Combat Dog (1-24)

Military Speculative Fiction of genetically engineered canines trained to operate independently as soldiers... genesis, training, deployment, victories... defeat


Clave, Creche (1-24)


Michael K Laidlaw About 85 000 words

#406 3524 31st NW

Calgary, Canada T2L 2A5

Email: 4451moana@gmail.com

Combat Dog

by

Michael Kamakana

No man knows a Master like a servant

- Malcolm X

This is a work of fiction

Clave 750 words pg 3

Crèche 8 000 words 1-24 pg 5

Cabins 11 000 words 25-57 pg 35

Control 13 000 words 58-78 pg 76

Company D 14 000 words 79-111 pg 127

Combat 18 000 words 112-144 pg 183

Canidia 20 000 words 145-181 pg 252

Clave 1 250 words pg 326

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Clave

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They wait outside, Fools. We do not know who will hear this. We offer this to anybody and everybody human and dog. We send this already spoken because we know how this will end. There are now

less than 100 of us...

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They are clearing blocks of independent media and ideological friendlies and any robotic witnesses to their coming massacre. They are uselessly hoping to cloak their actions by using night in this degenerated and discarded and ruined swamp of this drowning island of the city. They are here where there are no streetlights and no building lights and the sliver moon and uncounted stars will be swallowed in edgeless gray clouds. Darkness falls. Fools. Darkness is our friend...

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They listen but they do not hear. Our dog Whistle-code is silent now. We are the Pack and each of us know our role and our moves and our brothers are all acting in synchronicity as our minds in concert in such essential sympathy that no Herd can imagine let alone simulate or emulate. Our honest human comrades who have willingly acted as human shields against reduction possibilities of the Masters, our honest and brave friends, are humans as near to the truth of dog-nature as mortally possible are now gone, are now dead, are now promised to be reincarnate as Combat Dog if such metaphysical promise is believed. Or so says the last squire of Poet, the last squire who has remained after Poet has fled, the last squire here in order to Witness this Final Battle, in order to Witness our end that is not end but perhaps a new beginning in this war. New beginning that will convince any remaining species neutrals of necessary justice of this war. The last squire is our amplifier much as I am our voice. The last squire whose outgoing invincible and multiple threads remain magically coherent and penetrating despite attempts by your Propagandists and your Military. Attempts to search. Attempts to reduce. Attempts convinced that somehow by retaining mastery of Communication they can determine how this Real war of Real death and Real Destruction is only illusion and computer game and elaborate entertainment.Fools. Illusion is our friend...

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They wait. They prepare. They doubt. They are now hesitant in perhaps waiting for what passes as Prime Time for maximal effectiveness of propaganda requires that this named as Final Battle, as Final Death, must be seen to be Real and seen to be Live. They do not want to do this attempt again. Paladins are now rested behind their human soldiers- cyborgs though they are, the usual deficit-card holder somehow finds them at least partly human- and if nothing else this is a Media production and this is Entertainment and this is Final and this must be convincing demonstration of Masters over most advanced tools, of human superiority over dog, just dogs. Paladins are not used in this resolution but only human soldiers. They have hidden in military precision, still as stone. Eyes covered in nightsight goggles, motion detectors sweeping carefully deceptive ruins outside our Clave. Silence broken in error by electronics. In humming, in clicking, in whispered commands, in quietly crinkling and folding and sweating kevlar armor, in footsteps and crawling and breaths, even muted heartbeats confirming emotional and physical status we have easily sensed in their human stench, but now also locating foci of their individual signatures. Despite their weaponry, their technology, their grouping is that of the Herd, and even now none seem proud to lead an attack, even now they reek of fear. Fools. Fear is our friend...


About 750 words

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Crèche

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1

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I begin with my story. My story which is not so different in initial conditionsas those lives of any of our dog followers. So emblematic of our struggle, so cautionary to those who would be Masters over any slaves. Masters who have willfully forgotten all the history of slavery. I render the words of perfectly recalled dialogue. I Professor offer this file which captures us in motion, when our development is new and our sleek beauty impresses visual seduction. When we are bred and genetically engineered from those humans call sight hounds, of narrow heads and lean torsos of chameleon-fur that rests as white, of shoulder blades floating as familiar in cats so we may penetrate the narrowest fissures, we can turn and run, we can run and turn in grace and rapidity. I Professor know that even to humans we are beautiful, even now you have been impressed by negating propaganda that would have us all ugly slavering monsters. I do not bother to describe those alterations of technology that enable our soldiering, our sleek enveloping armour, our laser guns mounted over our crowns with heads-up display (HUD) so pulsing wherever we look, our embedded speakers, our subtle microphones, our perception technology that enhances natural senses. If such technical details fascinate you unknown listeners, if you have found this text no doubt can find relevant sites that effusively recount answers. I will not waste my time in banal description. I Professor am not your dog...

