Combat Dog Company D (79-111)
After, I must ask the pardon and credulity of the hearers canine or human, but until then I and all other dogs of Company D have been reared in a series of entirely homosocial environments, and even I, who knew some of that human fascination with dancing along the edge of the abyss of sex, who knew that human life, human culture, have always been struggling to reconcile differences of male and female- yes, you might not believe this but it is true, it only comes to me at this confrontation of Media Coach and Master Ecological Mathematician, that we dogs are only half of our species, that there are such things as female dogs. We investigate our genitals and those of our brothers with fierce hope and final despair and discover only now this is not the only arrangement. Idiots, a human hearer might laugh as he has never laughed before, Idiots, O you most fortunate fools, where else could you have come from, where else are you going, how long do you have, O how could even your brilliant Professor have failed to know this. Consider, please, and you might better understand our ignorance, first, we have no real mother only a source of milk and warmth and those disembodied hands that touch and clean us, second, we have no sisters with whom to explore differences, third, the only project of our youth begins with the forming of our natural hierarchy with our brothers, fourth, this project needs only that we learn and sense dominance, submission, role and capacity of self and other, and none of this requires the distraction of females, fifth and last, we are children, we will live forever, we need no assurance against mortality that some small element of our being will propagate, we do not need females, we do not need that gesture towards immortality.
At this Talk, this Facts of Life, I can only whimper within as fury mounts at this eternal untruth and on the outside my languid confidence drains, my gentle, happy, automatic tail wag stills, and perhaps I forget to breathe, for my mind is seized by emotional throbbing, my aqueous eyes flicker across those herd human masks opposite, yes searching for some signal that this deception recounted is all imagination, that my hearing that finds their contest between fear, shame, then correctness and trust is illusion from something I smell, that us dogs have never known, any of us, the depth and expanse of lies, lies, and damn lies of which even those most friendly Masters are capable.
O, one human says with some sense of how disabling and broken I become as these Facts sink in, my friend, my friend- this is not how I would have told you.
Would you have ever told him, the other human says.
O in time, the right time, when the right time came of course.
And when was that going to be.
I gaze from face to face, fall from upright to four legs, then slump to the floor, a strange metal, plastic, and rubber taste on my tongue. I begin to breathe again, feeling each melded, autonomic action now distinct and fiercely conscious, a matter of expanding my lungs, inhaling deeply through my nostrils. I smell their shameful fear. I growl low and long. I gaze distracted about the playroom at the toys with which I worry away hours, remembering each taste and texture, then note the aromatic rugs, the pillows, the blankets, the translucence of HV projector, the constantly replenished water bowl, then gaze at the thick, verdant forest silent beyond my smell because of the glass. I chew my genitals in fury. I gaze up at HV recorders and deliberately close my jaws over my teeth, looking at its black lenses, and turn to the two humans, speaking slowly as if in recovering some adult distaste unlocking my voice from innocence in some way, lisping gently,
Does the rest of Company D know of the females.
N-No, one human says.
None of them know, says the other, w- we were unsure how to reveal this.
Do not tell them, I say mouthing the violent wisdom of Our Leader, do not tell them- I must tell Our Leader...
My Media Coach has so thoroughly indoctrinated me, have me learn all the camouflage employed in word and gesture, voice and posture, to the worship of falseness, of lying- after, it seems my devout but silent desire to be again with members of the Pack, is to be granted. Accidentally I lead my Master and the entire Military Construct to how we dogs may be trained and rewarded for achievement rather than only punished for failure, true problem of diminishing returns, for while our misbehavior may revel in infinite errors not easily broken from fluid action into simple actions desired or rejected, the canine body is a finite instrument that can only take a certain amount of torture. Accidentally, I must emphasize, did I reveal our most instinctual craving that, by its nature, no others and even no Observers could have discovered no matter how obvious it seems after the fact.
As the Pack, as all males whom only contest for dominance in hierarchy because, it is hardwired through our evolutionary heritage, we are weak and innocent about the female dogs we have never seen, and the introduced aroma, the remaining washed stench that I come across in the playroom has me searching all corners of that round room, has me tackling this or that rubber toy, has me whimpering and panting trying to find the source of that elusive aroma. It is the smell that I have never smelled before, it is the smell that not a few dogs in the Pack would willingly contest to assure for only themselves, the smell that might destabilize or even topple that previous immutable order, it is that smell of a female dog in heat. Humans, who have worked long with us, learned our multiple combinations of gesture and meaning, have somehow failed to remember we are dogs and our females are not always so ready, as human females, but estrus is a matter of timing. I am distracted, trembling, shivering on four legs, my eyes glassy but seeing nothing and having myself no similar history, terrified by the innate power of this unfamiliar aroma, looking to humans for this answer- one female in heat is on these mats when passing through this wing of the Farm to her own area, this hours past, the air since exchanged, the plastic mopped and cleaned by finicky robots- and it is only wisps of her memory that is driving me insane. My Media Coach sees that this therapy appointment is lost before it begins, and adopts worried solicitude, kind, gentle voice as he asks me questions after questions but there can be no reply for it is all new. He tells me to sit, he injects me with some slumbering medication substance, then goes in search of those Caretakers who might offer clues to what has happened to the playroom, this place that suddenly drains of color until it seems familiar as the crèche of our youth, this is closest to panting whines I share with the humans. It is only when another human female drifts by, her sex powerful and addicting under the layers of perfumes, pheromones, hair, minimal makeup, only when she enters the room and I feel this horrible uncontrollable urge to approach her and knock her down to my snout, this urge contrary to all the careful training, the months, the millions spent to create killer Soldier Dogs. I leap towards her, but halfway there it is as though some external force is pulling me down with multiple gravities.
I fall at her feet.
Don’t move Ms. it looks like he likes you, my Media Coach murmurs with an inquisitive warmth, and, as in a dog there is a pause of silence before an attack is launched, in some humans there is a pause before questions are fully formed, and his false mask reveals an eager smile practiced so often even that even his eyes crinkle...
After, this cruel truth of existence of and separation from female dogs finally revealed, there is no nascent guilt for all the subtle misbehavior with which I create all those contrary, puzzling, almost humans acts, directly manifest in as many avenues of communication I can direct consciously, perversity borne of anger and distrust of my Master and various cunning stimuli of his herd of Scientists. He has sadly admitted to himself that, after all that training and time and expense, we dogs are forever locked by evolutionary heritage at the maturity of three year-old human children, and even that I Professor am only a dog, something like a wolf pup, locked in such intricate, eternally static feedback of a fascinatingly complex biological machine, a dog, just a dog. Would humans send their youngest children into battle, I ask. He does not answer. I lick my genitals in embarrasssment. Master is by now somehow elevated by politicians rather than peers, and is often summoned away to this and that elite gathering of corporate powers, often accompanying the Old Man, but now so rarely by me, in this way Military wishes to create an aura of power and being, of how very remarkable and valuable those altered dogs of the Program. These breathless implicit promises, so terrifying, so sexy, are in fact, strategies enumerated by my Media Coach, born in tactile reality and made visible that invisible core of our being as either human or dog, hoping that this hype will increase its energy such as the kinesis of a ball rolling downhill, this hype will become so total, so powerful- apparently similar to Marketing Programs which create all the Sense-Candy of an amoral industry whose Propaganda Function is too often subverted by Foreign especially French influences- all this hype will likewise create a success that builds on a promising Opening Night. My Media Coach somehow supplants in Power all those learned Scientists, even that last Master, and soon offers a deluge of Popular Culture and refuses my requests for this or that intellectual source or website or paper or collection, not merely that he has deemed the role I must learn to disappear into has as little to do with my increased mockup of a human mind, no, focus groups have confirmed that it is not the great increases of our genetically engineered dog bodies that make those pneumatic dolls fearful, no, it is the suggestion we have great increases of our canine minds, and everyone knows, apparently, that humans judge brawn only according to its use or misuse in the Herd, but brains are truly frightening, brains suggest we each could alone survive without the Herd, that they offer nothing to Predators. My Media Coach tells me that the appearance of danger and power arouses all our potential mates, but the actuality is necessarily faded through romantic ideals, for women at least, and so I must balance brute intimidation and species specific violence, to seduce on some quiet level, that target dynamic. You have to learn to say Nothing, he admonishes me as we watch proscribed ancient dramas from even before HV, and certainly before the sweeping Industry Code modification against corrupting youth, a modification that closed various ways in which Foreign Influences could be sensed, though of course watching HV is an essentially private, clave-cocooned experience and, much as product placement has replaced advertising, it is now an ongoing game of creatively avoiding Moral Codes, particularly in Heartland Corporations. My Media Coach might once have had a lobbying position with Hollywood, for his knowledge seemed surprisingly detailed and when we looked at these possibly illegal dramas, horrors, comedies, even fantasies, it did occur to me whether the use of this unauthorized material is for my edification or his illicit pleasures. I lick my genitals in boredom. There are rarely dogs and never smells. He would have me watch through once, then a second time a day later he would watch it with me and pause the replay to direct my perceptions and enlighten me to the generally disregarded facets of image and story, images of ideology, whose functions are variously to entertain through distraction, to embellish or discredit, to emphasize inevitability, to suspend judgment interminably, to characterize embodiments of desire- to do any or all of these projects through the invisible forms of narratives or alluded to by everything from duration to repetition. Not, actually, much different than canine communication at its most effective, but for us this means it is impossible to lie on the scale you humans teach us, whereas at my Media Coach’s eye has revealed how total, how much an Industry, are sectors of the Herd deceiving others or selves in the Herd...
