This is the conclusion of the story. The beginning of the story is here: http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-dog-days-part-1 and Part Two is available here: http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-dog-days-part-2 Part 3 is avalable here http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-dog-days-part-3 and here is part 4 http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-dog-days-part-4 We will be beginning a new serialized story soon.
Meanwhile, back on Thursday, Beauchamp and Gene were aboard the alien ship, happily playing with a score of little three-legged alien puppies. They were atop a small hill roughly in the middle of the port cylinder of the ship, with several adult males guarding the perimeter to make sure none of the little ones got away. The ship stretched off for eleven miles forward and aft, and was an awe-inspiring site that was so overwhelming the humans had psychologically adapted to it by simply refusing to notice it anymore.
“They sure are cute, aren’t they?” Gene said, and in fact they were – adorable little puppies that, though slightly bigger than their terrestrial analogues, acted pretty much exactly like you’d expect puppies to ask. Beauchamp, who thought they were cute too, was considerably younger than Gene, and still in the phase of life where he worried what people thought about him, even if there was no one around. As such, he got embarrassed a lot.
“You don’t need to say that out loud, Gene,” he said.
Goldie and Blackie came up to the hill. Goldie growled something low to the guards, and they imperceptibly became tense. Blackie barked something, and the guards became nervous, and started gathering up the puppies.
“Recess is over, huh?” Gene said, “Here, let me help you.” He picked up two of the young ones, and an alarmed guard dog snatched them out of his hands, growling intimidating and startling the elder astronaut.
“Uhm, guys? What’s going on?” Beauchamp asked, sensing the tension in the air.
Without preamble, Goldie said, “We will not be going to yourrr worrrld.” The two men looked at each other nervously, then back at the alien.
“Why not?” Beauchamp asked.
“In light of new inforrrmation we have rrreceived, you arrre considered a securrrity rrrisk.”
“Can we ask why?” Gene said.
“No. Yes. I’m sorrrrrry. We have sent for Jim, we will explain when he gets herrre,” Blackie said.
“They’re gonna’ kill us,” Beauchamp said, “Look at those teeth – obviously the whole vegetarian thing was a lie.”
Sounding somewhat embarrassed, Blackie said, “We arrre not going to kill you, excepting perrrhaps in self defense.”
“I hold in my paw a message frrrom something called the ‘National Orrrganization of Women’…” Goldie interrupted.
“Oh my,” said Gene.
A few minutes later, four guard dogs arrived, carrying Jim, who’d been bound and gagged. They dumped him on the hilltop. Goldie flashed the guards a slightly bared tooth and an annoyed tail-gesture – most of the dogs’ emotions were conveyed by their tails and not their faces – and the guards slinked away.
Gene was already moving forward to untie Jim when Goldie said simply, “You may untie him. I’m sorrry forrr that.”
“Does anyone want to explain what the hell is going on?” Jim sputtered angrily the instant the gag was out of his mouth.
“Liberals,” Gene said knowingly.
“They’ve decided not to go to earth after all,” Beauchamp said.
“Not entirrrely trrrue,” Blackie said, “We’ll drrrop you off at earrrth, but we will not be establishing trrrade norrr diplomatic rrrelations with yourrr species.”
“Is it the craziness going on back on earth?” Jim asked, rubbing his rope-burned wrists. They’d all been following the news, and they’d all been in equal parts appalled and embarrassed by the insanity that had broken out there in the previous few days. “Is it the wars?” He asked.
“It is not the warrrs. Such panic is common when a new species makes firrrst contact with otherrr species. In fact, if anything, yourrr species is morrre rrrestrained than most.” Goldie said.
Blackie concurred, “When I was a pup on one of ourrr sisterrr ships, we made contact with a new species of sentients, who immediately blew theirrr own worrrld up, rrrather than admit they werrre not alone in the univerrrse.”
“Then what is it?”
“It is something called ‘The National Orrrganization of Women.’ Am I to underrrstand that yourrr people rrregularrrly murrrderrr yourrr unborrrn offsprrring.” Goldie asked. There were a lot of distended ‘rrr’s in that sentence, and it took most of them a moment to figure out exactly what had been said, but Gene had already figured it out.
“Yes, sadly,” he said, “We’re baby-killers.”
“I feel sick,” said blackie, “I need to sit down,” and then he practically fell over.
“What the hell…? What the hell are you talking about?” Jim half-yelled, “What’s going on here?”