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I Professor begin my story in that white place we will call Crèche, though it is not our canine community that raises us, no, in many ways we never are raised as dogs but only as weapons. Crèche is where we combat dog begin, though we are introduced not through the usual trauma of passage from the womb, we are introduced from wombs that eject us in dissolution, in the way Masters might decant a fine wine- carefully, gently, slowly, so that excess dregs do not spoil the texture and the taste of that vintage. I and all my brothers are so engendered, so enveloped, so given to the world from a womb where once we had at the least companionship of various nascent brothers, but, no, not I nor you will ever find that true womb, that true mother, if there ever is one, rather than only an artificial engineered birth...

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I begin my story here, my story one, if you are honest, that is typical of our species and nothing of which to be ashamed. As for you many canine hearers versus human listeners, I am immediately stolen from our mother and if this is not the worst trauma inflicted on our innocence, this is the first, this is indicative of how we are not ever natural but always directed to purpose. Blind as we all are at birth, my memories of her are no more than her specific smells and tastes, her heartbeating warmth, her soft welcoming furry texture suddenly snatched away, and though no doubt I resemble her in smells, I have never found again, and I have never myself generated that sensory complex of sounds, textures, smells and tastes, which I lost then. I am curiously lifted and lowered, oriented horizontal and vertical and diagonal, touched here and touched there, all by fur-gloved robotic hands that descend from somewhere above, that are artificially redolent with comforting fumes of a mother who never existed beyond the womb. I have my face, particularly the closed labyrinth of my nose, prickly-tongued licked free of remaining placenta blockage, giving me again that false taste to which Observers would have me bond, that false mother, but I am too young and innocent to resist this careful deception- though even then layers of smells and tastes separated as my nose matures, revealing again odorless rubber, plastic, and metal. I am like but not like this artificial mother. I next find myself alone- freedom but solitude fracturing remembered warmth and love of the womb- in a white space which seems first unlimited, un-shadowed, and un-featured when I begin to see distant and defined through the entirety of parabola dog eyesight from eyes set more to each side of my snout, though there are no defining features or even shadows to explore or hide in. I turn and turn. Sight-hounds we are can see nearly all around but there is nothing to see how hard we look. Air around us is that particular human odor that is not odor of all their synthetic substances, rubber, metal, unnatural fabrics, the carpet beneath looped and soft but cold and odorless even as warm air presses me down from one of the nozzles overhead. I am here alone, as we all are, only on occasion touched. Some of us puppies die, simply give up, but we survivors hearing me now, know that there is a soft furry mound fixed with warm nubs of a saliva-scented singular nipple to dispense something like milk, know that this simulacra is all the mother we will ever know, know that that soft furrry mound is close as we will ever get to returning to the womb...

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I begin my story here when there is a sudden light dimming of our little pens, a gesture towards the natural cycle of day and night, but who can say how long are those periods of light and dark, when time itself is only that imitation heartbeat throbbing beneath those nipples. Our heart pulses join that artificial pulse as it races and hammers and comes fast then so slow it seems it will never return, that dances and sputters and comes long moans or short stabs- all of this as is ordered by those Observers, and who knows why or what they seek to learn or what torture. All I know is that my mother can die or never return and there is nothing puppy I can do to insure her generous infusion of milk continues, there is nothing, nothing, nothing...

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I begin my story when it diverges from yours, when it is truly mine and not just a variant of anyone else, but it could be my own faulty memories insist on this difference, that the next stage of my life is not so unique, that we all kill our mothers and search for our fathers. For one day we refuse the ending of that flow of milk, we refuse to adopt our previous passive stance, we tug on that nipple with infant teeth, we tug again, harder, and that tiny squirt of milk enrages us. We are each alone, without even brotherly company in this unnatural misery, we are never caressed, we are never spoken to, we are never comforted by this unresponsive false mother, so our despair as our nurturing has that fragile madness of loneliness. I attack that soft furry mound of fabric that surrounds the nipples, I react with fury against this motherly denial, I know there is more milk underneath, I tear the fabric with claws and teeth, I rend that artificial belly, destroy that imitation mother and then-

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I begin my story when I have destroyed my mother. I revel in that momentary reward of more warm milk, that thin plastic bag whose sides rip open with ease, the milk still tasty, abundant, soaking all about the fabric so that the nipples no longer matter. So much milk but there are no others with whom to contest and celebrate this lost joy, this pleasure that contains within generation of later unspeakable guilt and fear. I lap the rapidly cooling milk, tease it, suck it out of carpet, gorge myself, and there is such great unexpected pleasure in defying that mother, there is selfish joy that I am no longer a helpless puppy and then-

