Earth’s leading unicorn jockey has been banned from all competition for life by the Board of Unicorn Racing. A veteran with over 20 years experience, and winner of the Sinosovurean Cup 7 times, Peakoch was found guilty of riding with a prosthetic horn on champion unicorn ‘Thrust’.
Thrust, winner of the Sinsovurean Cup 3 years in a row a few years back, made a surprising comeback in the recent Legends 500 race. He and Peakoch unseated all 7 other riders in the first half of the race using the trademark ‘unicorn thrust’ that had helped to make them both champions in previous years.
In random post-race checks, Thrust’s horn was found to be 1cm over the previous maximum recorded length for race unicorns. Closer examination showed that Thrust’s horn was actually broken and that PeaKoch had procured a prosthetic extension to enable Thrust to race again with a realistic chance of success.
In mitigation, Peacoch’s Attendant AIs attempted to show that his only motivation was to see his favourite unicorn, so distressed by the break in his horn, go out on a high.
For years can Earth had traded with Siluria. One of a handful of alien species that successful contact had been made with during the Discovery Period of 2150-2200, the Silurians had generally been a very friendly race.
Technologically not that advanced they produced 2 things that Earth imported in large quantities, Baffleberry juice, and silk rugs. The rugs were unique because they had living silkworms in them which meant that the rugs could be grown in the home to fit in the space.
All was fine until the evil Silurian Ambassador to Earth hatched a plan to export rugs with genetically engineered silkworms. At the flick of a genetic switch, the silkworms could be turned into giant monster worms. The Ambassador planned to flood the market with such rugs and then when enough rugs of this type were on Earth, mass trigger generation of the monsters.
His evil plan to invade and terrorise the Earth in this way was uncovered and foiled by the Inspector and Cat, with the help of Joosthava X Minot, in the Silurian Silkworm Affair.
Whilst exploring Plasmolidium in 2170 Captain Dougal McBeckHam, who led the crew of the Explorer 237, was attacked by giant insects described at the time as mega-mosquitoes.
Part biological and part artificial, the mosquitoes were both a food source for the Mud Lizards and a weapon that the Mud Lizards could use to attack their enemies. The individual mosquitoes were fierce enough but they could also act as a collective, merging together to form a significant fighting machine.
The mega-mosquitoes were also co-incidentally, carriers of the common Plasmodium parasite found on Earth, and when the Captain was attacked he became infected with that parasite and contracted malaria as a consequence.
Much worse, was the use of the mosquitoes by the Mud Lizards to deliver a virus to Earth designed to devastate the human population. Their use of a biological weapon, at the end of the first significant space battle between Mud Lizards and Earth ships, almost succeeded. Without the intervention of Azz-Lex it would have been very likely that human life on Earth would have completely ended.
Artificial Intelligences (AIs) have revolutionised life on Earth over the last Century. Whether in the service industries, in interplanetary conflicts, medicine, law or indeed in the home, AIs have reduced the need for human intervention in so many activities.
A long-standing collaboration between Clone-A-Cat and AI4U has recently led to the launch of a range of domestic AI pets that owners can obtain as juveniles. This then allows owners to bond with the AI pets they acquire during the pet’s formative years.
A spokesperson for the collaborative venture told the waiting press “Whilst for years owners have been very satisfied with AI pets, this new generation of AIs provides a much better, more realistic life experience. Adult owners and children can enjoy the experience of helping their AI kittens or puppies grow to maturity.
Providing of course that they don’t manage to get run over by a speeding hovercar whilst exhibiting the kind of madcap behaviour normally associated with juveniles!
This isn’t actually a rabbit at all. A rabbit, as we all know, is furry, has long floppy ears and hops. A Da-Hah-Winian rabbit is furry, but walks on all fours and has quite small pointy ears. It never, as far as anyone has ever observed, hops.
