It began with vindictiveness on the part of the human.
No animal could conceive of such selfish and senseless violence. In fact, violence was so far beyond them that when they became victim to it, they would deny that it ever happened.
"Don't worry about it,"
"Naw, it can't be you," they'd say, even when Lemming was holding the net that bashed across their heads, even when he had buried the pitfall and the dirt was still fresh on his shovel.
Terris was one of many the Animal towns across the Wild World ripe for exploitation. Of the three humans assigned to govern this land, Lemming was the most ambitious and ruthless. "Divide and Conquer" was the adage of the colonizers and a philosophy which Lemming embodied. It would be his life's work to pilfer, manipulate, destroy, and recreate the land and its inhabitants to his own image.
He had stood, watching over the ocean in lazy contemplation. It was a normal day. He had finished his morning rounds making sure his orchards and gardens were growing well. It was a necessary tediousness to maintain the town's flora even though the fauna left it alone for the most part. He scoured the town for fossils and gyroids exposed by last night's downpour. He adjusted the levels of barbiturate in the blood of his two roommates ensuring that they would not bother him today.
Lemming was relaxed, at peace even. His radiant hair caught the wind like cornsilk and he moved to adjust his crown, a symbol of his wealth and dominance over the populace. He had been listening to the gossip of the waves for so long that the sound no longer registered in his mind.
The new sound he heard quite easily.
Lemming looked up to the sky and grasped his golden slingshot tighter. This was what he had been waiting all morning for and the sight of it brought an unpleasant smile to his lips. He raced after it. He cleared acres of familiar territory, knocking over Tabby the cat in his haste, and stopped at the most favorable location. The periphery of his town would give him a clear shot. He closed one eye, drew back his weapon, and released.
Let it be known at this time that the golden slingshot is not to be underestimated. It was so designed that enough power would be given to three high-density pellets to propel them into the atmosphere, piercing whatever was in their way. An awkward and repeatedly-patched spaceship stood in their way now. It was successfully brought down belching fumes and making squalling sounds of distress. The eventual crash shook the entire town. The residents, for their lack of curiosity or abundance of fear, refused to investigate.
Lemming watched his fiery handiwork with the satisfaction of a job well done. The survivor of the crash lay prostrate on the ground, mostly unharmed. Lemming woke him up with a few knocks to the side of the head.
"Hey. Get up."
"Mmph...ouch... Oh!" The ship's occupant said after regaining consciousness and addressing what he obviously thought was his savior. He stood up with some effort and brushed himself off. "Imagine meeting you again, bulb-headed alien!" He wore a suit of blue synthetic material, more sophisticated than the natural fibers other animals wore, as well as an ill-fitting helmet which had to be trimmed to allow his beak to protrude out the front. His monocular eyes under heavy eyebrows blinked at the human.
Lemming always wondered whether the bird was a real space explorer as he advertised or if he was just some abnormally delusional animal flying around on a spaceship he acquired from God knows where.
"Hello Gulliver," Lemming replied warmly. He had shot Gulliver down several times in the past but the bird never clued in to the real culprit.
Gulliver nodded and he turned to his ship. His feathers rose at the sight of its flaming husk. "Oh! My precious ship! It's... not as bad as it looks, I hope." He said nervously. "But there are some missing pieces. I don't suppose I could trouble you with finding them?" He turned to the human optimistically. "I hate to bother you like this, but I have to find them and return to space. Quickly!"
Lemming raised an eyebrow at that statement. He knew Gulliver was a wanderer, an explorer, and not one who was usually bound by time. But he agreed, the promise of a rich reward compelling his movements. Animals always rewarded heavily for the most insignificant of tasks. And Gulliver, who amassed wealth from across the Wild World and beyond, would no doubt be exceedingly grateful for the monumental favor Lemming was doing him. But just to be safe, Lemming held the last piece of ship out of Gulliver's reach and stuck out his other hand in a position to receive.
Unperturbed, Gulliver placed a tanooki leaf, the standard container of item storage, into Lemming's waiting hand and received the ship part in return.
Lemming turned the leaf over twice. "So what is it?" He asked. He would not release its contents until he was safely back in his house.
Instead of answering, Gulliver climbed to the roof of his ship. "Tell me, have you ever met a space bounty hunter who could roll into a ball?" He said. He placed a gear into a crevice and aligned a curved plate of metal to it. The two pieces adhered easily. Apparently, the fragility of the ship allowed for convenient restorative powers.
"No," Lemming answered. If this turned out to be some far-fetched story, he would leave. It was unlikely that Gulliver could meet any off-worlders in the first place. "What does that have to do with this?" He said, waving the leaf.
Gulliver took on an indolent tone which increasingly annoyed Lemming. "It is a relic I received from the bounty hunter worth vast amounts, or so I think. She wouldn't even give it to me at first so of course it had to be valuable! And when I finally got it, other humans kept on trying to take it from me. I had to leave the sector just to get a bit of peace."
She? And a human? Now Lemming's interest was piqued. It has been generations since the humans of Wild World had contact with other humans.
"So what is it?"
"It's called a metroid. Keep it in its jar and feed it bugs once in a while. Hoo boy." Gulliver said as he pried open a metal tile and steam blew at his face. He coughed. "I don't think all this damage was done today! I got into a dogfight with a space fox recently. Get it? Dogfight? Okay, foxes aren't exactly dogs, but they're pretty close."
Exasperated, Lemming left Gulliver to ramble on. He wanted to examine his new acquisition. He wanted to display it in the back room of his mansion, the room where he stored his most precious belongings and which he allowed only his most favored associates to enter.