Yap Dog Pneuma
Pauline completely ignored Rin’ichirou’s presence and spoke only to Clara. Rin’ichirou heard that strange word yapoo but wasn’t aware yet that it meant he was an inferior beast; instead he believed Pauline ignored him because he was naked.
Clara seemed to realise a lady couldn’t address a naked man and realised she had to do something to intercede. Firstly, two young women talking to each other with a naked man sitting at their feet was not an acceptable tableau. Clara felt she had no choice but to use her less than perfect English to explain the details of the emergency that had caused Rin’ichirou to come running without a stitch of clothing on, apologise for the impropriety and have him get dressed in the riding clothes he’d taken off.
As she was planning this, Rin’ichirou was about to stand up but suddenly a sound came from behind him as if a wild beast was leaping at him. At the same time as Clara let out a startled yelp and Pauline commanded, “stop!” in a strict voice, something leapt onto Rin’ichirou’s back. He tried to twist away from it at once but it had bitten him on the right side. Rin’ichirou felt a shock go through him as if he’d touched a high-voltage wire and his whole body convulsed. The very next second, Pauline’s beautiful leg whipped past and kicked the beast away. At the same time, Rin’ichirou felt a sharp pain in his right ear. The woman’s sandal’s edge had clipped him as she kicked and taken some skin off.
“Rin!” Clara screamed, her face ashen.
“It’s fine, darling.” Pauline thought her new acquaintance had a fear of dogs and was quick to try to ease her worries. “It would never bite a human.”
“What is it? Rin, nichts über?”
Clara asked her questions so quickly she muddled them up: the first she spoke in English and then – without seeming to realise it – she swapped to German. The dog (?) was oddly formed and looked like it was ready to bite; it seemed to want to approach Rin’ichirou but couldn’t.
Rin’ichirou wished to comfort Clara and tried to look towards her but his entire body was numb and wouldn’t move. He tried to open his mouth in surprise but that was impossible too. Only his eyes were still under his control. He had been frozen in an awkward half-standing, twisted position like the people in the old stories who had looked upon Medusa. The blood from the cut on his ear painted the floor red, drop by drop.
The strange dog approached Pauline cautiously. As she rubbed it affectionately with her foot, she noticed the surprise on Clara’s face.
“Surely you know about the Neanderthal Hounds that are in fashion now?” Pauline responded in amazement. The tone of her voice belied the contempt she felt as a refined woman for the ignorance of a girl from the backwaters.
Rin’ichirou’s field of vision was severely restricted with his head stuck facing downwards and at first all he could see was Pauline’s feet, glistening pale white, until the strange dog suddenly slipped into view. Rin’ichirou doubted his own eyes and if he hadn’t already been paralysed, his body would have been frozen in terror. The dog – if you could call it a dog – was human – if you could still call it human in the state it was in.
At first glance, the balance between its limbs, torso and head did suggest the body of a dog. The metal collar glinting around its neck, the way it planted its hind legs and reared its head resembled a large breed dog. But upon closer inspection, the impression was shattered. Its hind legs were about the same thickness and shortness as its forelegs, no longer able to sustain walking upright but still quite obviously the degraded legs of a human being.
Its forefeet were endowed with palms from which five degenerated fingers extended, its legs were short and at first glance it carried itself like a quadroped and moved around agilely on all fours like a beast. However, its limbs were human originally. Its torso was sinewy, and slim without much meat on its bones. Its abdomen was extremely compact with a greyhound’s lightness. It would be fair to say it was the spitting image of Taro who had been killed by the flying saucer earlier. Aside from on its head, it was almost completely hairless. Its body was a dark, suntanned yellow and on its back were scars like it had been torn up by a wild animal’s claws and welts from a whip. They spoke eloquently of violent enslavement and breaking. Its black hair was clipped close to the skull and on its wide forehead was tattooed the double-headed eagle that was the coat of arms of the Jansen family. In addition, it had black eyes and a flat nose, all the physical attributes that indicated it was of the same race as Rin’ichirou. The handlebar moustache that filled the space under its nose was strangely comical and underneath that protruded fearsome lips from which emerged metal fangs that shattered the illusion of this being a human face. However, in the same way that we recognise a clown’s face as human, there was no doubt that this too was a person.
This was Pauline Jansen’s beloved dog Pneuma.
The canis that have been cherished by humankind in prehistoric times were now so rare they could only be seen in zoos, and for many centuries the word “dog” had been used almost exclusively to refer to yap dogs. Short-legged yapoo were placed from birth in low-ceiled cages where the roof was electrified to discourage standing upright. After two full years – though this term could be shortened by up to two months – they had a lifelong tendency to crawl on all fours. This was how domestic dogs were created from short-legged yapoo. Yapoo thremmatology gave birth to dozens of varieties with differences in body size, hair, tails, etc. The diversity of the yap dog came to rival that of the old dogs, and their superior abilities made them at once the king of pets. The old dogs were expelled to zoos and yap dogs stole the title of humanity’s most faithful companion, the dog. On the whole, no other yap animal (the general term for any domestic animal created from modifying raw yapoo) was more loved by the citizens of EHS than the yap dog.
The Neanderthal Hound was a relatively newly created breed of dog that had gained its name from being used at first in the hunting and capturing alive of Neanderthals from the Earth 50 thousand years in the past to be used as gladiators. Now though, they were popular in EHS’s upper class society as guard dogs. They had neither hair nor tails and they weren’t particularly modified physically so that they still retained the rustic charm of the yapoo’s original form. With some practice they could scamper extraordinarily fast and they also possessed amazing offensive abilities. The artificial shock fangs they were equipped with first cut through an enemy’s defences by delivering them an electroshock, after which a poison was injected from the fangs. The poison targeted the central nervous system and once someone was bitten, their whole body would be paralysed, falling into a non-resistant state in which they couldn’t even lift a single finger. This state would continue until the antidote was administered. This ability was especially useful for when the captured game were loaded into narrow ships to return them to the future.