I am returned to the Pack, now renamed Company D, and there is great happiness to return to be amongst brothers who do not calculate gains and losses from truth or falsity, no, even rumored smells of that place reminds me that Truth resides here on no sufferance, but in recognized expectations from the simplest gesture to the most meaningful complex act. In my time living their way of living will I deny my pleasures, no, but always, always, always my studies have been to a greater purpose in serving Our Leader...
I am returned to the Pack, I am wiser and carefully disguising my essential dog-nature and subsequent humiliation, though that we are dogs and thus different than humans, shame, self disgust, fear of revealing our entire mortal being- which engenders many if not all human religions- all of these emotions are equally possible. One strategy that I have always used to buttress my value against humans is the inflexible, instinctual, iron certainty of being in the Pack, but here this weakness of desire is threatening to lower me to the Herd, came the first of our natural dismissal of female life-force. I have to admit some great admiration of how human males have ordered their world, how human males were even though constantly under assault of femaleness, how even with their reduced sensitivity and generous apologia to female needs and desires, it is impossible to imagine how us dogs could have coped with more righteous dignity in their places, even, imagine, allowing all females to walk about in freedom whatever their physical status, sometimes uncovered, always insisting on security of their persons, such is madness that only a few males, a few religious nuts, have acted in truthful concert within their realms, I will say no more. I am returned to the Pack in only the most crucial time, soon to be followed by the rank horrors of fertile females, that seductive scent which might yet tumble to nothing all our best social organization, all lines of dominance and unity of will under Our Leader. Our Leader must hear from the counsel of I Professor, quickly, of the dangers soon to be introduced by those humans who claim to be Top Dogs, those Instructors, of the Pack. After my return to the protection of Our Leader, as soon as possible, we must act against those humans who intend to dominate Company D...
Away from Company D, I see much of those who would control us and- accidentally I must emphasize- reveal an irresistible and infallible way to control us. I am eager to see my brothers of the Pack, Our Leader- even Poet- for I have retained an interest in my fellow dogs, I have surfed, I have heard, only those access sites- websites and secured platforms- that my last Master the Ecologist Mathematician has allowed me to, yes these are not entire, but using a search engine reveals a growing percentage of references to Dog Soldier Program now infesting their mainstream media. Indeed, as my Media Coach suggests, there is a meaningless desire amongst those who should know better, from Observers to Military to politicians, to curry favor with those whose deficit-cards have paid for our creation. Propaganda suffuses Media Releases, but as yet there are only tentative appeals to our utility on an inter-corporate and private level, with only careful hints toward Military, for fear of engendering public fears of dogs, just dogs or even more so, wielding guns and other weaponry. Even if our true use, the one Truth of our creation, is to be used against their enemies there is reasonable and paranoid fears that as with any animal able to kill a human- from Bear to Shark- both so near extinction, they would nonetheless have to be killed before inevitably they kill again. We are promoted first as civilian technology, rescuing drowning children, rescuing seniors trapped in burning buildings, rescuing those suburban innocents lost in the anarchic territories of various city cores, at the absent mercy of those Unwashed, Unnumbered, Unincorporated and so morally and materially impoverished Negative Urbanites. It is noted that the Program is more than merely creating stronger, faster, higher breeds to work in concert with those human-aiding dogs who ultimately remain dogs, wolf pups, loyal idiot dogs, no, we are more than a quantitative innovation but rather an entirely new quality. I am shown in this or that human gathering, walking about on hind legs to tower above the humans and accommodate sensory superiority this way, panting as if encouraged rather than simply hot, smiling that any sufficiently observant would know is actually a display of threatening weaponry, responding with measured conciseness to questions softly lobbed from those Military or their Media surrogates- no one mentions how pathetic is this mouthing of implicit lies, those answers already vetted, de-clawed, obsequious and empty of content, yes, no, it does not matter, this is certainly the project utility of female dogs to control Company D...
Away from Company D Our Leader, his six Shock Troops, their twelve squires, the generalized Pack of fifteen who have not yet achieved notable skill, knowledge, or heart- and, of course Poet- our proudly erect tails in mutual recognition,have been training in the skills of human warfare, but this skill has only been taught through negative reinforcement, in whips, in electric shocks, in frustrated human attempts at physical dominance. Our Leader is not unmoved by the suffering of his followers- for the human instructors continue to disregard his primacy, his dominance, his innate leadership, and that is suffering enough for him- but he does not know how to resolve this situation. I Professor am not there, who knows what he would say, who can say what he will have learned or even will he return as a true dog or a false human, garbed, tamed, masquerading as a dog. Our Leader could only say, We do not understand him, no, but let him hear on and someday perhaps we shall, and should his hearing persist in confusion, we will kill him. Poet is there, but he plays with claiming this is only a further advanced and baldly apparent example of the suffering for which we all contract simply by living- Poet only tries to make our suffering bearable even in its meaninglessness. I am eager to taste and investigate genitals of my brothers. I am returning to find it is a war of psychological attrition, by which the Instructor continues and increases those failing techniques he imagines will eventually serve as tutorial prods, but his superiors are nervous that the continued degradation enforced by the Dog Soldier Program will render us dogs useless and so waste untold resources, waste time, waste animals, waste patience with those egghead humans cowardly, weak, little, uncoordinated herds, whose abstractions born of evolutionary hubris keep them in power by their specialized knowledge, a real man knows these are less than human, and look how these Observers have tortured and twisted Mans’ Best Friend, it is a horror- then against both this practical assessment and this humane pretension, rises the inflexible strength of Our Leader and through him the Pack, our absolute honesty, our absolute loyalty, which is prompting raging thoughts of suicidal assault against at least the immediate voices of our oppression if we cannot reach their ultimate leaders. The Instructor knows none of this, for he continues to think of us as no more than dogs, dogs, just dogs. The Instructor will die first. I return with the unknown answer for the Program and it is, inevitably, in finding and use of positive reinforcement in scents of female estrus...
