Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Sci-fi · #2288235
A story about time travel, cops, dogs and accidental transformations...
|First released on November 9, 2019|
Edited and corrected by Ben243 and dloft002.
A hole in time
I'm Officer Theta-Gamma-3409 from the Police Department of Nuyork City. I'm registered as a Clone, no different from other Police officers of my unit. I was actually born as a Human being, formally known as Fred Marley, on November the 20th, 1998. You might ask: How's that possible? If this was true, I would be over hundred years old, yet I look as if I'm still in my 20s. Well, it had, of course, to do with Time travel...
Back in the year 2018, I was an ordinary pizza delivery boy. People called us, ordered their pizza and I brought it to them in exchange for some money. Today everything is automated, but back then it were people like you and me... erm, nevermind!
My best friend was Rob. He worked as a clerk in his Aunt Meredith’s boutique. He was a funny guy, always joking and flirting around with the ladies. I had known him since high school and we got ourselves into trouble more often then I care to remember. He was the one who convinced me to drop out of school - which turned out to be a bad idea in retrospect. On the other hand, he was also there for me when my parents kicked me out of their basement.
One day I found something remarkable in my bathroom. At first I didn't noticed that something was wrong. I'd brushed my teeth and turning to leave, switching the lights off... there was still a shimmer in the room. Which was strange, and I couldn't make out what caused it. It didn’t seem to have a source, was just a shimmer hanging in the air!
I didn’t worry too much about it at that moment! Sure, it wasn't something common, even by today's standards. There had to be an explanation for it and even if I had no idea what it was, what harm could it do?
I only started to get worried when it grew brighter and a small, white spark began to form, like a tiny crack in a wall that wasn't there. I held my hand against it. It felt like static electricity, but stronger than I had expected.
I called Rob and he came over to look at it himself. He suggested it could be some sort of ball lightning or magnetic field or whatever. He began to experiment with it, held a compass against it, with no result. He "dipped" it into a glass of water, with no effect. It wasn't giving off heat or anything like that.
When he connected it to a battery he found, the shimmer got a bit brighter for a moment. That gave him a terrible idea. He stormed out of the apartment and left me with this thing for quite some time, before he returned with a Car battery and two starter cables in his arms.
"You are joking!" I said, concerned. "You're not seriously suggesting giving that thing more juice!" He gave me a grin like I haven’t seen since he decided to pull a mean prank on Lucy Miller, back in the 3rd grade. It was dangerous, but he was going to do it anyway. No way I could stop him! So I joined him in what, as I would soon find out, was the dumbest thing we had ever done.
He had barely reached out with the cables, when an all consumingly bright flash blinded us and we both lost the ground under our feet. We fell god knows where, down into a white abyss! I guess we screamed in fear, but wherever we were, there was no sound. Only an eternal tingling numbness!
When I woke up I found myself face down in the dirt. My chest hurt! My arms and legs hurt. My head... well, listing the things that didn't hurt would be much shorter. Thankfully no broken bones, though! I looked up, still a bit dizzy. All I could make out was Rob, just standing there, head up, silent. I managed to turn my head up too... and couldn't believe my eyes:
These weren't just skyscrapers, they were gigantic Crystal towers, bigger and mightier than I had ever seen. The architecture was amazing, there weren't just buildings, there were green parks and lakes in-between structures. Modified trees and giant bushes forming unnatural growing sculptures, columns and gateways. And that wasn't all: There were holografic billboards, hords of drones and flying cars! Goddamn flying cars!!! You might say: Duh! But back in the old days things like that were still Science-fiction. And it looked exactly like that. Like Star Wars or The Fifth Element... no, this was even beyond our wildest dreams!
It was clear we had travelled in Time. Rob was thrilled to go out there for some sightseeing. I, on the other hand, was more concerned with how the hell we would return back home. There was no sign of the strange Shimmer thingie that had brought us here. The longer we spent on this overgrown and forgotten park on top of someone elses roof, our heads filled with more questions then answers, the more certain I became we would be stranded here for quite a while.
We managed to enter the building closest to where we'd landed. It looked like a typical empty office building. Didn’t seem like architecture had changed much in the future. It had the same old boring corridors and wilted plants, with the exception of some computer panels. While we were searching for some stairs, we tried to figure out our next steps. I suggested we do a little research in the Internet - the later renamed Terran Database - where maybe we could find some answers. Rob was, of course, more interested in the new possibilities that the futuristic Sex life could offer. "Maybe some interspecies tango!" as he put it... erm, don't ask!
All of a sudden he dragged me back and into a closet. Through a small gap I could see what had alarmed him: A flying security drone, with an attached Laser gun, patrolling the building, scanning the area with a grim red light. Shit, I thought, this place was more dangerous then I'd anticipated! As soon as it was around the next corner, we ran as fast as we could to the next hallway and then down corridor after corridor...
At last we arrived the very end of the hallway, but we were shocked to discover that the exit door didn’t even have a handle. Rob ran out of patience and tried to kick it open. It did nothing, except for setting off the alarm.
In panic, already hearing the drones coming, I helped Rob kick, until the door finally gave in to our brute force and broke out of the frame. We found ourselves in an empty, dystopian looking alley and escaped through the darkness, as fast as we could.
We stumbled over obstacles, ran a parkour in-between all sorts of garbage. Well, if it even was garbage what we passed during our run trough this massive dark shaft. Didn't smell like it, there wasn't even a hint of the usual piss or oily odeur you expect from such a place. Yet there was SOMETHING in the air. Chemical, even toxic, maybe. It smelled definitely wrong. The sound we made running was wrong. My whole perception of the environment was wrong. My senses were overwhelmed with all the new impressions, although we could barely see where we were running towards. So after a while, I took a break and puked my heart out.
"What are you doing, Fred?" hissed Rob. "That thing is after us, we should get..." He stopped. There was nothing, but darkness. I tried to reply, all this was his fault. He was like a child with a fork, poking around in a socket. No, a child was still young and dumb, they had an excuse, but he was an adult, he should have known better. He ignored my rantings and shushed me. Then I heard it too: Something was coming. Something big, growling, panting... like a big dog. Metal. Leather. And boots?!
We had no intention of finding out what was hunting us, we pressed on as fast as we could. After a while we came to another metal door. This time it had a handle: Good! It was closed: Bad! At least we now knew the weakest spot to kick that damn thing open. Sudden neon light was blinding us. There was an empty corridor ahead, maybe part of an old subway system. That thing behind us came closer, so we decided: Good enough!
