Marashan arrived at Feran stables just as a newscaster interrupted a music program to tell of an entire herd breaking out of a pen at the slaughtering yards and running into the hills.
"They smelled death and ran."
"They've never done so before, Marashan."
"Do we know that, Ferandis? Corellis was in charge of the slaughterhouse. She's not there now because she was suspended from the position until the investigation of yesterday's incident is complete. Would she have allowed the news out? Or just said the cost of maintaining herds in the pens had risen and raised the price charged for the next shipment of meat? Gene charts?"
"Yes, Tut's and his great-grandsire's."
"Have you found a noticeable difference?"
"Several, but I don't know which are coloring and... "
"What is it?"
"This is new."
"Is it? I think it may be quite old and have just turned up again. It's in the area you've labeled temperament. I'm afraid we've discovered a devolved species and put them back on the right evolutionary track. I don't think fifteen generations is long enough to develop the kind of intelligence Tut shows. He's learning to learn. The others are copying him. I think he may be capable of learning to speak a few words. He seems to learn best by watching, but I have hopes his desire to please will offset the fact his mouth is constructed differently. I plan on teaching him I'm teaching him first."
"Explain that, please."
"I have in mind a series of simple tasks which will also help me estimate his intelligence. Ferandis, I'm an old fool. I hate seeing beautiful creatures slaughtered for the table. I ranted and raved to get attention and see if anyone else out there hated the practice. I wasn't prepared to suddenly face the possibility my rantings were true. I just wanted to prevent the type of tragedy I witnessed with my own grandchild. "Carladuss is fat. He has LOTS of blood. We just want some so our before dinner is right. You said it doesn't hurt." How could I not try to do something? My precious grandchild was quite sure stabbing a playmate to get his blood was acceptable. When I learned it WASN'T an isolated incident, I began yelling for attention."
"That's horrible. Why is it happening?"
"This is only theory, but I think it's because we've never kept domestic herds for slaughter before. We hunted wild animals and our PRIMARY source of protein was marine life. How often do you eat fish?"
"Every twenty days or so."
"Like most, two or three times a day."
"How's your health?"
"Fair, though it has been... Too much meat."
"Exactly. It's meat that should be once every twenty or so days and marine products about once every other day. Our diet has changed drastically in the last twenty-five solars. It's only that long since meat became truly plentiful and inexpensive. Doesn't it tell us something that this species requires at least twenty SOLARS to mature. Or that it used to require only twelve to fourteen?"
"They're large animals and we've bred them to increase their size."
"Ferandis, we've hunted creatures with TWICE the mass of these and they matured in two or three. We've ignored EVERY indication this species is more than just another animal. We're TOO positive mammals can't be sentient. The last time we were TOO positive we lost ninety-six percent of our population before we blasted a world and hobbled off to heal our wounds. I found total assurance reptilian life can't develop sentience in the library archives. I also found total assurance insectoid life can't develop sentience. We know those statements are false because we were brutally confronted with the truth. This time I'd like to see if we can accept the possibility before most of our population is wiped out."
"I've never heard anything like your statements."
"Our history is carefully edited and research into it carefully discouraged. Which, of course, is why I got curious about it. My grandchildren are being taught we chose to keep our numbers small until we found a world suitable to increase them and with the resources to build more ships. They don't know there were ever millions of us or that we ever met another sentient species. I was visited by a committee of educators and told I was damaging my grandchildren's emotional stability and that of the other children they told what I had told them and would be confined as a menace if I didn't stop."
"I... feel rather ill."
"I've felt that way for several solars. Yes, Ferandis, there's a visible mutation in your Tut and I'm not sure we're seeing the one we think we are. I think the potential for sentience may have always been there and we've just uncovered it. Do I have your permission to teach him?"
"Tell me your plans."
Tut followed Marashan and lifted the cart handles when he put him between them. He watched Marashan fill feed bins with vegetables from the cart. When Marashan pulled him around to the side of the cart and put the scoop in his hand, Tut scooped vegetables and put them in a feed bin. Marashan stopped him after two scoops and led him to the next stall. By the third, Tut was putting two scoops and pulling the cart without instruction. He was obviously delighted with the process and his accomplishment. He strutted and pranced for the others, especially Mim.
