Note: This is posted “as is”, no editing or proof reading involved, as part of the 30 Shorts In 30 Days project. During April I will be attempting to write and post a new short story everyday.
It all started with two eggs, which is of course a blatant lie. This particular tale started with two eggs, but this is just one particular tale amongst many. But this tale, this tale started with two eggs. Two eggs and a longshot.
The eggs were donated to the Pitt Rivers collection in Oxford, a curiosity amongst curiosities, and filed away in the cold cellars for many years until a student came across them and decided to try and hatch them. Chicken eggs won’t last very long, crocodile eggs will last a bit longer. In fact, the older the species, the longer the eggs can lay dormant without any harm. And the dodo was an old species.
The cold of Oxford helped them to remain vital, because the dodo’s home of Mauritius was a lot warmer, and a lot more humid. A normal incubator wouldn’t do, so one was specially built for the task at hand. Even so, the eggs didn’t show any signs of hatching. Chickens and turkeys have quite an amount of fat on them, but it took the student a while to realise that dodos had even more.
The temperature of the incubator was raised, and a few months later the first signs of life came from within the first egg. Three weeks later and the shells cracked. For the first time in hundreds of years, dodos were no longer extinct.
Then came the longshot. For a species to survive there has to be a fertile male, and a fertile female. The chances of the two eggs being vital were astronomically small. The chances of them being a male and a female, they were too hard to work out.
Six months later, the student and his team were celebrating that they had six more dodo eggs when they got a visit from the Endangered Creatures Programme at London Zoo, and were offered an internal research position. By the end of the first year they had over two hundred dodos of egg laying age. By the end of the second year, the dodos were a problem. And by the time the Programme had decided to announce the success of the hatching to the public, war had broken out and the high breeding rate of the dodos went a long way to help the Programme staff cope with rationing.