A few hundred years ago, one in four birds in north america was a passenger pigeon. They were highly social, and nested in great flocks. They numbered in the hundreds of millions.
In reading about the passenger pigeon, stumbled across the concept of predator satiation. The operating principle(more) is simple. A species reproduces synchronously, and prolifically. Its predators exhaust themselves feeding, and couldn't eat enough individuals to compromise the health of the breeding population even if they tried.
Within a couple hundred years of my ancestors' arrival, every last one of them was dead.
I can't blame humanity as a whole. After all, they coexisted with humans for 20,000 years or so before that.
It's hard to know what I've inherited. And at what cost.
These birds were so plentiful and so easy to kill that hunting them was considered unsporting. When a flock flew by, a single gunshot could bring down half a dozen or more, without the wielder needing to aim. Their meat was so plentiful that it frequently became economically worthless.
But we still killed them. Even when we knew they were in drastic decline.
Their strategy was predicated on the assumption that no species would be stupid enough to kill every last one of something. And though it seems cruel from the viewpoint of the sacrificed, for millions of years, it worked.
Then we came.
We saw them as an opportunity to take without giving. Because we are selfish. We are prone to measuring cost in mind of our own bodily existence, and not the billions of evolutions that led up to our being, and the billions unborn who will only remember us for the suffering we've inflicted upon them.
We are the demons made flesh that natural selection could never conceive of.
"So were you ever going to tell me about this place?" James asked, running his fingers through the dust that had settled on the long counter. "Or were we just going to keep living out of my truck?"
"I didn't know if you'd be comfortable in a Marmora(more) base," Keith said. He picked up a jacket that was thrown over a couch and pressed it to his nose before making a face and tossing the jacket back. He stopped when he realized James was giving him a soft look.
"That's sweet," James said, and smiled at him. "But I'm comfortable wherever you are."
Keith returned the smile, but then it faltered when he realized James had his hand on the handle of the fridge. "Uh, I wouldn't do that if I were you."
James looked at the fridge, and then back to Keith. "What," he said. "You forget a carton of milk?"
"Maybe," Keith said. "Maybe I haven't opened that fridge in two years."
James immediately released his hold on the door handle. "You're kidding."
"How long have you know me?"
"Not two years." James folded his arms. "It can't be THAT bad."
"If you want to open it, go ahead, but give me plenty of warning so I can exit the premises." Keith didn't actually seem like he was hoking, and James was tired anyway.
"So, what. We order a pizza?" He looked around. "Do any pizza places actually deliver here?"
"Pizza AND beer," Keith said. "There should be a take-out menu in one of the drawers. I'll go change the sheets on the bed before we get too trashed to do anything but fuck."
"What about the fridge?" James called after.
"Leave it. We'll torch it in the morning."
James couldn't tell whether or not he was joking.(less)