The rabbits are dwindling. Not by any fault of the Beluga, or their custom-landscaped interior environment, but due to my own incompetence. We're down to one thousand rabbits. Half the population.
And we're not even at the nebula yet.
The journey started off fine.
That's a lie.
The journey started off with me overheating the Beluga, being careless enough to try and spool the drives while it was still scooping fuel.
Lo and behold, while it didn't set the rabbits on fire (I think), it did melt through my cargo hatch, sucking quite a few of the fuzzy creatures out into the void before I noticed it.
Almost five hundred souls, gone in an instant.
Thinking back on it, I could probably have gone back around to get them... but it's too late now.
God knows why they were huddled there by the hatch, given the entire Beluga's interior to roam around in. Homesickness? Was it something wrong with the ecoscape and life support systems?
Either way, the AFMU dealt with any heat-related damages quickly enough, the sole exception being the paint job.
And we were fine, for a while.
We visited some geysers.
Found some alien life-forms. The codex called them "Bark Mounds". Didn't look
Took some samples of whatever tumorous growths were on them too.
And everything was fine... till it wasn't.
Checking back on the Beluga's eco-dome afterward revealed some startling things.
...Another five hundred or so rabbits had seemingly vanished
Nowhere on the bio-scanners. Not in the cargo manifest. Just... gone.
I had done absolutely nothing
, this time.
Half the population gone, not even halfway into the trip.
I would turn back, but it's too late now. The 500 or so remaining rabbits on-board will have to make do.
It'll likely be another week till I return to port.
Black holes are strange things, aren't they?
Not that I knew what they looked like till I jumped into one.
It just... twists space in such odd ways.
I wonder how the rabbits will react. I mean, I can spare some of them, right? They'll be in no great harm, as long as I can bring them back intact. And I've done my fair share of cargo scooping as an Opal miner. Just... load them back up into the cages, and...
...Away they go.
And while we're at it, why not use the time to launch one of the Beluga's fighters? Sure, I hadn't flown any of them before, ever, but what's the worst that could happen-
This... is the Beluga Liner Watership Down
Population : ...340. Out of an initial 2000.
Critical population levels.
We're going to have to turn back.
Onwards... and Upwards.
Please live long enough to get home.