Author : Townsend Wright

When the mostly human crew of the starship Bastar VII found a derelict ion-powered eco-ship in the middle of deep space, they were surprised. When they found that the ship was heavy with life signs, they were shocked. When the ship contacted them in two distinctly odd accents of an ancient dialect of modern standard, they were stupefied. And when a visual contact was established and the crew saw the side-by-side faces of what appeared to be a very roughly humanoid cat and dog, you could have built a small cottage out of the bricks they all shat.

“Greeeeaaatingsssss, oolde oneesssssss,” said the cat-like-thing in a sing-songy, meowing voice. “Weeee haaveee beeen exssspecting your returrrrrrrrrrn.”

“Res,” added the dog in a concise syllable “We, wer be-ge-nin to won-da iff da stah-res wer tru.”

The captain promptly made a signal for one of the AIs to cut the transmission. As the screen went dark she asked her co-captain “What the Hell was that?!”

“That was a cat and a dog, sir,” he replied.

“I get that much, but why were we just talking to them in old English?!”

“Well, sir, one of the AIs has identified the craft as the first ship to leave the Sol system heading for the Inocci system, or Alpha Centauri as it was known at the time. It left the Sol system in approximately 46 B1C. It was lost shortly after.”

“Early Technological Earth, fits the language. But are we supposed to believe that in just 44,000 revolutions the people on that ship evolved into cats and dogs?”

“No, sir, the people on that ship died. Ten years into the thirty-year journey, one of the crew went mad and murdered every human there. The ship went off course and no one has heard from it until now.”

“Then who were they?!”

“Cats and Dogs, sir.”

“We’ve been over this, sir.”

“No, sir, they are in fact the descendants of the cats and dogs that the people brought onto the ship.”

“That much evolution in just 44,000 years is impossible.”

“Not necessarily, sir. With all humans gone, domestic animals, which relied heavily on humans, would be forced to rapidly adapt. Those with the intelligence and the dexterity to access the food and help humans would have given them would be more likely to survive. The ship was designed with an ecosystem and technology meant to last a long time without maintenance. Eventually the two species developed the anatomy to work the human devices, the intelligence to understand them, and the lingual skills needed to interact with the ship’s primitive AI, which is where they learned English.”

“So…What do we do now?”

“Official policy is to contact any and all intelligent life forms and introduce them into galactic society. This should be fairly simple in this case, given these races’ close similarities to an already established race.”

“Alright, but first, Mr. Fjoyk,” the Captain turned to the scanner technician, a trilaterally symmetrical reptilian. “I don’t know if you can detect this from here, but…They can pick up their own shit by now can they not?”

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