gigantor-frogs' favourite pond, one of the discontents found them. Kori.
"Hey," said Kori. "Um. Sorry about the frog thing. I didn't know he was gonna do that? Um. And -uh- I kinda stopped hanging around those guys any more, after they did that." Kori scratched his arm. "I tried to tell 'em how they were wrong and why? But they threw stuff at me and called me a bunch'a slurs."
"Thanks for trying," said Susan. "You want to help us catch the males? Doctor Theresa gave us a scanner so we can work out which ones are which."
"You figured out how to catch them?" Kori boggled. "It was a lucky fumble from Bill that got us that megafrog, last time."
"Gigantor," corrected Shanice.
"Huh?"
Smooth, thought Susan.
"It's called Gigantor, now," said Shanice. She still spoke very softly and moved as if she were afraid that the world would hurt her. "I got the credits."
"Cred—" Kori swore and kicked a bush, disturbing a cloud of insects that were only interested in wheeling briefly in the air before seeking shelter elsewhere. "That scum-sucking numb-knuckle said someone else already had the credit for that damned frog!"
"Now, now," Shanice admonished, "That's an insult to scum-sucking numb-knuckles…"
Susan giggled. "Forget Jaime."
"Yes, please."
"We got frogs to hunt."
The usual Terran method of blowing raspberries until something croaked back and netting it did not work. And the big frogs were clever enough to recognise an approaching net or hand and get out of the way.
They liked the swarmer bugs and, once someone held a jar full of them in the general direction of the frogs, they were much easier to sneak up on.
And that's when they discovered that the gender dimorphism of this species was vast, indeed.
All of the big ones were girls.
It was the little blue-ish ones that hid under the almost-lillypads who were the boys.
It was a mucky three hours of discovery, but the three of them collected the boy frogs, the almost-lillypads, the bugs and the water and a fish that was more a lucky catch than a skillful snag.
Between the three of them, it was a lot to carry. And there was a long walk between the frog pond and central analysis.
It was worth it, though. The ones who brought in more scientific discoveries also gained the opportunity for more material wealth. Better things.
Susan was helping save up for an extension for her oncoming baby sib.
This one would make it. Ze had to.
It just wouldn't be fair, otherwise.
Susan floated the idea of cutting the path to the beach on their long walk back to central analysis. Since Jaime's group of the discontented were wandering around in the fruitless pursuit of cheap laughs. It would serve a dual purpose of gathering samples and making a roadway to a potentially fun destination. And accelerating the progress towards ocean food or farming would just help everyone else out, anyway.
Kori was the most reluctant. "Why break your back making that dumb path, anyway? Someone else'll make it eventually."
"We're all someone else to someone else," Susan quoted Watterson. "And if we all sit around waiting for someone else to do things, nothing gets done."
"Guess," managed Kori. "It's just that it's so hard."
"Everything here is hard. Even with all our tech. Taking the easy way out is what wrecked Earth," said Shanice. "And having a wrecked Earth is why we're even here. Remember the colour of the sky?"
"Yeah, it was sort of… washed out."
"Looked up, lately?"
They all did. Such a thing to ignore, but the sky was… a real sky blue. All the other skies Susan remembered were much paler and, in extreme situations, grey. Susan remembered staring out at it from the safety of the ship as the adults cleared the space for Wiwazheer. Before that moment, sky blue was a figment of pencil colour-namers.
Leaf green was going to change. The wild, natural foliage was generally some shade of olive khaki.
Everything was going to change. But not, if they could help it, the colour of a clear sky.


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