Echo: A Dystopian Science Fiction Novel

My name is Bitefighter.  I am a 10 lb. Terrier Extraordinaire, a mad genius, and the deadliest being in this 54 galaxy composite known as the Local Group.  I have defeated dragons, aliens, and extradimensional beings that would make H.P. Lovecraft fill his pants with terror-poop.  But I am now faced with something that taxes me to the very utmost of my abilities, something that forces me to perform at the very pinnacle of my world-shattering intellect.

My loyal buddy and pet human, Kent Wayne, has recently acquired a cat.

This cat, whom Kent has named Meow Face, pretends to be a vacant-headed collection of sweetness and light.  However, Meow Face’s true colors were quickly revealed:  it took no more than a week before I noticed my toys riddled with foreign bite marks.  My dog cookies—lovingly prepared by the two-legged angels who staff the dog bakery/boutique known as Indiana Bones’ Temple of Groom—have been disappearing from the glass jar in the kitchen.  I don’t give a damn whether you’re a 200 lb. mastiff, an Insectoid Hoplite, or my laughably penultimate fellow scientist, Albert Einstein.

No one takes my fucking cookies.

Kent Wayne is dozing on his couch in a mountain dew-induced haze, a long string of drool trickling from the corner of his mouth and pooling on his chest (typical).  Meow Face is curled between his knees, snoozing away.  I’m not jealous, but this is getting pretty goddamn suspicious.  I know cats—Meow Face doesn’t harbor true love for Kent; cats are incapable of looking past their own narcissism and tapping into the deep, eternal love that dogs are naturally imbued with.  I mean, have you seen how much time they spend licking themselves???  JFC!  Who finds their asshole THAT fascinating???

(I mean, don’t get me wrong, mine’s pretty awesome, but I don’t spend four hours a day slavering away at it.  That’s taking things WAY too far.)

Not only that, but cats are so fucking full of themselves!  They’re always posing like they’re on a goddamn walkway, like someone had just given them a crown and scepter and proclaimed them to be King Shit.  When humans die, cats don’t mourn or show respects like dogs do, these fuckers eat the faces of their two-legged buddies!

Maybe they can fake like they know how to snuggle, but let me assure you:  cats have no idea what it means to be Buddies For Life.

Anyways, I walk up to the couch and address Meow Face:  “Rrr.”  (Translation:  I know you’ve been playing with my toys.  I know you’ve been eating my treats.  Back off, bitch).

Meow Face blinks one eye open and yawns (the temerity of this jerkoff!).  He responds:  “Mrow.”  (Translation:  Fuck off, smelly.  You’re just jealous because Kent likes me more than you).

I have to stifle my laughter.  I reply:  “Urf.”  (Translation:  Perhaps you’re unaware, but me and Kent are Buddies For Life.  You’re just a cheap prop he keeps around so he can up his game with the lusty soccer moms).

Meow Face has the nerve to snort at me.  “Rawr.”  (Translation:  Buddies For Life???  That’s a cheap invention crafted by Hallmark and propagated by Animal Planet.  You’re a fucking idiot.)

That is IT!  NO ONE talks shit about the holy pact known as Buddies for Life!!!  I launch myself at Meow Face, quickly paralyzing him with a series of Silat-derived nerve strikes.  In a matter of seconds, Meow Face is reduced to a craggy jumble of awkwardly angled limbs.  It happens before he can so much as yowl out a protest.

I chortle in satisfaction, but wait…something’s wrong.  As brief as the melee was, Kent should have been woken by the commotion.  He’s still fast asleep.  My brow wrinkles in puzzlement.

I allow my perception to Bloom-shift (if you didn’t know, the Bloom is the acausal space between dimensions.  “Bloom-shifting” means moving your perception into a state that is capable of perceiving what you might label “occult influences”).  Much to my horror, I see that Kent Wayne’s consciousness—it appears as a pulsing mass of vaguely formed concepts surrounding his head, kind of like a psychedelic trip if you expressed it as augmented reality—has been completely compromised.  Threads of gray energy run from his psyche down into Meow Face’s aura.

The little fucker’s been feeding off my pet human’s life force.