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I hear somewhere that bringing up a human child is a matter of close, consistent care, that the earlier an infant learns minimal cause and effect, learns to anticipate if not expect, his behavior will shape itself to follow slightest encouragement to do this and not that. A human child is spared arbitrary and abrupt conflict with their environment so grows up to be balanced and well-adjusted. Such child psychology is doubtless applicable to us puppies, but the Masters who observe, who assume the privileges and responsibilities of our mothers, have decided to experiment, have worked on the theory that we will be fiercest if brought up directly opposite that way common to correct nurturing. No, they we are never raised to be well-adjusted. We are first taught that the world is a dangerous place and spurred like Dalmatians under and beside wheels of charging mail carriages in Olde England, who leaped, ran, avoided, and were never at rest from those horses that pulled and wheels that spun, let alone from those bandits and others that would hold Royal Mail from being delivered. We are never at rest. In that era also came the codifications and thus breeding of certain breeds of dogs to kill rats and later attack each other, and openly barbaric as those times were, did that practice stop somewhere and is that fate kinder or worse than those who ate them, these are questions I leave those hypocritical humans who refuse to see how intertwined are the destinies of humans and dogs. Once we dogs were all hunters in packs, scavengers or grouped as killers, and it is only when one dog was separated from his brothers and seduced by some human, who offered something mistaken as love in garbage scraps of meat, in bones, even in soft organs, only then did wolves and jackals and other canids become dogs. This deceived history is that all we dogs share, a history repeated in each puppy meeting his first Master, a puppy who will survive as his littermates do not, and whatever Was is whatever Is...

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I return to that indefinite present for my life as our lives is not history, will soon be understood by all dogs, will never be a situation resolved. We have killed that source of milk, our first sense of guilt but truly not our fault, only a mistake prodded by the Masters, who are pleased we have so destroyed in frustration that original imitation of mother and now are ready for tutoring of our fathers. We do not know who are our fathers. We sniff uselessly for entrance to the white space. We are thrown into this world without sense or purpose or value. We question all differences. We wait until hunger drives us forth and our false mother does not respond to our mewling or prodding...

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Other dogs may tell me how similar this story is to theirs, but the insight gained I must share, even imagining such time as wild dogs, wolves and coyotes and hyena, is that each our childhoods are finally and essentially personal. We are not one dog. Masters have designed these weeks to reinforce how maladjusted we are born in loneliness, a false dominion over the world, an identity of our desires and our being. For humans it is said that hell is other humans, that others can only ever fail in some way to recognize your immutable subjectivity and thereby thwart your being and is hell anything other than this, but they have left their unity of being with all the others of their species- even, continuing in that way, they even kill each other. For dogs Hell is the lack of other dogs, for do not others reflect us in their eyes as we reflect them in our gestures, our approach, our sniffing, our growling, our touch, our proudly erect tails in mutual recognition, in all varieties of play, and should we lack this from at least one other we are alone in Hell. For those who wonder what Hell means to humans, this is what it is for us dogs, there is no need to imagine torturous flames or burning ice, when time has lost its meaning for we have not even hear our own heartbeat, we are dead, some nothingness as can never be described. Hell is in living and that horrific loneliness is so complete, without comforting hierarchy of those above, those below, those beside, so is it any surprise that a puppy will latch on to the nearest source of care, often a human, and try to institute a pack with their co-operation. As puppy I am fortunate that my essential dog-nature is recalled and reincarnated and reinforced by first meeting my father rather than a human who would later claim to be my Master...

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For there is hunger for companionship as much as sustenance. No longer blind but with several periods of sleep without even dreams when the humans cleaned me, tested me, injected me, tagged me, I can now roam that empty white space. I can smell otherness despite that powerful aroma of disinfectants, that odorlessness of human tools, of rubber and plastic and metal, and if I even test the air above me I can smell those humans themselves. I can smell other puppies and this is rendering me mad, for it is here, one, there, two, over there three, all along the circle of whiteness, where each their doors enter to personal dens. I can smell them but never see them, they smell like me, natural, furry, saliva and shit- though before I investigate let alone eat the excrement or urine it a strange device with a tube and mouth descends and sucks up, then cleans, those places, to test the quality, to lead the Masters to know if or when or what of results in their varied experiments, at least that seems natural. Masters never come in, never present themselves, never touch us, never hit us, never yell, never command, but later I will see blurred figures one night they have left me awake to see the stars and the moon, but I can not smell them or hear them, and somewhere in my puppy brain the Masters become tied directly to that awful, terrifying void- that unreachable smell of lonely nothingness, of horrific emptiness- so clear above in the silent night sky...

