Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Altai VII

Some mutant ostriches escaped from the herds, went wild and are hunted.

Rats from the colonists' ships went onto the Terrestrialized steppes where they were selected for size, which kept them warm and enabled them to prey on the herds. Selection plus short generations and genetic drift have made them as large as police dogs and camouflage makes them white although otherwise they remain recognizably rats.

A dozen gurchaku, rats, attack a man but, when his friend starts shooting them, the largest whistles the retreat. They become more dangerous each year and will have to be stopped.

Life on Altai comprises:

native life, including intelligence, on the ice;
imported terrestrial grass on the steppes;
herds of grazing cow-sized rabbits and mutated ostriches;
wild ostriches and rats;
human beings in nomadic tribes and one small city;
recently, some Merseians secretly in the city.

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