Rob quickly followed me through the door. I started searching for a crowbar or something to keep it shut. Suddenly I heard a deep, demanding noise from outside: "Stop!!! NYPD!!!" Before I could look, Rob slammed the door shut and was battling to keep, what I assumed to be a cop, on the other side. "COME ON, QUICK!!!" I gave him a broken pipe. He jammed the door with it, and after a while our pursuer stopped.
We got some rest or at least, we tried. I felt uneasy as I looked into Rob's pale, horrified face. "What is it, Rob?" I asked. "It's... it's nothing! Let's move on!" - "Just say it! Is it something about that guy" - "You wouldn't believe me, if I told you..." - "Seriously?! In case you haven't noticed yet, we've landed in the goddamn future, bro! A bit of a culture shock isn't..." - "No!" he interrupted me. "That's not it! What I've seen isn't normal, it's sick!"
Now I was curious! Rob wasn't normally the judgmental type, he was an open minded dude, at least for the standards from where we’d come from. "What do you mean?" I asked. "What was he? A robot? An alien? A guy with a freakish tattoo on his face?" Rob hesitated. He wasn't happy that I poked fun of him, being that conservative all of a sudden. "He... he was... a Dog!"
It was the most ridiculous thing he could have said, and despite the tension of the moment, I began to laugh. Angry about my reaction he turned around and went forward, down the passageway. I followed him, apologizing and realized he meant what he'd just said.
According to him it was a 6 foot tall Rottweiler on two feet with demonic red eyes. It was wearing some sort of dark blue, modified cybernetic combat suit/uniform adorned with a slightly modernized version of the NYPD insignia. He was holding what looked like a taser gun in his black vaguely humanlike hands.
Great! An anthropomorphic K9 cop, who wasn't just fast and strong enough to follow us, but also able to track our scents! Rob hadn't even though about that. Clearly we had to find a way out of this mess and quick.
After a good while we reached a ladder that led us back to the surface. We found ourselves in the midst of a junkyard, with stuff that, although it looked old and rusty, was still absolutely high tech to us: An old holographic converter, one of the last old Teslas, a crystalline interface for an Aurora J60... "Look at that!" said Rob. "They're still producing these old Coffee machines with capsules!" He was about to pick it up, when all of a sudden...
You are arrested!
A siren howled, short but distinctive. Blue and red light began to flicker. Behind us, gliding over a 10 foot metal fence was a flying Police cruiser. "Freeze!" I heard the same deep voice shouting trough the speakers, yet I couldn't see the officer behind the darkly tinted windshield. "RUN!" yelled Rob. I sprang behind a pile of junk, eager to dive back for the safety of the shaft opening. Only stopping as Rob was surprised by an unexpected flash, that knocked him out immediately. "ROB, NO!!!"
"He's just stunned! But I suggest you give yourself up now or we will handle this the hard way!" I looked at my friend, he was still breathing. So the cop wasn't lying. There was no chance I could get a hold of Rob and drag us both back to the underground without getting stunned myself. There wasn’t much point either, they clearly had their methods of hunting us down, whatever we did. It was clearly over! l held my hands up and slowly approached from behind the pile. "Please, d... don't shoot! I surrender!"
The cruiser landed in front of me. The door swung upwards like it did with the Delorean in Back to the Future. I was glad the man behind the wheel turned out to be exactly that: A man, at least. A seemingly normal human, although the rest of him resembled what Rob had told me, especially the cybernatic bit: With his futuristic uniform, implants and the lined tattoo on his forehead, resembling circuitry - because: Well, it was exactly that - he looked, not like a Cyborg, but surely a hybrid between man and machine. All in all nothing too fantastic given the time we've landed in. Certainly not a Dog on two feet! Maybe there really were some toxic gases in that alley, that caused Rob to have some weird hallucinations.
The cop asked me some questions, like why we had broken into that Office building. It was clearly a bad idea to tell him about us being Time travellers and lying was surely an even worse idea. So I kept my mouth shut. He gave me a quick look over, but not like a traditional law enforcer would do. It seemed he was scanning me with his augmented eyes, like a freakin' Terminator.
A scowl crossed his face. "Sarge!" he called. “Something's wrong with my readings. I can't find his ID. No face recognition. No data at all. I'm not even sure he has nanites in his system." The passengers door swung open. There was the deep voice again: "Don't be daft! You know as well as I do, that's impossible..." I couldn't hear the rest. I was too stunned by the sudden appearance of the other officer: A giant, talking, anthropomorphic Rottweiler!
I'd been to the Universal Studios once. I'd seen some stunningly realistic Animatronics. Nothing compared to this, because THIS was real: The way he looked, he moved, his muzzle moved while he was talking, his fur and even the smell messed with my mind. I was in the Uncanny valley, trying to comprehend something that shouldn't have existed, yet did all too much.
"What are you looking at, Buster?" - "N... no... nothing! It's just..." - "Just what?" he asked with a warning undertone. I wasn't able to answer, so I looked down and did nothing. He was glaring down at me, which made me really nervous. It took me a while to realize he was also just scanning me. Meanwhile the human cop went to Rob, also scanning him - with the same results. "An ID scrambler, maybe?!" the canine officer suggested. “Got something to hide, haven't we! No problem. Nothing we can't handle..."
He slowly reached with his right hand, his weird Dog-human-hybrid-hand, for my neck, which terrified the life out of me. What was he about to do? Strangle me? I expected the worst, not to feel the sting of a needle or something. I flinched: "Ouch!" He grinned and took his hand of me. "No harm done! This might take a while, in the meantime we have a nice little cell for you both, back at the station!"
I was concerned what he'd just injected into me, but kept my mouth shut, unsettled by his big white fangs. There wasn't much I could do anyway. Plus: You can't imagine how cool it is to take off in a Police Cruiser for the first time! Flying through Nuyork, passing crystal palaces, other cruisers with all sorts of odd looking people in them... I gazed upon all this glory, from the backseat. Rob was still knocked out, his head resting on my lap.
We soon found ourselves at the station, which also wasn't what I'd expected. In our time a Police station meant a lot of desks, ringing phones and paper work. Nowadays there's no need to fill out forms, there are cameras, scanners and computers everywhere, recording everything that's going on in the town, ready to be accessed at anytime necessary.
You couldn't have done something like that back in my time, because Police officers weren't clones conditioned for loyalty and integrity, but emotional, corruptible humans you couldn't trust with this much power. However: This station in comparison was minimalistic, functional and calm.
