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A short story by

Kal-El Bogdanove

"Absolutely not."

The mayor's complexion went from waxy to pink. How does he manage to stay pale when the rest of us have to flush a case of skin cancer at the doc's every ten years? wondered Rin.

"Close the canyons on Inauguration Day weekend? Might as well set fire to the treasury and be done with it. 'Mutalisks in the canyons.' Ridiculous! What in the world do we have on Choss that could possibly attract the attention of the zerg?!"

"Might be some got left behind from the troubles." Rin hated the folksy local phrase used to soften what the rest of the damn sector referred to properly as "the war."

Rin knew Chossites had gotten off easy, relatively speaking. The military had set up a way station out in the desert and had ended up in a kind of squabble over it with the zerg. Whole thing had lasted maybe a month; it was on the other side of the moon; and just about the only thing it had cost Quijadas was her dad.

Given that they'd lost nothing and she'd lost a lot, it irked Rin that the locals hid the whole thing in a euphemism. Often she took pleasure in calling that particular spade a spade, but today she felt she had enough of an uphill climb with the mayor already.

"Nonsense. The troubles were all the way over in Bim Battum! Three teams of sanitation marines scoured this moon, at no small cost to our city budget. Choss is certified vacation material."

Rin took the deep breath necessary to prevent herself from strangling him. "I'm no expert, but they say that mutalisks are a lot more bug-like than the other bugs. They'll go where the Swarm wants them to go, but sometimes they go where their little bug brains tell them is nice."

"I'm not taking food out of the mouths of my constituents because of a gliding accident. People sign release forms when they go up there. Contact the family; get him in a coldbox. That's the last word on the matter."

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