All Dogs Have Fleas
By: Garland Davis
Time travel was developed over eight hundred annuals ago. The bureaucrats controlled the mechanics and physics that permitted the viewpods to travel thru time. They placed myriad rules and regulations on the actual travel thru time. They learned that the past could be observed without actually paralleling with the time stream. The time traveler could observe events without being observed.
Travel to historical events was limited to a single visit. Events were recorded as a holovid and could viewed as a three dimensional life size holovideo. Historicrats were reveling in their ability to see events unfold as if they were actually present. This permitted them to correct the historical record of mankind.
The entertaincrats/pharmicrats had gained ownership of the sciences and mechanics of time travel and edited historical events, creating sensational holovids to placate the masses. They were reminiscent of the “Reality” televideos of the, old time scale, twenty-first century. In the 14,000th annual hallucinogenic drugs and time holovids became the modern day “Bread and Circuses demanded by the masses.” Great battles, with blood and gore, were a hit with the brain deadened mass. A time pod had followed a twentieth century serial killer, John Wayne Gacy, and cataloged all his killings. This was on the most viewed list for over one hundred annuals. The destruction and horror of the religious wars of the twenty-first and twenty-second centuries almost brought mankind to an end. Weapons of mass destruction were used haphazardly and billions died from the atomic, chemical, and pathogenic warfare. Epidemics continued for centuries as the pathogens mutated. Over a thousand time pods had observed and recorded all the events of these wars and would provide subject matter for the holovids for many annuals to come.
A small number of twentieth century and twentieth-first century survivalists foresaw the coming calamities and prepared for the worst. They collected the seeds of plants and frozen embryos and the DNA of domestic animals used for food. They cataloged the knowledge and the arts of mankind electronically. These biological items and electronic treasures were duplicated and stored at over three hundred locations in remote areas of the planet. These survivalist’s preparations were the root of the resurgence of mankind over a period of ten thousand annuals.
As mankind slowly recovered from the devastation of the wars, tensions and religions began to cause problems hindering the recovery’s progress. Nations were forming and national boundaries were being drawn. A group of scientists and politicals had formed a cabal to prevent a recurrence of events that led to the wars of destruction. Their first act was to develop weapons greater that any others in the world. After two demonstrations the world bowed to their rule. They called themselves the Bureauracracy. They controlled every aspect of mankind’s resurgence and scientific advances. Immortality was the end result of eradicating the pathogenics from the wars. This led to an immediate and devastating increase in the world population and problems between various ethnic and religious groups. The bureaucrats mandated that all humans were to be sterilized to prevent any further increase in the population. Everyone would speak the same language. Religions of all kinds were outlawed and all persons professing any deity were mind probed and all religious inclinations eradicated from their thoughts. Any person critical of the Bureaucracy was also mind probed.
There was little reason for anyone to perform labor. Mechanicals did physical tasks. Food and medicinals were replicated from raw atoms by replicamechanical units. There was no longer a need to grow plants or animals. The only living entities on earth were some of the domesticated animals of the twentieth century and the plants they used for food. These were enclosed in hermetically sealed zoos and in parks. These were enclosed to prevent the escape of pathogenics. They were only available for viewing by holovid. There were also beneficial bacteria that were necessary for human life. The scientifichanicals and the scientificrats were working to develop nanomechanicals to perform their function so they too could be eliminated.
He was a low level bureaucrat and had been an historical collector for over three hundred annuals. He manned a time pod and recorded historical events for the holovid bureauracracy. At first he was fascinated by the events the time pod was recording. After watching hundreds of battles, murders and sex acts the task became drudgery. His only purpose for manning the pod was to override the auto return and return the pod if the autosystem malfunctioned.
Over two hundred and seventy annuals ago, he was tasked with cataloging Ernest Hemmingway, an author from the twentieth century, on a big game hunt for lions, a large feline that had been extinct for thousands of annuals. He was fascinated by the approach to the big animals and the shooting of a projectile weapon as the animal charged the hunter. He could hardly wait until the langaugmechanicals did the interpretations so he could follow the hunt and understand the hunters. He requested, and for over two annuals, was tasked with cataloging big game hunts on all the continents. Tigers, lions, wolves, elephants, buffalo, and moose were recorded by his pod. He was fascinated by the hunts for the beasts of prey, especially the lions and tigers. Unlike the herbivores, they were aware of the hunters and were wont to defend their territory. They would charge the hunters. He dreamed of hunting and slaying a lion.
Big game hunts lost favor by the masses and further cataloging of their hunts were canceled. His world returned to boring drudgery. He began to wonder if there was a way he could materialize a pod in the past and conduct a hunt of his own. He knew these thoughts could result in being mind probed, medicated and relegated to the mass of brain dead humanity. If he was careful, he could learn the functioning of the pods and possibly divert one. As far as the weapon, he was sure that the specifications for replicating a projectile unit and instructions for its use existed. All he had to do was locate this information without alerting any of the other bureaucrats.
He surreptitiously gathered information and studied the science that caused the pods to travel through time. Over thirty annuals had passed while he was doing this. He became friendly with historiotechnocrat who was an expert on handheld weapons of the twentieth century and a connoisseur of replicated twentieth century French wines. He was able to get answers to his questions about the projectile weapons while spending numerous hours drinking replicated burgundies and pinot noirs.