“You kill yourrr unborrrn young,” Goldie said. His words were measured, but his pupils were narrowed to points, his tail was flat against his body, and his teeth were bared the moment he was done talking. He’s furious, Beauchamp realized, vegetarians or no, we have to be very careful here.
“That’s ridiculous!” Jim half-laughed, half-sneered, “We don’t do any such thing. Abortion is a legal right in most countries, so if the mother decides she doesn’t want a kid she terminates the pregnancy, what’s the big deal?”
Goldie lunged and was on Jim in half an instant, mauling him. Blackie was screaming, “Do not prrresume to tell our motherrrs how to go about being female, do not prrresume to tell our motherrrs how to go about being female” over and over like a mantra. Beauchamp immediately dropped to his knees and flopped over in a prostrated position, trying to make himself as submissive and non-threatening as possible.
“Please stop,” he said calmly but loudly. Gene looked confused for a moment, then realized what Beauchamp was doing, and likewise prostrated himself. He reached forward to touch Blackie on the hand. Blackie, still chanting, was startled and flipped over and big Gene hard on the outstretched hand.
Wincing against the pain, Gene willed down the urge to scream, and simply said, “Goldie is killing our friend, please make him stop Blackie.” At once, intelligence returned to blackies eyes. He released Gene, stood, and barked for the guards. Presently they arrived and hauled everyone off.
“Let me get this straight,” Jim said in the infirmary where dog surgeons were fixing their wounds (and had conveniently blocked off their pain receptors), “The world is blowing itself to hell, but you don’t care and were still willing to be friends with us; but now that you find out some of our people practice abortion, you don’t want anything to do with us?”
“Yes,” said Blackie, wincing in revulsion at the word ‘abortion.’
“I’m so sorrry about attacking you,” Goldie said, “I don’t know what came overrr me, I was just so appalled…”
“Would you care to explain that?” Jim said, ignoring Goldie.
“Competition is a basic fact of life in the univerrrse. Evolution itself is competition, between species, between naturrre and sentience, and so on. In morrre evolved creaturrres, this competition frrrequently takes the forrrm of warrrs, many of them senseless. Mass panic is, itself, a forrrm of evolution. If a crrrowd panics, it is morrre likely to die and hence not pass the genes of its memberrrs on to the next generrration. Individuals in the crrrowd who do not panic are morrre likely to surrrvive and prrrocrrreate, thus the averrrage of sentience within the species goes up a bit, do you see?”
“Yes. Nature red in tooth and claw,” Beauchamp said.
“Exactly. This is naturrre, and can not be changed, to attempt to do so is foolishness. What is going on in yourrr worrrld rrright now is what happens when any new species is contacted for the firrrst time, to a greater or lesser extent. If yourrr species is insufficiently stupid, it will surrrvive this trrransition, if it is insufficiently intelligent, it will not. It is lamentable, but unavoidable.”
“Ok, so you don’t care about that, so why does abor – “ Gene noticed the pained expressions on the tails of all the dogs in the room, and quickly censored himself – “so why does the other thing bother you so much?” The dogs were silent for a while, as if too repulsed to speak. Finally, Goldie, having recovered himself somewhat, cleared his throat.
“No other species kills it’s unborrrn,” he said rather solemnly.
“you’re kidding me,” Jim said. Goldie was on him again in an instant, not attacking, but his paws holding the man’s shoulder’s down, his lips pulled back and teeth out, “Say the wrrrong worrrd again, Jiiiiiiiim,” He screamed in his face, “I darrre you.”
Blackie, who again looked rather sick, motioned for the guards, and they politely removed Goldie.
“We arrre in contact with a lot of species,” he said, “How many is a prrroprrrietarrry secrrret, but I can tell you that therrre are hundrrreds of sentient species in this galaxy, and we have had trrrade with nearrrly all of them, and have had contact with most of the rrrest. Among all of them, there is an inherrrent drive to be frrruitful and multiply. Among all of them, it is a grrreat crrrime to take the life of the unborn. What you people do is….is…” the translator seemed at a loss for words, swooned a bit, and sat down before continuing, “…I can not call it a ‘sin’ as we do not believe in gods or any kind of divinely-inspired non-rrrational morrral code, but…what you people do is…” he paused for a moment, “It is a crrrime against sentience. It is a crrrime against life itself. We can not tolerrrate this.”
“Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute,” Jim said, “you people have told us you’re atheists, feminists, vegetarians, all that leftist stuff. How can you be all those things, and not embrace a simple liberal value like abortion? This is a non-issue!”