Vanas smiled at his antics and Marashan's obvious pleasure in them. She laughed when Tut sniffed, then burrowed into the vegetable pile, found a large fruit and ran down the stable to give it to Mim. Later, she'd realize the true import of what she'd seen. It would almost terrify her when Tut taught Mim to pull the cart and scoop the vegetables that evening. And he taught her two scoops.
Marashan taught Tut to pull weeds from the garden. He only pulled up two vegetable plants before he got the idea. It took four trips to the compost heap before he understood that's where the weeds went. He had a bit of trouble in the flower garden. He just couldn't tell a flower from a flowering weed. Marashan had to stop him pulling up the grass in the lawn, but he finally seemed to get the idea that a "weed" in the garden wasn't one in the lawn.
Marashan was amazed. Tut's performance was brilliant. He capered wildly across the lawn when he pulled a flowering weed from it and was told he was a "good boy." When Marashan arrived the next morning, twenty studs and their stablemates were grooming the gardens and lawn under Tut's watchful eye. Tut brought him several vegetable plants and flowers that had been 'casualties' of the lesson. Marashan taught him to replant them. He collapsed in laughter when Tut shook the empty watering can, then stood and watered a flower his own way. Eventually, he had Tut sniff the watering can, then the flower he'd 'watered'. He refilled the watering can and took it back. He didn't like the look of the person standing near Tut and it was obvious Tut didn't either.
"I don't like this and I don't like you."
"I have Sir Ferandis' permission to conduct this experiment, sir."
"I don't give a damn WHOSE permission you've got. Stop it now, or you'll be sorry."
"Just who are you to threaten me?"
"It's no threat. It's a warning. Keep messing with the stock and we'll include you when we get rid of the ones you've ruined."
Tut watched him walk away, then turned to Marashan. "His name is Klaris. He's just plain cruel. Vanas suspects him of damaging us, but can't prove we didn't "jump around and run into" something. He's got some very unpleasant acquaintances as well. They're the ones who mutilated and murdered one of YOUR children and dumped her in the middle of the pasture corral last solar. We were afraid you'd blame us for it."
"She was cut and burned, not pummeled and trampled."
"Her shell was broken and she was beaten to a bloody pulp and we weren't sure you'd look to see other damage. They didn't expect you would. He's working himself up to kill at least me and probably you. He won't do it alone. His friends hang around the slaughterhouse. They bribe a vet there not to anesthetize the ones to be killed, then bet on whether or not they'll scream when they're cut open. Easy. Lie down. I'm going to pick you up and carry you to shade, then bring you water and help. I'm about to say a piece of your name as my first word. Interesting. Mama is mother in our language and usually the first word a child speaks. I'll be right back."
Vanas looked up when Tut ran into the stable. He picked up a water bucket, shook his head at her and started out. He ran back to her and tapped her, then started out again. He stamped, screwed up his face and squealed. Then he stunned her completely.
"Ma! Ma! Ma! Ma! Sha! Masha! Masha! MaSHAN!"
Vanas suddenly realized Tut was wildly upset and trying desperately to get something across to her and she was just staring. Suddenly he squealed and ran out of the stable. She pulled herself together and ran after him. She saw him round the corner of the house and hurried.
"MASHAN! MASHAN! Company coming."
"Oh, my stars! Easy, Tut. I'm all right. I just had several shocks. Easy now. Oh, yes, water is just what I... needed."
Vanas rounded the corner of the house just in time to see Tut dump the water bucket on Sir Marashan. He was trotting around him worriedly and touching him lightly every few steps.
"Sir Marashan! Are you all right?"
"Other than trying to suppress a fit of giggles, yes, Vanas. Tut took very good care of me. I received a nasty threat and perhaps became a bit overheated. Tut carried me into the shade and... cooled me off."
"Yes, Tut. Good boy. VERY good boy."
"He ran into the stable and I didn't realize what he wanted. Sir Marashan, he WORKED to tell me you needed help."
"You agree he's trying to say my name?"
"He worked his way up from Ma to Mashan to get me to follow him to you. I have NO doubts."
"Then we'd better prepare to defend ourselves, our families, Tut and the rest of the herds."
"I told you I received a threat, Vanas. Tut didn't like the fellow who delivered it at ALL."
"Klaris. Whoa, Tut! Easy, boy. He's not here. Sir Marashan, he's a blowhard."
