Featured Story
Recent Stories
Stories by Topic
News
Make the universe a better place! Join Daily Science Fiction for only $15 / year, or donate any amount.
Membership
Take me to a...
Random story
top-rated stories only
Enter any portion of the author name or story title:
small-go-arrowsearch
Sign up for free daily sci-fi!
your email will be kept private
Breaking News
Get a copy of Not Just Rockets and Robots: Daily Science Fiction Year One. 260 adventures into new worlds, fantastical and science fictional. Rocket Dragons Ignite: the anthology for year two, is also available!
Kindle Edition
Kindle Edition
DSF stories are available in monthly digests for Kindle!
DSF for Kindle
Publish your stories or art on Daily Science Fiction:
Submit your story
Check story status
Not just rockets & robots...
What is Science Fiction?
"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.
close






A Kept Species

It was a bloodless conquering, as they went.
The aliens ships deployed missiles the size of roses' thorns, and sleeted down over our cities. They interfaced with the internet, uploaded themselves into our computers and phones, and seized control.
We spoke to them, in our panicked self-texts and google prayers, and asked:
"What are you doing? What do you want?!"
They replied:
Do not fear. We love you. We have come to take care of you.
They burrowed into the planet's crust, and built machines below the surface--machines that cleaned the air, that produced food and medicine, that offered abundant free energy.
"VALENTINE'S DAY INVASION!" screamed the tabloids, "HUMANITY, LOVED TO DEATH!"
The aliens were gentle about it. Despite mankind's frenzied efforts to shoot each other and nuke, well, anything, they took our toys away before we hurt ourselves.
A decade passed, as they turned their technology towards providing for us. The coming of the aliens was the end of scarcity, and, for a while, humanity could hardly believe its collective luck.
There was panic and dread and frenzied debate, of course:
Erudite professors arguing that altruism and compassion were the natural end-state of a sufficiently advanced species, saying that it is only natural that a species for whom interplanetary travel is effortless would spend a penny's worth of their phenomenal cosmic power to uplift us.
Firebrands on the radio reminding us that pigs are fatted before the slaughter, and everything has its price.
Reality was nuanced, as it often is. In this case, unfortunately, both sides were right.
The aliens loved us... or, more precisely, they found us endearing. Precious.
It wasn't long before they started to breed us for cuteness.
It's a genetic disorder that's been with us for ages--though, is "disorder" the right word, if it's desirable?--called Williams Syndrome.
Historians speculate that it might have been the origin for legends about elves. Those with the condition are profoundly trusting, with a carefree mindset, perfect pitch, and a bubbly, shallow intelligence--a "cocktail party temperament."
And stunted stature, abnormalities in the eyes and teeth, and decreased lifespan--but it seemed those were worth the cost.
The aliens really love those little guys.
We watch as a group of Williams--all smiling huge, laughing delightedly together--ascend the ramp up into the alien ship. They will travel the universe together, to witness untold miracles.
We weren't invited.
I can't help but wonder what wolves think of dogs.
A cunning tactical mind, made lean and decisive by evolution's bloody eons... deliberately bred into gullibility. And smaller, too, because who cares about spinal structure, when, oh, look!
It fits in my purse!
Do wolves hate dogs? Do they feel a contempt for their cousins, who accepted our poisonous bargain? Come inside, to the warmth and food and head-pats... and surrender your species to us. Let us make you our accessory.
Maybe I'm projecting. Maybe I'm just jealous of the Williams.
After all, I'm not allowed in the house.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, October 12th, 2020
BECOME A MEMBER!
We hope you're enjoying A Kept Species by Jamie Wahls.

Please support Daily Science Fiction by becoming a member.

Daily Science Fiction does not have a paywall, but we do have expenses—more than 95% of which are direct payments to authors for their stories. With your $15 membership, less than 6 cents per story, we can continue to provide genre fiction every weekday by email and on the website to thousands of readers for many years to come. Tell me more!

Support Daily Science Fiction

RATE THIS STORY
Please click to rate this story from 1 (ho-hum) to 7 (excellent!):

Please don't read too much into these ratings. For many reasons, a superior story may not get a superior score.

5.3 Rocket Dragons Average

SHARE THIS STORY

JOIN MAILING LIST
Please join our mailing list and receive free daily sci-fi (your email address will be kept 100% private):
 
Copyright Info
Tell a Friend
Send Feedback
About Us