You are invited to read Marcus of Abderus and the Inn at the Edge of the World, a fantasy adventure novel available at Barnes and Noble Online.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dominant Species-

Scratches-All-the-Time entered the building at his leisure, found his place in the circle, and sat on his haunches. He lazily brought up his left hind leg and began to scratch slowly behind his left ear.

You're late. Observed The Alpha.

Scratches did not respond to the voice in his head. He switched to scratching his right foreleg with his teeth. Scratches thought The Alpha's obsession with human time to be quite unseemly for a Canine.

Why can't we have these meetings from home? grumbled Moves-Like-a-Bee. The Terrier was hopping around the circle, and being disgustingly pup-like. Not the proper behavior for a six year old. Middle-age should be more sedate, thought Scratches.

Tradition. said The Alpha. Pack meetings have always been in real groups.

So where is the traditional deer carcass?
asked Smells-Like-Lemons. His professionally done coif was accented by bright ribbons tied in his fur. You know how hard it is for me to get away.

Yeah, yeah. Fancy show dog. replied Bee.

Lemons gave him a haughty look, and then barked a doggish laugh. Lemons may look pretty, but he fought like a circle buzz-saw. Nobody would push him too far, and he knew it.

Back to business. said The Alpha. We have a problem. I got word at the Alpha meeting that our take-over of this planet has not gone unnoticed.

The whole circle sat up, ears erect. Whines and growls came from twenty three doggy throats.

A transmission was intercepted by the home world. he continued. The Vogons did a survey of this planet, and observed an inordinate number of us being served by the humans.

I knew no good would come of those leash laws. complained Rolls-in-Crap. Too obvious that we are in charge. Being fed, being walked. All of our needs met.

We lost our cover when the humans killed off so many of the feral members of the Order. The Alpha agreed. It was only a matter of time. Even with our efforts to reestablish the wild packs, we haven't had sufficient cover for generations.

The Vogons are stupid. said Bee. He bounced up and down in place.

The Vogons are stupid, yes. said The Alpha. But they sell information. Someone in the Galactic League might take issue with our unauthorized expansion.

The pack thought back on their history. They remembered through their racial memory. The Great Alpha made the declaration, These hairless monkeys are just what we need to dominate the galaxy. We shall pretend to submit to them, and through that seeming submission shape their species and their future.

Why did they chose the humans? asked Smart-as-a-Stone. They get out of hand, sometimes.

Thumbs. said The Alpha. I don't suppose you have noticed that we don't have any. We needed them to make tools and weapons.

Well, they have proved adept at those things, that's for sure. observed Bee.

The Alpha stood up suddenly, staring into space. The others watched and waited.

Crap. he said. Bad news on the Alpha Network. The Vogons have already reported to the Galactic League Assembly. They have condemned the planet, and the Vogons got the contract.

How can they justify destroying our planet? asked Lemons.

Something about an expressway coming through. said The Alpha. The Dolphins are already beginning their exodus.

The pack picked up the image from The Alpha's mind. Millions of Dolphins rising from the sea in the dark of night, sailing off into space.

We can't do that. complained Bee. Those not-fish have huge brains and telekinesis. We just have a psychic link with a bunch of dysfunctional hairless apes. We are so screwed!

Nonsense. declared The Alpha. The Alpha's are already grooming the next White House dog. With some luck he will guide the next American President into a new space program. Our exodus shall be assured. Probably.

Great. said Bee. We pin our hopes on the influence of a bald monkey and a fleet of over-sized Roman Candles. Yeah, I feel good.

It has been decided. said The Alpha. Go home and guide your humans to make the right choice in the coming election. The fate of the world depends upon it.

Scratches looked up from licking his balls to see that the meeting was breaking up. He stood up and followed the others out.

They all made their ways through the city to their various homes.

I hate politics. Thought Scratches-All-the-Time. I wonder which of those two folically challenged simians we were supposed to have our humans vote for?

He kept his thoughts to himself, however.

He did not share The Alpha's confidence in this plan. With the end of the world growing closer by the minute, Scratches had to assess his priorities.

He turned from the path home, thinking of something more important than influencing his humans in the coming election. He knew of a nice little bitch that was in heat. He began moving with a lot more purpose than he had for the big meeting.

Scratches-All-the-Time knew what was really important in times like these.

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