The more I was stunned by the officers themselves. Most of them looked like humans, although they'd clearly some implants and stuff. There were a lot more Anthrodogs, resembling Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Labradors and so on. It looked like their Captain was a big St Bernard, who looked like an authority figure despite much friendlier then the rest of his "pack". I later found out, he was called Alpha-Sigma-0809. And what kind of Dog he actually was!
How to escape?
It was already late at night when Rob finally woke up. "Uuh, my head... Where are we?!" - "In a cell, at the basement of the Police station. We're in big trouble, Rob! They caught us trespassing, resisting arrest and we don't have any ID... we're so screwed!" - "What happened to me? I can't remember..." - "They stunned you!" - "Like with a Phaser in Star Trek?! Cool!" - "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME??? I JUST TOLD YOU..." - "Shhh... please... my head!"
As he was rubbing his sore head and neck, he felt something on his skin. It was a small welt, like something had stung him. I explained to him the human cop had probed him, at least that was my best guess. He took a deep breath. "Okay, what's the plan? Is there any way out? There isn't even a door, just walls!" - "There's no wall, just some hard light holographic mumbo jumbo,.. like in Star Trek!" I added, rolling my eyes. He stood up. "You mean we could just go? What are we waiting for!!!" - "No, it's not that... WAIT...!!!"
He ran and I expected him to hit the wall. Instead he simply passed through. Right! I had enough! This must have been a dream, nothing of that made any sense... "What are you waiting for?" I heard him echoing from beyond the wall - never thought I would say a sentence like that. I slowly approached the wall he'd just went through, tried to touch it. My hand went through it as if it were build of layers and layers of grey colored fog. Spooky!
Rob waited on the other side, watching out for guards. Fortunately there weren't any! I asked him how this was possible, the panel clearly showed the barrier was still turned on. "Maybe it has something to do with the fact we're not from this time!" he offered an explanation, that didn't explain anything if you think about it. And with this we sneaked along the uncomfortably well lit white corridor.
While sneaking through hallways again, I thought about it: What was it we lacked, that would allow us to slip through the boundaries, but not others? The nanites! It seemed everyone in the future had some of these in their blood, to heal wounds, monitor body functions and transmit identifications. We had no nanites, therefore no IDs, so the system wouldn't identify us as someone, who wasn't allowed to pass. This was a wild guess, of course. And I would very soon find out how horribly wrong I'd been.
Rob snapped me out of my thoughts. There was someone coming and with bad luck, it was a member of the K9 unit who could take our scent. We escaped through a door, only to realize we'd entered the Locker room. Which, to our great relief was empty. There weren't any lockers in a sense one would recognize, coming from the early 21st century. What gave it away though, was a row of big cabins in the form of half tubes made of glass and screens beside it, showing graphics of uniform parts.
It was at this moment that Rob came up with the idea to disguise ourselves, which would make it a lot easier to escape. Although I had to admit it was a good idea, I had a bad feeling about it. Rob wasn't having any of my "anxiety issues" as he was calling it. He typed something into the screen, choose a SWAT like armor type and before I was able to talk him out of it, entered the cabin. The front half of the tube sunk down from the ceiling and the procedure started.
I was startled as a ring of red light came down on him - Rob was still a bit dazzed, so he wasn't that alarmed himself. First I expected it to be a Security measure that would either scan or worse, vaporize him. Oh it did vaporize, but just his clothes, also the dirt and to his bigger dismay, the ink from his tattoos. It wasn't the only thing this machine did, it also gave him a firm hair cut and shaved off his beard. A weird experience. It was stunning to watch, yet he did look like a complete different person.
He stood there bare naked now, but it wouldn't stay that way for long. Amid a loud buzzing and humming, there came a flurry of robotic arms from above. They began smashing parts of cybernetic armor onto Rob's body. The armor pieces started expanding and strapping themselves into each other. The arms pushed boots onto his feet from below. Next they attached pieces of fireproof textiles onto his arms, legs and torso, that seemed to bind themselves automatically. He was outfitted with magazines, pouches, a holster.
Everything ran so fast, even Rob couldn't fully comprehend what was happening. Finally a helmet was fitted onto his head, accompanied with a mask that had a high tech visor, that turned on with a menacing looking green light. In only seconds Rob was fully kitted up and indistinguishable from a real SWAT member of this age.
"You have to admit, that's really cool!" I heard him saying with a radio voice. I grinned. Yeah, that was indeed the most impressive thing I'd seen so far. "Now, take the other cabine, you're ne...!" A soft female computer voice was interrupting him: "Welcome Officer Beta-Omega 7713. Assignment 'SWAT unit' incomplete. Initiate upgrades."
All of a sudden Rob was grabbed by the robotic arms and unable to move. "What... no! Nonononono...!" I was alarmed, began to hammer against the tube, which was much harder then it looked. He was screaming for help: "FRED, I CAN'T MOVE! GET ME OUT OF THAT THING!!!" Before I could even reach for the screen the floor under his feet opened and sucked him down to God knows where: "AAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaahhh...!" There was no way to cancel what just happened - I'd just lost my best friend.
"Fuck, fuck, fuck!" No! I wouldn't except that for a second! Rob had dragged me into a lot over the years, but he was always there for me and I was more then willing to return the favor. But how? If I did the same thing and entered one of this cabins, there was no certainty if I would even go the same way he did, let alone be able to escape myself. All I could make out, before the screen went to normal, was a number: B6. If the B stood for Basement I would find him some levels underneath!
On my search for a staircase or elevator or anything - hiding from patrolling Cops and Drones - I tried to think about what happened again. Which wasn't easy considering I had to scratch myself a lot. Our run through the garbage, the stinking hallways, the junkyard... I was in desperate need for a shower! Anyway, I had a new theory: The computer identified Rob as a Police officer, even called him by a specific number. What if we hadn't escaped because of a lacking implant, but because of what they had injected us with? What if it were that both Cop's nanites?
Their job was to search for OUR nanites and turn off, what that Mutt had called an ID scrambler. In case they wouldn't find either - what of course would happen with men from the early 21st Century - what would they do instead? Compensate for our lack and based on their donors, classify us as Police officers too. Nonono, why would they do that...?! Hmm! Maybe that's the way future people get them in the first place: They inherit them from their parents when they're born and get automatically registered as new citizens. Or Police officers in our case. It was an accident of course. Well, this would at least mean, it was easier for me to get around down here!
