1542. Things are not what they seem
© Bruce Goodman 22 June 2019
From the outside it looked just like an ordinary egg. It had been laid by an ordinary chicken in an ordinary farmyard. The mother hen (apparently) was an ordinary Rhode Island Red. The father (apparently) was a rather handsome silver-laced Wyandotte.
Twelve year old Gilbert knew his breeds of chickens. He’d looked after the chickens for his mother and father almost since he was a toddler. These days he kept just the right balance between it being a hobby and it supplying the house with not too many and not too few eggs. Gilbert liked to have different breeds of chickens, and he’d cross one breed with another to see what sort of combination emerged from the egg. But… such an interesting genetic mix-up was exactly what the aliens were looking for. They had been watching the farmhouse for a month or so. They knew the way young Gilbert managed his chickens.
One night, when the next day they knew Gilbert was going to put a clutch of eggs under a broody hen, the aliens injected one of the eggs with very specific genetic material. This would change the history of the world. In fact, this would end the history of the world.
Before school the next morning, Gilbert took the eggs he had been saving that were laid by the Rhode Island Red hen in liaison with the silver-laced Wyandotte rooster. He selected twelve eggs. Of the fourteen eggs that Gilbert had collected only two remained. Fourteen eggs were too many for the broody hen to keep warm. Twelve was just right. Of the two unchosen eggs, one contained the alien genetic material. The watching aliens were distraught.
Then Gilbert did something he always did: at the last minute he swapped the eggs. “This,” he thought, as he replaced one of the dozen eggs with the rejected alien egg, “will produce a different chicken from the one I first selected!”
Gilbert always did that. It was if he was playing God. Except, in this case he was.