"I doubt it. I rather trust Tut's instincts and, perhaps, knowledge. He didn't attack him, but I've never seen him look so dangerous. He HATES that man and it's not his nature to do so without VERY good reason. My own reaction was he's TOTALLY unsane and he seems to have associates of like nature or he wouldn't have said, "WE'LL include you when we get rid of the stock you've ruined." I think the threat was a challenge and the reason an excuse."
"What's he trying to tell us?"
"I have no idea, Vanas. Tut, is it about Klaris?"
"Ow! I say that squeal meant you hit it with that name."
"It's the way they hold their very young foals. Foal? Like this? Foal?"
"Let me see... One of our children? Oh, dear, I don't know how to... Size? A point to me, then you, then smaller."
"You got a blank look."
"Hold your arms as much like he did as possible, Vanas. Foal? Child?"
"I think we... NOW what's he doing?"
"Sniffing me. Smelling... "
"Klaris? Something ON Klaris. I feel like laughing, but I'm sure this is no game he's playing."
"I agree. He's trying to communicate something very complicated for him to even attempt to express. Tut!"
"He cut himself deliberately!"
"I noticed, Vanas. Blood! He smelled blood on Klaris! A CHILD'S blood. Can he smell that well?"
"THAT we don't know."
"Wait a moment. How long ago was he brought in from the herd?"
"About two solars."
"That's not it then. I thought he'd seen someone dump little Sebbicis' body in the large pasture corral, but that was just over a solar ago."
"Sir Marashan, I wouldn't say this to anyone else, but I think that may be JUST what Tut's trying to tell us. And he IS trying very hard. You opened something in him."
"He's learning to learn. Like a child does, but faster because he's had the experience of being trained. I'm just offering him more opportunity."
"And he immediately passes the learning on. I've watched. He repeats EXACTLY what you show him to teach the others. If they don't get it, he goes through the ENTIRE sequence again, which is just how I taught him to do the required routine. We need to talk to Sir Ferandis."
"Let's take Tut with us."
"In the HOUSE?"
"I doubt he'll pee on the carpet or eat the drapes."
Tut tried to walk around the carpet, bumped a table and knocked over a VERY ugly sculpture. He whimpered, sat down and tried to push the pieces together. Ferandis watched a moment, then patted him and told him it was all right. He moved a lovely little carving from a shelf to the table and Tut smiled. He gingerly stepped on the carpet and wriggled his toes in it. He was obviously delighted with the sensation.
Marashan led him to a place by Ferandis' chair and watched him carefully avoid furniture. He wondered how much was show and how much was actual unfamiliarity with it.
"I rather feel like thanking him, Marashan. My aunt gave me that ugly thing and I've been tempted to just 'accidentally' break it for QUITE some time."
"He seemed to much prefer the piece you put in its place, Ferandis. I know I certainly do."
"Sir Ferandis, I don't know where to start."
"The beginning is usually a good place, Vanas. He's bleeding!"
"He did it deliberately to try to tell us something, we think."
"We think he tried to tell us Klaris killed a child. Not one of theirs, one of ours. He seemed to be trying to say he'd smelled a child's blood on him."
"That's just too farfetched, Marashan."
"Perhaps, but Klaris threatened your stock and me. When I grew faint, Tut carried me to shade, then ran for water and help. He was a bit enthusiastic with the water."
"I came around the corner just in time to see him dump the bucket on Sir Marashan. I was lagging behind because I hadn't got over the shock of hearing him say his name."
"Not well, but unmistakably. He WORKED at it because I didn't understand he wanted me to come. He got from Ma to Mashan fast."
"Yes, Tut, very good. Ma ra shan."
"Rrra. Ma rra shan. Marashan."
"Ma rrra shan. Marashan?"
"Marashan! Marashan! Marashan!"
"Whoa, Tut. Down, boy. Easy, easy. You got it. Ferandis, I'VE totally underestimated his capabilities. I switched on the lamp and it's a star."
"He's right, Sir Ferandis. The show training primed him, I think. You know what an incredible showoff he is. He's picked up things he wasn't specifically taught since almost the beginning of it. Like showing off his spots and mane, then his pretty green eyes. See, there he goes. I didn't TEACH him that, but he learned it. Today he needed to tell me Sir Marashan needed help. Then he needed to tell us... I can't help it. I think he told us Klaris killed a child."
