Without further ado: Diary of a Space-Pup
All our lives we have known exactly what to expect. Food, water, a smack on the rump if we did our business wrong. No one troubled us between meals, and we developed our own way of doing things. Total freedom, you might say. We were happy, all of us puppies and kittens together, floating about our habitat.
Now everything has changed. With no warning we were put down here where everything is hostile. First there is the terrible weight that oppresses us. Even without the other torments, this would be sufficient to crush our spirits as it has crushed our limbs.
But it’s not only the weight, which I heard our tormenters call gravity. They laughed, as though it were merely a temporary nuisance. Perhaps they are right. Already I feel myself responding, my muscles hardening in preparation for whatever may come next. But there is so much more.
The walls are gone, replaced with only the flimsiest of wire barriers, which block none of the winds or rain. Our tormenters seem to think this should make us happy. Happy? Despite the fatigue of the crushing gravity, sleep is elusive. We are beginning to show the effects. Gone are the pillows and baskets we have slept in and romped among since birth. Now we scrabble for a comfortable place on a surface littered with dirt, where plants alternately poke and tickle us, and tiny creatures crawl over us. Is it any wonder we spend our energy on incessant alerts?
It is evident that this is the existence to which we are doomed henceforth. The ship will not rise again, and we must make what lives we can in this desolate place. Already the rule of the strong is the only law we have, and the cats—frisky kittens no longer—have begun to plot. We are none of us children any more, and my former puppy companions are developing the lean, thoughtful look of the hunter. I greatly fear that chaos and war are the only options left to us, as we are forced to gather our own food and manage our own disputes.
The cats are muttering of war. Fortunately, they are easily distracted, and a batch of butterflies has hatched nearby, creating a near-constant stream of pretty things to chase. The Tormenters have ceased coming to watch us and we must develop the means to survive in, if not harmony, at least a state of truce. It is very hard to get cats to come to any conference, now that we no longer share a common food source. Rather, we compete for the common food source, and may the best hunter win.
The Tormenters returned to remove the fencing that kept us together. The cats promptly disappeared into the brush, in search of more of the small creatures we have been catching within the enclosure. From the sounds I suspect they have also found larger, fiercer beasts. I feel myself reverting to some ancestral notion of behavior, leaping, chasing and killing.
The weakest members of both cat and dog parties have begun to die, unable to hunt, or killed by their prey. All life on this planet is heavily armed with teeth and claws, but so are we. We must learn quickly to use them.
The pack is starting to scatter, and the cats have mostly vanished into the brush. They lost their fear faster than we dogs, but we are hunters now. The local creatures are fierce and savage, but smaller than we, so we may yet defeat them. I have given up all hope of an alliance with the cats, and am concentrating on survival for myself and my litter-mates.
Some of the Tormenters came around today, looking for the cats and dogs they abandoned so callously. I considered eating one, but they are larger than I care to tackle, though soft. Their leader nodded happily and said something about “adapting well.” He seemed pleased that we were becoming savages, though some of his companions seemed to hope they could find the soft, purring or drooling friends they had made of us within the ship. It is too bad for them. Those weak creatures are gone forever, and we are what they have forced us to become.
I saw some of the cats today. They seem to have grown to immense size, as I have. Two of them were eating one of the Tormenters! A triumph for us? It makes me long for the days when we celebrated our victories together, but I fear for the consequences. The Tormenters have controlled us for so long.
I shall have to cease maintaining this journal, as the Chief Tormenter shows signs of suspicion. I believe I now know our destiny, in any case, and believe that we can make it happen as and when we will. He spoke to the other Tormenters when they found the remains of the one the cats ate, and I heard the words that made all clear. “They are not kittens nor puppies,” he told them. “We have bred lions and wolves to new levels of predation and intelligence. They can hunt anything that lives here, and the only way to get close to them is in their bellies. But they will make this planet ours.”
At least one of the Tormenters understands something. There is no going back, and we are not their pets. But one thing he fails to see. We are not their pawns, either. We will not make this planet theirs. This planet is ours, and they shall be our prey.
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