Chet Flash wuz here Circulation: 191,088,474 Issue: 596 | 24th day of Hunting, Y15
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Life in the Habitarium: Part One


by sirr1ch1

--------

Snirty was relaxed and happy. He had been in his egg for as long as he could remember. Sometimes he would hear sounds on the other side of the shell that surrounded his world, but he had never tried to find out what was out there.

     "Come on, little one," a kindly voice said, "it is time for you to hatch."

     Snirty shrank deeper in to his egg and curled up in to a ball. The voice sounded friendly, but he had no idea what was out there and he was afraid. "I am scared," he whispered.

     "Don't worry. Out here it is wonderful and exciting. You will make many friends and find plenty of things to do. There is nothing to be afraid of." The voice was still gentle.

     "Okay," Snirty said, hoping he sounded braver than he felt. He looked at the wall with a puzzled expression. "How do I get out?"

     The voice gave an affectionate laugh. "Why, you just have to break open the walls."

     Snirty gave the wall a gentle poke, nothing happened. He punched the wall a little harder and a small crack appeared in it. He gave a tiny gasp, all his life the wall had always been perfectly smooth and this was the first time he had ever seen that change.

     The voice sounded both happy and excited. "Come on, I know you can do this."

     Encouraged by the voice Snirty gave the wall several more punches. He tried his best to hit the same place where the crack was, but unused to using his limbs some of his hits went a little wide. Finally a hole broke out where the crack had once been. Light poured in through it. He could feel his heart beating hard in his chest as he carefully moved his eye to take his first look in the world.

     It was amazing, full of all sorts of colours he had never seen before. He looked around seeing all sorts of things he couldn't begin to describe. He also saw many types of creatures, some of them looked like him, but others looked very different. He jumped with excitement and felt the egg leave the ground at the same time he did.

     He dove at the hole and used his hands to start pulling at the shell around it. Pieces came away in chunks until he realized it was large enough for him to fit through. He took a few deep breaths, looked around one last time at his shell, then squeezed out into the strange new world.

     It was even bigger than he had seen from his earlier peek and there were even more things in it, he wondered what they all were. Some of the things were brown, others where green, there was even a strange looking blue something that would shimmer. He noticed that some of the creatures would go up to the objects, take things from them, then carry them to a strange looking brown building. "Is that a shell?" he thought out loud.

     "No," said the voice he had heard from inside the shell, "it is a storage building. The workers collect all sorts of resources and take them there."

     Snirty spun around and saw a creature that looked very much like him. He smiled and said, "Thank you, you made me brave enough to come out to this wonderful world." He looked at her. "What are we?"

     She smiled back at him, "I am Nymia. I am a Mootix nester. Some call us bugs or fleas, but I think we are very special. I grow eggs just like your one, which allows more like us into the world. You are a Mootix as well, but you are a worker."

     "So I get to move the resources into the storage," he asked excitedly.

     She nodded. "I can see you are a very smart Mootix," she answered. "Go to that storage building," she continued, pointing to one of the storage buildings. "In there you will find an old Mootix called Ol' Gringox. He will tell you what you need to do."

     Snirty, still full of wonder and excitement, ran off towards the storage building.

     ********

     As Snirty made his way to the storage building, loud noises started. Worried that he may have done something wrong, he looked around to see what was going on. He saw a fierce looking blue creature emerge from some undergrowth. Snirty, being a friendly sort of Petpetpet decided to try and be nice to the animal; it probably wasn't as mean as it looked.

     Snirty walked up to it extending his hand. "Hello, I am Sni—" was all he managed to say before the blue beast tried to bite him. Snirty snatched his hand back, giving it a quick glance to make sure he still had all his fingers, thankfully he did. Shocked, he backed away as fast as he could, not daring to turn his back on the attacking fiend. A purple Petpetpet came rushing past Snirty and started to punch the blue monster, the new Petpetpet was much more bulky than Snirty, his attacks were powerful and clearly having an effect on the blue beastie. After dodging a couple of dangerous looking bites the Petpetpet hit the blue critter in one eye, then the other, the beast clearly in pain, turned around and run off.

     "Wow! That was amazing," Snirty exclaimed. "What was that thing? What are you? Will you teach me to fight that that?" As if to demonstrate his eagerness Snirty gave a few practice jabs to the air.

     The purple guy gave a chuckle. "Whoa, that's a lot of questions. That 'thing' was a pest; they attack us from time to time. I am a Larnikin soldier, my name is Percy by the way. And of course you can't learn to fight, you're a Mootix," he said as if that explained everything.

     "What's that got to do with anything?" Snirty asked.

     "Mootix are always either workers or nesters. Larnikins like me are strong and Pinchits have claws that they can use as weapons. But Mootix are weak in comparison and all they can do is poke."

     At this statement Snirty stopped jabbing the air. "Oh," he sighed, and walked towards the storage building to begin his life as a worker.

     ********

     Snirty spotted Ol' Gringox as soon as he entered the storage building; he was clearly an elderly Mootix. His complexion had some grey instead of the typical brilliant green and yellow of other Mootix. His tail hung lower than a younger Mootix and his antennae seemed to sag as well.

     "Hello," Snirty said cheerfully to the old Mootix, "my name is Snirty. I was told to come here to learn how to be a worker."

     Ol Gringox gave an appraising look at Snirty. "Well," he croaked in a voice that suited his aged appearance, "a new young worker, a little scrawny but I guess you'll do. I want you to go out and collect some grass, that's the tall green stuff and bring it back here. There are plenty of other workers doing the same task so they can help you if you get stuck. Well what are you waiting for? Snap to it."

