General Science Fiction posted March 2, 2009

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Aliens try to establish a human colony

The Breeding Colony

by snodlander

"It's a fascinating planet," said Zob. "It must have been amazing in its heyday. It's a shame it's in such rapid decline."

"Are you sure this species is worth saving then, considering how destructive they were on their native planet?" asked Tup. "I mean, if they escape, what's to stop them destroying our planet too?"

"Oh, that's hardly likely. It took thousands of years for them to reach that point. Besides, we only have a small environment for them. If we are successful, eventually we shall simply cull them, but it will take decades for them to even reach fifty head. Their reproductive cycle is incredibly complicated and inefficient. Quite frankly, it's unbelievable they reached the numbers they did. That's why it is so important we breed them. Not only is their breeding cycle unique, but they themselves have a native intelligence that borders on sentient."

"Explain this breeding cycle then," said Tup, then he held up a tentacle. "And please remember I am a curator, not a xenobiologist. Keep it simple."

Zob flared his dorsal sail in enthusiasm. "It is truly remarkable. Virtually every multi-cellular organism on their planet requires several of its species to cooperate in regeneration. They seem to need at least two, though our opportunity to study them in detail was limited. The dominant species is extremely aggressive when it feels threatened, and we could not afford to remain in any one site for long."

"Two? Don't be ridiculous. How could a species survive like that?"

"It's amazing, isn't it? But it's true nonetheless. Even some of their vegetation requires this. We can only assume that very early on in the evolution of their planet this mutation provided an evolutionary advantage, though what that might have been is beyond me."

"But what if one of them finds itself isolated?"

"Then it cannot reproduce. I know, you'd think this was an evolutionary dead end, but it's not. In fact, I have a hypothesis that it's this dependency on each other that is responsible for the appearance of sentience; that their sum intelligence as a group may be higher than their individual intelligence."

"Is that possible?" asked Tup. "That sounds very unlikely."

"As I said, it's just a hypothesis at the moment, but I already have an idea of a few experiments I can run to test it as their community grows."

"If it grows."

"If it grows," agreed Zob. "But I have every hope. After all, we have five of them, and you have recreated their natural environment." Zob looked through the one-way observation window at the rectangular structures flanking the straight paths that criss-crossed the enclosure. "I must admit, Tup, you have done a remarkable job. Even the light seems to be the right shade."

Tup puffed his throat sack with pride. "Yes, we worked hard on that. Red-shift filters make the light coming from our own sun appear to be from a yellow sun. I'd be surprised if they even realise they are on a different planet at all."

"Excellent. Well, we shall soon see. Look, the stasis chambers are opening."

Tup and Zob watched as the chambers carefully ejected their cargo and slid seamlessly into the ground.

"Are you sure they're from the same species?" said Tup. "They all look so different."

"The colour of their hair, their skin? Yes, it is astonishing, isn't it? And even amongst similar specimens they have a wide variety of visual clues they can use to differentiate one from the other. I suspect they are all unique, with various markings to identify each and every one. Either they are all the same species, or they have six billion different sentient species on their planet. It's one of the by-products of their reproductive cycle. When I bud, my offspring is genetically identical to me. When they bud, their offspring is a random amalgam of the genes from their parents. It's a whole new area of xenobiology. Look, they're waking. Maybe we'll see them mate."

The five humans stretched and yawned, slowly taking in their surroundings.

"Jesus! What the hell happened?" said the tall one.

The black human rolled over and retched. "God, I'm dying. Was I drinking last night?"

"Last thing I remember was this weird flashing light in the sky, and then ...." The blonde's mouth formed a circle as the memories slowly surfaced. "A flying saucer! An actual, real-life flying saucer. I saw it. My God, I actually saw it."

"Me too." This human had black hair and had not covered its lower legs or arms in material. "We've been abducted. They'd better not have probed me. Where have they dumped us? This sure as hell isn't Kansas anymore."

"Oh, I think we're a long way from Kansas," said the one with the light brown skin, and nodded towards the horizon. The others turned to see three moons low in the evening sky. They all stood and stared for a long time, as their situation sank in.

"Well, I guess introductions are due," said the tall one. "I'm David."

"Bill," said the black one.



"Ahmed. Say, what do you think they want from us?"

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