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"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.

Invasive Species

G. Allen Wilbanks is a member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and has published over 200 short stories in Deep Magic, Daily Science Fiction, The Talisman, and other magazines, as well as featuring in best-selling anthologies from all over the world. He has published two short story collections of his own, and two novels. His most recent book, A Life of Adventure, was an Amazon U.S. top 100 release, and he has a short horror novella, "They," out in May, 2021. For more information, please visit gallenwilbanks.com, or check out his weekly blog at DeepDarkThoughts.com.

Carlo peered up at the dual moons in the sky. Even in daylight, Deimos and Phobos were visible high above, their edges only slightly blurred through the transparent shielding of the biodome surrounding him. It was an impressive view, and he took a long moment to enjoy it.
Twenty years ago, the idea of terraforming other planets had been only a dream. Today, Carlo walked the surface of Mars along with more than two hundred other men and women who had sought a new home away from the crowds and pollution on Earth. Two square miles of ground were sealed beneath the dome, almost fifteen hundred acres of carefully cultivated farmable soil. The terrain outside the dome was still hostile to human life. For now. Time enough for that later.
Carlo caught a flash of movement out of the corner of his eye. Something small and low to the ground had moved in the dry, rocky wilderness outside the dome. He glanced around but could not see the source of what had caught his attention. He knew what it was, though, and he scowled.
Mars had the potential to be a new Eden. The people sent for colonization had been selected after rigorous testing and evaluation. The animals accompanying them were carefully chosen for endurance to hardship and maximum benefit to the settlers. Even the plants and soil additives, right down to the bacteria released into the ground, were all argued and debated for years before the final decisions were ratified for the new colony.
Everything necessary to survival had been sent, and nothing detrimental had been allowed. "Invasive species," the scientists had called them. Animals or plants that would take over and choke out the lifeforms necessary for a successful settlement. Humans had done it to themselves time and time again on Earth over the centuries, introducing fast growing plants that strangled native trees and flora to the point of extinction, or bringing home animals with no natural predators that quickly ravaged local food sources.
That was not to happen on Mars. Mankind had learned its lesson and it would not poison this new untouched resource.
Or so they had thought. But someone, some settler who believed they knew better than a thousand scientists debating the issue for decades, decided to break the rules. One bad decision coupled with an untimely lapse in security had let the genie out of the bottle once again.
It wasn't even a new mistake. This one had been made relatively recently in human history, and Australia was still paying for the error in judgement.
Another flash of movement drew his eye, and Carlo saw a figure darting from behind an outcropping of rocks into a shallow ravine, a streak of light brown across the red and tan landscape. He grimaced again.
"Goddamned rabbits," he muttered.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, June 21st, 2021
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