I just realized: That cops all had cybernetic implants! And the computer talked about "upgrades"! Rob!!! I had to find him, as quick as possible. I didn't dare to think, what that machines were doing to him right know. I finally found an elevator and managed to enter it. Lucky enough this wasn't something that had changed either. I pressed B6 and waited. A couple of seconds later the doors opened and showed me a long dark hallway, the neon lights just blinking into existence in front of me.
Suddenly, I heard a scream. There was no time to sneak around anymore. I ran as fast as I could, down the corridor, following the noise. I passed a window, looking into a huge hall filled with pickled Cops in blue fluid, attached to cables and machinery, naked and in different sorts of uniforms and armor. A breathtaking picture, but not important for the moment. I pressed forward, until I found the right door and opened it...
For the last 16 hours or so, I had seen things beyond everything I'd ever considered realistic. Horrors I never thought were even possible. Nothing compared to that, what I was just about to see...
Rob was still encased in the tube, fixed by the robotic arms, unable to move, but fully conscious. The machines were still operating on him. His torso laid bare, wide open. I could see his organs, squishy, vibrating, pumping... They inserted cybernetic parts and metal plates with careful precision. There was no blood, which made it worse in a surreal way. Instead they injected him with this clear blue fluid, I'd seen this cops in their tubes swimming in. His arms and legs were amputated, just thrown into an incinerator and replaced with stronger, faster, robotic ones.
"NOT MY ARMS!!! PLEASE, FRED... MAKE IT STOPP!!!" He was crying, though not in pain. They had turned off his nervous system somehow, so he felt nothing luckily enough. Yet it meant he wasn't able to lose consciousness and had to witness the full horror of getting his limbs brutally torn from him, being opened and converted into a cyborg. No, he wasn't crying in pain, but sheer terror!
I looked around, there was a tablet lying on the top of a desk, but it was locked by a password. While I was senselessly typing combination after combination, assuring my best friend I was trying everything I could, hoping for a miracle, the computer voice returned: "Initiate: Recondition process." Rob's visor began to flicker in all kinds of colors, flashing loads of graphics of Police stuff and symbols, and I heard a buzzing sound, like something was drilling through his skull. All of a sudden he stopped screaming. And I stopped too, shocked.
"Recondition process successful. Confirm identification." demanded the computer. Rob, or whatever was left of Rob, answered with a calm, firm voice: "Officer Beta-Omega 7713. Assignment: SWAT unit, Nuyork Police Department." - "Rob! Can you hear me? It's me, Fred!" But he couldn't. He wasn't even aware I was still here. His incision was closed up, his armor reattached and he was transported to the rest of his new Unit. His tube getting filled with fluid, his head filled with data. In hibernation until they needed him.
I laid down on the cold floor. Helpless, traumatized, exhausted. After a while, the lights turned out again. I was ready to die in the darkness, to leave his cruel world behind me. Just don't move - do nothing - end.
No idea how long I slept there, when I was finally overwhelmed by the itching sensation that had a grasp over my whole body. I felt like I had ants crawling all over my skin. Why wasn't this nightmare ending? Why was I still being tortured? I stood up to find something to finally end my miserable life when the sensors reacted, the lights turned back on and my eyes caught the reflection on the cold, metallic surface of the wall on my left. My hair began to fall out! My face... my hands... my whole body was... changing color...
I began to scream again, when the door opened and one of the cops entered. It was the Rottweiler who'd arrested me. "Heeellllppp meee!" I begged. He was shocked by my appearance, his eyes wide open in horror. So much that he drew his gun and shot...
One of us
He couldn't simply have killed me, no! Instead I was just stunned. When I woke up once more the horror continued: I found myself lying in one of those Torture tubes, completely naked, still itchy like hell, but unable to move. "Noooooo!!! Let me out, please! I’ll do everything you want, but let me out of here!" I begged, tears in my eyes. "He's awake! Quick!" Who was that?! Someone approached my tube. It was the Rottweiler and that St.Bernard, Alpha-Sigma.
The Rottweiler typed something into the tablet and some strange liquid flowed down a tube into my arm. My heartbeat dropped, my pulse got slower and I was able to calm down. "That's good, pull yourself together, lad!" said the St.Bernard with a friendly, deep voice. He took a good look at me, was obviously scanning for my identification. "Okay then!" he continued with a warm, but serious voice. "What's your name? And please, the truth! We’re pretty sure you must be some kind of time traveler!" I was surprised, but told him the whole story.
He listened carefully and I was glad he believed me, despite the fact I was still his prisoner. "Now it's your turn: What's going on? What's happening to me? Why can't you just let me go?" The K9 officers looked at each other, unsure how to tell me the bad news. As I found out my suspicion was right, the whole thing had to do with the fact, we were infected with nanites. But in my case it would go even further, because I wasn't a biological match for the K9's nanites, so they reactivated some old, bio-stabilizing protocols based on CRISPR, some technology already in development in my time. "Wait! You're not seriously telling me..." I looked at the Rottweiler, just realizing I would soon look like him.
"Stop it!" I begged. "Please, I don't want to become a Dog! Just reverse what the nanites have done to me and Rob, and let us go!" I was told that was impossible. Rob was already irreversibly transformed and because there'd never been something like this before - a Human transforming into an Anthrodog - they had no idea how to reverse it, even if they had my original genetic signature.
I barely had time to cope with the prospect of being changed forever, when he dropped the next bombshell: "Listen, boy! You're now one of us, you fall under the jurisdiction of the NYPD and we gladly welcome you into our ranks!" Intimidated by the serious tone of his words, I had to ask, if I hadn't any say in this decision. After all I was still a free Human being, despite what I would soon look like. Alpha-Sigma tried to put it as delicate as possible: I was officially registered as a clone now and in this time period, clones have no rights. Why would they? They were genetically engineered for complete obedience and loyalty, without the flaws and needs ordinary people had!
"But I'm not a clone, I have no such programs..." - "Well, the thing is, you and your friend have caused a lot of chaos during the short while you’ve been here. Unintentionally, but still! You single-handedly found a loophole in our system that's able to disrupt the credibility of our whole Law enforcement system.
You have no idea about the struggle we had, to regain the trust of the public after all that happened since your time period! The corruption, the injustice...! The government tried to replace the human personell with androids, but they too got corrupted, hacked and exploited. Clones were the last resort and it was the right choice. The Police is finally able to be trusted, even respected again. Until you came! Corruptible Humans without nanites, infiltrating the Police force by sheer accident..."