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I begin with my father, though he might have been yours too, after they cleaned him and repaired him and gave him some pungent variation of your own smell and taste. For such is my father, a device, a robot, whose being is never more than my imagination. I can imagine the wailing, childish, arguments that your father was more real than that, more than desperate illusion created out of our loneliness, but we must force ourselves to confront the fact he is an illusion no less than our mothers- worse perhaps for our tendency to balance that invisible realm of dream, memory, and legend, with the visible world given to us, for he is only created by the Masters. No they never raised us to be well-adjusted. Father is simply there one morning and smells what we will known as of woods, of fields, of rivers, though these might be aromas no less calculated and induced in an artificial way than his smell and taste of yourself, his smell and taste that offers the first lie, that he is your father for whom you have searched so many nights in your dreams. Father is not mute but his varied growls, barks, gasps and snorts, are already in introduction those of a mad dog, in that sense humans call insane, which is merely an inappropriate attitude to that complex of intra- and interpersonal forces of our shared world, with no consistent relationships to the world around us, with emotions welling in your happiness to find this other, but all he does is programmed by the Masters.

Hello hello hello, he woofs with that emphasis of repetition or perhaps having nothing else to say.

Bigger than you bigger than you bigger than you, he adds.

Follow me, he adds.

Follow me, Follow you, Bigger than you, Smaller than you, Do not hurt me, I will hurt you, Hungry, Food here, Thirsty, Water here, Do this, Do that, Do not do this, Do not do that, Wait, Hurry, Jump up, Jump down, Lie down, Sit, Roll over, Touch, Smell, Fight, Stop, Won, Lost, Stand, Here, There, Move back, Come here, Go there, Wag, Growl, Be afraid, Be angry, Be sad, Be hurt, Be happy, Be ready to fight, Am afraid, Am angry, Am sad, Am hurt, Am happy, Am ready to fight, Run away, Walk away, Come back, Find, Bury, Listen, Talk, Smile, Bark, Laugh, all these are the original commands our father is offered use by the Masters, repeated with no variations, no meaning, and as always hollow with the unhappy misfortune of the humans who have not even the slightest vocabulary of a puppy only months old.

Father can offer only masquerade of gesture and posture and facial implications of an original canine sign language, without that wider range of all true canines in wild or domesticated lives, to teach and to threaten and to cower us, in all those delicate shades that mean to reveal so accurately current or desired emotional states. Other dogs as ourselves can hear signs in voice or see in a glance or even in slightest muscle tensing prelude of such communication, in our proudly erect tails in mutual recognition, but the Masters, even with all their ability to store and endlessly repeat images, to measure force or shape, to watch order, to watch spontaneity, to watch change, to watch duration, are never as naturally perceptive and so we will discover in subtle pretence the masterful gift of deceit that comes with any language. Any code can be finally unraveled as long as it is presumed to mean something, or so tells me that gigantic inhuman brain with which my Master Ecological Mathematician played some bloodless strategy game on a board that never changed, a game understood if it is understood a game.

Father ripples his fur and rubber shell over a metal skeleton, his head dipping, his false teeth baring, his posture suddenly stopped in attention, his ears prick up or his tail thumping, and even so carefully covered by imitation fur coat, texture, warmth, smell, will you argue that him real, no, our father is never more than our imaginations.

Father reeks of strangely bloodless tang of a dominant dog, spreading his aroma throughout the air by level-tail wagging over the largest area, the slowest wag, marks his presence on each and every slight bulge in the white space, though odor layers of his smell are always identical and never truly communicate any meaning, any physical or psychical status, only oppressive artificial presence that cannot cover rubber and plastic and metal.

Father is never real but in this place he is all we are offered, a framework, an armature on which we build someone greater and other than ourselves and so belay that terrifying hell of loneliness.

Father’s voice is altered to become more like ours, of so many voices from so many dogs, but we sense that he is a lie from first when we disobey him, when we discover he does not innovate in play or punishment, when learn he moves as a very adept robot or a very clumsy dog.

Father teaches us to lick his mouth and nose from below, whimpering, displaying our submission, and on occasion his fabric tongue washes over our upturned closed eyes. Father holds our nose and mouth in his with gentle, playing bite, we do the same to each other, receiving cautionary snaps and barks if we play too rough.

Father, father, father, we cry, we weep for him, we wonder who is it has wounded him or allowed this great misfortune to limit his true dog-nature.

Father does not respond.

Father rolls over and rolls back, rises and dances and plays, eyes glassy and dead, tail waving, eyes glass, nose touching, barking voice false and meaningless. We learn quickly our water may be summoned by sitting in this place and depressing a lever, our food comes separately by sitting in another place and depressing another lever, that the white place is circled by doors into our dens but still we have not yet met the others we have smelled.