"My guess is Sebbicis, but... Ferandis, I'm just sure he hates Klaris and is frightened of him. I think our, most especially my, lives are in danger and I'm SURE your stock is. I think every stable in the area should be warned and I'm going to call Daleruss and have him watch over my grandchildren. I'M staying with Tut and, so help me, I'll turn the studs loose if anyone comes after them."
"I'll open the corral and pasture gates for the females and foals."
"I'll shoot them."
Ferandis and Vanas spun to face Tut and Marashan winced. So much for VERY carefully laid plans.
"Leave them to us. We'll disarm and corral them, if possible. You're liable to end up getting hurt, Ferandis. We respect you too much to allow that. Sorry, Marashan, it's the one thing we won't allow to happen. You and he are the best hope your people have of being ready to meet ours in peace. Vanas, we just plain LIKE you. Your touch is always gentle and you truly care for ALL living things. I've watched you. You DON'T eat meat."
"Never could since the very first time I saw one of you and my father said "prime steak." I got thoroughly sick. You've been pretending forever."
"We had to either find a way to change you or wipe you out. We didn't realize how many lives it would cost to change you, but we still believe it was the right choice. To date, four thousand three hundred and eleven of us have died to accomplish this goal. That's a small number compared to the multi-billions your people killed when they destroyed the worlds of the last eight intelligent species they met. We wouldn't have let you do that to our world. We decided to give you a chance to change. We, or at least I, believe you have. We HAVE been pushing. Your children WON'T eat meat by the next generation. Mine WON'T have children unless they so desire."
"I don't understand."
"You dropped in on a genetics research station. The work being done here was considered too dangerous to do on our home world. We could have wiped you out or made you mindless beasts ten minutes after you landed, but our goal was peace and we thought you had potential if we could just cure you of your xenophobia. So, we became domestic animals, the first you'd ever had, to teach you to care for something not of your own kind. When your people started lobbying for 'animal rights', we knew we'd succeeded. You should talk to my father, Ferandis. He's quite fond of you. He's also our elected leader."
"Yes, he keeps trying to get someone to run against him, but no one will. You won me over completely when you managed to save Rom, Dook and Pabe, especially Rom. He's our preeminent mathematician and my best friend. I'm our... I don't think you're going to like this. I'm our military commander and weapons expert. I'm also unarmed combat champion. None of our people over the age of four is helpless. Oh, Mim is my wife and our finest artist."
"You're a weapons expert?"
"Yes, though yours are rather primitive by our standards. Relax, Ferandis, we LIKE you. Now, it's time for me to become a VERY smart animal again and trot back to my stable."
"Wait, Tut. You are my favorite. You have the run of the stables, grounds and house. You can bring Mim with you, or any other. Your stall door is NEVER to be closed. Tut, I don't eat meat either."
"We know. Dad's seen you slipping meat into the waste bin since HE was a show animal. You know, of the thirty top breeders, only two eat steak."
"You told me three times a day!"
"I've been lying about it a very long time, Marashan. Evidently, so have most of my friends."
"Isn't it amazing how afraid we all are to admit we don't do something which disgusts us? Now what?"
"I'm not sure, Vanas. I'm certainly less shocked than I should be."
"Well, I was working on preparing you, Ferandis. I still think we should go with the devolved species idea and yell for a moratorium on slaughter until it's investigated. I'll still do 'old fool', but I'll pull the archival records which state ONLY cephalopods can develop sentience. Do buy me out of jail, please. I'm quite sure breaking into the central library is illegal. May I use your comm? Thank you. Daleruss, Ferandis and Vanas are in. We have a threat against stables, herds and at least me. Since the last thing this bunch did was murder a little girl, pick up a weapon and watch over my grandchildren. I'm quite well protected by you know who."
"I heard a yelp."
"Daleruss is not fond of things moving very fast, Vanas. He really likes time for careful consideration. However, he never lets it slow him when things DO move fast. I think I'll sleep in Tut's stall. Mim is still in pretty rough shape and she might like company."
"Vanas, pass the word Tut has total freedom of the farm. I doubt I'll sleep anywhere, but I'll be here. Calls! I need to warn the others. Andonen, Ferandis. We've got a threat against our stock and I imagine it includes us. The reason given was we've made them too smart, but it's an excuse. I've uncovered information this group hasn't had any real fun since they murdered little Sebbicis."
"Tell him Tut's loose, Ferandis."