He paused. "We can't allow anyone to know about you and your friend or we're all doomed! So here's the deal: Either you comply and join the K9 unit, help keeping this whole mess a secret under us three. Or you’ll be reclassified as a defective clone and get put down!"
"So the choice is enslavement or being killed?!" - "There is no evidence you've ever been anything else then a K9 clone, my boy! According to your ID you're not just a member, but owned by the Nuyork Police Department. If you rebel and I pull the trigger, nobody would mind!" - "As easy as that?!" - "Nothing about that is easy, kid! The good Sergeant here has to train you on his own, so you won't be an embarrassment for him and his pack." - "Why don't you just recondition me like you've done with Rob?" As I spoke it out, I was already afraid of the answer. "First: Nothing of this was our choice, believe me! Second: We can insert all you need to know to be a proper officer. But you're an Anthrodog, you're supposed to be specially breed to comply, so there are simply no reconditioning protocols compatible with your brain."
"Okay then: Kill me!" I meant it. There was no way I would let this go on any further. There was no way I would let myself be enslaved. I was totally surprised by the sad look on the old Dog's face. For a moment it seemed, he really cared about me. Unbeknownst to me at the time, all he cared about was his inner conflict: I was registered a clone, but he still KNEW I was a human, and he wasn't supposed to actually harm me. That son of a bitch was simply bluffing his way out of a sticky situation!
Fortunately for him he still had another card to play: "What about your friend Rob? He's part of the SWAT unit now, but he still has the low Pain tolerance of an ordinary Human being. Those units have to deal with rough stuff the SWAT teams in your time wouldn't even dare to have nightmares about: Constantly being shot at, heavily injured and repaired over and over again - no dignity, no death. Some were eaten alive last month, by the mutants in the sewers!"
I was panicking again, but tried my best not to show it. He continued: "We can't undo the conversion, but we could reassign him to the Traffic unit, where he should be safe! But it depends if you're cooperating or not!"
All my fear and sadness, my panic and anxiety was gone, replaced by sheer anger. That swine was blackmailing me with Rob? Why wouldn't he simply leave me alone? I had no choice! I agreed to his terms and let them do to me whatever they wanted. As long as they guaranteed Rob wasn't harmed. He would never be the same and remember who he was, before all of this started. But at least, there was hope!
Alpha-Sigma gave the Rottweiler a nod before he left, who typed something into the tablet again. Out of nowhere came those horrible robotic arms and injected more of that blue fluid into my veins.
Dead and reborn
It's hard to describe what happened next. The blue fluid felt cold, weird, in a way alive, like a living organism, forcing itself through every fiber of my body. I was told it mainly consists of nanites, also a lot of nutrients and chemicals necessary for my body to cope with the coming transformation. To say I've been afraid of the process would be an understatement! The program tried to turn off my nervous system like it did with Rob, yet had to turn it back on once in a while, so the synapses of my brain could properly connect with the rest of my newly developing organs, limps and so on.
I watched as my skin was further changing its texture. Thick black hair was growing all over it within a couple of minutes. Some orange markings appeared between my jaw and chest. My original hair fell out completely, as did my teeth. Which didn't hurt as much as when my new fangs slowly surfaced in-between my blackening gums. There was barely space for them yet and I had problems shutting my mouth. While my tongue was changing I'd lost the ability to swallow for a couple of seconds. I was forced to slobber all over myself, if I wanted to prevent myself from drowning in my own saliva.
The most unpleasant things were just about to happen though: It felt as if my skull was splintering into billion tiny pieces that, at the same time, were melting together, just to shatter, over and over again, shifting like silly putty. The sound was horrible, grinding, squealing. Also due to the stretching muscles and nerves, my body was in either acute pain or totally numb. Neither of which were very pleasant. My organs were rearranging themselves, slipping around each other, making me feel sick. I felt new hormones, and adrenaline rushing through my bloodstream, trying to help me the best they could.
My nose and upper lip seemed to melt into each other, becoming flattened, black and moist. My jaw extended to build a firm muzzle, finally giving space to my massive fangs. My tiny ears grew bigger and pointier, protruding more and more outwards from the sides of my head, while migrating up near the top of my head. Even my eyesight was changing, my pupils grew bigger eclipsing all the whites and turned to a dark, demonic red. My thin and lanky body swelled up, muscles pressing outward against the fur covered skin, as if it would burst sooner rather than later.
Somewhere during all that I lost consciousness again. In my dreams I found myself back at the dark alley, running torwards the unknown. All the weirdness surrounding me intensified, I could smell every inch of this place, taste the chemicals in the air, hear every drop echoing back at me, sense everything. The sensation was overwhelming. I was about to lose myself in it, there was no escape. It was like running through invisible Acid rain, that's dissolving me... no... freeing me from my weak human surface. Underneath was something much stronger, driven by ancient instincts...
When I woke up I was completely transformed, ready for Phase 2. While being cybernetically enhanced - I didn't dare to look down on myself, seeing my rebuild organs and all that, was more than I could stand. Instead, I tried to comprehend the reflection of my new face. The nanites seemed to have made their own assumptions about what I had to look like, according to my supposed "father". I resembled the younger version of him, stronger, more muscle packed and agile. Yet the way I looked, my facial expressions, that was all still me.
After my chest got closed - I had barely felt anything of the surgery - Phase 3 began. The machines fitted me with my new uniform, which was strangely comfortable over all that fur. I had to admit, I looked amazing in it, although like I hadn't earned it yet.
That wasn't all: Although a bit drained and heavier, I was fitter than I'd ever been. My senses had increased to a phenomenal degree. I could see, hear and smell like I never could before. And as far as I could tell, I was able to lift a car with my bare canine like hands.
A stinging pain in my skull snapped me out of my thoughts and I was flooded with information. It only took a couple of minutes, but felt afterwards like I'd studied for years. Out of nowhere I knew all the proceedings, the laws and regulations. Even my muscle memory seemed affected for some strange reason! I knew how to draw my gun and could handcuff a suspect in my sleep.
After hours I was finally allowed to exit the tube and was welcomed by the Rottweiler, who was now my supervisor and 'father'. "Welcome to the Force, Officer Theta-Gamma-3409!" Out of instinct or conditioned habit, I saluted him, replying: "Thank you, sir!" with a strangly deeper canine voice... which was mine now... forever.
It was at this moment all the newly developed enthusiasm was gone again. I fully realised what had just happened: Fred Marley was dead! I would never hear my old voice again. Nobody would! I would never see my friends and family again! For them I had vanished over hundred years ago and there was nobody who could remember me the way I was. I never had the chance to marry, have kids, leave my mark! I wasn't even a free Human anymore, but half an animal, enslaved to do whatever I was told by the Police...
