Our three-person ship was in orbit around a tiny planet called Earth. Bobo commanded the initial recce. Naturally, there had been token resistance, but his flame thrower had eradicated the ants. “Hygienic”, he said. After our third recce we had several live specimens.
I pointed to his left hand. ‘That one.’
He grinned, opened it. Empty. ‘Mine, I believe.’
‘Show me the other one,’ I said.
‘I was peckish,’ he said, rubbing his bulging stomach.
‘You what? Doc will have a fit. You could be infected.’
‘I coated the ant in Ovaltine. Little blighter yelped at first, but anyway...’
The door opened and our red-faced comrade strode in. She pointed a trembling finger at Bobo.
‘Where’s my Human?’
Bobo grinned at me. ‘Is that what you call them? They’re just ants.’
She glared at him. ‘This one is different. Four appendages and a tiny blip between the big limbs.’
Bobo laughed. ‘Doc, you wanna see my appendage. Bigger than the ants’ Pisa Tower.’
‘Leaning to one side, you mean. Now give him back.’
‘It’s a him?’ I said. ‘I thought...’
‘So did I, said Doc. ‘Thought all males had been neutered aeons ago.’
Bobo belched. I stared at him.
His face turned blue. Then his eyes glassed over, and he slumped to the floor. Doc rushed to his side, felt for his pulse.
‘Get him to resuss, now.’
Post-mortem comment: ‘I’m damned if I can find Human. The cocoa trail stops at the kidneys.’
‘Bladder?’ I suggested.
Doc’s eyes lit up. She grabbed hold of Bobo’s shrunken Pisa and squeezed. And out popped Human.
I left her to it.
Doc dropped by my pod. ‘I resuscitated Human. Or to be more accurate I have his DNA. Now it’s just a matter of cloning. And Bobo? Seems like he was allergic to err...cocoa,’ she said, giving me a sideways glance. ‘Choose the wreath.’ She seemed to read my mind. ‘Black tulips...’
Had she guessed?
Now Bobo was a hologram, and more likeable. I told Doc we’d more or less run out of Ovaltine, so I ground down a few tulip bulbs and mixed in the black powder.
‘Ants in his pants, she said, snuggling up to me.
One down, one to go...