Canals of New Mars: Hatching Grounds by flavia49 ()
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"Better put the prosthesis on in the hospital." Lee whispered to JS who translated.
"Do you have a larger ship?" the Drag leader asked (Eve had discovered Dragalien was a derogatory name).
JS nodded: "I have a cruiser up there."
"Why didn't you land her?"
"I thought it an intimidating way to introduce myself. We're here to understand, not to threaten. Moreover the spaceport facilities are crumbling, but more about that later. The pixies are under my wing, now, and the Drags aren't known as cruel mercs..."
"How do you know that?" Drok stepped in.
JS stared at him coldly: "I know, believe me. So, how did you start raiding?"
"It's a long story." a Drag said.
"I've time, but the space station is running out of gas. Do you like we land it softly? It will be operative without GUNESCO aids."
After a discussion the leader said: "We accept your offer, if there are no charges for us."
"We do it for free, we just need to be told where a suitable place is." After some considerations a solution was found. Eve meanwhile was playing with the dragons that seemed fascinated by her.
"You are friends, I see." JS thought.
"They are like teens." Eve smiled. "I'm learning their tongue."
"Answering to your question, this world, as you see it, had been engineered by our ancestors, but GUNESCO doesn't accept it. This is our problem." the chief muttered. Eve goggled and he went on:
"Millennia ago our ancestors tamed the dragons and culled the breed. The dragons ..." the chief broke off. "No, I'll show you. Want to ride a dragon?"
"I was hoping you asked!" JS grinned. The chief chose an old female that was patting Eve on her hand.
"We're going to the hatchery, the dragons' sanctuary."
From the dragon's back JS noted that, under a dense canopy of huge trees, most of the planet was a fen. Where there were clearings in the canopy, there the dragons made their nests. When they reached the hatchery, most eggs had just hatched. Small dragons with still fragile and transparent wings fought each other in their nests, while others tried to fly. In the marsh below huge crocodiles feasted on the doomed little dragons who came at range.
Their dragon let out a shrill cry.
"There!" Eve pointed out. "Help him, Jay!"
A young dragon was perching on a low branch with a fish in the mouth, unaware that a croc had spotted him.
One of JS's blows got the croc in the eye. "Nice to play Darwin!" he quipped.
"In their nests young dragons fight until only one survives, albeit not always the strongest because some slips, others fall trying to fly. Few make it. We choose the eggs of the strongest ones to mature in a safe place, you can sort them out from their colour."
"Cannot you take out the crocs?" Eve asked.
"They're useful, too." The Drag answered. "When the dragons are strong enough, it's the crocs' hatching time, and the dragons eat the crocs' eggs and offspring and the crocs become stronger. It's a croc-dragon balance."
"But if GUNESCO prevents you from take action, this planet will perish." JS summed up.
The Drag nodded sadly. "GUNESCO also forbids us to cultivate the floating islands, our cultivable land. Gas biosynthesizing symbiotic rhizobia grow on the roots of those large trees. The dragons get drunk eating the rhizobium nodules. We learned to grow them and now they produce so much gas that the trees with their cloth of earth are floating in the sky. If an island flies too high the bacteria die and the island falls, so we learned to extract the gas and use it as fuel. When the spaceships arrived, we did business selling our products and buying food. Our population grew. It was a golden age, but GUNESCO dispossessed us of our own planet. 'Industrialized!' they spitted it like a bad word. So we tried to survive becoming mercs. This year the dragons didn't take their nuptial flights, our planet is dying."
On Regulus 8 the Rogue Council of Scientists informed the Admiral: "We are ready, sir."
Image Comments (64)
Thank you to all people who appreciated the previous picture! Thank you for viewing and drop a note if you like! CREDITS: DinoRaul: PhilodendronB, Bald Cypress; Snarlygribbly: EZSkin2; RDNA - Traveler,Colm & VanDycke: Terradome & Terradome 001, Landform, Aquazone; TransPond: Fern Pack; RDNA: Naturals - Forest; YES: Millennium Dragon 2; Adorety: Mil Dragon poses; DAZ: Vines and moss; AlfaSeed: Lemonade & AlfaseeD's AMP; Xurge3D: Peacemaker; porsimo: MPHAR-20; Poser New Animals: Alligator.
Over the top and very cool image. An ecosystem at work, just like how it should be. Interesting bit with this GUNESCO stepping in and f**king everything up. Cool explanation on the floating islands too. Exceptional work on this busy and exciting scene.