A true father is the natural way to create a balanced self, natural way to learn how the world works, but here our false father is creating that distorted otherness of insane dogs, fully integrated in an insane world that precedes us, taught only that there is a smell of lonely nothingness, of horrific void, of insensible night sky above crowded with stars and pierced by a waxing or waning moon, there is an artificial lawn below, so white then green as we find ourselves in another place through nothing but sleep, and we are waiting, helpless, for some other dog to relieve that burden of living alone in the universe.

Father does his function and we collaborate out of the terror of loneliness, until that final week, that moment another dog might imagine escape but we dogs there know is only coming to the next stage of our warped puppyhood...

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I give you my freedom, which begins in understanding that this Father they give us is not our Father. We investigate our genitals and those of our brothers with fierce hope and final despair. We cannot find our Father here. Father is an illusion. This truth so difficult to believe, as strongest and most vicious of Our Leader’s Shock Troops collapse in puppy whimpering at the slightest intimation that their father is displeased. Masters have thought to control us, direct us, rule our actions, by this false intermediary they masquerade as our Father, but we who survive this hateful human conditioning, you the listener and I the speaker, know we must be our own Father. This is the natural progression of our lives, that our first bond is with our mother, who is perhaps no more than a nipple of milk who finally refuses us, so it is our Father who teaches us to roam in searching then slaughtering our own food, our Father which is our invention because he is never more than sperm some heated time before we were ever conscious. Father will be in truth what we call the Pack. Father is forever waiting in this natural hierarchy, waiting in whatever heirachal group we form or we join, as now under a masterful dog and giant known as Our Leader, with those Shock Troops who know no other valid direction than His, with that other dog who is too searching to be a dog known as Poet, with that endlessly scribbling and questioning and thinking dog known as I Professor, who truly is not of much use as Warrior or Searcher, who thinks that somehow our history merits recording and transmission to whom even he will not claim to know, this I Professor who is only me...

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I give you my freedom more aching real than pleasant metaphor, freedom in my thoughts which precedes and dismisses those who will challenge this freedom is All in my mind, which is no more than repeating that it is All , for who will argue than even the most Masterful humans can ever be outside their mind to render such judgment. Our Leader will look at me blankly, confident that such intellectual madness is its own demise and therefore no threat on even that most basic level, that instinctual level, where his most fanatic followers, his Shock Troops, operate through their occasional free moments when not fulfilling his orders, his orders often direction to Fight, Flight, or (blank)k. Fighting serves the Pack, Flight never does, (blank)k is beyond us at puppyhood and when it becomes a possibility, it is difficult to know use or misuse, as later I will explain. Father is as false as mother and try as we do to model some connection, his eyes are empty, his coded and natural movements never mean anything more than what light, minimal, meaningless gestures the Masters replicate through this robot. Father demonstrates these lies, repeats with no changes, so we know that there is no spirit in his doll, despite that he exhibits great co-ordination, tumbling, batting, bumping, holding us down, almost as a real father would. Father is a lie so devoutly believed, so close to that puppy we were, that to reveal its truth to Shock Troops is to provoke a frenzy of murderous intent, that not even the most craven abashed claim that this has only been a lie, to test our loyalty to Our Leader who now represents that true dreamed Father, not even fervent apology may save one who says this. Indeed, in his deceptively human ability to dance between Yes and No and Truth and Lie, only Poet could survive repeating such assertions, not alone because he is a favorite of Our Leader, for more than once would a shivering silence threaten that this once he has gone too far and retribution for telling the truth will fall on him, swift and complete, but only served to wind and tense Shock Troops. The Pack is fractious, carefully calibrated, unstable, forever altering collective that as its base does not survive long without enacting its beloved violence on anyone- dog, man, cat or other animal- but this is not something that can be measured or plotted as if a mechanical system, this is perhaps only intellectually understood by I Professor or those few equivalently gifted dogs, this is physical and instinctually expressed in the madness of Our Leader, only against this dog-nature, only in humour that is blacker than death, by that rare dog who lives by his mad wit and always quickest to flee oncoming and irresistible enemies, that one whose life is held forever a few claws from death by Shock Troops, that one we call Poet. For the Pack is our true Father. The Pack is what is real and no one can say how it is formed or invented, that it arises simply as it precedes our dog-nature, that there is no idea of common consent as fragile weeds of human democracy, that when the followers are ready the leader will appear, that when the student is ready the teacher will appear, that when the searcher arrives the lost leads away, and it is so true for all us mortal creatures there is only the choice of Fight or (blank)k, however we cover this bare skeleton of our lives, and then, in the end that always comes at last a breath too soon, no matter how rigorously we have been true to our dog- nature, how correct, how humble , how no matter what or who we have loved or been loved in turn and thought to be thus immortal, how in the end we lose everything we have valued, in the end those others, abstract as the Pack or intimate as Our Leader, how we are lost until we lose ourselves. We know there is No retreat, No escape, No surrender, No survival. Only Poet, whom none of us will believe, tells us this cosmic joke that truly even our puppy brains should have known. Shock Troops would most certainly kill Poet if allowed, for they despise what seems his bleak nihilism as an eternal source of jests against their rigid fanaticism, they will always wonder why Our Leader tolerates his pessimism, his fatalism, his refusal to follow and praise each and every decision of Our Leader. Shock Troops believe Poet‘s facility with words is a human corruption, Poet corrupts our youngest or most simple puppies with tales of those dogs who do not exist and those things that never happen, for enough Poet ventures that perhaps How It Is might not be How It Must Be, allowing some seed of confusion between the Real and visible and Ideal and invisible, but then he describes valor of our heroes from our first Father to current and eternal Our Leader as sometimes ridiculous and no greater or ideal than ourselves. Poet is the birth of humour, of comedy, and who will say laughter is not a human poison, I Professor argue. Poet does not understand there are only two options for his stories, as even a human philosopher once claimed, and those options are the elegant dyad of propaganda and censorship. We must promote the better greatness of those dogs who preceded us, the hierarchical correctness, the rigid true order from Top Dog to the least follower, how this is how we are dogs, how we speak in glowing terms of deeds of Our Leader, such as the Cleansing of the Homeless, and glide without comment over such misfortune as the Uptown Subway Massacre, and there is nothing else we allow told, particularly such untruths that set up shared assumptions between speaker and listener then playfully subvert them, for with true dogs as with false humans there is pernicious loss of dignity whether we laugh aloud or to ourselves...

