Author : Beck Dacus
“I assume you already know why the planet is called Trigger.” The tour guide had put too much faith in me.
“No, actually. I’ve been wondering.”
He let out a strained sigh. He then began to recite something scripted. At least I assume it was.
“From orbit you wouldn’t think that the planet had any animal life on it. Nothing appears to move on the surface. That was what our telescopes thought until we sent down a rover. It was immediately destroyed.”
This was a lot more fascinating that he was making it sound. “Really? It was because of some hidden animal life, wasn’t it?”
The guide was relieved someone could actually anticipate some of his mantra. “Yes, in fact. We discovered that later when we saw relentless movement all over the planet. It moved like a wave of activity across the whole surface of the planet. After several months, it calmed down.”
“Yes. Many other people were surprised that such an energetic reaction could be sustained that long, too. It’s more surprising when you hear what it was.” He was allowing himself to get excited.
“They sent down another rover, this time monitoring what happened to it from orbit. The second it touched the ground, it triggered the sensors of several different animals (hence the name) which proceeded to destroy it. The movement of these animals set off the trigger of more animals nearby, and so on.”
“And so on?”
“Yes,” he said, reclaiming his annoyance.
“Across the whole planet?”
“Yes. It appears that all the world’s animals evolved the ambush strategy to hunting, and waited patiently for just one thing to move before pouncing. Then some began pouncing on each other, and so on. Except on rare occasions, the animal life on Trigger is paralyzed, waiting for one of the other animals to make the mistake of moving. It is hypothesized that stimulating this reaction too often could actually overwork the entire planet, even causing a mass extinction.”
“Wow! That was amazing. Thank you so much.” The guide could barely hide his enthusiasm to get away. I didn’t care. I thought about Trigger. About how a little, mischievous part of me just wanted to put one toe on the surface…