I’m an expert in mind-to-mind martial arts, so it takes me little effort to sever the psionic leech-siphons.  But now I’ve got to perform emergency psychic surgery—always a tricky proposition—so I hastily conjure a series of wards and comforts that will be instantly recognizable to Kent Wayne.  The glowing symbols that cover my body—robotics, Batman insignias, steaming hot New York pizzas—will serve to comfort my pet human as I navigate the delicate causeways embedded in his psyche.

I jump up onto his chest and peer into his mind.  Oh shit—the problem is far more severe than I initially anticipated.  Kent Wayne—even though he’s a conduit to extremely powerful creative forces which allow him to write—is still fragile.  He is a creature of simple tastes; his identity is composed of love for soccer moms, lifting weights, and various primates.  The lowbrow engine that keeps him running is a mental construct known as Professor Oatmeal.  In the psychic realm, Professor Oatmeal appears as an elderly (near geriatric if you want to be precise), three-legged hamster that wheezes and gasps as he runs continuously on his rusty hamster wheel.  As long as that wheel keeps spinning, Kent Wayne is powered by enough vital force to maintain his existence.  As soon as the wheel stops, my pet human is forced into a psychically induced coma.

And from the looks of it, Professor Oatmeal is fucking dead.

But wait!  I see the rise and fall of the little guy’s chest.  It’s faint, but there’s no mistaking it:  Professor Oatmeal is still alive!

I begin a psychic version of CPR, injecting the little guy with measured doses of transcendent purpose, keeping him instantiated as an individual consciousness.  It helps for a bit—he keeps breathing in those halting, wheezy gasps—but it quickly becomes obvious that it’s not gonna be enough.  He needs something more.

FUCK!

I can’t let this rodent die.  I could give two shits about some furry little concept that runs around in the vast emptiness of Kent Wayne’s mind, but I love my pet human—he’s my Buddy For Life.  I desperately scan the interior of his Man Child hovel, looking for something—ANYTHING—that might be of use…

Got it!  My eyes lock onto his eReader.  I scamper over to it and open it to Echo, activating its reality distortion powers.

Magic flash.

The weaponized concepts within the story act as a psychogenic defibrillator; tendrils of jagged, blue-green magic instantiate as forked lightning and jolt Professor Oatmeal’s psychic fibers.  He seizes up, his little chest arches toward the sky, and he coughs himself awake.

Success!  Terriers Eternus!

I keep an eye on him as he clambers back onto his wheel and starts running.  Kent Wayne farts, burps, then scratches his nuts.

He murmurs, “I swear I’ll be good, Martha Stewart.  Please get that cucumber away from my butt…”

I pump my furry fist in a gesture of triumph.  After taking a moment to savor my win, I employ an intricate muscle-activation technique that cues Meow Face’s nervous system to snap out of its paralysis.  He flinches away from me.

“Don’t hurt me anymore—I swear I’ll leave your pet human alone!”

I fix him with a grave stare.  “I’ll require more from you than that.”

His eyes flick back and forth in frightened tics.  “Anything!  Don’t paralyze me bro!”

I flip open my next-generation computer tablet (it’ll take the Two-leggeds at least fifty years to come up with something comparable) and hold it out to him.  “You’ll have to complete this two-year course that will certify you as a Buddy For Life.  All dogs take it, and if you successfully score above an 80% on the test, I’ll allow you to stay.  Click the rope-toy icon when you’re ready to start.”

Meow Face nods vigorously and takes the tablet.  I study his expression, inspecting it for subconscious cues that signify deception.  After a long moment I let myself relax; based on his facial tics, I can ascertain that there’s a 93.84% chance that his intentions are sincere.

I’ll be damned if anybody disrespects Buddies For Life.

 

Have you adopted a treacherous cat who clearly doesn’t follow the time-honored code known as Buddies For Life?  Never fear!  Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here:  Vol. 1 on Kindle.  Vol. 2 on Kindle here:  Vol.2 on Kindle  Vol. 3 on Kindle here:  Vol. 3 on Kindle  #kindle #kindleunlimited #sciencefiction #scifi #books #novel #book

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