On a somewhat flavourless, foggy Wednesday, in the Southern Ocean, off the coast of a little green island known for long, low-hanging clouds, a simple creature swam about, eating fish. The creature was halfway between what was known as a "Whale", and what was known as a "Dolphin", and was widely seen as a source of entertainment for the superior beings on the planet, until the creatures started to eat those superior beings. The water-dwelling beast, known as a "Killer Whale" or "Orca" and was sadly, misunderstood. The only reason it was a killer is because, well, when you've got to eat, you've got to eat, and the smart, superior beings known as "Humans" were rather tasty. Also, these Humans should have realised long ago that you can't keep a large sea-dwelling animal in a pool that is only a metre deeper than the poor animal itself.
This Orca had seen Humans many times, almost every day when they came in a rotund metal craft, Humans peeking at the Orca through glass portholes. The Orca did not enjoy it. However, if it had ever lived in a pool, it would have considered this a picnic. Today the sky was a deep grey, matching the creature's emotions. It was bored. Little pinpricks of pink light, the shade of the insides of what was known as a "Salmon" were weakly shining through the cloud, like the aftermath of a person who loves to jab at paper with something sharp, for fun. This specimen was also known to Humans as a "Bored Schoolboy". The Orca appreciated this light display, and found it entertaining. However, like most simple things on the planet, it soon became bored and swam off in search for some tasty morsels.
Just as the Orca left, a cloud-like cluster of tiny insects about 1 millimetre in size (un)gracefully worked their way through the cold, dirty-blue-green saltwater, much in the same the way that fish don't. These small, somewhat insignificant little insects were known to a species of aliens known as the Karamamablabkabmakaseoueteqeuete and were the most durable and strongest creatures that had possibly walked (or, so far swam on) this planet.
As the swarm slowly trundled through the icy water, the ocean floor became slightly more visible, and a bit more, and a bit more. Then-smack! The party of 'grades hit a rock. Not realizing that it was, in fact, a rock and not a creature, the Tardigrades relentlessly attacked it. After the confused bunch of aliens wore themselves out, they finally managed to sloppily maneuver themselves around the rock and carry on.
After an hour or so of bumping into rocks and scaring off the odd fish, the Tardigrades washed onto a rocky beach covered in grey pebbles. The waves were breaking onto some larger rocks, spray lashing at the bugs and dripping into rock pools. As the Tardigrades got back up and brushed themselves off, the midday sun broke through the grey clouds, drying their exoskeletons and giving them a warm fuzzy felling that can only be explained as "happiness". The Tardigrades strode through the pebbles and onto a plant, which towered above them. Here they would eat and rest.
Just then, a creature of giant proportions hopped out of the bush. The "happiness" was instantly gone, replaced something far, far more powerful: Hungriness. The Tardigrades ran at the thing that was known as a "Grasshopper" and made loud booming war cries, like vikings going into battle. It would have been great to watch, if you had a microscope. Tardigrades were slashing with their marginally sharp suckers, tearing a layer of skin at a time. The Grasshopper fought back, springing away with lightning speed. The battle was over in mere hours, leaving the grasshopper de-limbed and the space bugs feasting on the tiny, rotting corpse. It was really quite a sight.
With their microscopic bellies full, the 'grades joined into a messy group and slowly worked their way to the plant which was to be their home. It was a long day, and the light from the shimmering half sun in the distance was turning a colour that could only be described as "Sunset Orange". Of course, that was only the opinion of the Humans. In most worlds, the sunset wasn't even Orange. This shade of Orange really brought out the shades of green from the plant, which had thin, slender leaves with brownish seed clumps at the end of a long stalk. One by one, the Tardigrades settled in, some already starting to bend and shape the leaves into a hut - like building. But as the Orange slowly faded into Red, then Grey and finally a oily Black, they curled up into little balls and went into a state of shutdown called sleep, readying themselves for another day.
Next Time: The Village. The Tardigrades fashion a small town from the plants around them as they hunt and fight for survival on Time Of The Tardigrades!
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