Farmers, Fr. Mendel, and the Secret of the Peas

By Wes Parish

sfgenreAntaia read the sentence slowly, "Farmers made deliberate attempts ... to breed out unwanted features ... such as large size or ... aggressiveness." She looked up at the rest of us students in the tutorial with bewildered surprise.

Antaia — my wife — and I had stolen across the Boundary one night following a hunch, and tracked down the origins of humanity in the universe and planet where Karyl and Daryl, John and Bin Boutros had originated before they had wound up in this Enclave between universes. We had returned with the fragments of one of several books about human origins. Antaia had chosen to read those fragments to the rest of the students during the tutorial, to back up our claim that we were already highly skilled and so had very little need of further elementary training.

We had found our way back to the Enclave with some difficulty. When humanity has been adapted to an animal-specific generalised environment in three-space by the hyperspatial graces of Karyl and Daryl and the blessings of Bin Boutros, it is impossible to survive in a non-animal-specific suboptimal plurality of environments with excessively random entropy. Staying there too long would have drained our energy.

Death is so final.

And so we need maintainers of the animal-specific generalised environment.

And so we tolerate the half-witted meddling of the mages and the School.

Some people call it magic, meaning inexplicable, non-rational, but they are wrong; the purpose of study is to train the mind to control the levels and flows of energy between false and true vacuum states.

"Makes sense," one of our fellow students mused. "But there are areas where wild flora and fauna still persist."

Another trainee mage said, "Bin Boutros and Ivanna did spend a lot of time breeding out characteristics like aggressiveness."

"They didn't succeed with the sweet pea, did they?!"

"More work for us trainee maintainers," I said, "Besides, a non-aggressive pea would lack flavour."

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About The Author

Wes Parish

Wesley Parish is an SF fan from early childhood. Born in PNG, he enjoys reading about humans in strange cultures and circumstances; his favourite SF authors include Ursula Le Guin, Fritz Lieber, Phillip K. Dick, J.G. Ballard and Frank Herbert. He lives in Christchurch, NZ, is an unemployed Java and C programmer, and has recently decided to become a mad ukuleleist, flautist and trombonist, and would love to revert to being the mad fiddler and pedal steel guitarist..  "Where oh where has my little pedal steel got to ... ?"

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