In my experiences that no other dog has yet- or even now- has faced, there comes fear of a certain naïve trust in the Pack as to the ultimate level of human-dog interaction, that I am unable to overturn for the lesser, the ignorant so disregarded of the Fifteen, the few questioning of the Twelve, even those few thoughtful wavering in the Six Shock Troops. Briefly I worry that we shall resist indications of our true purpose and how we might lose our essential dog-nature, how we will be used in cynical political game-playing, how that sinister purpose Poet has intuited in our very being, both as alone and in the Pack, leads not to emancipation or anything like the level of parity with the human Herd. We are not dogs, just dogs, more than dogs, this revelation is close to impossible to present to my brothers, for that seems impossible and so obviously mistaken that no sentience would credit it, and that we are merely to be intricate weapons without needed conscience or consciousness, this is absurd. I have unknowingly infected my proud canine self with that insidious human disease, that progresses deductively from axiomatic recognition of others having also some sort of consciousness, to the false idea that as such, each is entirely responsible to oneself, the idea that enables contradictions of being in the Herd, the idea that under some conspiratorial mask each lies first to oneself, then to one’s brother, and this eternal, cowardly self interest must be recast and represented as human-nature, and to communicate this idea as formation of Teamwork rather than Herd. I have lived so long seduced by awareness of the many sides, many perspectives, of all qualified arguments and theories of humans, I have forgotten that my assertions must be logically presented, dissected, and tentatively resolved only to Our Leader, and should he follow or dismiss my conclusions, his word is all that matters, his word never truly requires logical rationale, or even emotional consistency, his word is the will of the Pack, and no one will contest it once given, no one would rather have careful endless parsing of this and that voice in the Herd. I lick my genitals in nervous joy. Our Leader watches me with close sympathy, to hear my body, my gestures, my eyes as much as my voice and the words I offer, words that now seem innocent of that daily tension of living with those humans, of being displayed in ongoing humiliation to those various other Herds within their Herd, of being purposely less than a dog-nature, of sustaining that curious lying face to learn everything that might be of value when returned to the Pack, and far, far, far worst, of being without companionship and love of my brothers. Our Leader retains his stance, lowers his eyes from mine in sympathy, turns away, comes closer from the side and now even rests his nozzle over my mid-back, allowing me the comfort of feeling myself in a truthful world where my place is secure, below, beside, above, rather than an unending sort of psychosis of falseness rewarded as if human, constantly afraid, alone, anxious, and forever awaiting senseless challenges for my position. As I recount my tale, my voice whispering and cracking, my voice and body characterizes each true statement more as a question than a proposition, and I tremble in fear that in this way I am communicating this human disease to Our Leader, so I stop in mid-sentence or –gesture, until in his wisdom he encourages me to continue, even when in simple remembrance, safe in his confidence radiating from his very body, I come to the final and most horrible admission of how I accidentally revealed what best strategy those Observers and Military, were soon to use on us as positive reinforcement, that inarguable, irresistible, immutable power of the smell of female estrus. And this is my greatest failure, I whimper, this is exactly what we do not want, what will finally control us, what the Masters would have forever searched for, what bears no mercy, no bargaining, no end, no stopping until you are dead. And yet even at this, Our Leader offers only the confidence and bearing any true leader would comfort me with, whether he knows better or senses some other source of confidence, certainty of dog-nature of the Pack, that will transcend all obstacles, resolve all doubts, dominate all challenges. He might not truly imagine how powerful is the scent of a female, no, he might not truly imagine how the Masters will use our apparent loyalty, no, he might not truly sense how un-dog-nature we will become to prosecute their Police Actions or Rapid Intervention Forces, no, he might not be able to imagine what I have learned of their intentions for our future- no, no, no, no- but then comes a moment so sharp, resonant in his aroma that comforts me even through its ignorance, and no is now of little import, for in his rumbling voice, his snout heavy on my back, his tension, his being that can be no more described than his aura, reminds me why he is Our Leader, and he need not speak it aloud for however long away from my brothers surely I retain enough canine logic to sense the only and true reply to such human anxieties, surely I know that however many No may confront us we triumph with our Yes, we triumph with our dog-nature, our Pack, and of course Our Leader...
In my time away from Company D, I have somehow forgotten that impossible pleasure of conversing true or in humor- which he often makes somehow identical- with Poet, a loss that may have equally effected him, for in the first few days returned he is interested in everything I have learned. I lick my genitals in embarrasssment. Rather than fear of errors passed in that time which could only make me anxious and diminished in the senses of Our Leader, to Poet I find myself proud in claiming to understand even a little of the Masters, exalt their technologies, assert even heretical musings of how the Herd might yet teach us how to be the Pack, praise their evident will to resist females in constant estrus- this Poet finds dismayingly fascinating and not slightest disturbing there is an entire half of our species that humans have not allowed us to know- and finally I find myself wondering whether it is destiny or misunderstanding that casts us dogs and humans antagonists. One night, when I have removed myself from our common den for no reason I can name, I am watching the night sky, breathes rising in complex intertwining vapors, the stars and waxing half-moon casting a comforting dim light that draws a soft blue glow from fields of deep snow, in the crisp cool air which only carries that oppressive void, that familiar absolute nothingness- and so I suddenly realize that it is winter again and a year since I have been sent on that promotional political tour, An entire year-
A year, says Poet, just slightly behind me but on his four feet.
Come up, I suggest.
No thank you, he replies, it is not as if standing upright lets you see over the palisade.
No I suppose not- but has it been a year.
And in a few weeks that Instructor will return, and try to whip us into soldiers with the latest torturous techniques from that human Army Base, Fort Whatever.
Whatever, I repeat wondering, but beyond this question there is really no need to engage in conversation for all Poet requires is some muted simple encouragement that signals he is listened to, Whatever, California.
What is the difficulty, it is not as though they are teaching you and the brothers some sort of complicated tasks.
Yes weaponry is deliberately designed such that near idiots can operate it.
Yes, that is a persistent question for the Instructors.
It is for them all a question that one day we know intimately details of what praxis they have revealed the day before, and then next day we seem to have retained only the many errors which are specifically taught against.
So Observers and Military alternately propose answers, or reasons, for our sudden obtuseness, ranging from which Instructors are used to what time of day or who goes first or who goes last or the temperature or weather-
O there are so many variables, yet simply perhaps this or that dog is behaving intractable or willful, and Should we torture him becomes the question.
And sometimes they do and find that all dogs profess immortal and eternal faith in Our Leader, so they torture him to force directing powerful position that he has given up to the Masters and hence their representative Observer or Military, but no one will conceive this is more than Pain talking, so no one acts on the impossible false admission that they have broken him for they know as we all know Our Leader is the Pack and are we not still alive.
So Idiot Instructors refuse to recognize our Pack is already structured, that the hierarchy is inflexible, but they want it to be a human recognized as Alpha Male, so they can talk strategy and share plans and possibilities.
So Idiot Our Leader refuses to countenance even a sort of false play about authority and insists that they recognize him.
A year on this one dispute.
Ask Idiot Our Leader
Does he know you speak of him with such disrespect.
Of course, but then I am only his voice of conscience, and he would rather that remain outside his skull right now.
A year on this one dispute.
Only dispute that matters to Our Leader, only argument that persists between us and whomever the Masters nominate that month to try and get us into the human Company State, and no nobody talks about this there is no backup, or possibility plans, so this might last forever until we are dead.
This is madness, this is like the politics infesting Dog Soldier Program.
O you say not all the Masters agree with our Program.
No, but as I have told you there are so many herds within the human Herd that it seems a greater part of every week is wasted in planning strategy to promote it or deflect rising criticism because they are after all a Herd so nothing gets done,
And the females in heat,
Poet there are few females anywhere in power and those that are will not always be our friends.
But if you are right and they will use estrus to control us, yes Our Leader told me then are they not afraid of the safety of their females.
Some Herds in some places even proscribe their limits in appearance or location, so that the males can get serious work done with minimal distraction.
And females what is it they do.
O only in the sphere of the domestic which is their natural place, but greatly enabled by robots, robots, and further robots- really they have no purpose beyond bearing children as our wombs have done here, and then raising human infants until the Great Separation into females and males, and so correct assignment to learn skills of future utility.
Herd dividing into lesser herds- Professor what use is promoted.
For females it is raising children, for males it is waging war against others, against the natural universe which disguises its working so must be subdued, dissected, theorized.
Females are useless in battle then.
Yes, it is so.
So you tell us, but this makes no sense if in fact all males prosecute wars and other displays of dominance simply for the final approval of the females, yet these females have no real power and are often hidden from these males.
I think it is in their nature as human males, as much as loyalty to the Pack and Our Leader is for us dogs, which require no contiguity in space or time.
So are they going to seduce us to their projects with female dogs.
Only the promise of them I believe, because it is their scent alone that weakens the will.
Females, well you know I have always thought I am incomplete.
