| "Vermin" |
Set in the Future
|Type of Appearance:||POV|
|Religion:||Holy Mission Church|
Victoria Griffin was a member of the Holy Mission Church. She and her husband lived in the colony of New Zion, on the jungle planet Reverence. Victoria was a devout woman, closely following the teachings of her faith, including regular prayer, obedience to her husband, and a disdain for advanced technology. In an effort to improve the lives of Reverence's native people, the Haldols, Victoria inadvertently brought about their extinction.
It was a broken pot that set events in motion. Victoria was filling her water jug when she slipped and fell. Her pot broke, and she was mildly injured. Her husband, while not pleased with the fact that she'd been unable to complete her chores, acknowledged that she must go to the Haldol village the next day and barter for a new one. On her visit, she realized how horrible the Haldols' living conditions were, particularly the pervasive presence of vermin. She was able to get the pot, but her trip lasted too long. Her hubsand struck her, leaving a bruise, to punish her for failing to complete her chores.
The next day, Victoria spoke with her neighbor, Cornelia Baker, who idly suggested that the Haldols--and certainly the New Zionists--would be better if the vermin were destroyed. Victoria acknowledged Cornelia's point, but also noted that the Holly Mission Church had long ago sworn off the technology that would accomplish that. Cornelia pointed out that the Federation had established a base not far away. Without speaking to her husband first, Victoria visited the base. She spoke with a scientist named Janice, who delighted in the idea of destroying the vermin, believing that the Haldols would soon multiply and overwhelm the "Churchies". Victoria went home, content that what would happen would happen. When she told her husband, he was so angry that Victoria had violated the Church's tenents that he raped her. From that incident came their daughter, Lavinia.
Five years later, Victoria returned to the Haldol village. She noticed that the vermin were gone. She also noticed that there were no children. When she inquired about it, a Haldol told her that children had not been born in some time, and that it was believed that the forest gods they worshipped were punishing them. Victoria dismissed those gods, asserting only salvation could come through Jesus. The Haldols had long disregarded the Church, but now that they were showing signs of infertility, they were inclined to listen to what the Church had to say.
Some days later, a Federation ship came to New Zion. The scientist Janice demanded an audience with Victoria, during which Janice angrily charged that Victoria had caused the extinction of the Haldols. The vermin were essential to Haldol reproduction; this was why the Haldols had become infertile. Victoria patiently reminded Janice that Janice had wanted to the Haldols to overwhelm the "Churchies". When Janice left, Victoria was content the destruction of the Haldols would be God's work.