Native to the planet Kimkadia, Da-Hah-Winian rabbits are actually called Blijars on Kimkadia. Adopted quickly as pets by early Earth visitors to Kimkadia, some were brought back to Earth and became very popular with children. However, the name Blijars didn’t knock the socks off marketing companies who came up with the name ‘Da-Hah-Winian Rabbit’ because:
a) Kimkadians learning Earth language tended to call everything that wasn’t human or a Kimkadian a rabbit because rabbits were pets that the first astronauts landing on Kimkadia had with them
b) The very first ‘contact’ Kimkadia had with Earth was via a ‘greetings capsule’ that had entered the Kimkadian atmosphere in the early 22nd Century. That contained a slightly corrupted aircast that referred to Darwinian theory, but unfortunately gave the impression that Darwin was God and therefore the creator of all species on Earth. This led to Kimkadians adopting phrases like ‘Great Darwin’ or ‘Good Darwin’ whenever they tried to express surprise in English. In addition, they took for some reason to greeting new humans with the phrase ‘Praise be to Darwin’ and then eventually preceding almost every sentence with the same.
c) Finally, Kimkadians constantly introduced ‘Hah!’ into almost every phrase or sometimes every Earth word they spoke. This not only led to Da-Ha-Win but also Da-Ha-Winian. It also made Kimkadian conversations very long and tedious.
Anyway, out of all that the marketing experts came up with Da-Ha-Winian rabbit, a pet now popular as much on Earth as Kimkadia.
The Faxons really were a quite charming people and were the other principal civilisation on the planet Zizzdum. They had a sense of smell that was many times more sensitive than domestic dogs on Earth. They had little else in common with dogs, however, walking on 2 legs as well as liking cats, keeping them as pets once the first Earth settlers introduced felines to Zizzdum.
The Faxon sense of smell was so great that they could detect rare minerals and elements in very small quantities. As a consequence, they could command significant salaries working for Earth-based mining companies. Whilst Faxons could speak to each other, and to humans, they often preferred to communicate silently among themselves through releasing odours from their com-gland, situated just behind their ears.
This method of communication, whilst very effective, could become very confusing at dinner parties where humans might unintentionally be releasing their own ‘gaseous’ signals. There was many an embarrassing moment at early official banquets on Zizzdum when Earth ambassadors inadvertently said something rude or on occasion, made a pass at a female Faxon through natural bodily functions that had been activated by the excellent though wind inducing Faxon cuisine.
Cat, we know, is a robot. But how exactly does he come to be so like a real cat? Why does he have such an intensely superior personality? Is it programmed or inherited from Zeus or a similar God?. Well, you may be surprised to hear that it is largely inherited. He actually derives from the Pure Cat Ashley, a domestic cat from the 22nd Century who saved humanity and has essentially never let humanity forget it.
When some of the few human combatants in Interstellar War I returned to Earth around 2175, despite the usual stringent quarantine checks, humankind began to be devastated by a virus that attacked the human immune system. Deaths mounted and the projections were that within 10 years humans could be wiped out. That was looking to be the case until the work of Vice-Professor Tjoorbaert Morabitz from the Austrian Academy of Galactic Science and his assistant Trevor (unfortunately, Trevor’s surname has been lost in the annals of the history of science but some experts believe he actually did all of the work). Anyway, Tjoorbaert was also the founder of ClonaCat and in his efforts to create the perfect domestic cat, he had spent many years trying to fully understand the genetic make-up of Ashley who had been perfect physically and had an IQ almost 100X higher than normal for a cat of the time.
Whilst studying Ashley’s genes and behaviour (and the latter was what you probably would expect from Zeus) Tjoorbaert (or possibly Trevor) discovered that a transposon in Ashley’s DNA had the capability to destroy a range of viruses, including the common cold, that variously afflicted the human population. The so-called ‘friendly-transposon’ also became the miracle cure for the Amora virus, the bug brought back by the early deep space explorers.
Humanity was saved by this serendipitous property of the Ashley ‘Friendly’ Transposon. There were consequences, however. All humans effectively became part-cat, or rather part Ashley, with the phenotype of humans in relation to cat characteristics varying widely. For some there was hardly any effect, others suddenly liked to chew grass and vomit whilst some couldn’t pee unless they were standing on a tray full of litter and quite a few couldn’t survive without being waited on hand and foot. Obviously, despite the social embarrassment some of these actions could lead to, it was better than dying. Fortunately, around 15 years after the introduction of the Ashley Transposon, other scientists found treatments that could suppress most of the cat characteristics that Ashley brought into the human gene pool. This left us with immune humans who occasionally hissed when they got really pissed off and chased anything smaller that moved.
And Cat? Robot Cat? Well, he was the perfect clone of Ashley though he had no living flesh because of course, he was ‘robot’. However, Ashley’s DNA had properties that went well beyond the 4 nucleotide bases found in all living creatures across the Universe to date. Ashley’s DNA had attitude and Cat had inherited elements of ‘attitude’ in extremis.