Poet, these are female dogs nothing more, and yes I have seen them and they are just smaller, and you would not want one on your team in combat because they are so weak.
So you say for yourself do not speak for me.
Poet, this is a serious and possibly divisive new problem and none of you can imagine it until it happens, it makes you into a child again.
Maybe it is good to be child sometimes, do you know if they want us when they smell us.
No, I do not know, but this is a serious threat to stability of the Pack and Our Leader.
O the Pack is the Pack is Our Leader is Our Leader, so do not worry Professor he will think of something, do not worry.
O see those lights there are apparently of a human clave amongst the stars yet apparently not so far but only orbiting this Earth.
They are only minutes away if we dogs moved as incredibly fast as light, but Observers say those stars are years of such pace distant so we in fact are looking into the past.
I wonder what space dogs are like, Poet says, and are they female.
Poet softens his voice to a sort of original face of a puppy whose concerns are simple, worries are immediate or never thought, and retains an unshaken faith in the way of the world under control of Our Leader...
So Puppy, (blank)king Professor, the familiar Instructor calls me out a gathering before that day’s training, did you learn anything worth your place in Company D.
Sir, only as directed by the Masters to whom we are thankful for our very existence.
Puppy, you know your (blank)king place now if you can only get your idiot puppy brothers to (blank)king pay attention, unless you maybe know why day by (blank)king day you (blank)king puppies learn just to (blank)king forget.
Sir, there is also the possibility I will lose such memories and not be able to offer an answer.
Puppy, (blank)king Professor I sure as (blank)k hope you don’t- now who wants to show us how to clean assemble and set a butterfly bee gun, the Instructor calls out but no one moves, so he begins to run down procedures before us, an audience of inattentive Dog Soldiers, and each choreographed move is punctuated by obscenity, by naming each part, by naming each move, as if this procedure is complex and all new, then grunts, Got that (blank)king puppies.
Do we have sympathy for the instructor, does he consciously understand that he is enacting ritual abuse presented in their history of movies- Hollywood, Bollywood, Cannes- but he is not comfortable with his play, he knows no humans would be so insulted or suffer such degradation, so how is it that dogs will. He is only what the movies told him to be, but this is not True. No one moves, no one rises on four feet wakefulness from lying down or sitting, no one replies, our proudly erect tails in mutual recognition, and if this disregard is not enough today no one even glances at him.
Our Leader yawns...
This is the last morning for this Instructor, though that he does not sense this is no surprise, for none of us in the Pack can later claim we knew when this end would happen, no, though all of us knew for transcendent health of our hierarchy this human would not forever persist, no, not in the whipping, the shouting, the abuse by which he and his superiors has thought to train us, no, this may not have even been his preferred strategy that he prosecutes these dictates without question following orders. No, of all the Masters we come across he is the one we can most respect, because he enacts his place in the Herd by risking everything drifting aside, ahead, in following his orders blindly that allows us to sense that horror of all the Pack so assaulted by the Herd, he must have known murderous hatred engendered by each newly inflicted torture assayed, for pain speaks only under pain, truth always false, truth always whatever the victim imagines will satisfy the other. From the first, he has been wrapped in a slick black uniform slightly loose but generally following his natural state, allowing full mobility of legs and arms, only the torso, the neck, protected by kevlar, with a typical headdress of helmet, nightsight goggles, radio and microphone that keeps him in contact with superiors or in this case Observers, reflecting plastic glass windows that flip down before his eyes and on which are projected this or that graph or other visual aid, earphones, microphone, two tube nipples by which he sources water, nutrients, or adaptive, addictive, operative pharmaceuticals. It is that strange burning air smell that most clearly betrays an innovation by which the Instructors are protected- an electrified webbing that shocks any assaulting trainee, a voltage required to render them briefly paralyzed, drops them to the floor, immobilized, helpless, in great unmentionable pain but not dead any more than by tazers used by Corp Sec. It is finally this that allows the Instructor to loom close to our staring madness, though on two we are taller than him, for his obscenity-laden orders are spit into our faces with a derogative stare, a constant sneer, a kind of final disrespect we would not allow in any other situation, but which we cannot punish except by attacking and suffering that horrific jolt. In sadism perhaps ordered, perhaps an accidental innovation, this Instructor will grasp a brother whose only crime might have been an open yawn, and, pulsing in an electric aura, tackles and holds onto him despite his cringing whimpering promises, his wordless pleas for mercy or his agreement to what is at question, night is day, black is white, snow is burning, yes is no, love is hate, pleasure is pain, anything, anything, anything...
True story- that you have never before heard, for it has never been posited by enemies, sympathizers, or even us dogs- and would evince fear of all, all, all dogs in ruthless pursuit of canine truth, if heard out of context, a context, furthermore, that is provided in words of that investigative panel emplaced by Military of the Herd, and not relayed in a suspect and self-serving canine voice. Allegations that this incident is long in strategic planning, slow gestation, patiently weighed in a court of dispute for and against, argued and denounced, or even- such flattery- waiting only for Professor to return, to judge, to allow action, all this falls to that complete misunderstanding dynamics of the Pack. I lick my genitals in dismissal. Here if nowhere else in our shared history, in the most ancient ancestors of dogs and humans, in the most recent, intelligently designed, genetically enhanced offspring of dogs and yes somewhere, humans, here we sense that logical disjunction between the Herd and the Pack, because of which error we will never understand each other’s essences so opposed. That such noxious interpretation appears so plausible, that to the Herd our actions must needs be thought, imagined, planned, and finally manifest so exactly, this is only evidence of how ineffably strong is our dog-nature coherence between selves and the Pack and the Pack and Our Leader. So this True Story can only reveal that unimaginable, unconscious, reality of how in action here we demonstrate a sort of absolute identity from all the lesser to him Our Leader...
True story we dogs have always known but none of us would speak of it lest we contradict any lies already offered, any white, black- even red- lies that Our Leader has charged I Professor with responsibility to fashion, as near as possible to confuse any truth not relative to one or the other bias, human or dog. Refuge in relativism is potentially disastrous as a strategy to confuse interrogators, though also potentially liberating, if every source stays On Message. In the best position, relativism can entirely diffuse arguments of ethics and morality as clearly applicable in other places and times, just not here and now. And you and others never stray to fields of distracting rhetoric dusted over buried explosives, so my Media Coach has always recommended to search first for any other escape responsibility, in ways chosen consistent with the public persona adopted so long ago- in bumbling idiocy one who cannot even now understand the errors, affable assertions these errors are not truly that dangerous, insinuations that the other is a secular pessimist, halted exposition of revelatory facts that would entirely justify previous lies but most unfortunately remain in the realm of leaks, irrepressible musing, in something that well must be taken on faith, and of course you trust me. We investigate our genitals and those of our brothers with fierce hope and final despair. In short, with great risk may come great reward or great disaster, and the latter might appear more likely when defending a dog’s acts from a human point of view...
We have just endured the Instructor’s bored, mumbled, methodical repetition of instructions in assembling a butterfly bee gun, addressed dispassionately to the Packed snow at his feet, when he makes a sudden break from the usual program. Gazing upslope, he scans at us dogs lazing across the natural amphitheatre formed of snow shoveled by robots from the terraces, how we sit, inattentive, yawning, even whimpering out of his hearing range- not of his portable sound definer that fits on his helmet, which tells him someone is talking but not what they say- and yawns himself, closing his mouth down to a threatening malicious smile.
Enough of this (blank)king shit puppies, Instructor finally says, anyone want to run let’s go to the track come on.
Perhaps this sudden reversal should have alerted us- or if Our Leader perceived it he must have had reasons for silence- for even the most obtuse human has long known how much a pleasure it is, mindless pleasure, meaningless pleasure, to run around the oval whether on dirt, turf, metal or ice, no matter what obstructions are raised.
