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2032-01-12 2100EST Vince and JJ get laced up

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Event: 2032-01-12 2100EST Vince and JJ get laced up

Scenario: The Time Before

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Characters Locations
Vince, JJ, Nick, Aslan Narnia Base

Amazon Rainforest

Brazil

Aspects
Caused By Cause Of
On This Day

Vince? Vince?” The familiar, high voice was followed by rapid nervous licking on his chest.

Vince woke slowly. He cracked open his eyes for a moment, then squeezed them shut. Even the dim light was enough to set off a searing pain behind his eyes. He groaned, a deep rumbling sound rolling around in his huge chest. The licking stopped for a moment and Vince felt a small weight on his chest shift, crawling closer to his face.

“I’m awake, JJ,” Vince said. The licking resumed with at a frantic pace, while JJ wriggled around in a paroxysm of excited relief. Vince reached his massive arms up slowly to rub his temples. His head felt heavy, his thoughts mushy. He could feel JJ’s intense alertness as he moved. Carefully, he opened his eyes again. The pain was much less this time, and faded quickly.

Vince reached down to gently stroke JJ’s cheek and head, ruffling the long golden hair.

“Oh, boss…” JJ sighed, leaning in to the giant black fingers.

. . .

In the observation room, Nick smiled at the mismatched pair. The enormous gorilla was fifty timer heavier than the tiny golden dog on his chest. JJ was wagging so hard he started to lose his balance. Vince casually steadied his tiny friend with a hand almost large as JJ’s whole body. Nick shook his head, recalling how hard he’d fought for funding for the Canine line in the Narnia Project. The higher-ups at Pfizer had rejected dogs for a lack of tool use. Nick convinced them that 40000 years of gentic engineering for compadability with humans was worth something. Glancing upward he said, “Aslan, can you give me an analysis of their mental states from their laces yet?”

A huge lion appeared in Nick’s AR, walking through a wall and into the room where Vince and JJ continued to comfort each other. They could not see the virtual projection of the machine intelligence that ran Narnia Base yet; their neural laces had just been installed and would stay in read-only mode for a while. Nick noted that Aslan had added a gentle glow to his leonine avatar.

The lion circled the pair twice before turning to Nick. “Their readings look very good,” he said in a rich and musical voice. “The nanowires have caused a small amount of trauma, as expected, but well within accepted tolerances.”

“That’s great,” Nick said. “Hopefully their concussions will heal fast.”

Aslan chuckled warmly. “The next phase will have to wait at least a week in any case, my friend." He stepped though the wall, into the room with Nick. It was a neat trick of the AR interface, since the observation room was physically separated from the recovery room by 20m. It was the magic of AR that let Nick observe his friends as if looking in through a window. "You know I need quite a lot of data to model their minds and program their embedded AIs.” Aslan turned and sat gracefully, continuing to watch the mismatched companions.

Nick sighed. “I know, I know.” He rifled through some virtual files for a moment, then pulled out the project schedule. “Let’s get Paula and Sean ready for their laces.” He plucked their images out of the ‘Pending’ line of the plan. Paula was a glorious bird, all brilliant colours and contrasts. Her body was based on the Scarlet Macaw, though a lot of her anatomy was drawn from other parrot species. Nick placed her on the ‘Install Neural Lace’ line.

Next he picked up Sean. The dog’s large body was based on a Bouvier, though he had also been modified with features from other breeds. Nick shook his head at the latest haircut Sean had chosen for himself. His hair was cut close over his whole body – except for his tail and a crest down the back of his neck. °I think he looks silly,° Nick thought, °but who am I to judge an intelligent dog who is fascinated with horses?° He pushed Sean in beside Paula, flipped the switch from ‘pending’ to ‘active’, and closed up the plan.

He glanced back into the recovery room. Vince was lying on his back on a specially constructed hospital bed. He was the largest uplifted gorilla so far, weighing in at a little over 360Kg. Even leaning over to walk with his knuckles, Vince could look Nick in the eye. “You know, Aslan? I never really thought we would hatch an 800 pound gorilla.”

Aslan nodded, still looking at them. “Forming pairs with primary uplifts and secondary canine uplifts was inspired,” he said. JJ chose that moment to roll over onto his back and then curl around into a 'J' with his head pointing down his body. He looked gloriously beautiful atop Vince’s massive chest.

“Ya just want to go in and rub his belly, eh?" Nick grinned as he imagined the disaster that would follow sneaking up on the gorilla and his sentry. “Let me know when they wake up, but get them started on the lace training protocol whether I answer or not.” He glanced at the time in his AR. “They have the right idea. I’m gonna hit the sack.”

...

JJ woke up choking off a convulsive scream. This was not unusual. He knew his progenitor breeds were lapdogs and sentries, and that heritage meant terrible alertness to any environmental change. At two years of age he was pretty sure he should be able to sleep through the ventilation system coming on. He sorted through his emotions for a time, practicing the breathing and focus that Nick and Aslan taught. JJ knew he wasn’t very smart, and that being smart wasn’t his job. He knew humans, and he knew how to pay attention to the world in ways that Vince could not. He was Vince’s touchstone when it came to people, and his protector when it came to threats.

°Protector!° JJ sneezed with glee at the idea that ten kilos of modidogge could protect a gorilla that could beat a hole in the ceiling by stretching too hard. JJ remembered the decontamination procedures after that little error with a shudder of horror. He was a little vain, and did not at all enjoy how he looked shaved down to the skin.

“Grnuft.” Vince’s deep rumbling voice was a calming breeze, settling JJ back toward slumber. A giant hand pawed at the broad chest he lay on, scratching at something for a moment. Vince’s eyes flickered open, then slowly closed. A huge hand cupped JJ easily, lilting him out of the way as Vince rolled into the fetal position on his left side. He set JJ down near his face and smacked his lips, already fast asleep.

JJ leaned in for a moment, tasting his master’s breath. He felt satisfied that Vince smelled healthy. Building on this feeling, JJ recalled other happy scents for a long moment. He panted a few times, then shook himself clear.

He didn’t even need to use his thumbs to walk up Vince’s arm. The big guy’s shoulder was enormous and warm – easily big enough and cozy enough to make a fine bed for an terribly alert uplifted dog.


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