As he was formulating plans for a clandestine side trip, he was moved to the unit surveying periods before humankind. His first trip was to a period known by the ancients as the Jurassic. All his plans to hunt a lion were forgotten. He immediately decided that he would hunt one of these huge animals. It would take much observation to determine the most dangerous creature. He also determined that he would need a more powerful weapon if he hunted one of these great animals. At first they all appeared docile. All appeared to be herbivores and just meandered along in great herds eating the vegetation. He was disappointed.
On his second trip to the Jurassic, he found the creature he would hunt; a giant creature that walked on its rear legs. The animal had two very small front legs, which served more as arms. It had a huge head and mouth lined with giant teeth. He watched fascinated as two of these creatures attacked one of the huge herbivores and were ripping huge chunks of flesh from the still grazing creature. This was his target. He would hunt this one.
The projectile weapon that he had been planning to use would be useless against a creature this large. He recalled from his research that weapons which used explosive projectiles had been used in the twentieth century. Back to the wine.
Another seventy annuals passed before he was ready to implement his plans. It had taken over twenty annuals to replicate the varying components of a 20MM projectile weapon which could shoot multiple explosive projectiles. It had taken over five annuals to replicate five of the projectile units. It had taken over fifty annuals of study before he was sure that he could materialize the pod in the Jurassic. He had to spend ten annuals studying mathematics and the physics of time and create a complete new algorithm to control the actual time spent in the Jurassic without the pod keeping an actual record. He also developed a hidden system that would record his hunt.
The day was here! The parts of the weapon and the explosive projectiles were in the pod. He was confident he could program the pod to materialize at any point he desired, stay in the Jurassic as long as necessary, and return to the present at the prescribed time without any record of the actual time spent in the past.
He closed the pod, that’s all he had to do. The systems were preprogrammed to perform the prescribed mission with no input from him. He had loaded the new program into his personal computing unit. He attached it to the pod system and commenced the down load. While the download was taking place, he assembled the projectile weapon. He was surprised at the weight of the weapon. Now he understood the reason for the mounting stand.
The download finished as the pod reached the survey point. He observed the creatures on the plain. He took control of the pod and moved it toward the huge plants that made up the forest. He knew that the Tyrannosaurs, a name he learned during his studies, frequented the edge of the forests. He took the final step and materialized the pod into real time. He settled it to the ground and prepared to exit into the world. He would be the first time traveler in over nine hundred annuals to do so. He stepped out onto the vegetation-covered ground. He was surprised that it wasn’t solid. He sank into the plants. The top of the dark green plants reached to his knees.
He reached into the pod and brought out the stand for the weapon and then the weapon, which he quickly mounted. During his many observations of the Tyrannosaurs, he noticed that they were drawn by the cries of wounded prey. He had programmed the pod to broadcast the sound of one of the wounded herbivores that he had recorded earlier. He stopped the broadcast quickly. He wanted a single animal, not an entire pack.
Shortly afterward, he heard something tearing and grunting through the forest. A Tyrannosaur broke through the plants, stopped and surveyed the plain. He estimated that he would have to lure the beast to within one hundred meters to be sure of a kill. He had studied the anatomy of the creatures and felt that a body shot near the heart would ensure a kill. A brain shot would be less sure, since the beast’s brain was extremely small. He triggered the bleating of the herbivore again. The Tyrannosaur’s head swiveled toward him and the pod. The beast, with a horrible roar started a run toward the pod.
Since he had been unable to practice with the weapon, he had developed an aiming system that once set on a target, would track the animal and deliver the projectile to the preset point once he triggered the weapon. He had locked onto the point where the animal’s heart should be. He was surprised at the rapidity with which the Tyrannosaur moved. It was closer than his predetermined distance when he triggered the weapon. He was hoping that everything worked as designed.
There was a large explosion from the weapon and an instant explosion under the beast’s neck. The animal faltered for a moment but came onward. He triggered another projectile with another pair of explosions. The animal faltered and fell forward coming to a halt less than twenty meters from him. He screamed a cry of victory. He rushed to the animals head. He recalled images of Ernest Hemmingway, standing with foot on his prey. The Tyrannosaur was much too large to put a foot upon. But he decided to stand by the huge head and mouth while the pod recorded his image. As he approached he noticed that the beast’s skin wasn’t very smooth. It was covered with half spheres about size of a twentieth-century baseball. He placed his hand on the side of the head and turned toward the pod.
He heard a noise from behind him. He looked back to see a number of the half spheres moving. Suddenly the nearest one leaped toward him, bearing a circular mouth lined with sharp teeth. It landed on his chest. He immediately felt the teeth pierce his skin and then a sucking sensation. He screamed and ran toward the pod as a two more of the creatures landed on his back and sank their teeth into his flesh.
All dogs have fleas and bigger dogs have bigger fleas.
Archeological Note: The Archeological Bureaucracy in the 14,551st annual determined that the demise of the dinosaurs could only have been caused by a virus. The puzzle was how had a virus been introduced into the ecology?
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A native of North Carolina, Garland Davis has lived in Hawaii since 1987. He always had a penchant for writing but did not seriously pursue it until recently. He is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he majored in Business Management. Garland is a thirty-year Navy retiree and service-connected Disabled Veteran.