I had a breakdown and my supposed father wasn't helping, just yelling at me: "Put yourself together, 3409! You're a Police officer now, for crying out loud!" But I couldn't stop. I fell on my knees and began to cry. At this moment nothing mattered anymore, not even Rob. Just go on, I thought, finish me!
Instead something unexpected happened: After a short while of silence I felt the Rottweiler's hand on my head. He was... petting me? And it felt... not as humiliating as I'd expected. No, it felt... good... ooh, so good... a sensation of pure joy washed over me and reached down my spine... to my wagging tail. I looked up into his unexpectedly warm and understanding face. "Cheer up, boy!" he said with a calm deep voice. "Being an Anthrodog isn't that bad, you will see!"
The new body functions were puzzling me, now that I was covered in fur, ever so warm and smelly like the Dog I was. The only way to keep cool was through panting, which felt ridiculous at first. My muzzle, that irritated me the most, was always in front of my eye sight. I don't have to relieve myself like an animal, not even like a human anymore - my body was modified to compress unwanted body fluids and repurpose it for other things, until it could be emptied in one of the Regeneration tubes, we're sleeping in. At least some things stayed the same: I wasn't forced to eat Dog food, instead I could eat whatever my heart desired. With the exception of chocolate, which I really miss the most!
My new father Theta-Gamma 3302, or simply "Sergeant" as I was supposed to address him, was quite aware of my predicament, so he tried his best to comfort and prepare me for my new life. He knew it made no sense to command me around just yet, like he normally did - not after all I'd been through. But he was also skeptical that I would make a proper Police officer. An assassment I shared to be honest!
I grew more confident after our first training sessions in the Simulator, a holographic course where I could test my new abilities, my aim with the Lasergun, fly the Police cruiser, and interact with my partner in different situations, like traffic accidents, chases and so on. At the beginning I made mistake after mistake, even with the roleplay parts - I'm clearly no actor - underestimated my strength and speed, and ruined a bunch of equipment. The Sergeant tried really hard to be patient with me and only scolded me when necessary.
It was my growing respect for him that pushed me to my limits, that made me try my best to please him. Don't know if it had to do with my new body, maybe my mind was about to change too. It was of no importance! What else could I do anyway? And I was having a lot of fun. It felt great to run that fast and jump that high, run parcours like a champ, disarm and arrest thugs, to be of assistance to other people, even if they had two heads and the weirdest clothes I'd ever seen. It felt meaningful and filled me with pride. The hours I'd spent on my Playstation all those years were helping too. I had some tricks up my sleeves even my Sergeant wasn't aware of. He began to realise there was some potential.
At the end of the day he gave me a firm pat on my shoulder and a warm smile. He was very satisfied with the results of my training, and so was I. It wasn't quite over yet! After shower he had to introduce me to my new "pack". I expressed my surprise about the fact, we were even allowed to have something like that. He told me Anthrodogs weren't just genetically created, but breed because of our natural abilities and our sharp instincts. Which wouldn't properly work if we were just artificially enhanced Clones. Which meant we had certain liberties, to keep moral up and our minds intact. Clones have no need for a life after work. But we needed our pack!
As far as I knew I was supposed to be an obedient Law enforcer without a mind of his own. And I had no idea what "pack" meant in this context. Dogs in my time, or actually: Wolves, were running in packs, like a family. They had their own rules, were there for each other. That's all I knew! The relationship to my old family wasn't anything like that. My old dad was a pompous, self-centered idiot and my mom couldn't shut up about what a great dissappointment I'd been. And don't get me started on my siblings! The only one I ever knew, who was remotely something like "my pack" was gone, in a way...
For a moment, I felt alone again. Unloved! It was okay, though. Because it was supposed to be the last time. The Sergeant and I entered our quarters, a gigantic hall with trees, grass, big windows showing Nuyork's Skyline and a small fountain in the middle. For the first time I encountered my new family: Anthrodogs, Rottweiler like me and my father, German Shepherds, Labradors, Pitbulls, Bloodhounds... some where chatting about their day on duty, some played frisbee, some video games, others ate and drank, enjoyed themselves. Nobody was mean or frustrated, everyone seemed relaxed and happy. It was a good place I could imagine to come home after a long, hard day at the job!
The Sergeant introduced them to me. I was glad I don't had to remember all the names by myself. All I had to do was to scan and secure them on my internal database. It also helped that I could take in their scent, they all had a very destinctive smell. It was okay to nuzzle them, they did the same - we were canines after all!
I spend the rest of the evening together with my new family, we talked, ate, played and watched some "old" movies from my time - of course I never told them about my past. And just like that we all began to cuddle. Nothing sexual, just doing what a canine pack does. It was a bit weird, but I really appreciated it. One of them, another Rottweiler, named Beta-Gamma 1783 had a very musky scent, that filled me with lots of confusing feelings. And it seemed, he shared the experience. I'd always thought I'm straight and now this...
I should explain: Back in my time there were still some prejudices torwards the so called LGBTQ community. Today there isn't even a word for that anymore, because love is love and everything else is a question of biology. That's good, don't get me wrong, but concerning my own preferences it was still a bit too much. I hadn't even coped with all the transformation stuff, for crying out loud! So I kept my distance from Beta-Gamma 1783 - for now...
At 11 pm we were supposed to return into our tubes for the night. Although still reluctant about those machines, I stepped in to avoid suspicion and for some strange reason fell asleep, before my tube even closed down. I dreamed to be home again, in my time. Yet I still wasn't a human, but a small black Rottweiler puppy, surrounded by other puppies on a green meadow in the alps, playing and cuddling. It was a nice dream!
The next day I was picked up by the Sergeant, who offered to take me on patrol with him, this time for real. I asked him if he was sure, although I was keen to get out there and see more of this amazing new world. He nodded. We were just supposed to patrol in Manhattan, nothing too special. But if I prefered it to train... no, I was ready! He grinned and said, he had a gift for me. With this he attached a badge on my uniform. He saluted me, I saluted back and had tears of joy in my eyes.
Years on duty
I had to curb my enthusiasm, about all the wonderous things I was experiencing, during our first patrols. Not just the new technologies, the slang and cultural stuff. The Simulation had provided me with lots of these, but it didn't prepare me for all the things my new enhanced senses could grasp now. The Sergeant had thought about that and teached me some meditation and breathing techniques to help me stay focussed.
