You might think it would be very bad for the baby to just tumble out and be left, effectively parentless. On Earth it would be. But babies are different on Quadrup. They are not really babies at all. Babies, or miniatures as they are known, are born with the near full intelligence of adults. But they are about 1/20ththe size. They can look after themselves most of the time without the need for much parenting. Of course at the beginning they are too small to get biscuits down from high cupboards or change light bulbs and such other height-beneficial tasks. But they find workarounds. They are very resourceful. Plus, they are smart, nearly as smart as adults, as discussed, just 1/20thof the size.
Because of the simplicity with which they multiplied, Quadrup found itself running out of inhabitable space. We think we are running out of space here. But we are not. We just don’t use it very well because we haven’t yet started building water cities. When we become adept at constructing dwellings of a submerged or floating nature we’ll have a good 70% more space than we have now. Until then, that idea sounds like the sort of ridiculous nonsense reserved for bad science fiction, but one day you’ll laugh about how wrong you were, probably while sitting in your living room and staring out at an all blue vista. We’re going to be just fine.
Quadrup did not have this liquid luxury. Their geography is not like that of Earth. In fact, it’s closer to that of our Moon. Not only were they running out of space, but also resources. Like a tiny red circus clowns’ car being stuffed fuller and fuller with small dogs, clowns, trumpets and jugglers, the whole planet was being forced to writhe and wriggle for every inch of space. Those on the outside could not help but ridicule at what was fast becoming a pretty comedic little spectacle.
Some people would have to be pushed out, before the wheels fell off.
This was where the Quadrup Population Management Program (QPMP), came in. They had the strenuous and challenging task of convincing Quadrups to voluntarily relocate themselves to other planets. Today, as Reden began organising his leaflets and informational brochures, smartening up his uniform and attaching a poster of Big Ben to a nearby wall, he was nearly ready to begin stopping passersby, trying to convince them to relocate to a distant planet calledEarthand specifically, a small island there, called England. England contained abundant space, but selling a soul relocation there had proved difficult so far. As a general rule, people liked what they knew. The people of Quadrup knew Quadrup. They did not know either England or Earth. So you can see the problem.
Still, it was Reden’s job to convince them about this far flung planet. He took that job seriously. After all, he could see the size and scope of Quadrup’s population problem, even if they couldn’t.
As he limbered up a little by bouncing on the spot, mentally and physically preparing to begin his work, in the distance, no more than five hopalongs away was a Quadrup named Plingo. Hopalongs are the Quadrup equivalent of metres. Quadrups don’t walk, they sort of hop like a kangaroo, only on their heads which are springy, like, well, a spring, really. Their heads are vaguely human in appearance, but about three times as tall. Go to the kitchen and stack a couple of cans of baked beans upon your head and you’ll be somewhat near. The top two-thirds of cranium were reserved for this soft yet surprisingly strong springing mechanism, unique to the planet of Quadrup.
Reden stopped bouncing and called out to Plingo, “Excuse me, Citizen, may I have a moment of your now?”