Copyright Ken Brady. No reproduction without express permission from the author.
(Originally published in DAILY CABAL, 2008)
The bears were the latest annoyance.
Not the only annoyance, rather the most recent in a string of irritations plaguing Colony 17’s third most populous city over the last few weeks.
Kayzee, Colony 17’s outgoing manager, knew there were no indigenous bears on Colony 17. Just like there were no snakes, no porcupines, no woodchucks, and no marmots. Well, there was the one pet marmot in City 1. So, one marmot, but absolutely no bears.
She shook her head. Calvin was certainly to blame. Again. A teenaged boy was always dangerous, but none so much as a teenaged boy whose father was Doc Blakeman, the head of colony engineering. While Blakeman was away in deep space checking out a distress signal, his son had gained back door access to the colony’s matter transfer system.
The problem was how to get Calvin out of the air shafts where he’d been hiding, teleporting innocent animals from Earth to Colony 17. It was all security could do to capture and return the damn things.
“I’m just making our environment more Earth-like,” Calvin had said over the colony PA system. “There are no animals here. Don’t you think that’s unfortunate? Do you like big cats?”
Kayzee thought what was unfortunate was that Calvin hadn’t fallen down one of the vertical shafts along with his love of animals. No, she didn’t like big cats, she told him. No lions, no tigers; instead she’d gotten bears. Forget that there was no natural ecosystem here. Forget that the light gravity caused the animals to jump ten percent higher than they could on Earth — which the marmots loved. No, it was the smell that got to Kayzee. The colony simply wasn’t equipped to deal with wild animal detritus. And Kayzee wasn’t equipped to deal with Calvin.
She wracked her brain for an answer as she called security to take care of the bears. As luck would have it, a call from Doc Blakeman said he was heading back, and was, in fact, just inside the transfer zone. He needed Kayzee to do an emergency matter transfer directly to colony quarantine. Hurry, and tell no one, he said.
Kayzee knew the alien creature she was about to teleport from Blakeman’s ship was dangerous, but, really, how bad could it be? From the blurry image he’d sent it certainly looked nasty, but it couldn’t be any worse than bears. There was only one, after all. Since it liked to use air shafts to move around, it was perfect for the job.
If Calvin wanted wild animals roaming the colony, this one would certainly be the last. She paused, considered the uproar Doc Blakeman would certainly cause and what that would do to her career. Then again, she was retiring. Kayzee triggered the matter transfer system and “accidentally” teleported the creature into Colony 17’s main air shaft.
They’d figure out how to get rid of it later.