As it is, we are easily woken from our dogged slumbers, easily falling from two to four, tails waving highly, tension stretched on each bilateral pair of legs, puppyish pouncing on invisible live food, puppyish turning, laughing, denigrating all brothers and claiming a win before the race even begins. We follow the Instructor out the gate to the snowy field yet darkened by tall evergreens and low winter sun, shadows as still, as real, as the trees that cast them, snow glittering as we change our perspectives each stride closer, and that there are no smells, no sounds, no touches from which our eyes could only confirm what those true senses deliver, this does not bother us, for we are amongst our brothers and soon will be racing each other as much as the obviously artificial robotic rabbit. Our Leader drifts through the Pack, honoring us with the occasional twitch of his perked ears, his snout level so not discounting those few lesser he suffers to crouch before, to whimper, to lick below around his mouth firmly closed, accepting, encouraging, with no great unwarranted conceit, the submission no humans can imagine- for in this attenuated ritual of a mother feeding her pups, in this instinctual abasement, the lesser is metaphorically participating in the power and the glory of Our Leader. Herd theorists, those cloistered, weak and often contrary humans, suggest this honest acknowledgement of power is actually indication of the final vitality and so validity of the lesser thereby creating the greater. There is, actually, some truth in this contention of a natural symbiosis between leader and followers, but the suggestion this reveals noxious egalitarianism as the most true way in which members of a species would best flourish, this is a pathological lonely madness of a herd member persisting in a world where there are No certainties, No comforts, No place, No brother but always potential traitors to whatever mutual sympathy you have thought to share, when one is for oneself, none for each other, and so none for all. Our Leader, his Shock Troops, established hierarchy of the Pack, is our treasured safety from such daily and nightly fear of all others. And fear that there will someday, possibly, be a conflict of loyalties whereby I will lie to myself, lie to my brothers, lie even to the Pack. At this morning’s broken schedule there is a brief and piercing sense that what seems now a pleasurable chance to play, to laugh, to celebrate our true physical abilities- these moments will be swiftly followed by a most serious conflict between us dogs and this Instructor. Our Leader comes to I Professor, who drifts through subtle silent alarm that he cannot form into a question, but this disturbance slips out in long whining too high for humans to hear but easily to other dogs marks him as its source.
Professor, Our Leader blinks and raises his voice at this deceptive pleasure, Professor you radiate discomfort, though if so I must say I sense nothing to fear, but only approve that this Instructor will lead us to the track.
O sir, I do wish I had the words to communicate prescience and so explain that something is wrong- far, far wrong.
You are neither cold nor ill, you smell something bad, and yet you think words would help define this fear, you have been too long amongst humans Professor, you have caught their disease of identity rather than process, will you say I am wrong.
O never sir, never.
I am alert to your concerns, but not much is under our control, and what more can the Instructors plan to torture us, to follow their tasks, to accept their madness.
Sir, when you have lived with them, heard them lie, lie, and damned lie, until the head is unable to remember which lie came first and what truth came before.
Professor, you will watch us race, you will observe as if an Observer, you will present yourself to be too ill.
Professor there is no argument here.
Sir, I obey...
I am too ill. The Pack mills around the infield, curious, most expressing correct sympathy for another brother without reservation, but a few have never been convinced that when previously I am selected by that last Master and spirited away to Big Cities and attendant, inescapable, sordid corruption of humans, I am following orders from Our Leader, so do not smell that now I enact only a drama such as we once watched on daytime HV. The spot and fill lighting is off, there is no geography and or duration of even one smell, the visual sensors are unfocused, the environmental sound is subtly thin, the voices labor under twin burdens of voluntary censorship, with its array of lips moving over long beeps, and original textual incoherence, with he who is right and she who is wrong become he wrong and she right- there are many details that to these few dogs accumulate a slight distrust of the drama presented, or at least the key player I Professor. Most of my brothers will come to smell that again I act under orders, these few others do not then, did not later, would not now ever believe me- and in jealousy enjoy my unendurable pain, and what the pain speaks through me is only what they always suspected in my corrupt mouth...
Don’t (blank)king look ill to me Professor, the Instructor say not alone to me but to everyone else in shout range, too. (blank)king Steven Hawking Professor got a little headache got a little tummy ache eh puppy,
Sir I imagine the clinic pharmacy has the needed dose appropriate for the inflammation,
Puppy don’t (blank)k with me say what you went got fat and lazy living down in the Big City say you ride around in limos fly in charter jets (blank)k puppy I even say what you entertaining those high maintenance bitches on deck of some billionaire’s boat (blank)k now you too good to run and play with everyone else (blank)k it’s a treat to go to the track,
Sir by self-diagnosis I believe it is an autoimmune inflammation-
So Steven Hawking got to Medical School huh you think I trust those internal homeo-docs buy diplomas from same place sell you astronaut license (blank)k never even get to see a real doc only the Army medic (blank)k never find his own asshole but having some dick up it,
Sir it is not my contention but simply diagnostic say you can check it-
And waste my time for it to come back positive or negative you (blank)king pathetic puppy (blank)k no (blank)king way,
Sir self-diagnosis technology is generally agreed to be high percentage accurate but if it is positive I need to see a doctor and if it is negative and you intuit deliberate deception of course you will prosecute negative reinforcement,
No. (blank)king. Way- say puppy you just dead ass lazy (blank)k,
Sir is it not better to First Do No Harm as the Hippocratic oath directs doctors-
I’m not no (blank)king doctor and could give a (blank)k what your Hypocrite say huh you got any more those thousand credit words (blank)king puppy,
Don’t (blank)king look ill to me Professor,
Sir I will just watch from the side and you will prosecute negative reinforcement me later if the diagnosis is in error-
(blank)k that I say who does what when why anything (blank)king puppy what you think you know more than me huh I don’t (blank)king believe this shit I got my goddamn High School (blank)k and that more than you ever get- eh (blank)k puppy where you think you going,
Sir I will be out of your way over here-
(blank)k you (blank)king puppy you go where I say,
Sir I am ill,
Don’t (blank)king look ill to me Professor,
Sir I am,
In an eruption of frustration, probably discomfited that recent reappearance of a favored victim is slipping from his grasp, that this dog, just a dog, has made him the one who pleads for attention as his voice rises, his thoughts darken, the solution to his earlier malicious smile is voiced, Puppy eh (blank)k you not going go after this huh recognize this,
Puppy this is the (blank)king smell of pussy- #
I do not know if the Observers ever have a rational plan to introduce that destabilizing scent, or if this way of revelation is entirely at the simple discretion of the Instructor, but if there is a worse way to allow our lesser dogs to learn, or enhance the human power to prompt us, I cannot imagine one. Fools. An already tense gathering, a senseless renewed battle over who goes where when, an awkward imbalance away from stability of Our Leader, a confusion of Shock Troops already anticipating the pleasures of a race but who now must attend the hypochondriac simulations of I Professor, while still distracted and enervated by an unfamiliar heart-pounding smell and even yet intolerable joy radiant from Poet- whom they would rather ignore if they cannot kill- this is the climate the Masters allow to first receive that powerful, inarguable aroma, that instinctual evocation and all deceptions consequent on its meaning...