The first week we were just patrolling, on foot and with the Cruiser. I love to fly that thing! To turn on the siren and manouver in-between the other Flying cars and drones. To glance over the fantastic crystaline skyscrapers, with all the hills, forests and lakes inside. I wondered how we would regulate the traffic while handling a crash or other accidents, from all up there. The answer was simple: Force fields. Cool, but also a bit scary, because I could see through them, deep down into the foggy abyss!
Some elderly Trans couple we met at 5th had lost their way, obviously tourists from Alabama. We walked a bit with them, led them down the road and had a nice chat. From them I learned how much had changed in the South: It had become an Eldorado for contemporary art and cultural diversity, since most parts of the West coast had sunken thanks to Global warming and the economic wonder Mexico had joined the New American Alliance. Which meant: No borders anymore! People were more open minded now and most of them had even voted for the first reptilian President.
After we'd safely brought them to their destination, they wished us a nice day and we resumed our patrol. Alpha-Sigma wasn't lying, the Police was much more respected now than back in my time! There were of course some exceptions: One time I was running after a thug who stole some old lady's fancy bag. I ran after him, incredibly fast, adrenaline rushing through my veins. I managed to wrestle him down and arrest him, while intimidating him with my fangs. My first arrest!
When I was a small boy I had thought about becoming a Cop. But when I learned how much Paper work this job involved, I changed my mind and wanted to become an Astronaut instead. Today there is no Paper work anymore, because everything is recorded, scanned and documented and the Cops unable to lie or fake stuff anyway. All I had to do now, was to bring the man to the cruiser, transport him to the station and put him in his cell, where he could wait for his trail.
There was still a lot to do and it never got boring! I had enough energy for my pack and our many activites. We did some sports together, even had an Ice hockey team and matches against K9 units from other precincts. There were also charity events we did with our Human colleagues, for sick children in Hospitals or Homeless people.
Given time I felt convenient enough to spend more time with Beta-Gamma 1783. One evening, we just watched all the new Star Trek stuff I'd missed over the years, he began to stroke me and give me a slow passionate kiss. I kissed him back, we stripped out of our uniforms and I had the best Sex in my entire life. I'd been straight all those years, never thought this would happen to me. But considered all the other stuff so far... hell, why not?!
A year passed. By the time I got my first promotion I hardly even thought of myself as a human anymore. I had been around other Anthrodogs for so long that I'd finally become one of them. My new partner after my father was a human Clone. I realized he was the first human I worked with that close in quite some time. We bonded immediately and became a good team, had one of the best Arrest records in the precinct.
Beta-Gamma 1783 and I registered for the Breeding program. I had no idea even male Anthrodogs could get impregnated these days. The more I was glad my better half volunteered to do this part! Before we could do the necessary procedure, I was called into Alpha-Sigma's office. He had concerns if our pups would inherit my lack of natural obedience. If they got rogue they had to be eliminated, he reminded me.
The thought alone terrified me. It was my father Theta-Gamma 3302 who finally convinced him! I was one of the best Officers the NYPD ever had, he said, and that there was no chance my children would be any different. Alpha-Sigma looked at me for a while - and smiled. He gave his blessing! And was even present when our pups were born.
1783 and I were so happy and proud! And sad, when the day came, they were taken from us, to prepare them for their duties in the Detroit and Chicago Police Department. The only one left was our son Theta-Gamma 3526, who was assigned to the local Mounted K9 unit.
It's been a few years since then. I have been promoted to Sergeant like my father - who became the new Alpha-Sigma in the meantime - and I'm still considered one of the best and most resourceful members of my unit.
This year I'd volunteered to secure the Force field bridge during the annual Thanksgiving Day parade, so I could watch 3526 on his horse, a beautiful darkbrown mare, carrying the NYPD flag. He was quite a looker! A huge muscle packed Rottweiler, his uniform surely two numbers bigger then mine, with a prideful grin on his face. I looked away for a moment to hide my tears, when I saw him: My old pal Rob!
A bit older, but also stronger and more focussed. I'd seen him before, was glad the old Alpha-Sigma had kept his word, but it had been a while since then. I played with the idea to speak to him, but even if I were still human, he wouldn't remember me. Human clones are supposed to be fully reconditioned, to be absolutely focussed on their job and nothing else. I'd been lucky I had my pack! He was all by himself. Yet it didn't seem to bother him. There was nothing I could do anyway!
It wasn't the last time I'd seen him though. A few days later he payed me a visit. All of a sudden, without any warning! I was more then surprised, but tried to hide my true feelings and simply asked how I could be of any assistance. He just looked at me like I'd been a unicorn and... "Fred?!" I was shocked! What had he just said? I looked at him, puzzled, agitated, but also hopeful. "R... Rob?!" He smiled with glassy eyes and nodded. And without giving any shit about how it looked, I gave him a big, heartwarming hug.
It turned out, he'd recovered his memories shortly after he was reassigned to the Traffic unit. He had no idea what had happened to me, searched the database and all stations, but with no result. In the meantime he'd began to accept his fate. There was little else he could do! He had been lonely in times, of course, yet there was surprisingly much he could do to distract himself. The archives are filled with movies and series from our time and beyond. And as it turned out: There were still some citizens out there who fancied a bit of hanky-panky with a young, hot Police officer like him. Who would have guessed!
He'd almost forgotten me. Then he saw this strangely familiar K9 Sergeant at the Parade, a single tear running from his cheek, gleaming in the Sun light. K9s were capable to be quite emotional in times, but this was different: These were tears of joy! This wasn't normal, unless... No, it couldn't possibly be me! Fred's a human, not a Dog, he'd thought. To be sure he did a little research and came to see me in person. Now that he stood in front of me and heard me talk, althought with a much deeper canine voice, he was 100 % sure. I can't tell you how thrilled I was to get my old friend back. It wasn't all though! He had to show me something, he said...
He led me down the old subway shafts, where he'd found something very interesting. It was supposed to be a surprise, so I quit asking. We used the time to catch up with all the stuff we'd done over the years. I told him about my transformation, my pack and my family. He seemed not all to enthusiastic about it. I figured, because he don't had anyone and was forced to pretend to be an obedient Clone. But I would soon find out it was a bit more then that.
After a while there was a familiar white shimmer in the distance. And as soon as we turned around the last corner, it finally hit me: There was a small white shimmering spark, hanging in the air. Oh no! Rob was excited about his little surprise "I'd been scanning for this, ever since I have access to the system. That's our ticket back home, Fred! We can finally leave this goddamn place, isn't that great?" - "That's not said, it could led anywhere... anywhen!"
