?

Log in

Colony Crisis

level_head in colony_crisis

Chapter 19: Garden-variety

“Hey, Miz Ellen!”

While Brandy was tall for a fifteen-year-old girl, Ellen Viitala was simply tall. The woman — almost three times Brandy’s age — straightened up from the worktable she had been making notes at, and smiled at Brandy’s approach. She tossed long blond hair back over her shoulder. Brandy smiled back, and held out a brown cloth bag with some irregular shapes inside.

“Something new in your garden?”

“Uh, yeah. Take a look?”

“Sure.” She accepted the offered bag. “What sort of —“ The bag moved in her hand. “AAAh!”

The cloth bag lay on the floor where it fell, squirming oddly.

“Hey, careful!” Brandy said. “You’ll hurt GO-4!”

“GO-4? What?”

“That’s what I’ve decided to call him, anyway. He’s sneaky.”

“What ‘him’?”

The answer became apparent as the animal found its way out the top of the bag. A mottled brown head protruded, then a neck. And more neck.

Ellen stared, fascinated but unwilling to approach it.

“Oh, no you don’t,” said Brandy. She crouched, and the creature turned its attention upon her. It hissed, moving Ellen back another step, and a buzzing sound came from the back end still inside the bag.

Brandy moved her left hand to the side; the creature's eyes followed it. Her right hand shot out, and “GO-4” was captured once again. Brandy quickly grabbed the other end, hoping that no accidents would happen in her older friend’s cluttered little home/workspace.

Ellen Viitala probably had more paper in this room than the rest of the Colony combined, with all her notes on farming and animals and chemicals and other things Brandy didn’t understand yet. Brandy didn’t want to mess anything up.

“I’ve seen pictures like that before,” Ellen said slowly. “It’s a snake.”

“Ah, okay. But don’t they have shells or something? This thing looks weird.”

“No, you’re thinking of a turtle.”

Brandy had heard the words, but had only a barely-remembered image to connect to. Her time on the Axiom’s computer had been spent in other directions. “So what does he eat?”

“Hmm.” Ellen was getting her composure back. “I don’t know. Do you have some time? We need to go find out...”

Brandy thought about chores, and dirt, and lots of rows of beans. “Sure!”

Ellen was still talking. “… because there were no snakes on the Axiom’s biostasis list.”

Comments

Brandy only really saw the lower part of the mouth -- but that was weird enough. Snakes have breathing tubes, a sort of snorkel arrangement, on the floor the mouth. This allows them to breathe as they swallow large prey, but it will protrude somewhat when the animal is upset, and he hisses through it. The effect and appearance is a little bit like the jet-tube of an octopus.

It's just back of the tongue in this drawing, but the tube can extend a bit.


And those fangs fold up, of course. The snake is discussed in the next chapter, up now.

===|==============/ Level Head

Edited at 2009-02-07 09:55 pm (UTC)