These creatures are a scourge on humanity – there’s no other way to describe them. Well actually there is. They are ugly, nasty, foul, cruel, stupid, slimy, smelly creatures whose sole purpose seems to be to take over Earth with increasingly complex plots. They also hate me. Unbelievable. Just because, on occasion, whilst saving rat Cat’s skin I may inadvertently have thwarted one or other of their stupid plans.
First on the Play Planet and then at Dinosaur Skyland I’ve had to deal with them interfering in my life. Cat has been little help, constantly refusing to help protect me from them. Honestly, at times I could believe he was in league with them.
Mud Lizards had first been encountered on a deep space mission in the middle of the 7th decade of the 21st Century, on the planet Plasmolidium in the star system Trappist-1. Actually, I believe the planet was supposed to be called Plasmodium because the explorers who first landed there found something very similar to the malaria parasite on Earth, that had been eradicated on Earth yonks ago. However, when the planet was registered, the official filling out the inevitable form forgot to turn on his audio spellcheck and well, the rest is hystery as they say…..
Anyway, a few years later in 2170, when a heavily populated Earth ship landed on Plasmolidium, it was discovered that something much bigger lurked under the mud flats on the planet – the Mud Lizards. These fairly advanced (though as I wrote above, revoltingly ugly) creatures ate almost all of the humans who were on the ship and sent 2 survivors back to Earth with a message carved on their foreheads. The message was fairly short (obviously as it was on 2 foreheads) and basically was a declaration of inter-stellar war. Essentially, the first fight was a draw but then a few years later we won the second big fight and Mud Lizards wound up being quarantined on the planet Amora. Which is where I wish they would stay!!
We all know what a unicorn is, don’t we? A mythical creature that’s been in stories since forever. Well, since about 2125 they’ve been real.
Basically, another output of cloning was what so many children on Earth had wanted to see for so many years. Having heard all the mythical stories growing up, like the Zombies v Unicorns trilogy (ok maybe I was a bit strange as a child…) finally unicorns were there for all to see.
Initially developed by ClonaCat (who at that time had failed dismally to clone cats with the same characteristics as recently deceased and much loved family pussycats) unicorns instantly became a massive hit in recreation areas for children and as real participants in plays and other live shows (now of course less frequent but still much sought after).
A few years after the unicorns started to be a kids attraction, some racehorse stables bred a couple and were allowed to include them in horse races. That changed though after several champion horses felt the unicorn in the race too often in their rear end and the horse racing governing body stipulated that horse and unicorn racing must be separated.
So whilst horse racing continued on its long-established path, unicorn racing developed its own unique niche. Unicorn racing was much like horse racing, the only difference being that there were more injuries to jockeys who often had to spend as much time with their ass in the air off the unicorn as they did on it. In fact, the Unicorn thrust (as it came to be known) gradually became a central feature of unicorn racing tactics and length of unicorn horn became as key a characteristic of a champion unicorn as speed!!
Ahh, now a crocadillo was one of Earth’s first attempts at using inter-species cloning in the ‘specialist’ pet industry. By the second or third decade of the 22nd Century, crocodiles had become quite popular as pets in certain parts of the World. This was in large part due to a highly successful airplay programme called Crocodile Challenge.
In CC (as it came to be known) the challenge was for individuals to domesticate a crocodile using a highly specialised approach to animal training developed by an old European countrywoman whose name was Agspeth Abernacleton (the Abernacleton’s were well known for their wildlife parks across Europe and Agneth developed a training methodology based on implants that enabled her to control even the feistiest of animals, including crocodiles). After the success of CC as an airplay spectacle, the sale of trained crocodiles as pets went through the roof. Eventually, however, the unfortunate deaths of a few owners got noticed and it came to be realised that Agneth’s training approach had some flaws in it that only became apparent longer term.
At about this time a new generation company called CloneMate were experimenting in the area of exotic pets and for some unfathomable reason made a crocodile and armadillo hybrid. Armadillos were quite docile and cute and the most aggressive act they tended to practice was rolling up into a ball. This non-aggressive nature was just as well because the resultant hybrid, the crocadillo, was to all intents and purposes an armoured crocodile, albeit fortunately a quite docile one (mostly).