The worst thing you can say about an enemy is “Aw, how cute.”
Not because you risk offending them – we’re talking someone who is already an enemy, for one, and in this particular case, we’re talking about things that would have to go through a whole translation process to sort that out, because they definitely don’t speak English.
No, because the moment you say cute, you’ve stopped thinking of the thing as an enemy and have started thinking of it as something to hug, to protect, to coddle.
This was a big enough problem when the things the news insisted on calling the Lilliputians invaded. Well, visited. They weren’t as small as the ones Swift visited in his Tales, but they came up to about an average adult knee and they were what my daughter called “chibi”: their features looked exaggerated and childlike.
But that was them. When the rabbits appeared, well, then we had really big problems.
Really, really big problems.
Have you ever seen a grown adult soldier arguing with their officers that they can’t shoot the bunny? Have you ever seen a tank sat on by a bunny big enough to start nibbling on the flag hanging off the twenty-seventh floor? Have you ever seen the hairball from a hare that size?
Okay, so back up a bit.
It hadn’t even started with the Lilliputians. It had started with some sort of humanoid-like grey people with giant eyes, and it turned out they ran an intergalactic tourist agency – I have been told, time after time and in painstaking detail, that they are not tourists, that tourists is a provincial back-water Earth concept, but people who are not scientists travelling to new places to see how they live sounds a lot like tourism to me. Anyway, the problem with tourism (or splet!clogk, or irri♫arren↓) , as I’m sure anyone who lives in a picturesque place could already tell you, is getting the damn tourists to leave.
So may be the Lilliputians weren’t invaders, and they did go home when we convinced them that their visas had expired, but the rabbits…
Look, nobody even knows if they’re sentient. They don’t talk to me, they don’t talk to the consul, the Grey Folks aren’t even sure how they got here. But they might be cute and they might be fluffy and now nobody wants to shoot them, sure. But the amount of shit a building-sized rabbit leaves is pretty impressive, and let me tell you, that ain’t cute.
“splet!clogk” and “irri♫arren↓” aren’t necessarily meant to be pronounced by a human mouth but I was thinking that the ! in splet!clogk is a tongue click and the gk makes sort of a choking noise; the ♫ is a whistle and the ↓ is for a drop in pitch.
A movement somewhere outside her window woke her in the middle of the night.
It’s the storm, she told herself, but Carrone had woken, too. The noise from the storm had settled down to a quiet rainfall. There was very little wind at all, no sounds of sleet – but something had scratched across their wall.
The walls were more secure than they had been, but it wouldn’t stop someone from –
She rolled to one side of the bed and off as Carrone did the same on the other side. The wrong side, too close to the wall. Just as they rolled, a dart went flying over the bed – it would have hit Carrone in the neck, if he hadn’t moved. Continue reading