For clare_dragonfly‘s prompt
There were planets where you set down, built the first houses, and spent your four years of prep playing house like you were in the burbs back on Earth.
There were planets where you barely got the house up before the storms the weather satellites hadn’t seen nor predicted blew over you, and you spent four years just trying to survive and get enough built so the colonists coming after you wouldn’t die.
There were places where Murphy’s Law seemed to be in full effect, you lost half the team, but somehow managed to present a colony that looked tidy enough, so tidy the company was left asking “so what was the problem again?”
And then there was Fuge.
The Delfugiara was an M-class planet off the “beaten path,” inaccessible enough that the prep team was given a six-year stint instead of the normal four, Earth-like enough that they were sent down with a double team and livestock in sleepers, enough to get not just a colony but a town ready for the long-termers. It looked to be a Suburb Hop type of stay, what Marcel called Old McDonald’s Farm. They built their houses and their barns, thawed out their animals, and laid their fences.
And then the Taigups showed up.
Taig got to name them, because he brought the first one one, and Taig was three, Marcel and Stiggie’s son from their last stop. It looked sort of like a bunny, but the only place Taig had seen rabbits or hares was in picture files, so it was a Taigup, after, Siggie assumed, his father’s Marciup (an antelope-like creature on Tanner Three).
The Taigup liked the warmth of the house, about five degrees warmer than the surrounding area, which was in early-spring. It turned out it – and then the three others Taig brought home in quick succession – liked not only the warmth, but the lack of natural predators; their three-year-old would stand for them eating any number of things, but not His Pets.
They’d wondered at the lack of other small omnivores or herbivores. There were Taigups in the brush, but not massive numbers – enough to allow for reproduction over the number that were eaten by larger omnivores and the few big carnivores – but no mice-analogs, no dog-analogs, no badger-analogs. Nothing but Taigup.
When they came back to the house after a long day of Terradjusting to find sixteen Taigup where they’d had four, and the same the next three days as they spread them out like Free Kittens in a box, they began to understand.
“We’re going to have to get used to Taigup stew,” Marcel decided, as they pushed a box of the things out into the wilderness for the carnivores to eat. “Or we’re going to be drowning in bunnies.”
“I don’t think we can eat that fast.” Stiggie picked up a Taigup as it split itself into two. “Well, at least we can teach Taig exponential growth.”
(I was going to call it Welsh Taigup, even though that’s cheese, but I decided to go with something that actually involves bunny).
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