Marsupial Lion

marsupial lion
Image from Wikimedia commons

Cambyses, a dry xerogaian world discovered in 5699 in the Perseus Rift and located thirty light-years from the nearest wormhole, was terraformed with cometary water and settled by a mixture of augmented human agriculturalists affiliated to the Solar Dominion, and an independent coalition of mammal provolves and rianths, who together created a temperate rainforest biome on the maritime edge of all three new continents. By 7300 the forest covered two million square kilometres.

In small high tech settlements the capybara provolves attempted to combine a scavenging life style with connection by nanogauge wormhole to the complexities of the Known Net, while the atavist rianths avoided contact with galactic society, and became more reticent and eccentric. To combat the repeated predation of cyberbara gathering parties in the rainforest by a particular clade of marsupial rianth lions, Homo thylacoleo, the alpha male cyberbaras instigated a bounty system to restrict the lion population. After only thirty years of this policy the thylacoleo was apparently extinct.

Neither the cyberbaras nor the Dominion farmers were willing to let Genen specialists revive the missing clade, and most of the forest atavistic rianth clades were glad to see the predators removed from the food chain, but for six hundred years persistent reports appeared to show the survival of a small relic population.

Many unsubstantiated sightings, poor video recordings, stock maulings and mutilations, and intermittent deaths of Cambyses citizens of various nations were attributed to the elusive lions. Finally a sweep of the millions of hectares of inaccessible deep forest using a nano defence goo supplied by the Dominion hierarchy found no lions, and no remains of dead lions less than six hundred years old.

After only fifteen years, the reports started again, and tourists have once again been drawn to the remote world by engeneration and beamrider link, and soon the volume may justify a full wormhole link to replace the nano connection. Whenever cynics venture to suggest that the tourist trade mainly drives the thylacoleo phenomenon yet another spectacular sighting or disappearance rumour appears on the Known Net.

As the Rianth lions were originally sentient, it is believed they may have developed sophisticated defenses against scanning but no electronic or nanochemical trace of this have ever been found.
 
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Development Notes
Text by Steve Bowers

Initially published on 09 December 2002.