2.23: Skum Bunny: Happily Ever After
Thirty years later, Ted Vermillion, formerly known only as Skum Bunny, stepped out of his front door to look out at the horizon of this new and wonderful planet they called Laredo. The grass was a calm shade of orange and the sky was a deep noon purple. The urge to lie down and hug the planet came and went quickly. He was getting too old to lie on the grass. He could see his oldest son walking across the far field with Lampoon pacing his steps.
The rest of his large family wasn’t up yet. His teenager, Border, was at that age he wanted to outdo everyone. So he was up super early, checking for tiger damage to the fences. Times like this, Ted tended to think back on his childhood, in that hell of a station, before the colony projects got going. His so-called kras had gone on a terrorist killing spree, and he had been caught early on, before things got so deadly for his crew. Only he and Scroot had lived through those days, and his keyboard and arms had been taken away and he was made a ward of the Papacy. Ted, or Skum Bunny as he had been known, was put to hard labor on the asteroids.
Hard labor. Best thing that could have happened to him. Working in unforgiving space had given him discipline, and the technical skills so that when his time was served, he was over qualified to serve on the Vanguard, the first ship to transfer population to a habitable planet from the Qualmpths’ records.
His musing was interrupted when Fern put her arms around his waist and pressed her face into the nape of his neck. Ted put his hands over hers. Out in the fields. a flock of fairy dragons swooped low across the crops, lights flashing and rousting a large hippogryph into the air. It seemed to hover gracelessly for a moment before propelling itself up and away in several powerful down strokes of its massive wings. The flock of fairy dragons turned as one to follow it; a pulsating and flashing sparkly comet. Ted and Fern could see that Border and Lampoon had seen the excitement too. Lampoon was jumping up and down and barking rapidly. Border stood still and watched, just like his parents. Ted smiled and turned to start his morning chores as the rest of his family began to stir in their beds.