Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Rock Lobsters

They scuttle out from the orange-lit waves, in ever-growing numbers, and ever-growing complexity.

They were simple at first, just little rock shrimps, tiny little creatures - not shrimp, krill, really! With legs. Tiny little things. They nibbled and then fled, completely harmless.

But evolution works. There was a niche - food, food outside! And they came for it - and we were left to face them.

We are a humble folk. Our ways are not the ways of technology - we do not build tools or machines, rather choosing to live as we have always lived, in harmony with the rest of nature. So it was that we were unprepared for the rapid evolution of the rock lobsters. From those tiny creatures came larger ones - armored in shell-plate and armed with bone-swords, they charged out of the waves. We drove them back then, too, for they were still so tiny!

But it did not end there. They built machines - rolling weapons platforms, spiked to deter attack, from which the rock shrimp would deploy to gather food. We drove them back, assigning more guards to send them back in flight once they deployed, and they built flying machines, launched from the waves to fly over our heads and land food gatherers in the village beyond. Guards were assigned to the village, and these, too, were defeated. And then they built their most terrifying invention - the rock lobster. Having the appearance of a rock, it would slide out of the waves, then, upon the approach of one of our number, it would rip off an limb and flee back into the waves. They were quick and strong and deadly, and they changed the nature of the war, for they killed one of our number.

Enraged, we guards charged into the water from which the rock shrimps came. We found their base, not far away, from which they manufactured their machines - we pried the top off, and looked at what was inside. And in the heart of that complex, to our shock, was the rock shrimps' leaders; Timmaraques, teaching the rock shrimp how to do the mathematics and build their killing machines.

"Why did you do this?" we asked them. "Why did you teach the rock shrimps maths, and lay the groundwork for senseless death?"

The Timmaraques looked at us - as though we were at fault! "Why did we do it?" they asked us, and gave us time to come up with an answer of our own. Then, with a sigh of disappointment, they explained.

"We do not only teach the maths to the shrimp," they told us, "We teach it to everyone."

"Why? we asked for the third time. "Why?"

"Even a mollusk could do it!"


Oldboy said...




King Kessler said...

*is jealous of the mollusks*