“Just because an alliance has been made between feminists, atheists, vegetarrrians, and,” he visibly shuddered, “aborrrtionists on your worrrld does not mean such an alliance is univerrrsal. On the Kap worrrlds, for instance, a belief in God is considerrred a liberrral value, no conserrrvative Kap would believe in such a thing, only the leftists. The Fonaza have non-sentient females, so feminism has no meaning therrre. The Kap, again, are vegetables themselves, so obviously vegetarrrianism is not considerrred a conserrrvative value among them. The point remains that among all known rrraces, what you people do is unthinkable.”
“There must be others, races you haven’t contacted yet” Jim said.
“Bah. Atomic-age cavemen such as yourrrself. Besides, even if therrre happen to be two murrrderers in a village who don’t know each other, that doesn’t make murrrder an acceptable value.”
“I feel as you do,” Gene said, sounding grim and sad, “I have ever since it became legal in my country, and I apologize on behalf of my people.”
“Thank you, Gene,” Blackie said, “It doesn’t change anything, but it makes me feel betterrr about you, perrrsonally.”
“Wait a minute,” Jim said, “who are you to judge us? Where do you get off telling us what our species’ women can and can’t do with their bodies?”
Blackie looked tired. “Even if therrre was some inherrrent association between liberrralism, feminism, vegetarrrianism, pacifism, homosexual liberrration, and…and…the other thing – and therrre isn’t – one is not compelled to accept an entirrre agenda if one only accepts a single point.”
“That makes no sense.
“Doesn’t it? Gene, Beauchamp, you two arrre of the Chrrristian rrreligion, yes?” They both nodded. “Do you believe in evolution?”
“No,” said Gene
“Well of course,” said Beauchamp.
“Therrre you have it,” Blackie said.
“Blackie,” Gene said, “Not all of our people agree with this whole practice. I beg you to reconsider – if our people have sinned against nature, help us to see the error of our ways and help us change it.”
“You don’t seem to underrrstand, Gene – Aside from yourrr one species, it is a physical, psychological inability forrr a sentient to murrrder its own unborrrn offspring. There is just inherrrently something wrrrong with you.”
“Ok, so we’re sick. Help us to be well. Be our doctors. Teach to be better people.”
“If yourrr own God couldn’t compel you to be betterrr people, what chance do we have?”
“Just consider it, please?”
“Forrr you, Gene, I will discuss it with Alice.” Blackie turned to leave.
“Wait, not related to that, Blackie, what will you do with us?”
“Drrrop you off on earrrth, then leave, neverrr to rrreturn to yourrr worrrld.”
“Take me with you?” Beauchamp asked.
To her credit, Grandmother Alice did actually consider what Gene suggested, though it deeply violated Dog custom for her to even contemplate interfering in the internal workings of a world, but the next night the Democratic party issued it’s statement about what it had always stood for, which pissed her off. She couldn’t quite comprehend how these monkey-things could commit such a crime, and be proud of it as well. She decided it was for the best to have no more to do with them, and instructed her children as such. On Sunday, they entered earth orbit, and the announcement was made. On Monday, the astronauts were loaded into the landing-craft.
“What happens now?” Gene said.
“You go home, we go away, and our paths do not crrross again,” Goldie said.
“Will there be other spacefaring species that contact us?”
“Unlikely. Therrre are not many otherrr species that do not rrrely on us for trrravel and trrrade, and even those who do will be appalled by yourrr perrrversion against evolution itself.”
“So we’re quarantined?”
“As I underrrstand the word, yes.”
“It’s a pitty. I would have liked to live for another century or so.”
“Your people do not rrrespect life. We can not give you more of it. We can not assist you in sprrreading your sickness into trrrackless space.”
“I totally understand. For what it’s worth, I think you’re making the right decision.”
“If morrre of your people werrre like you, Gene, your species would have no need of gods. You would be gods yourrrselves.”
Gene just blushed at that, said he didn’t think so, and went on into the lander. Thirty minutes later, he and Jim were stepping out of the ship in the UN Plaza in New York City, and an hour later the alien starship was pulling off into interplanetary space at more than 30 Gs of acceleration, never to return. Eventually there was a bright flash that an angry news media insisted was the ship blowing up, but which was in reality simply it folding space to travel between stars.
And so humanity remained locked up on one little planet in one dinky little corner of the galaxy pretty much forever, having pissed away its better tomorrow along with its dreams of interstellar empires and glory and conquest doomed never to be realized; the species as a whole nothing more than an embarrassing footnote in galactic history.
But the dogs, the dogs went on halfway to forever, and as for Joe Beauchamp – he went with them.
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