"I've set Tut loose on my property. He's the best lookout I can think of and probably our best defense. Klaris is in the bunch and he absolutely hates him. I may loose all the studs. You know they don't fight, Andonen. I don't even bother keeping them apart anymore. I suggest you at least loose Rom. Oh, I let Tut in the house. He loves wriggling his toes in the carpet and the only casualty was that horrid statue. He was upset he broke it. No, Andonen, putting that ugly yellow vase your sister gave you in Rom's path is not fair."
"Have him help spread the warning."
"Vanas and Marashan. They're afraid I'll forget something. Andonen, I don't eat steak and haven't in fifty-three solars. As I watch Tut learn, I find I'm very relieved. He spoke Marashan's name today when he needed to get help for him. Not well, but quite unmistakably. Oh, I'm sure they know you don't. I think they can smell who does and who doesn't. Ask yourself which top breeders do sell stock for slaughter and which ones don't get close to their studs. Interesting correlation isn't it? I have a feeling all the rest of us lie about enjoying a steak. We need a meeting. Here. Midday tomorrow if tonight is busy. Day after if trouble doesn't work itself up before then. Yes, it's been a very interesting day. I'll call Talusta. Pick two and have them pass it. Every stock owner needs to know."
"We're going to the stable, Ferandis."
"Take the basket of fruit on the table for dinner, Marashan."
"Thank you. A piece of fruit, Vanas?"
"Marashan, they let us kill them for food."
"I don't understand it and I'm not sure they do. But think about the number he gave. Four thousand?"
"Three hundred and eleven."
"Over three hundred seven solars."
"That's fewer than fifteen a solar!"
"However, most of those deaths have been in the past twenty-five solars. I remember when meat on the table was ONLY holiday fare and a very small piece. I think they moved to stop it when the slaughterhouse was built. They kept us interested in them for a very long time while we 'built up herds'. I remember when the oldest and weakest was carefully chosen because the young were prime breeding stock."
"Then my generation demanded "meat on the table" every day."
"I have a suspicion a great many lie just as Ferandis did. I also remember when studs were bled, but not slaughtered."
"We drank their blood, but didn't kill them, and they allowed it."
"Which is why we still exist. If we'd done as we usually did and just killed them for the table... The fishing was too good. Fish was plentiful, simple and they were so beautiful to watch."
"They knew it! The entire show was based on some animal they know!"
"Head toss to prancing. Hi, all quiet so far. The animal is called a horse. We rode them, showed them and loved them. Four footed, but we worked it out."
"Tut, WHERE did you come from? You scared me silly."
"I dropped out of that tree, Marashan. My kind evolved from tree dwellers. We can still go up one pretty fast if something's chasing us. That's why your people can't find us out there. We've been careful to seem non-climbing. I'm going back up. Watch and see what we really are."
"Did you see that, Vanas?"
"No, my mind is absolutely sure my eyes were lying, Marashan. Oh! Excuse me. I got familiar, Sir Marashan."
"Did it with Ferandis too. He seemed to like it as much as I do. Now, what shall we do about Peranse?"
"Tell her that we've decided the studs are smarter than we are, eating meat is disgusting and we're pairing off?"
"Oh, I like that. We should add something about unpleasant company and leaving Tut's stall open though."
"We'll work it in."
Tut donned his lenses and watched for a signal. He had troops out everywhere. There were people in the trees in the neighborhoods. Since Klaris and his cronies were currently in a place where fermented juices were sold, he expected an attack. He'd never had alcohol. He idly wondered what it was like.
The flash was distant. It was a relay position. Klaris and group had left the establishment. A bit later, two flashes told him they were headed toward the ranch district. His troops would be vacating the neighborhoods and heading back fast.
He watched as sentries flashed the group had passed one ranch after another. They were headed his way. He flashed twice and tucked the signal torch and lenses to see its 'invisible' light in the junction of two branches. When he hit the ground, his father was waiting.
"Vanas opened all the stalls. She told every one of us to be careful. You've been doing a lot of talking?"
"Marashan, Vanas and Ferandis. He was coming out with a weapon to defend us. I was worried he'd get hurt. He took it well, Dad."
"He's more flexible than he realizes. You were in the house?"
"And free to walk in any time, with guests. That rug is... My toes are in love. I broke the ONLY ugly thing in the place being nervous."
"No, I was nervous. Were our houses like that?"