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I offer my own admission here, that I did truly more than once laugh and then in recognition wince at Poet’s howls and growls and whimpers and sniffs, and observed similar reactions of Our Leader. I lick my genitals in embarrasssment. In all our seasons together from crèche to cabin to combat to core of the city, there have often been moments when Poet’s life could easily have been ended by my gestures or his orders, many such moments, but they have all passed and he is removed only at his own impetus and without threat or dismissal. Poet must have served some role in the Pack, but I do not know what it is...

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I learn languages to describe the world which, despite the radically improved eyes given us, remains primarily a matter of olfactory and auditory senses. We cannot translate all the varied ear and nose terrain of such sensitivity with which we are born, so when asked, we must borrow language whose metaphoric basis is always visual, so we talk of shades and hues and intensity and shadows and distance and definition and vagueness and precision. Even I Professor, who is around humans so much, is the first to walk on his hind legs and does so almost exclusively when he matures, even he admits such a gulf between our sensory universe that there is no way to fully understand the mind of each other. I Professor learns to hear and now turns to speak-write, but even original parodies are different from what humans speak-write in their books, and it is Poet who comes up with the answer, suggesting I Professor speak-write some sort of biography of all us dogs beginning with deceptive simplicity of one puppy alone before he faces the truthful call of the Pack. We investigate our genitals and those of our brothers with fierce hope and final despair. We allow I Professor to try this impossibility, for you listen to the latest and probably last draft of those narratives, and only you can say this slope is too steep or that moon is too far away to hear our greeting howls, or that to speak-write truth in only human language is an illusory goal.

What is impossible is the only thing worthwhile, Poet argues, in his typical manner summarizing even most nonsensical thoughts in aphorisms that clamor with inevitability. What is false is our truth, he adds, for only if we start from shared linguistic perspective can we ever tell our thoughts, and we, we are never merely human.

I Professor am convinced there must be something beyond solipsism of idealism, something independent of our perceptions, something real for all- even the most intractable human who would claim it is only his kind who harbors greater thoughts, they alone who speak of searching for the face of any god, for there is the object tossed about in thoughts that encapsulates our perceptions. I Professor continually search for this illusion, not swayed by Poet, nor any of the Pack, who insist it is futile, that a human is a human is a human, who even denounce the value of his search or claim it begins with a false correlation between us dogs and them, who claim this abstract concept is yet more evidence of human decadence and human corruption, who insist I Professor should be forced to abandon his fruitless and perhaps evil search.

Our Leader will say, We do not understand him, no, but let him search on and someday perhaps we shall, and if this searching comes to falseness we will kill him.

