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Challenge #01162-C067: Ready For Inspection

T'reka (or another of her species) meets a Helmeted Guineafowl -- Gallifreya

The thing about Terrans, when one got down to it, was their fanaticism for introducing things. Some of them, inherently hazardous. Some of them, frankly insane. And some, K'iival found out, previously extinct.

As manager of the Integration Board, she had to inspect and begin the process of clearing Terran species for use or contact with her fellow Numidid in Kal'rike and it's growing satellite settlements.

Some were inherently useful, like the Pony. It's larger cousin, the Horsss, was far too immense for anything but zoos, so far. The youth had an unnerving new habit of falling in love with the animals and finding work for the immense beasts. All so they could flock on Horsss backs and heads and shriek for the joy of it.

Some were frankly ridiculous, like the Dodo.

And these... looked like something else from a museum.

K'iival was used to them being immobile dummies, in recreations. Holding spears or other primitive tools.

But these birds did not have hands.

Willow Valentine managed a nervous rictus. "They're not reconstructed," she said in what K'iival thought of as Colonial Hu'lu, a dialect of Scientific Hu'lu that had adopted and then bastardised useful Terran words. On more formal occasions, Willow would use the more formal tongue.

"What are they?" K'iival had to resort to Life Breathing. These things were...

It was like looking into the abyss and only getting an uncomprehending stare back.

"Humans call them Guinea Fowl. They're birds from Earth. There's -um- been some debate about bringing them out of the gene-stores, but... it turns out we're going to need a lot of guano... and -um- pestcontrol..." The last two words were hurried and mumbled.

Of course Numidid ate insects. It was just... bad manners to snap them out of the air. And there were some species on Toxic Island that looked exactly like food species in Kal'rike... but were varying degrees of poisonous. Further incentive to remember good manners if there ever was one.

"I understand," said K'iival. "They have been altered to stomach the -ah- pests?"

"Of course. Our gengineers know their sh-- stuff. We're just worried about the... um...."

"Obvious cultural insult?" suggested K'iival.

"Yeah, that."

They were the size of children, but did not have a child's markings. And it was difficult to tell the males from the females. "Is there a reason why they're in a full cage?"

"Oh, they fly."

Okay, that was one heck of a differentiation. "My primitive ancestors could only glide. Hands were far more useful to us."

"Yeah. If you like, we can make these guys more obvious. Say the word. We can patch in Safety Orange spots or something. This sample is sterile. For inspection."

Of course they did. The Terrans were amazingly amenable about introducing species. For example, they consciously decided to keep mice and rats from the planet, because of what they did to eggs.

"I..." need to have a quiet panic attack, "will consult with my superiors..."

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