Sample Chapter: Chapter One
Bunnies in Space novel – created by Nick Dupree
provided for sample purposes
One: Incident at Long Beach
…as the descendants of these keenest survivors became the rabbits we know today, they grew a unique spirit. The “spirit of the rabbit” solidified in tandem with our maturation into a distinctive mammal family, known to science as Leporidae. Just as knowledge and attitudes layered in childhood harden into instinct in adults, the attitude of early leporids, something akin to the celebratory jibe “nyah nyah can’t catch me,” hardened into a leporid-wide imprint of self-assuredness, confidence in our bottomless bag of tricks, dignity and pride in our success that’s as obvious and as taken for granted as our long ears. You can see that dignity, now as before, in the way rabbitkind hold their heads, brightly and high-tilting with pride. The spirit of the rabbit, not our appearance, is what impressed centuries of sages and storytellers across many cultures of mankind to pass down rabbit lore: tales like Br’er Rabbit from African-American slaves recalling West African rabbit myths, the legends of Mishaabooz (“Great rabbit”) the supernatural, shape-shifting trickster hero told of by the Ojibwe tribe, and the Iroquois stories about ”big chief rabbit,” just to name a few that circulate in North America alone.
The triumvirate of Marshmallow, Milo and Lepidus who led the revolutionary generation that rose from that quasi-legal laboratory in Seoul proved how indomitable the rabbit spirit really was…
—History of the Bun Republic by Dr. Alvin Bunnington, Second Edition (2102)
General Marcus Gaius Lepidus was pacing one of the piers at the Port of Long Beach. Again. The sunrise gave his boots an inky-shadow companion on the pier as they clicked against the planks. Click-clop, click-clop. They should be here already, the bun general thought. Recruits for the First Bun Cavalry. Greatly needed, essential for finishing the task at hand. Just a few more ships of stowed-away volunteers, and he could complete the liberation of captive rabbits in North America, see justice done. Assuming the volunteers were soldier material, ready to hone their balance and agility through his horse-riding exercises, and that a dozen or so of the good cavalry recruits had the skills to train for Special Ops.
A low fragment of a rabbit growl escaped from his clenched teeth and frustration halted his pacing. There were too few ships coming in, too few volunteers on them, and among the rabbits volunteering, very few that could even come close to the discipline and aggressive ambition necessary to become a competent soldier.
Getting rabbits to adopt a martial temperament, stay with their unit and work together was sort of like getting dolphins to climb trees, it’s just not something that the species is equipped for. General Lepidus was thus running a military with two officers and roughly two dozen troopers and cavalry-buns. He knew that the ingrained sense that motivated him to provide for the common defense, the impulse to keep the rabbit free, was the same urge leading so many recruits to bounce off and play in the grass in lieu of his training. The natural state of the rabbit is playful, free, growing wild like the dandelion. Nonetheless, General Lepidus could never waver, his goal—standing up a Bun Republic military effective enough to ensure the new species’ survival—was too important. Where was that ship?
A security speedboat, swivel-mounted pneumatic gun glowing at the ready, buzzed by. Remembering the pier was where the security cutters docked, Lepidus’ ears perked. He sensed an eerie wind of danger playing on the tips of his long ears, so after taking a beat to scan the area for sounds of risk—but being unable to hear anything over the “lap…lap…lap” of the Pacific Ocean licking on the pier—he pulled his red officer’s coat straight and moved away. More speedboats could come. As he walked along the shore, he saw the speedboat stop at a 400-meter-long mega container ship that had just docked. Half a dozen Korean crewmen were leaning over the railing, yelling at the swivel-gun speedboat to go away. Once close enough to see individual containers, he caught a split-second glimpse of a shadow behind a green container. A bunny ears-shadow.
He moved fast, a bunny blur, crossing into the cargo yard with a stiff hop over a chain-link fence, moving to get to the rear of the container ship. He passed a big yellow sign, reading
DO NOT ENTER
below a silhouette-man raising his arms in a vain defensive gesture as a silhouette container threatened from above, an illustration in the unambiguous and universal language of stick figures.
A network of autonomous robotic gantry cranes moved overhead, one placing a container every few seconds with a sharp drop and a WHUMP. The port removed human crane operators decades ago, and since barring people from the cargo yards entirely a few years later, the crane AI had been learning, improving, getting faster, unloading more ships and pushing quarterly profits ever-higher. Lepidus kept moving, never stopping, hoping it would limit the probability of getting squished by a falling container if he never stayed in one spot. But being a talking rabbit, Lepidus was acutely aware of the fairly high probability of improbable events on Earth. He considered the probability of somebunny getting flattened uncomfortably high. He moved in a blur, eager to rid himself of the feeling that his teeth might meet his feet in a new, violently-compressed anatomical configuration at any moment.
After crossing more than two football fields-worth of the cargo yard, General Lepidus neared the rear of the container ship and identified three rabbits, 10 meters above him on the ship’s railing. There was George, the competent cavalrybun he’d entrusted this recruitment run to, and two other rabbits he didn’t know, a yellowy-beige female behind George and what he thought was a white male cowering beside a container, the recruits. Lepidus dammed-off the growing flood of questions geysering in his mind, and motioned to the rabbits to jump down. “Come!”
The old bun general waved them on with frantic gestures. “Hurry! Before humans notice!“
At that, the female leapt, graceful and dainty. The white-furred male froze, that petrified state that can afflict rabbits in moments of great stress. George, looking especially big and strong next to the malnourished recruits, grabbed the frozen rabbit’s shoulders and flung him like a sack of potatoes over the railing. He landed in a heap near the female. George then jumped down, athletic, showy, meant to impress.
“Let’s go! Quick!” Soon, General Lepidus had led them deep into the cargo yard.
MORE TO COME