Topar’s Trials

(a science fiction story)

Topar slithered into his office. Worry creased his thorax. It had been many sectons since he had worried this much. Unpossible. I have done everything I can! If he didn’t succeed in this assignment, he wouldn’t be offered access to the community ovipositor until the next cycle.

"What’s wrong, Topar?" said Sogash. The other snesh used a sidewise gait to approach that meant concern/slight tinge of mockery in sneshite slang.

Coruscating annoyance, Topar said, "It’s these darned humans. They won’t breed, they won’t move much, they hardly even live. I’ve never had a xenopreservation project so difficult."

Sogash moderated his gait in empathy. "They look sickly, for sure. Are they eating?" He dilated his monocule to take a closer look. "You said they aren’t breeding! What’s that?"

"It looks like breeding, but it isn’t. Those aren’t even the appropriate organs, and they are sexually dimorphic, not trimporhic. They do eat, though. Look at that specimen over there. Three times nominal mass!"

"I’m sorry I mock-gaited you earlier." Sogash coiled around his friend. "Let’s go get shplitfaced. Everything will look better in the diurn."

Topar shrugged his dorsal fin and agreed. "Are you buying?"

"Sure, buddy."

I’m never doing that again. Topar hurt. Everything hurt, even the the parts below his hindbrain. They had their one nervous system, and sensations rarely bled over. But today! He opened his monucule and sensed red lights and chaos. Oh no!

He must have bumped into the control panel before hibernating away the affects of shplit. How long had it been? Never mind. The biome was damaged. The climate dial was shifted from tropical to sub-arctic, and there was an incursion from the neigboring biome. The draconics! This was a disaster. Different species generally didn’t get along. Humans may be extinct.

Togar made his way to the observatory using a rolling gait that meant oh shit oh shit oh shit in sneshite slang. There he got the shock of his life. The humans were thriving!

There were some problems. When the weather changed and the draconics arrived, some had died, especially among the biggest eaters, but after awhile the humans began to build shelters, carve weapons, and fight back against the draconics. As Togar watched, they were currently gathered in the center of a cluster of shelters listening to another human strum on a musicator and sing. He listened:

"Sing goddess, of the great Diocles, slayer of dragons, of his rage against his brother, which led so many great souls down to underbiome. . . "

Not to his taste, but it had rhythm.

There were smaller humans sitting at the feet of the musician. Have they been breeding? Togar checked the records. Population had dipped for a while, but now it was higher than before his shplit-binge.

The high threshi congratulated Togar for his great success. "Never before have we seen a xenopreservation of this quality. How did you do it?"

"I have to thank my friend Sogash. . . "