In an erotic future society genetically enhanced pets have overrun the world and driven humans into vast barricaded enclaves, where social and sexual mores have undergone drastic changes. When an alien spaceship crashes in the wilds, two competing enclaves form expeditions to recover the advanced technology. A battle between them is certain, but first they must fight their way through an overgrown countryside where intelligent animals rule supreme. [EPIC 2000 Finalist]
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Double Dragon Publishing
April 06, 2006
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Excerpt from The Pet Plague by Darrell Bain
Jamie Da Cruz had suffered through a long, hot frustrating day where nothing at all seemed to have gone right. First, he discovered that a whole test plot of his new hambean strain had started growing wildly irregular for no good reason. His boss hadn't believed him when he transferred pictures back to the main Genetic Engineering section office with a suggestion that there had been a foul up in the genevat mixing routine; he thought it more likely to be a mistake in the codes fed into the section's computer -- as if a computer would make a mistake like that. It would have rejected any error obvious enough to have produced such results, and probably added some remark about the fallibility of human memory as well.
The test plot occupied the far corner of a five acre experimental garden at the furthest distance from the center of the Houston Enclave. At the far corner of the test plot itself, Jamie encountered the next anomaly of the day. A small section of the hambeans, tiny and wrinkled as they were, seemed to have attracted the attention of a hungry invader. Several of the little tree-like bushes had been tipped over and the thumb sized hambeans stripped from them.
"Not rats again," he thought. "Damn, will we never get rid of the cursed things " Rats were a continuing and seemingly insoluble problem in every Enclave, not to mention the wild country as well. They were far more intelligent than the original breeds, and still as elusively ineradicable as ever. Even the few kept as pets or research animals had never developed much of a rapport with man and had to be carefully watched. As for the feral ones -- Jamie shuddered and bent to check for tracks. Surprised, he straightened up again.
"A dog," he said aloud. "I will be damned!" But then a puzzled frown crept across the brown contours of his face.
No. Any dog would know better. Maybe a puppy, he thought hopefully for an instant, then discarded the idea -- the tracks were far too large. Besides, it was almost impossible to envisage so undisciplined a puppy. The enclave bitches knew their place far too well to ever allow their pups to run so wild, so near the enclave borders, and particularly not in the critically important agricultural section of the Enclave. That left only one possibility.