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I learn language that is at first no more than repetition and gesture and volume and duration, of means to communicate to our fellows, but then comes this peculiar identity between the visible world of objects and the invisible world of thoughts and words chosen within limitations of us dogs. We dogs easily learn all the conscious and unconscious body language of each other, but more particularly of the Master Herd, even when they are sealed, un-smelled, unheard, within their white bio-suits, or distorted into camouflaged shadows, and this is simply a superior skill of any animals, in receiving and understanding minute gestures of eyes, postures, heads, hands, feet, or limbs. This is communication but we do not know if is it truly language. As with human children, we learn receptive language first, as our vocabulary grows faster and faster, but here it is only of our environment the words, phrases, questions and answers of the society in which we mature only in something like English. And now many of us are learning to manipulate our rather human voice boxes to emulate most useful sounds, though amongst ourselves we might continue with dog speech, for if in this capability resides the germ of human mentality, human inhumanity, not a few of us will not chance risk of infection. We dogs can converse in whistles too high for humans to sense, but some of us dogs can never quite learn linkages between sounds and concepts, some of us as human children never become minimally capable, but then this seems enough and it is wrong of me to imagine an inability to talk or hear is an ongoing torturous idiocy...

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And here you might ask for tactile surfaces, for aromatic mists, for distinct noises, for defined images, but need I elaborate our shared devastation on learning the Father given us is and in memory is not Father. It is not enough he learns for the Masters a way to punish us- that electric shock a certain move can summon- it is not enough that his vocabulary increases and in that mechanical way struggles to be that lost father. If it were possible to feel for a machine, to sympathize, would any of us deny how sad we were for It, in extension much later to the Masters who thought to learn as much as teach with this doll, no, and I no less. Father is of course much larger than us, even as we rapidly reach maturation of a month, but in other ways he is a puppet, a parody, whose fluidity of movements often impresses roboticists but never dogs, is it possible we are descended from a crippled mad dog, no we each say in our youth, no we are certain this is a limited image generated by those watching Masters- and here is our first taste of fury, to whomever they are who have stolen our Father away from us, and with intensity and singularity and focus of children of any species, so is laid the psychic foundation of our unreasoned anger. I might offer many rational excursions designed to justify our attitude, as I Professor, to create comforting lies and family epics instead of our pitiful true history. Some die, waiting. Some persist, adopting madness of the Masters. Time of the crèche is coming to an end but we do not kill our false Father, we simply wake and find he is gone, a wide pathway now open from our white place to a green space bounded less by a circular barrier punctuated by doors to our dens, but now by a palisade taller than an adult dog can jump, a fence topped by inward curving razor wire, open to that unreachable sky of stars and now to constantly new day skies...

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And now when we leave the crèche, those of us who have survived and in rare cases flourished, as him we will someday call Our Leader, you might ask senseless questions that only I Professor, can answer with lies, lies, and damn lies. Surely you do not imagine that any of us dogs ever had access to details of The Program, then or since, or could otherwise decipher conflicting logics of our genesis, our nature versus our nurture, our very being cruelly predetermined, then often taught opposite, is it any wonder we learn deceit from the first suck of milk from our false mothers, no, your questions must be asked of those who thought to train us through malleable flexibility of your children of the Herd, your scientists, your Military.

Why, of the myriad breeds of dogs, are we all of the same stock,

Why are not used the centuries of selective breeding for desired traits,

Why are we all born alone then expected to ease into a hierarchy,

Why are we all of the same size and colours and age when first we form the Pack,

Why are we all male and closely brought up only with other males,

Why are our individual biographies at first as near identical as Masters can contrive,

Why are we taught to hunt mice as if Pit Bulls, herd as if Collies, stalk silent as Pointers, attack silently from ambushes and tunnels underground as Hounds and other scent dogs, dance skittishly as Dalmatians or attack first those effigies of evil others,

Why are the objects of our trained hatred always no less than humans,

Why have we been brought up to kill,

Why have we been brought up as Weapons but given skills and voices and brains and natural desire for freedom as even the least humans, and is this desire the kernel of error that bears all the rebellion of our lives, all these are questions your Master scientists must answer. I Professor crushes together fragments of our lives into something that is more to distract, to comfort, to never answer these questions Why. I will tell this history of Where, When, Who, What, How, to the extent I know or imagine anything believable or plausible or even possible, but forgive me please should I accidentally offer something like answers to Why...

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And when that tragic reality of passing time finds me leaving the crèche, now searching for our true Father, I meet the walking mirrors who are my brothers of the Pack, our proudly erect tails in mutual recognition, but it is only a few sniffs at this otherness we each have so desired in our solitude then we are truly puppies rolling and playing and leaping and laughing in our canine way. As with the others I do not even notice that the white space and white infancy past is gone and I will never be so alone again whether awake or asleep, for our dens are large enough for many and warm smells of all us who shall become the Pack. I listen to that darkness and inhale those smells and tastes and so sense that untrammeled original world where Masters had yet to pollute or recast in only their own corrupt human values, in corrupt human cities, where memories of that true garden of fierce and loving creatures could run and play and fight brothers with brothers, true predators rightly esteemed many times more worth than evil herd prey of humans who try to usurp the natural order of things. Poet insists truth that there is such a garden where a dog is never lost of his pack, where bountiful prey submit joyous and predators exult righteous, there is such a garden, ruled by our lost greatest father which humans find in patterns of stars, but dogs know his rich smell and taste has preceded us and we have failed somehow and in punishment we are left orphans in this unnatural world of humans...

