|A threesome such as Kosi's Maremmas, perhaps. From the Guardian Newspaper site, |
Victorian (Aus) Zoos are training Marremmas to guard bandicoots
All kinds of hints from several people including the machine pattern has this section pushing toward a crisis.
Lithe and Limber push a way through the scrum of dogs and jog back to us. The pack follows them but the wolf with her hackles up steps into their path behind Limber and Lithe.
The dogs pause, seem to think the better of their situation and lay down in a half-circle. Awaiting developments?
Limber starts talking at a fast clip. “We think the machine pattern inhabits the dogs. The Ark Ship has doors within doors. Sometimes they’re lined up, sometimes not.”
“I got the idea we inserted people into a lot of different habitats,” Lithe says. “Ark Ship spooling?”
The machine pattern that calls itself Kosi Lionhair chuckles. That sound burbles from one of the dogs. “Only one of the tricks of the Ark Ship,” she says. “On a different track entirely, I believe the Engineer is preparing to bail out? He finds me a deal harder to cope with than his previous mistress. Funny that I never found anything resembling what he says he looks like when he’s embodied. He’ll take his shuttle because he’ll need all of his support systems. He’ll be making for Earth, I suspect. Won’t bother me. Good riddance to bad rubbish I say.”
Her doggy laughter goes lost in a piercing steam-whistle-like scream coming from the top of the pyramid. We run to stand in the gap between the cliff and the disk and stare upward, paws or hands over our ears. We get a face-full of the hot dust roiling down and sudsing through the cavities of the stricken totem reality. In a few seconds, the scream becomes as shrill as a Lotor wind over sand, then to a metal-on-metal screech, and finally to the full-throated roar of a desert storm.
We all fall down—the floor shakes under us like a Lotor-quake—when the alien’s shuttle lifts off.
The silence afterwards is deafening.
In a while we recover enough to rise and dust off.
“What amazes me most about this event …,” the machine pattern says. The dogs have come forward and mingle with us. “….Is that we didn’t shake loose from the Ark Ship? I did a fine fine thing getting the two stuck, wouldn’t you agree?”
“A fine thing? What is the machine on about?” Uncle Puma says.
The lead dog barks dog-style to get Uncle Puma’s attention. Continues with the human-sounding voice, pulling his mouth in impossible ways, for a dog. “If I hadn’t got the alien’s ship stuck in the Ark Ship’s torus, I wouldn’t have been able to warn you of the Ark Ship’s temper tantrum?”
Uncle Puma’s attention is riveted. I recall that I’ve heard the machine pattern before about this. Not so my companions.
“Just because the Shamans jumped ship all those years ago doesn’t mean that they let the generations following forget the reasons for jumping,” Thyal says.
The reasons-for-jumping more than we know from Soowei’s stories? I am interested! And I’m not the only one. Everyone in the younger set waits for Thyal to elaborate. He shakes his head. Now is not the time.
Fine. Sometime when we’re all sitting around a campfire back in the ArkShip perhaps.
“Let the machine-girl tell us what she has discovered in the two centuries,” Vulture says. “It sounds like we might find out something more.”
“More recent information is bound to be helpful,” Uncle Puma says. “How to get it out of a machine pattern mixed into a dog-pattern is our next project. Any ideas, given that our knowledge is two hundred years old?”
Thyal just shakes his head again.
“I could fight one of the dogs,” Meerkat says. “I will choose information as the prize.”
“Oh good!” the machine pattern says. “I needn’t put Jeb up as a prize then. I need her to stay.”
If anything, Mongoose becomes more vigilant. He steps in front of me, his right front paw on his curved panga.
“Choose your fighters, Jeb,” Kosi says. “Every time I win, I’ll let another one of the rest go through an airlock.”