A short short story by Krishna Singh Reynolds.
The Dargons are universally hated (and hunted)interstellar fugitives. Everyone hunts them with a view to making them extinct, so finding their breeding planet would be disaster for the Dargons, but they have an ace up their sleeve.

In the stillness of the deep of space, sound takes on a different quality because your eyes fool your ears into hearing things outside the ship and inside your head. Your sense of time gets confused as sound elides and splatters against metal walls then trickles down through service tunnels, echoing and re-echoing into a constant annoyance.

Other times, it seems, there is no sound; that everything is wrapped in cotton-wool or gliding, sliding through lubricant, the starlight kaleidoscoping into pinpoint singularities before being whisked out of existence. These are 3D simulations, evanescent data to remind us that we do not see the passage of the ship through our senses, but through the ship’s sensors as we seem to speed beyond light speed. 

We have taken a shortcut, a wormhole through the fabric of space and time and fallen out of the known universes into yet another. Yet, in that moment we blink out of existence there, to reappear here.It is a necessary danger we must face if we are to mate and raise our eggs, but we have no choice and our technology cannot save us. So we must make this perilous trek through the darkness.

It is our imagination that dreams of whales spouting in earth-like seas, or the diving of submarines into inky, crushing depths, but we must fill this silent world of winking, blinking lights glowing, showing, flashing bits of data with something less prosaic, boring,utilitarian… so we dream.

There is no reason for us to doubt the Machine Intelligence that brings us through the wormhole. It is returning to a place it has been before in an earlier version, a place we left as metamorphs. A place where the food is plenty and the game fat. We dream of long days of the hunt and the mating that will follow and already tempers are flaring. It is a burden we must bear, that our mating and the birth of our young can only take place on a planet that is only accessible on a certain stardate.

We live for millennia, we Dargons, in the hope that we can mate on that planet and raise our young to remember our memories. We dream of cool mud squelching through our claws and the frenetic thrashing of captured prey trapped in our powerful jaws. We dream other dreams too, but they are chemically suppressed in the interest of survival in the confines of a spaceship. Soon, we will hunt our real prey.
Soon, they will worship us again and bring us our food.

I growl without realizing as I see from the sudden turning of heads toward me, but I turn them away with a hand wave and surreptitiously increase the concentration of the hormone block. It is hard to maintain this two-legged stance without the reassurance of a tail, but we must if we are to survive our enemies and so we breathe this sweet gas each day to keep this form. I look at the readouts, but there is no sign of those who follow us so that they may kill our kind and wipe us out entirely.

They hate us, wherever we go, and they seek to kill us wherever they find us, but we continue to follow the program and so far they have not found the planet of our birth. Our decoy ships with suitable numbers of drones have gone off in their programmed directions, yet I am not satisfied.

I will probably feel this way until I reach Urth

[originally published here]

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