Puppy this is the (blank)king smell of pussy- these are the words, the smell, the truth that will ensure for us dogs our eternal skepticism of the Masters, the Observers, the Military and all their Instructors. Our Leader triumphs yet again without such anxious doubts as afflict us lesser dogs as I Professor, by allowing the nascent anarchy deployed on this dangerous reception eat its own young and clarify who might threaten a challenge to his dominance, we have lived long enough in their media sphere and have come to know previously unimaginable wounds visited on the Herd body politic, in combat, intervention, and even self-inflicted. Fools. Idiot egalitarians spout nonsense of a leader’s obligations to his led, as if the lesser can demand or simply ask that their greater brother for more food, freedom, even protection, as if he alone with advisors would not determine how to fulfill this largesse. And with this perhaps accidental attempt to show the Herd dominance over the Pack, which fails in a most useful way, a sort of positive reinforcement allied to critical canine values most truly manifest in Our Leader, in this fury, rejection, and inclusive vow to oneself as to all your brothers, any momentum built towards an inter-species understanding is halted then by undertow gathered and energy dissipated. As that momentum is only very briefly espoused by the very few dissidents in the Pack, this is little noticed, less spoken, and thought of only as faulty remembrance, those few dogs in error make apologies and desperate submission to Our Leader, flattening their ears back, whimpering, lowering in approach, a few lying on their backs to welcome whatever deserved abuse of their stomachs, a choice that they might have taken in their erstwhile dominance but now nobly refused, even further as a few urinate on themselves to render themselves no more than puppies, puppies, only puppies. We will never suffer the anguish of losing part of ourselves, trusted jaw, robust torso, strong forelegs, or even any of our six senses to hear, smell, taste, touch, sight, thought, as happens to the Pack when some members believe each their separate political emotion and strategy, rather than wisdom always embodied as a cloud of thought, a gift, born from the forehead of he most emplaced to gauge, respond, refuse to smell, all, all, all disharmony of self and the Pack. I lick my genitals in scorn. It is not voiced but then implicit, in every future encounter between loyalist and selfish, that these few may be forgiven by Our Leader for straying in best conscience, but this does not reconcile or recreate honest trust between brothers yes though we are most forgiving, we are not forgetting, and this awkward, dissembling, social dimension is perhaps how drowning, asphyxiating, a dog would find the eternally paranoid atmosphere of the Herd. If so, if there are truly more lives than this for my spirit, please rather diminish me by incarnation as a cat, for being always so wandering, lonely, afraid, hiding in shadows, hunting alone, is infinitely preferable to the never ending fear of your brothers, O just to imagine such honest and reasonable fear is a kind of suffocating mucus draining from nose imprints down, down, down my esophagus and gradually infiltrating the inverted trees of my lungs, a fatal descent that seizes my enhanced larynx, though no words could truly capture my silent dismay. Overstated, perhaps, might be that most blunt reply from this or that brother, but in sinister winding this might be prescient and only fractionally less than horrors of drowning. As I Professor stand immobile with snout raised in denial of command or refusal, the other dogs, even, grudgingly, disbelieving, four present Shock Troops watch in expectation of whip, chain, or even separation into solitary confinement- but, first, the Instructor plays a shrug, a disappointment, second, clearly turning away from this minor dispute with no further abuse verbal or physical, I am deceived, I act in error, I turn my back, I start to walk away amazed at sudden invulnerability-
(blank)king puppy, roars an amplified human voice that tackles me, and the world goes dark-
(blank)king puppy, I hear this but innocently assign the named target to someone else, to one of the Fifteen, the Twelve, the Six, to Poet, even to Our Leader, before I realize that is directed at me, who is never so cursed or disrespected by those humans with whom I learn. (blank)king puppy. I do not recognize myself in these terms, no, but perhaps this is a matter of age, of my generation, of not braving proudly all those slurs, which younger dogs in more recent Company D, indeed throughout our new world, by calling ourselves Pup or Puppy. I lick my genitals in scorn. Words as weapons, titles, names, that are so thoroughly debased by obscenity, discrimination, and species-hate, that the only reply is to grasp these words and insist innate pride, insist we are, now, mature and powerful to determine what this word, a word, just a word, means. Before another may call me Pup, I call myself Puppy. I am not so personally invincible that these mere words, these meanings, are ever free for debate, I hear only a history, a remembrance, from before the beginning when even most friendly Masters use it without thought. Pup, Puppy, no, I am not so graciously forgetful of a past when these words would deny me from places alongside the Masters, no, not even at the banquet of our freedom. And his sudden, unshakeable embrace causes me to light up along a sense of my nerves throughout the body, a translucent model, blurred, brighter where that mental outline finds collision and crossing, no, that it is a most beautiful, understood, accurate image of this body, through which I enact my process of animation and all those sensual pleasures of life- all this olfactory, textural, false, visual sparkling, does not counter that transcendent horror of exquisite pain. I am told later, I suffer his embrace for only forty seconds but there is no clock but a vision of repeated, endless pain, far worse than the highest charge of a tazer. (blank)king puppy-
(blank)king puppy, the Instructor snarls, tackling me in that agonizing web of electric shock, turning me on my side, so swiftly my responding bite has no time yet to shift to a yelp so curiously it appears I dispute his orders even as I fall. O the Pain, this is beyond anything, this freezes my mouth in a snarling bite even as yelps swell, double, triple, more crowd my throat, my stomach heaves and a awful trickle of stomach acid and undigested food, comes through my lips and teeth displaying weapon potential, O this is unendurable anguish I never knew before, have never known since, as if that human is operating on me without anesthetic, searching for clusters, patterns of nerves where agonizing pain is inflicted by slightest touch- where pain can be following a crescendo, a horrific almost musical ordering of vivid notes played, rate, duration, but even my pathetic yelps are soon overcome by silence. Anyone, dog or human, might mistake me for murdered, but as my mind flees to madness under this torture the Instructor knows how to flirt but not go beyond that blurred barrier too easily ignored, that permeable line, between pain and death as the end of pain-
Pussy got you whipped (blank)king puppies, let me tell you about pussy, you puppies got no idea, no (blank)king idea what this is and why it smells so (blank)king delicious, like you been starving and now some (blank)king steak come down to you, yeah (blank)king puppies, this got more than you (blank)king puppies ever smell, huh, you want it, you (blank)king puppies want it.
A tremble seems to move the very packed snow beneath their feet as if prelude to an avalanche, whimpers, whining that is high and unheard by humans, but insists on the attention of Our Leader.
(blank)king puppies, you want this, huh, don’t (blank)king look at him look at me (blank)king puppies you are going to do whatever I say now, if (blank)king torture doesn’t get co-op well maybe this will work.
No, Our Leader announces in a calm, deep, resonant voice.
No, the Instructor mimics with a sneer, No former-Alpha Male says, well (blank)k you, (blank)k you are not no (blank)k who says who goes where when.
No, this is just to outrageous you (blank)k, you still not got this no more your Company, it’s all mine (blank)king puppies do what I say not you.
No, Sir I believe you have had some difficulty assuring that outcome.
Not me you (blank)king puppies, not me just those idiot eggheads believe the way to co-op is to make like (blank)king friends.
Perhaps this is wisdom.
(blank)k that puppy, see what we do to malingerers huh, you think Professor won’t crawl a (blank)king hundred metres on broken (blank)king glass, rather have me shock treatment again.
No, Sir, to me your new (blank)king Alpha Male,
No, Sir, (blank)king puppy.
Say what you think you tell me to do this or not damn (blank)king do whatever I (blank)king want him do- eh Professor Steven Hawking maybe you should turn over to let him bite your (blank)king balls.
Eh wakeup Professor your Our Leader going to bite off your balls.
No, Sir you have proven your position.
But do I have to (blank)king prove it every (blank)king day.
Maybe we should see if the Professor can wakeup and follow the (blank)king scent over the obstacle track come on.
At this the Instructor waves to a figure we cannot look to for the winter sun blinds us, we cannot smell, touch, taste, think of who it is and does that matter, no, one soldier is all soldiers and this Herd that most imagines itself Hunting Pack, this Military Herd, has rigid relationships of orders and compliance, yet they too are somehow not the leaders of the Herd of Herds, so, the exact identity of this human is of no concern. I Professor am now comfortably ignored in this dispute, so it would perhaps be best he remains silent and still, but a whimper accidentally emerges at a shudder of pain bright and edgeless in his closed eyes.
(blank)king puppy, the Instructor says. So you back huh you want to learn the lesson for all your (blank)king pathetic brothers come on puppy.
At this, without warning or logic, the human grasps me again, tortures, refuses to release to pleas after gods does not even believed in by I Professor. Agony inexpressible, pain which narrows my consciousness down to only a self of nauseating sense, pain, pain that needs no name, that speaks no history, no reason, no duration, that causes all the lesser dogs to cower in sympathy, to glance about in fear this pain is now unmoored and without rhyme descend on their bodies, for it seems, now, that there is no protection from the Pack. Shock Troops growl, low, reverberating as an engine, lips quivering, flashing, and each hungry to allow that killer smile emerge- but no one grants this fervently desired act. I Professor am unable to release righteous order to launch and destroy that laughing sneering Instructor, Poet they would disregard, and he, Our Leader seems at the moment lost, though a true understanding would smell that he calculates yes, no, options that name what is best for the Pack, not just this one member no matter how distressing the torture he undergoes. The Instructor grasps forelegs of the nearest Shock Troop and disregards an almost automatic lethal possibility, yes, mad himself with the power of Prey over Predator, for does he know that any act of the Pack, is only allowed on orders, yes, the other, the Shock Troop, submits to his cruel embrace, his only act to yelp, howl, whimper, drain bile and fractured words.