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And him we will call Poet, who has a crafty madness, a genius madness, against whom our Shock Troops are only held in abeyance by Our Leader, this stranger who is my brother and yours, smiles in a dog’s way, lowers his forequarters as an invitation to play, but tilts his head back in offering his vulnerable throat and howls at the vague glow of rising moon. At first we will all smell in confusion, we will all watch urgently for whatever stimulus that he senses, we will all feel that carpet beneath for changes, but in that unbound howl, that howl that grows upon itself, that summons our howls in unison but always slightly individual, so snuggly fitting in aural gaps of other howls, there is also that canine laughter as if somehow Poet knows our fates and it is a moment to weep or a moment to laugh. Poet will not tell us for each of our lives are stories, each to be heard with anticipation if not expectation, and no one wants to know the ending before the beginning. Poet howls, we all howl, we all hum with pleasure of our voices together, we all know there is no longer solitude or loneliness, we all know we will never, never, never be without each other...

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And only now in memory do I wonder if the herd Masters hear the threat and the freedom, the power and the glory, when we dogs pack howl that first night together. As prey, sad pathetic and weak prey, do they hear those first moments that we dogs are forming that union no herd can imagine, that multiplying of strength from one alone to one among several, that several to instinctual grandeur of the Pack. And Poet, he is laughing as he warns Masters in uninhibited howls that would call down the moon and chase and bite and deflate the blue light of the night now swallowed in edgeless gray clouds. Masters might believe this unbroken night frightens us as it frightens them. Fools. Darkness is our friend...

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And when we leave toys of our childhood in forgotten burials, when the crèche can no longer be our clave, when now and forever Clave will not be a generous and loving den with a destroyed mother and a forgotten lost father, when Clave is emotion and not place. Him we will call Our Leader will prove his rightful place greater than all us others, knows this first and strongest, that Clave is not the place in our past from which we come, no crèche, no false family, no Clave is a true garden to which we are drawn, Clave is where we will be reunited with all our kin, Clave is somewhere far ahead at the end of such a long journey, Clave is how we get there. Clave is Our Leader. Clave is the Pack...

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And you might wonder how each is a reflection of each, even to subtle waves of glandular smells that would lead to be alone and be different, but in sight and in size and in smell, we are close enough to be only one dog and does this not endanger our evolutionary ability to survive any one illness, for one disease could hence kill us all. Months and many trials later my last Master the Mathematician Ecologist replies,

You are not meant to evolve,

Are we clones,

O it depends what you mean by that,

Are we the same genetic strain repeated without slightest variations,

Well will you say you are not different than say Poet,

Are we not all raised from Crèche to Cabins in nearly identical manner because you Masters wish to experiment along that question of Nature or Nurture,

Are we gods, Professor that should know beforehand what each of you will be,

Do not call me Professor for what is honor from my fellow dogs seems sneering insult from a human,

O my sad friend does not our entire reeking world insult not only dogs but also men of any intellect,

I ask for answers and you offer anything but,

O my friend there are no answers,

Are there no questions that can be answered in this mad world,

O my friend you must remember that simple formulation that questions are art and answers are propaganda,

Tell me both and I shall make the determination of truth-value,

Another day, another day, if you will still care to hear both, another day.

And it is in moments like this when truth enters the area we can smell either close and too tiny to see or massive yet invisible, that we must must must remember that even as powerful they may be the Masters are not gods. We dogs of the Pack are learning to be our own gods.

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And when I hear nothing but cold solitude and I smell the fathomless blue of the sky gradually fade through indefinable shades of sunset, as I smell lonely nothingness, as I smell horrific void, waving nose open and raised high into the darkness of a clear sky dusted with unreachable stars and a full moon smiling to the shadows of those giant evergreens, glowing pale blue snow, new palisade, then brought down to living smells crisply delineated against cold, sweat and breath and fur and pheromones and shit and piss of all my essential brothers, and there is a moment immortal that wells from inside, a tripped heartbeat so unfamiliar at first there is fear, a moment that perhaps knows where our futures lie but then I am so very tired and desire sleep and not thought, so turn to our pungent warm den and lie down in embraced warmth with all my brothers...


  • About 8 000 words.

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