Another day over, Lek said to himself as he flopped down on the dilapidated couch in his shack in District 9. He took a few minutes to gather his strength before getting back up off the stained couch and cracking open a can of beans. He sat at the table that occupied the corner of his shack and ate in silence, too sore to really enjoy the food.
Outside, the usual sounds of the district continued unabated, thus when he first heard the sounds coming from the other room, he barely registered them, dismissing them as more racket from outside. Only when the faint buzzsaw-like wail of a sprawnling in distress brought him back to his senses did he start to pay closer attention. He took a deep breath and paused, the can almost empty, waiting for the sound to repeat itself. When it did, a moment later, along with a faint grunting sound, Lek realized it came from the other room.
On his feet in seconds, he lurched, stumbling and bracing himself on the wooden chair he had been sitting on, before all but leaping into the other room. Before he had laid the egg, he had been using the tiny room as a sleeping chamber, but had moved to the couch while the egg and the cow that hung from the ceiling had taken over the majority of the space. As Lek watched, the sides of the egg pulsated, and there was another plaintive, squeaking wail.
Lerk's eyes widened in shock. His son was hatching! His son was hatching! He kept telling himself that in shock and awe, even as instinct took over and he hurriedly disconnected the nutrient cables that connected the egg to the skeletal remains of the cow.
No longer held back by the umbilicals of the nutrient cables, the top of the egg peeled open like a flower. Lek peeked inside, but could see little except movement of the amniotic fluid the egg was filled with. He gasped when, in the fading light, he saw a flash of orange. Kneeling alongside the egg, he watched as a bulge formed alongside the egg and grew until the egg's tough hide tore, spilling liquid everywhere and revealed a sprawnling's feet poking through the opening. Every muscle ached to help rip the egg apart, despite the exhaustion of having worked a twelve hour day, but instinct held him in place; his son whom he had already decided would be named Mita needed to work his muscles.
With a hole finally torn in the egg, a pair of three-fingered hands appeared, one after another, grabbing a hold of the edges of the ragged opening and pushing, expanding the tear the feet had pushed through and were hanging out of. More goopy liquid leaked out, and there was a heaving sound from tiny lungs and suddenly Mita was there right in Lek's face! Though still covered in slimy amniotic fluids, which dripped to the concrete floor in thick gobs, Mita held onto the side of the egg with one hand and wiped his face with the other, before opening his eyes. Blinking against the sudden brightness of sunset, the baby poleepkwa's eyes immediately saw Lek hovering a few inches away, eyes filled with concern, awe, and wonder.
Lek leaned forward and inhaled, his tendrils reaching out for Mita just as Mita's did the same, and father and son shared their first kiss. The sprawnling gurgled with curiosity and blinked again, and one antennae sprung upright, almost whipping Lek in the face. The big prawn leaned back, sitting on the floor against the far wall, by the door, encouraging Mita forward.
The sprawnling, limbs trembling from the effort, heaved himself out of the egg and flopped onto the hard concrete floor. The chill almost immediately sent Mita into a shiver, but he managed to get onto all fours and start crawling. Lek reached for a rag, and after stumbling a couple times, Mita crawled up into his father's waiting arms. Lek wiped the goo off his son, and wrapped him in a warm towel, Mita gurgling and chirping contentedly, before laying down on the couch with his son, who looked at him longingly.
For all the cruelties and harshness inflicted on their people, for that night, in that single shack, all was right in the world.