So (blank)king Puppy who do I torture and who the (blank)k do I let free huh tell me puppy or maybe if you can’t (blank)king answer right now I’ll just (blank)king keep doing both huh how’s your Our Leader now puppies how big is he huh-
Remember, I Professor will explain to lesser dogs still confused- moments, weeks, months, years later- Remember, it is that sadistic one, that human, that Instructor the one who tortures, only him, and thus there is no moral collaboration so eagerly sought by this terrified, insane, vicious Prey, no, there is never the right answer, the right response- not even Let Both Free, because that is to recognize his momentary dominance, his position, his madness, for that moment as forever...
(blank)king puppy, the Instructor says, then steps forward and our frightened lesser involuntarily retreat, here, here, even here beginning to lower themselves in a way only Our Leader deserves.
(blank)king puppy too ill for the (blank)king track, well puppy say how the (blank)k you like obstacle courses- wake up Professor, wake up.
I glance to Our Leader and hear a slight hardening, tension, glaring of his eyes above an immobile mouth, and this is enough for me to fulfill the order, to rise to four, to two, then fall to four again. Pain echoes throughout each stride but there is no smell but singed fur, dribbled stomach acid, few marks on my fur, and it is only in delicate pace from imbalance that I indicate my recent torture. I follow only naturally hesitant, as the human walks in his own sphere of madness disregarding all the arrayed dogs of the Pack. He has placed that flag of estrus in a sealed clear bag, then this in a vest-pocket, but there is not one silent dog who has not watched how this desire machine operates on each of them, and where it is hidden now, too late, is a magnet for our instinctual urges. Even worse, this unnamed unknown scent that reaches deep into our chests each and squeezes as if dying, is not something they have already sensed in private, expected in public, as for their three leaders, I Professor, Poet and Our Leader. This sense is first introduced and ignorance shattered, in public, surrounded by equally effected brothers, yes, and it is as if night is day and black is white and the entire world is no longer stabilized by the Pack, for it is that most honestly hated Instructor who has prerogative to wave and tease and torture our dog-nature desires. Our Leader does not respond. A whimpering chorus, a confused, desperate, puppy-like smelling of the air, of the others, of even that cold nothingness of that snowy track oval, swiftly migrates through the staring fearful stand. Poet watches everyone in an angry eye, particularly Our Leader, his own desires stirred to distraction, yes, wondering why nothing is happening, yes, why we do not here immediately afford a compromise with the Masters, for access to these female dogs so that nature will reassert prime status over not alone dogs, but humans as well. Our Leader does not respond. I Professor follows unquestioning all orders of the Instructor, for these are as if from Our Leader, yes, no, why, such are questions that might bother lesser dogs, but thankfully not him. I Professor walks, tail drooping, stumbling from hurt more than sudden tactile changes, past the Pack without gazing for company, for understanding, and this is another event that convinces my enemies- jealous of my station near the ear of Our Leader- that I am a lesser, conniving, untrustworthy if not traitorous cur who should be exiled if not simply terminated. I Professor comes to the first barrier, simply a steep, snow-covered, mound of turf, but I scale this at an angle and the human orders me down again, again, again, until my progress is sufficiently perpendicular, the second barrier, an icy slope where my claws find little traction, and repeated again, again, again, without even pretence of purpose, the third barrier is where our Instructor pauses- unhappy, grunting, defused that the previous two barriers were apparently too easy and afforded few rationales to hurt me, calls by the helmet and after meeting some resistance clips his voice, vocals that would be almost audible to a human nearby.
Do you know what you are doing Colonel.
Yes, I know yes, he says.
Our Dogs are worth more than you... Captain.
I know yes, he says.
Our Dogs are worth more than you... Private.
I will take full responsibility if he is damaged, he says.
Do you know what you are doing.
I know- I just said I would, yes I know, yes I know, yes that is why they put me here.
Do you know what you are doing.
Yes, yes, yes I know-
And then, with no further argument, a panel across the track slides back and reveals thin black ice over black water-
True story, said here in only the interests of factual consistency, with no interest in transferring or absolving blame, no political purpose to justify continued resources, or secure funding, from Congress, Senate, or any higher Legislative Body. All the purported leaks, all the unnamed sources, all those off-the-record musing or rumor, are here neither refuted or proven but rigorously ignored. As humans say Hindsight is twenty-twenty, as us dogs say Every day smells new shit, yes, so there is here no intent to castigate our precursors for failing foresight, but this must be understood from a canine smell, this is what is inevitable from first meeting this particular Instructor. As impossible as this seems that we loyal Combat Dog should ever turn on a Master, as impossible to imagine for our defenders, our sympathizers, but we must insist this is not accidental- with the reduced culpability when it is impulse and not premeditated for humans- this is, is, will ever be murder more than manslaughter, and it is committed with the full support of the Pack. Our Leader himself will have attacked, have not a loyalist dog offered the first strike, in full knowledge of likely response...
Observers watch tensely from their unassailable balcony, muttering amongst and to them, with some queasy uncertainty about this enacted strategy, most concerned this would be the waste of a dog, a dog, just a dog, how this senseless assault might end in catatonic withdrawal by me. A few are hesitant despite assurances now promulgated by my last Master the Ecologist Mathematician, that despite warmth of companionship and occasional semblance of an almost human intelligence of a two or three or maybe four or is it five year-old, it is best to operate on the belief that these animals have a quality lesser mind, a canine consciousness, yes, and this is a delicate and supremely complicated mechanism that needs be respected for the complex causalities they come to, yes, but only a machine. No dog shall ever- their thinking must decide- no dog will ever complete a sculpture, a painting, a poem or a book- this prejudice here I would overturn- and seem so beholden to the Pack that there is some difficulty in saying they can operate as anything more than a cog in that greater, an individual, this he argues but Military have always, always, always already predetermined conclusions he has drawn, and perhaps in his distaste ever having exercised caution now revealed faulty and useless, yes, this is what drives renewed fury of the Instructor. I lick my genitals in dismissal. Observers click their stylus against their computer keyboards but say nothing. Soldiers quietly voice encouraging suggestions to do this or that to the (blank)king dogs, so quiet it is only through concentrating on muted exhortations that escape the headphones of this human, that we hear, that reveals a scarcely intelligent hatred of us dogs which none of us have conceived. Soldiers, their purpose has always been more to contain us dogs in confines of the Program, here at this camp somewhere in these trackless wilds, than as security against prying eyes, and their only sanctioned entertainment- pornography of violence, sex, and sexualized violence- has only reminded them of how far they are away from the Big Cities and pleasures evident there, primarily those female humans whose absence I could now much more empathize with the humans, now that I had sensed that flag of female dogs in estrus. Truly, though, could this place have been operated with the destabilizing effect of bitches in heat all the time, I never agree too much with the Masters but here the Herd Dynamics that insure this separation are wise and intelligent...
