LN-II, affectionately called Lexi by the initial wave of colonists, had been one of the most mysterious finds of the post-Einstein 21st century. When its discovery had been announced, the majority of the astro-scientific society had been incredulous. Not only was a scientist, a certain Hengerburg, claiming he had found a new planet orbiting one of the closest stars to Sol, but that it was remarkably Earth-like. Human-compatible atmosphere, average temperatures only a few degrees Celsius above comparable Earth latitudes. 2 moons creating exceptional tidal movements, but far enough inland and that should not cause problems. Aside from different bacterial colonies, dirt samples from Leni and Earth were remarkably similar, enough to allow most globally used GMOs to adapt to the foreign soil with little trouble. For an Earth struggling to provide not only itself but its booming colonies with food, Leni was like a cornucopia delivered to her front door. While the Colonial Safety Commission carried out its tests, laws and regulations were already on the way for what was seen to be the greatest agricultural boom in human history. Companies and excited colonists prepared for when the planet was to be opened. To their credit, the CSC did their job by the book under great pressure from multi-nationals, and a little under 2 years after its discovery, LN-II was opened for interested parties. In the burgeoning years of colonialism, capitalism reigned supreme, and an on-planet government was slow in forming and weak in the first 4 years follows its inception, which also meant that business and ecological ethics were very much a grey zone on the new world. It is likely that was a contributing factor to what happened in the Breadbasket; the wheat-capital of the planet.

As mentioned previously, Leni was a perfect site for agriculture, both with regards to soil quality and regulation. As with Earth, different areas of the planet were better suited to different types of crops. The Breadbasket was a section of valleys north of the equator especially well-suited to the growing of wheat. Farmers both private and corporate were enjoying the benefits, but one problem reared its eerily familiar-face; Moles. It was a creature native to the Breadbasket, and had been so since well before Leni had even been discovered, but the colonists had to be told to believe it, as it resembled the Earth mole in many ways. Except one, its size. Where an Earth mole was maybe the size of a football, these largest specimens of these mammals could rival a bus in size. It goes without saying that their molehills were devastating to farmers in the area, with private farmers being hit the hardest. Locally regarded as pests, research was done into a way to remove them, preferably by relocation or, if necessary, removal. The remoteness of the location from the inter-planetary networks and the speed of the process meant that the research was concluded and solution implemented before any respectable scientists got wind of it.

Initially, traps were set in their active tunnels, with the captured moles being deported to a temporary holding facility. Larger companies quickly resorted to less humane means, but no objection to this was raised in the community. Everyone were tired of the moles, and wanted them gone. After some 2 weeks of work, the molehill issue was largely solved. For 4 months, productivity rose and profits rose with them. In the interplanetary community, animal rights organisation were angered by the farmers treatment of animals simply living where they always had, but to the majority of Earth colonies, they were thankful for the slight decrease in food prices. The after-effects of the cullling, however, started to rear their ugly heads. What the farmers had not considered, rather stupidly, was that the moles had a role in the local ecosystem. Namely, they kept another local organism in check; Earthworms, or Leniworms as they were later called. And just like the moles, they were massive. Larger specimens could swallow a human being whole, which is exactly how the shift in the ecosystem was announced. One morning, a private farmer was out in the fields with his family, examining the curious tracks of dirt something had dragged into his field, when the creature burst from the ground. The man was gone before his family could barely react. With their natural predator removed, the Leniworms had experienced a massive boom in their population, ruining fields and endangering farmers throughout the region.

They had turned molehills into mountains.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s