     Snirty ran out of the doorway and looked around. He saw some grass and sped off in that direction. He found a few Mootix there, but also some strange looking creatures, they were flatter and rounder then he was. They were mostly yellow, but their feet and oversized, strangely shaped hands were a mix of blue and green.

     "Hello, my name is Snirty," he said to one of them. "I was told to come and collect some grass."

     "Hello, I'm Podic," the creature replied, seeing how Snirty was looking at him and realising that Snirty was new he continued, "I am a Pinchit, we have these claws that are very good at cutting things." To demonstrate he snipped at some grass and it fell to the ground in a neat pile.

     Snirty tried snipping at some grass, but having normal hands it didn't have any effect. He then watched some of the Mootix that were collecting grass and saw how they would grab the grass and pull it up. Snirty thinking this was a good idea grabbed the top of some grass and pulled, it broke away slightly lower than where he had held his hand. Snirty tried a few more times but each time only succeeded in pulling off small chunks of grass, rather than the neat and complete pieces that everyone else seemed to be collecting. Snirty decided that he had enough grass and that ripped grass was better than no grass at all, so he carried his torn bundle to the storage building.

     Inside the storage building Snirty moved towards a pile of grass and was about to add his own to it, when he was spotted by Ol' Gringox.

     "Stop right there, young 'un," the old Mootix yelled.

     Snirty froze, fearing what was to come. Ol' Gringox marched up to him and shook his head at the pathetic collection of torn grass that Snirty was holding. "No, no, no, no, no!" the old fellow yelled. This won't do at all. Take that away and bring back some nice neat pieces of grass."

     "But, Sir," Snirty said, trying to sound apologetic, "whenever I pull at the grass, it just breaks away in pieces."

     "Then pull it from the bottom, you silly Mootix." With that Ol' Gringox chased Snirty out of the storage building, moving surprisingly quickly for a Mootix that looked as old as he did.

     Snirty went back to the grass and started pulling it up from the bottom. He was surprised how easily he could do this and pulled up even more grass, roots and all. Once he had a very large pile he gathered it up and marched triumphantly back to the storage building.

     Ol' Gringox was even more shocked and angered at what Snirty had brought back this time. "No, no, no, no, no!" he shouted even louder than the last time. "You've pulled up the roots. How will the grass grow back if you pull up the roots? We need it to keep growing back so we have more in the future."

     "If I can pull up the grass like that, then perhaps I am strong enough to be a soldier," Snirty suggested.

     The old Petpetpet laughed, "Mootix can't be soldiers. No lad, you are a worker. Maybe grass collecting just isn't your thing." Ol' Gringox thought for a moment. "Okay, I think you should try collecting pollen, you need to go out and find some flowers, they look a bit like grass except they have pretty coloured things on the tops of them. In the middle of the pretty thing is some yellow dusty stuff, that's pollen and it's what you need to bring back to me."

     ********

     Snirty left the storage building in search of a flower. He found it quite easily and was amazed at how pretty it was. He just stood there and looked at it for a while, taking in its beauty.

     "Hey you gonna help us with this?" a cheery voice ask.

     Snirty looked around and saw a Mootix smiling at him. "I'm Snirty," he said. "I'm new at this, would you mind showing me what to do?"

     "I'm Tiffy," she told him. "All you have to do is tap at the yellow bit in the middle, and collect up the pollen." She started to do just this, so he could see how it was done.

     Not wanting to look weak in front of his new friend, and wanting to be a fast worker, Snirty started to hit the center of the flower hard and fast. Pollen went everywhere, all of Snirty, all over Tiffy and the other workers, all over the ground and all over some rather annoyed looking soldiers that were sitting nearby.

     "Oh dear," Tiffy sighed, "we'd better take what pollen we can to the storage. It will be a while before that flower makes some more, though."

     Ol' Gringox was annoyed when he found out what happened from the soldiers who had been covered by the pollen. "Now look here," he shouted at Snirty, "you really must try to be a better worker. It's important to collect resources, but it's even more important NOT to break them."

     "Are you sure I shouldn't be a soldier?" Snirty asked once again.

     The older Mootix replied, "I've already told you Mootix are never soldiers." He looked out of the window. "It's getting late now and time we were going back to our houses. You will be sleeping in 'Oak House'. Tiffy would you mind showing him where it is?"

     Tiffy said she wouldn't mind at all, and led a rather sad Snirty to where it was. "Don't worry," she told him, "I am sure you will do better tomorrow."

     ********

     Snirty went inside his house and was pleased to see Podic the Pinchit worker he had met earlier was in there. "Hello again," Snirty said to him.

     "Hello, Snirty," Podic replied in a friendly manner, "how was the rest of your day?"

     "Not good at all," Snirty answered him dejectedly.

     "It's time to eat now, so let's get our food and you can tell me all about it as we eat. Sometimes it's good to talk about a bad day."

     Snirty and Podic sat down and ate their dinner. Snirty proceeded to tell Podic everything that had happened, Podic was right it did feel good to talk about it, and by the end they were both laughing and making some jokes, most of them about Ol' Gringox.

     That night Snirty went to sleep hoping to be a better worker the next day, but his deeper, secret wish, was that he would be a soldier. He dreamed about being the greatest of all soldiers, fighting off hordes of pests.

To be continued...

 
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