Little Fuzzy – Day 31 of 77

He had lots of objections. The whole business was rapidly developing into an acute pain in the neck for him. But if he didn’t let Kellogg camp across the run, the three of them could move seventy or eighty miles in any direction and be off his land. He knew what they’d do then. They’d live-trap or sleep-gas Fuzzies; they’d put them in cages, and torment them with maze and electric-shock experiments, and kill a few for dissection, or maybe not bother killing them first. On his own land, if they did anything like that, he could do something about it.

“Not at all. I’ll have to remind you again, though, that you’re to treat these little people with consideration.”

“Oh, we won’t do anything to your Fuzzies,” Mallin said.

“You won’t hurt any Fuzzies. Not more than once, anyhow.”

The next morning, during breakfast, Kellogg and Kurt Borch put in an appearance, Borch wearing old clothes and field boots and carrying his pistol on his belt. They had a list of things they thought they would need for their camp. Neither of them seemed to have more than the foggiest notion of camp requirements. Jack made some suggestions which they accepted. There was a lot of scientific equipment on the list, including an X-ray machine. He promptly ran a pencil line through that.

“We don’t know what these Fuzzies’ level of radiation tolerance is. We’re not going to find out by overdosing one of my Fuzzies.”

Somewhat to his surprise, neither of them gave him any argument. Gerd and Ruth and Kellogg borrowed his airjeep and started north; he and Borch went across the run to make measurements after Rainsford and Jimenez arrived and picked up Mallin. Borch took off soon after with the boat for Red Hill. Left alone, he loafed around the camp, and developed the rest of the movie film, making three copies of everything. Toward noon, Borch brought the boat back, followed by a couple of scowlike farmboats. In a few hours, the Company construction men from Red Hill had the new camp set up. Among other things, they brought two more air jeeps.

The two jeeps returned late in the afternoon, everybody excited. Between them, the parties had seen almost a hundred Fuzzies, and had found three camps, two among rocks and one in a hollow pool-ball tree. All three had been spotted by belts of filled-in toilet pits around them; two had been abandoned and the third was still occupied. Kellogg insisted on playing host to Jack and Rainsford for dinner at the camp across the run. The meal, because everything had been brought ready-cooked and only needed warming, was excellent.

Returning to his own camp with Rainsford, Jack found the Fuzzies finished with their evening meal and in the living room, starting a new construction—he could think of no other name for it—with the molecule-model balls and sticks. Goldilocks left the others and came over to him with a couple of balls fastened together, holding them up with one hand while she pulled his trouser leg with the other.

“Yes, I see. It’s very beautiful,” he told her.

She tugged harder and pointed at the thing the others were making. Finally, he understood.

“She wants me to work on it, too,” he said. “Ben, you know where the coffee is; fix us a pot. I’m going to be busy here.”

He sat down on the floor, and was putting sticks and balls together when Ben brought in the coffee. This was more fun than he’d had in a couple of days. He said so while Ben was distributing Extee Three to the Fuzzies.

“Yes, I ought to let you kick me all around the camp for getting this started,” Rainsford said, pouring the coffee. “I could make some excuses, but they’d all sound like ‘I didn’t know it was loaded.’”

“Hell, I didn’t know it was loaded, either.” He rose and took his coffee cup, blowing on it to cool it. “What do you think Kellogg’s up to, anyhow? That whole act he’s been putting on since he came here is phony as a nine-sol bill.”

“What I told you, evening before last,” Rainsford said. “He doesn’t want non-Company people making discoveries on Zarathustra. You notice how hard he and Mallin are straining to talk me out of sending a report back to Terra before he can investigate the Fuzzies? He wants to get his own report in first. Well, the hell with him! You know what I’m going to do? I’m going home, and I’m going to sit up all night getting a report into shape. Tomorrow morning I’m going to give it to George Lunt and let him send it to Mallorysport in the constabulary mail pouch. It’ll be on a ship for Terra before any of this gang knows it’s been sent. Do you have any copies of those movies you can spare?”

“About a mile and a half. I made copies of everything, even the stuff the others took.”

“Good. We’ll send that, too. Let Kellogg read about it in the papers a year from now.” He thought for a moment, then said: “Gerd and Ruth and Juan are bunking at the other camp now; suppose I move in here with you tomorrow. I assume you don’t want to leave the Fuzzies alone while that gang’s here. I can help you keep an eye on them.”

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