To keep Jack Commer’s kidnapped son sane aboard Alpha Centaurian flagship N8J’rallifh-hhu42jdnh, Captain Clopt of the Imperial Guard sent time-traveling agents to Sol to obtain first a robot companion, then a puppy, for five-year-old Jonathan James Commer. The mission to obtain the beagle Trotter was in fact the last successful time invasion the Centaurians were able to perform before their Empire abruptly collapsed in May 2053. But Clopt’s plans over the next decades to turn Jonathan James into a merciless Zarj killer get muddled as Trotter becomes an indispensable part of Jonathan James’ military training. In 2075 the beagle is twenty-two years old but rejuvenated to about three or four, and has picked up some of renegade Martian Emperor Greeney Gooney’s ability to telepathically project his thoughts. As an insufferable Jonathan James kidnaps his own mother Amav along with former Typhoon II engineer Phil Sperry in a plot to restore the hive mind of the Alpha Centaurian Grid, Trotter prepares to defend his master from Clopt’s competing dreams of power.
From Collapse and Delusion:
Jonathan James smirked. “Sorry for the inconvenience, Mr. Phil. But we needed to grab both you and Amav and get you into orbit with us. So we’ll have the party now.”
“How in hell could I not know the damn Castle is a spaceship?”
“Well, if Greeney can turn the Castle into a spaceship with Amplified Thought, he can certainly do it in a way that fools engineer Phil Sperry. You may wonder why I’ve issued so few invitations to visit over the past few months.”
“This has been going on–for how long?”
“A few months. Greeney knew that the end of all time travel meant that we were ripe for a change, let’s say. So he got everything ready for us.”
“Let me get this straight. Are you saying you and Clopt are working with Gooney now? That you support him? This Emperor business?”
“Yap yap!” Trotter cried. AND ME TOO!
Phil stared into the big brown beagle eyes. “You–?”
“The damn thing bonded into our Garthah-/yuu,” Clopt said, and Phil could feel his disgust even through the translator spheres which had resumed floating all around them.
“Trotter is part of your Garthah-/yuu? A dog?”
“Any species can form part of a Garthah-/yuu. Greeney commanded us to include him.”
“So there are three of us now,” JJC said. “Zarj brothers who will fight and die for each other. Of course Clopt takes full responsibility for his new dog brother, doesn’t he?”
“… Dammit …” Clopt muttered.
BIG DOG TRIBE! Trotter beamed. I AM PART! HATE THIS PLANT WORLD! EMPIRE SHOULD BE HUNTING SOCIETY! I WILL JOIN, I WILL HUNT! EAT!
“Theoretically you can have up to five in a Garthah-/yuu,” JJC added. “Would you care to join us, Mr. Phil? Turns out Mother is ineligible. Due to being our Goddess, of course!”
“Dammit, I can’t believe this!” Phil sputtered, casting a glance at the writhing, half naked Amav on the couch. “How can you treat her this way?”
JJC leaned back. “You need to have more faith in Greeney, Mr. Phil. As you know, he can do anything. And now that he’s our Emperor, and yours, too–”
“Are you crazy? You really think Gooney can be Emperor? That he can start up this Grid thing again?”
The Grid! Phil had forgotten all about it! He could feel the Grid flooding back–the lovely, all-encompassing Grid!
copyright 2017 by Michael D. Smith
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