Dinosaur Skyland is the very latest in Artificial Reality and CE (Consumer Edutainment). Orbiting around 100 miles above sea level, Skyland is basically a place to take the family back in time for a luxury holiday, to the Jurassic period when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.
Holiday makers can get close up and personal with the widest range of creatures from that period. If learning is your thing then Skyland provides a range of options to study the animals, including to actually become part of their daily routine. If thrills are why you are there then you can joust with the most fearsome of dinosaurs, from the Slasharapter to Megasaurus and Tyrannosaurus rex.
The World famous T. rex experience includes such optional fun extras as ‘Watch your Granny get Swallowed Whole’ and ‘Feed the kids to the Rapter’. There is also a ‘break it off with your partner’ service mediated by a pair of suitably empathetic Velocirapters that has proven very popular since Skyland opened its clouds to visitors.
It was at Dinosaur Skyland that Cat almost got bitten in half by a T. rex.
ClonaCat was founded around 2110 by Tjoorbaert Morabitz, at the time the World’s most famous genetic engineer. Tjoorbaert was also a massive cat lover and believed that other people like him would pay small fortunes to have their beloved pet cats cloned and re-created after death. Tjoorbaert was certain that he could do far better than earlier experiments at domestic pet cloning that had not quite fulfilled needs.
However, just like the early experimenters in this niche market, Tjoorbaert found that the cats he created were never totally the same for the owners as the pets they had just lost. ClonaCat was looking like a failed enterprise until fortuitously, scientists working there on the horse genome, reactivated some ancient genes and created the first unicorn on Earth. This led to a whole new sports activity, unicorn racing, and ClonaCat became a prosperous concern through the selective breeding of unicorns for racing purposes.
The income from their unicorn ‘arm’ enabled Tjoorbaert to continue his research into the domestic cat genome, work that was accelerated by the arrival of a cat called Azz-leX. This cat appeared to Tjoorbaert literally out of the blue one evening (well appeared on his doorstep anyway) and turned out to be the ‘perfect’ cat with an incredible IQ. Not only that, but Azz-leX also provided humanity with the Azz-leX transposon, the cure to the DSR virus that had started to devastate the human population around 2170, near the end of the first interstellar war with the Mud Lizards.
ClonaCat ceased to trade in around 2180, being subsumed by CloneMate, another major cloning company of the time. CloneMate then used the expertise that ClonaCat scientists could bring to make the first generation of rubanon based artificial intelligences (AI’s). Cat, the Inspector’s companion, was the first off the production line and the only output from CloneMate that held a completely expressed copy of Azz-leX’s genome.
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 are Cat’s favourite snack. And my goodness did they compound his wind issue, or gaseous expellation as he preferred to describe it.
Whatever, although not made of flesh and blood certain of Cat’s internal workings (God knows which) led to a serious accumulation of hydrogen sulphide which he periodically expelled (or ‘let rip’ as he again describes it) through one or other of his myriad ports. Molten lava beans exacerbated the issue and whenever he snacked on them you could guarantee that fairly quickly, especially if in a confined space with him, you would regret it.
I knew full well that Cat controlled his expellations to annoy me and as a ‘weapon’ to guarantee I treated him like the Prince he thought he was.
Where did molten lava beans originate from? They were first noted on the planet Kimcadia by early explorers who had landed there. A staple component of the Kimcadian diet, their constant ingestion by Kimcadian diplomats explained why the seats furthest away from them at official banquets were so sought after (and expensive). The history books tell us there was a similar problem at banquets held for a US President in the early 21st Century, where hot air and possible use of weapons seemed to be as much of a problem as hydrogen sulphide.
Cat had many technologies to call on in his role of protecting me from all manner of dangers. He was pretty rubbish in my view at this protection malarky and always seemed to leave it to the last minute to grab me from the jaws of disaster. I think he enjoyed doing that (leaving it to the last minute that is!!).
Anyway, one tool he had which was generally very useful was his highly sensitive sonic radar. Unlike normal radar that detects objects and their movement, with sonic radar, Cat could also detect sounds very accurately. This basically meant that he could detect the smallest of objects easily, even if they remained totally motionless.
He often remarked that he always knew where I was because he could readily lock onto my brain, despite its size…….. cheeky little automaton!!
Oh yes, everyone asks what Cat is. Well, in short, he’s a massive pain in the butt to me and a right little know-it-all to boot (occasionally literally:-) ).
In reality Cat (note the capital C) is an artificial intelligence or what I like to call a robot. He has a Rubanon skin which makes him pretty indestructible (though a T. Rex nearly bit him in half once). Now that’s a story – and of course once again I saved his bacon. Not that he’s a pig of course.
Anyway, he is a robot and he is there to serve me and protect me in my duties as an Intergalactic Tax Inspector. Aside from the fact that he has the hardest outer coating known, and inside is full of chips (not the edible kind), he looks to all intents and purposes, due to clever body sculpting, like an ordinary domestic cat. I have to say he has many of the nastier characteristics of domestic cats!!
Well actually Rubanon, strictly speaking, isn’t on Earth as such. It’s a substance invented around 100 years ago, just after the start of the 22nd Century, by Professor Retnug Natiloportem (try saying that when you’ve had a half of Navah syrup).
She combined good old rubber with the element Memon (the hardest metal known to the human race) to invent Rubanon. This skin like material provides an incredibly hard yet flexible covering that can be used for a range of purposes, including as a very lifelike and hard wearing outer skin for robots.
Memon was discovered many years ago in our own Solar System, on Mars.