"How should I know? The chairs were undoubtedly shaped differently, but I imagine the rest is quite like a human house. We decided to make the attempt to change them because even their culture was much like ours of a thousand years ago. Where do you want me?"
"Standing over Vanas, Peranse, Marashan and Mim."
"They have every woman in the stable standing over them. Where else?"
"At Ferandis' side. He's still liable to grab a weapon and come charging out to help."
"Oh, good. I want to feel "toes in love." Tut, too many of the staff left."
"Klaris, Dad. He's crazy and they know it. Don't be angry. They're scared."
"And you're not?"
"Of course I am, but I'm sort of used to it. They're not."
"Good answer. Be careful, son. Your mother sends love."
"I'll give her mine in person."
There were seven in the group. They rode into the drive on their power carts shouting and shooting and men dropped out of the trees on them. They rolled away with weapons in their hands. That was their job. Seven men sprang up from the tall grass, grabbed carts and rode off. That was theirs. Tut looked down at the seven on the ground and laughed. They looked very surprised.
"Hello, Klaris. We've been expecting you to 'drop in'. I've been waiting a long time for this. Oh, we told several of our friends you killed that child."
"Surprise. We're the most advanced species in this part of space. We decided to teach you instead of just wiping you out. Most did pretty well. You flunked."
"You're carrion. I can SMELL you from here."
Tut had never really fought before. He found smashing two together was quite effective. So was grabbing one by two limbs and swinging him into two others. Punching worked well. But he saved a very nice kick just for Klaris. It was over rather quickly. He started shaking and weeping and dropped to his knees. He'd killed them. He'd really had no choice. He got to his feet when Mim, Vanas, Peranse and Marashan ran down the long drive from the stable.
"Tut! Easy, boy. Let's look you over. Oh, you're bleeding. Vanas, call the vet. I'll get him to the stable."
"I'll take him to the house, Peranse. Ferandis will want to check him. Yes, Mim, you can come too. Come on, Tut. It's over. Let's get you taken care of."
"Damn, Vanas, what are we going to do?"
"Well, Marashan is going to take care of Tut and you and I are going to take care of what's left of these. They went after him with knives, Peranse."
"It was their last mistake. Sweet, gentle, Tut. He's very upset."
"That's why Marashan took him over. Let's get help. Tick! Fint! Torm! Here, boys! Easy now, boys. I know they smell bad, but we need to move them. People would be scared if they knew Tut could do this. Grab hold. Good, boy. Now, follow me."
"You're right, Vanas. They're much smarter than we realized."
"They most certainly are, Peranse. Over the sea wall?"
"Are you sure they killed that little girl?"
"Absolutely. There were witnesses. Now they can quit worrying about this bunch coming after them."
"Why didn't they just come forward?"
"We couldn't, Peranse. Whoops! Careful."
"Torm, you could have given me a minute to TRY to think of something."
"Yes, but I've been wanting to tell Peranse she's a sweetie for solars, Vanas. My kids adore her. Tas will probably thump me, but Tut got away with telling you, so it probably won't be a hard thump. Come on, boys! Let's get rid of this refuse!"
Peranse just stared. Studs came from all over... somewhere and suddenly she was standing with Vanas watching them trot off toward the sea wall.
"They were in the trees."
"They were up in the trees. They're trained troops. Tut's their commander. You're considered a VERY good friend or you wouldn't have been spoken to. I guess there are now five who know. They've been trying to get us civilized enough to meet their people since we landed on this planet. They're pretty disgusted that we've been eating them, but they know some of us don't. They know you don't."
"I never have. It just seemed wrong."
"Marashan has a theory some of us recognize them as people instinctively. He says the slaughterhouse keeps more from going "Ugh." It keeps us from having to think about where dinner came from. Let's go up to the house. You'll like watching Tut, Mim and Tas wriggle their toes in the carpet. They don't even know they're doing it."
"He's their elected leader. Like our council chair, I guess. Mim's an artist. Peranse, they died to change us rather than kill us. They ALWAYS could have. You'll get the story so you can play your part. They think we're ready to accept another sentient species now. So they're going to BECOME one."
"In the... trees."
"Your mind is NOT working yet. Your "friendly species" already found us, Peranse. They just had to wait more than three hundred solars to tell us."
* * * * * *
Copyright © 1999 Sharon L 'Spinner' Reddy
All Rights Reserved