True story, which I Professor, must rely on other witnesses to elaborate, for I am at the time only sensing and thus distracted by the latest shocking embrace- of which the Instructor reminded me with ungentle touches of that electric prod-
(blank)king puppy, the Instructor says, come on just walk the ice the (blank)king ice. And so, yelping after an encouraging prod, I Professor bravely faces two metres of ice, thinking if all else in falling he should reach the opposite side by simply leaping and falling. Ice is not unfamiliar to Company D. Ice that I have seen during my tour with my Media Coach, ice that violently froze over rivers and along shorelines of lakes, these were strange, fantastic jumbles, huge planes jagged-edged rising and crashing over each other at such a slow but inexorable pace, such ice truly deserve that designation, but this skin over frozen water, these two metres that show translucent, does not seem to have slightest family resemblance. I have seen sailed ice boats careening through the wind, I have seen huge trucks riding ice roads, seen snowmobiles darting in and out of trees beside lakes, even seen ice breakers plowing passages through slabs of snowed-over ice- I know that there are always truly freezing depths beneath, but here, now, there is only a brief pass through cold water when the obstacles are arrayed for summer obstacle courses. I Professor may exhibit useful intelligence but he cannot imagine any escape from testing the ice, and, much as any dog would wish, he does not know how to change into a bird and fly over, no, such would be against his honest dog-nature. I Professor sniff the ice but it offers no clues to thickness here or there, whines, glances around in calculating how to disappear, how to escape, whether anything less than exile from his brothers would help him now. It is the Masters who do the impossible, no, not he, for if he cannot naturally fly well he might leap or fall in full awareness that he cannot transcend gravity, but humans, humans will use their large brains and negotiate a stance with gravity, will first find ways to glide through air, ways to become lighter than air, ways then to become flying despite being naturally heavier than air. Humans have themselves no nature, so will adopt that other animal-nature which is most useful in a given situation, and for a few moments here I Professor might wish to be a human, though would even a human invent on this spot some way to escape- so, holding his breathe, with his entire body tense and trembling, he puts one forepaw on the ice and presses some weight down, then, that the ice neither cracks nor even depresses, is a signal that draws him to put the other forepaw down slightly beside it, but this one does cause a burbling fracture to line back directly under his nose, so, automatically, he steps back with supplicating whimper as he glances to Our Leader- a question that enrages the Instructor, who, on seeing this, berates I Professor, Don’t look at him you (blank)king shit I’m giving the orders here and I say go (blank)k go (blank)king puppy-
What should the Instructor have done, asks my last Master the Ecological Mathematician, who is brought back for the Fatality Inquiry that somehow leaks past even the Propagandists, to the truly independent Media. Blites, with few editorial codes and less scruples, they are censored even by full availability but that everyone, everyone, everyone, including its regular hearers, discount fractions of factual bases for its stories. Ever Only Entertainment, Absolute Freedom of the Media, Necessary and Sufficient Ontological Epistemology, these are the graduated levels by which what used to be in some non-existent time News, has now become somebody’s, somewhere, somehow Propaganda. This fertile breeding ground for lies, lies, and damned lies, manages to sensationalize the most abstruse, arcane, boring scientific work between Cure for Baldness or Lose Weight on Spinach, but there is never any difficulty and no need to hype the story of Killer Dogs Kill Soldier. That reserved, quiet media exposure designed by my Media Coach, promoted to gradually introduce us to the deficit-card public, to allow us to bubble up from below the radar, is swept away when the news have the story. Now, in the worst case possible, our media connections from my tour must now be exploited, not simply to insure correct and greater resources, but to wage an entire rearguard action to justify the Program, such that we dogs are ludicrously characterized as Victims- of the Military Media Complex, of the Current Administration, of Irrational Exuberance and Provocative Fears, of Species Hate, of Dangerous Immoral Genetic Engineers, or perhaps of all the above. What should the Instructor have done, is a question that disturbs the Herd of Military Anthropologists who are now emplaced to certify eternally that such turning on itself by members of the Program will not persist, to determine that dogs, only dogs but somehow more, will never again turn on Instructors- or at least to no extremely high deficit-card limit- for these animals and those humans are both greatly esteemed and worth so very much resources though it could be argued the humans are wherever we look and easier replaced. I Professor faces the terrace of political and military authorities, old white males with heavy lidded eyes, functionally if not actually asleep, roused by sudden anguished pleading fervor of the interrogator, What should the Instructor have done. I look up honestly startled from ivestigating my genitals, as if this were true question,Sir first the Instructor must recognize him as who he is who is Our Leader who is forever who he is forever, And, Sir last the Instructor must recognize him as who he is who is Our Leader who is forever who he is forever...
What insult is this, What disrespect, these are outraged phrases from I Professor now again healthy enough to testify at this closed-door hearing, renewing disgust and battles of context and quote with the Media Propagandists. O yes, they announce their regained vaunted Relevance, their intimate Perspectives. What great humane idiocy, I Professor says in rejecting this camouflage that would reduce us to machines simply faulty by design flaws, simply no more than expected when human hubris exceeded gradual millennia of intelligent evolution, What laughable species misconception this is, Who dares call us Victims, I Professor speaks for all of us dogs-
Are there some protests, some accusation that I and therefore the Pack in silence are belying the weight and significance of the few now, or future many, deaths of Instructors to trainees, but does this even equal a truly minute percentage of those deaths our dog ancestors in the many, many millennia preceding. Will you contend that ruthless process of breeding for select qualities and thereby destruction as useless, those without that fortunate genetic mutation- penetrating eyes, sensitive nose, excellent hearing- thus an entire original and ongoing slaughter magnitudes larger populace than the Herd imagines, will you contend this is less than the historical horror of killing in work or revolt those humans who are dragooned into that slavery only recently abolished- and some say replaced by scarcely less onerous Indenture to corps- or even more recently that manufacture of industrial death, those humans whose Herd becomes a sentence for death, those Herds within Herds, yes, both of these holocausts claimed deviously to be radical invention by those who infuriate such true animals whose nature is in falseness appropriated to justify a Herd killing machine. So are those primitive sorts first bred, a dog who has a quiet nature and who never barks, a dog who has an ability to follow apparently old tracks to fresh kills, a dog who has an enraged disposition who hardly needs training to attack waves of rats or in the extreme other dogs of the same sort. All successful breeds are by humans bred out of many mountains of discarded failures, even, despite careful vetting that falls not much short of infinitely intensive examination, death of some of those dogs they have created by careful manipulation of insensible strands of DNA, clones who lack the full fired desire to live, who fail to thrive for no symptomatic clues, these deaths if nowhere else inarguably represent how high the ratio between one successful dog clone and all those unsuccessful iterations. So, caution must be exercised when apportioning final blame or fortune of the Program, no, this is the non-linear process of living, this is the way it has long been in that primeval dynamic of dogs and humans, that might only smell as chaotic but someday they humans or we dogs will understand chaos is merely order yet to be deciphered...
And does that Inquiry grant us our freedoms, as might have been dreamed, or did it simply create yet another Oversight body in that infinite maw of Bureaucracy, and so calm that flighty hysteria raised by democratic dissemination of previously classified source threads, humans who claim at least Something Must Be Done, this is not a true question. I lick my genitals in dismissal. Demagogues seeking to exploit ignorance, fear, and prejudice are quickly compromised, incorporated in the mainstream politics and flashing teeth immediately sheathed, so that even if somehow this scandal persists past that ever-new media cycle, no damage results to the Program. Our funding is secured, enhanced, and these honorable males Senators, Directors, Ministers all- though not of a Church that has many followers even then, beyond the Heartlands States- all these righteous males voice favorite dogmatic passages that assert human right, God-given right, to name, to use, to kill all other animals. Even the desultory search begun to find whether or not there were actual orders from Our Leader, actual responsibility, to direct that mad, suicidal, single Shock Troop who tackled the Instructor, ripped his electric envelope, crashed through that black ice with him, freezing, shocking him in his own lethal electric webbing through those tears, drowning him, holding him by his weight to the base of that freezing cold water, all too surprising, unexpected, and fast for Observers or other soldiers to stop and kill that dog with an emptying in desperation of an entire magazine of well placed butterfly-bee bullets before he kills the Instructor, no, they are too late, no, and of Company D dogs our interests then are first and always retrieving and reviving I Professor, no, the doubtful legal status in those most anarchic Classified quadrants of the Military, of this Inquiry resulting in a few purposely vague and soon ignored unbinding recommendations never engages the slightest value to meaning for either us Combat Dog or they Military who would rather just forget, forgive, formally rearrange or sheepishly impose guidelines for future Instructors to follow, then promote or demote this or that soldier called a scapegoat because in distracted error he adopted a position leading, trailing or otherwise peripheral to the center of Pack, a turbulent questioning storm intensified by Media becomes quickly only last hour’s news on those several 24-7 Media Propaganda HV networks, and far far too soon calms as mirror-smooth surface of a lake relaxing after a fierce spring storm. And as to who that Shock Troop murderer is, how we know he did not act alone in rescuing me, this certainty is felt from very marrow of our bones, and there is no greater honour than that he transcend being named alone, enforced in posthumous solitude, that he remain named as epitome of the Pack...
About 14 000 words