He shook his head, tried to convince me, it would be worth the risk! We couldn't return, I told him. Even if there was a way to transform us back and get rid of the nanites: I was happy here! I had my pack, my family... Rob interrupted me: All he had was this damn job! He'd grown tired of being alone and enslaved, not allowed to have a life of his own. He wanted to go back home, even if it meant working at his Aunt's Boutique again.
I understood too well what he meant. It changed nothing: I had no intention to leave! He yelled at me, on the top of his lungs: "That monsters aren't your family! Your real family died hundred years ago and I AM ALL YOU HAVE LEFT!!! These guys up there brainwashed you, to comply and obey them. You let them make a slave out of you - their fucking little Dog!" I fought with my tears and replied calmly: "It wasn't their fault, Rob! And I really like my new life, it gives me purpose, fulfills me! I have people who need me and I need them..."
Rob laughed sarcasticly. "You were always an easy target, Fred! Easy to seduct, to manipulate, to dominate! You literally begged for someone to give your tiny, insignificant life at least some direction!" - "Maybe, in the past! But this is different: I have my responsibilities, my duty, the choice to do the right thing! Even if I could turn back into a human, what am I back in 2018? A Dropout! An underpaid Delivery boy! Dishonored by his family! A fucking Loser! All because..." I stopped myself. "All because of me!" he finished my sentence.
He looked tired and sad, I felt bad about it. We had argued many times in the past - never this intense. "Right!" he said. "Fuck you, Fred!" With this he turned around, draw his Laser gun and aimed at the spark. Thanks to my canine reflexes I was faster and stunned him. He couldn't return, even without me! It would mess up the timeline and everything that had happened. My life, my family, our good deeds... it would just cease to exist!
I was in a huge conflict with myself. What should I do? I could have called my father to help me, drag him back to the Station's lab. Back into that tube in this horrible room. Recondition him. Not once, but multiple times to get absolutely sure, there was nothing left of Rob. It was wrong, worse then everything the old Alpha-Sigma or my father had done to me. They had no choice, I had! Or had I? Well, there was at least one other thing I could try...
There was an old Police trick my father had told me, to stop escaping vehicles: You take a scan of its Engine's energy signature, feed your gun with the data, invert the polarity, fire at it in the Stun setting, and boom: The engine is neutralized and nobody is harmed. If I tried the same thing with the spark, there was a chance I could discharge the field and the temporal phenomenon would simply collapse - in theory! It was worth a try...
My readings made barely any sense, but I managed to do what I'd planned. I took four steps back, to be safe and fired a small ball of energy directly into the spark. A short flash, submitting a strange electric buzzing, echoing down the shafts. It worked, it was shrinking! The room was clearly getting darker. Slowly but steady. It would soon be gone forever. I lowered my gun, relieved this was over... before I even realised Rob had recovered from my attack.
Of course the Stun setting wouldn't work on him properly anymore - he was a Cyborg after all! He punched me right on my muzzle. I fell on my back, which really hurt. And before I could stop him, he reached for the spark using the Taser function of his cybernetic hand to recharge it immediately. The whole shaft exploded in light. For a moment I feared we were Time travelling again. Instead I was still here, I recognized the chemical smell. Only, the spark was gone. And with it: Rob.
A Dog's end
When Rob woke up he found himself in a shabby old living room, lying on a sofa. But it wasn't the year 2018 he'd landed in. Judging by the dark-orange Anthrodog standing in front of him, who resembled something like a Rottweiler, yet wasn't in Uniform or had any implants. He just wore some futuristic, but relatively ordinary clothes. Rob still panicked and tried to defend himself. "It's okay, don't worry, I'm a friend! My name is Hyx, I'm a decendent of your old friend Fred. He knew you would come and left some instructions how to search for you. You're safe here!"
Rob looked around and asked how much time had passed. "Nearly 150 years. You missed quite a lot: The Philadelphia incident, the great Clone crisis and their final liberation after defeating the surprisingly invading Hords of Rykashah 4. Let alone the Giant Slug infestation or the Second digital plague! Oh..." He just remembered Rob was a Cyborg. "Don't worry, it's been years since then!" - "What about Fred? What happened to him?" Hyx gave Rob an old Data crystal: "Here, he left this for you, that should answer all your questions!" Rob took it and attached it into the port in his arm. A video file popped up before his eyes and he activated it...
Rob saw his old friend Fred, visibly aged and a bit fat, but good looking for an old Dog, sitting behind an official looking desk. According to his Uniform he now was a high ranking Police officer, with an eventful life behind him, judging by the many medals he'd earned.
"Hello again, old friend! I got your message, or well... the message you're about to send me in a couple of years. Time travel - you know what I mean!
You may have realised this isn't the 21th Century. Sorry, that's my fault! It seemed I have accidentally reversed the polarity of the Time stream, which brought you even further into the future. Don't worry, I prepared everything for your arrival: A new ID, some credits, and my pack is taking good care of you. Just don't forget to send me the right coordinates later, so they can pick you up today!
A lot has happened since your disappearance. After my father died, I became the new Alpha-Sigma. I'm a grandfather now! My kids had a whole bunch of pups, each and every one of them best Police material. And I just heard the news: One of my grandchilds serving for Philadelphia Highway Patrol is already pregnant too. You can't imagine how proud I am...
I'm getting old. There is no retirement plan, of course. That's okay! I had a good life and i'm already older then I'm supposed to be, especially for a Canine. I'm glad to reunite with my beloved husband again. And my father. Well, all that's left to say is: Thank you! You've been a good friend and I wish you only the best. I'm sorry for all the pain I caused you, and hope you can forgive me one day! I'm convinced you will make your way - you always have. Goodbye, Rob! Goodbye!
Rob sat on the edge of his seat, tears in his eyes. Hyx tried to comfort him with a friendly hug and some tea. "What shall I do now?" he asked after a while. His new Rottweiler friend had no definite answer for that. He had just gratuated and wasn't even sure what to do with his own life. "Well, there is no Police force like back in your days. All in all, much has changed since back then. This city is a dump, only a shadow of its former glory! But I heard they're hiring Security guards at the warehouse, next to the Space Force Recruitment Center." Rob looked up. "Did you just say... Space Force?!" Hyx had a bad feeling about his mischievious grin. The Cyborg stood up, gave the young Anthrodog a pat on his shoulder and said: "Hyx, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!"