flash fiction
October 5, 2017

Vermin Paradise

We arrived on Teta-Zeta on November 3050 ship time. We had traveled for more than forty light years looking for a planet suitable for the remaining humans in Earth to inhabit.

The surface of Earth has been taken over completely by roads, cities, machines, and many other artificial constructions. Vegetation on Earth is almost non existent and the only animals surviving in the cracks of our megalopolises are rats. Rats the size of dogs. And they don’t just survive, they thrive. Every other animal is dead.

So a group of us, explorers, mercenaries and scientist, have embarked on this adventure to Teta-Zeta. To research the only planet in the near system accessible to human ships and seemingly appropriate for colonization.

We are prepared for this mission. Our ship is the size of a football field. We have everything needed for a forty year trip and for the exploration and colonization of new planets.

If our early findings are correct, Teta-Zeta will be the perfect planet for migrating the population on Earth.

From our early observations, it appeared that two thirds of the surface of Teta-Zeta were covered in oceans, had a perfect oxygen atmosphere, an acceptable gravity, blue skies and a lush surface.

When we landed in Teta-Zeta and debarked our ship we found ourselves in a green valley crowned by a waterfall. Everywhere there was grass, fruit trees and flowers.

We found no animal larger than a sheep, and none of them seemed to pose a threat to humans. On the contrary. They all seemed quite docile. The predominant species was a very friendly six-legged animal that looked like a cross between a rabbit and a small dog. All animals ate grass or fruits from the abundant trees. This was a planet with no predators.

Teta-zeta had turned to be better than our best dreams. A true paradise. We couldn’t have wish for a better utopia for humans to settle. We sent a message back to Earth with the good news of our discovery and set camp to start building our first settlement.

The trouble came on the second week. One of the little six-legged critters had followed us all this time and had grown a particular affection to me. I let it sleep in my tent and even gave it a name. One morning I discovered the animal laying immobile in a corner inside my tent. I got closer and saw a puddle of what I assumed was blood. I kicked it with my boot. It was dead.

I pulled the poor thing off the ground to investigate. The neck of the animal was torn, and to my horror, a giant black rat was chewing on it. I killed the beast with my own hands. A terrible thought had dawned on me. That ugly viciousness didn’t belong in this paradise. That rat had come from Earth. We had brought rats on our ship! We had brought rats in our ship and now we had unleashed them in this planet.

Soon we found more dead animals and devoured trees. We didn’t know how many rats we had brought with us. We only knew that they had 40 years to multiply.

Our biologist estimated that under regular conditions the rats would be the dominant species in Teta-Zeta in less than 10 generations. If this planet had any predators there could be hope, of but without them, all fruit, trees and animals were doomed.

We sent a message back to Earth: Do not bother. Planet invaded by vermin. We’ll keep looking.

October 5, 2017 · #101ToF · #Fiction · #Flash Fiction


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