Author : Jason Frank

Breikf was heading back with a fresh beer and he looked over where they had the lead space man all trussed up so anybody wanted could get a kick in. Everybody got in a bunch, looked like. Breikf sure had, but just then something in the cool of the evening and the beers got him thinking. He set down by the space man.

“You understand me?” he asked.

“I do,” the space man said.

“You know this is all your fault, right? All this that just happened and all that that’s going to happen now is your fault.”

“I most assuredly do not know that. We simply came here_”

“We weren’t always this hard. It was you all made us this way.”

“We have had very little contact with your people.” the space man said.

“You know what a dog is, right? I’d call my pup on over to show you up close but he’d damn likely try to get his share of you.”

“We are familiar with your companion species.”

“That’s good, you being familiar and all. That helps me get this story across. See, my dad always said there was one sure way to turn a dog mean. You start with a free dog, one can go anywhere any time and do what it wants. You make that free dog a chained dog, twenty foot of chain. Make that twenty foot chained dog a fifteen foot chained dog. Make that fifteen foot chained dog a ten foot chained dog. Make that ten foot chained dog a five foot chained dog and that five foot chained dog’s a mean one, no doubt about it. Now see, what you all done, what you started on long before you came down here, was cut down and cut down how much we could get around. You blocked us off at the end of the old Milky and then pushed us back till we just had this solar system. And now you come on in here? That was a mistake. Didn’t work out too well for you, did it? You ain’t dealt with dogs as mean as us.”

The bound and bruised alien said nothing.

“And now you see over there, you see that big ship of yours, biggest we ever seen? See that taking off? Well we stuffed that ship wall to wall with the meanest dogs we got. Now they’re heading back to whatever kind of fleet you got out there with their distress signals all on blast. We’ll see what happens up there now. Dog will hunt.”

Breikf set a short spell but didn’t talk more. He finished up his beer and got up to get another. The captive didn’t talk either. He imagined the fleet’s reactions. It was likely that their plan would succeed. Little preparation had been done for situations like these. No standard responses to unreasonable barbarian advance had been formulated. He thought about this wild horde tearing out across the civilized systems he had loved so well. These images did what a hundred some steel toed boots couldn’t; the space man quivered with weeping.


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