OK Peeps this is where Bumble and Clem meet each other for the first time, and where Clem's villain status is cemented also this chapter illustrates some things about Viola Strierra as opposed to Alderbaren the other planet where Mizzer Humanimals were sent, on Viola Strierra Bumble and Squeeks are both 'public property' Slaves they belong to the city as much as the street signs and fire hydrants as opposed to privately owned Slaves that belong to specific individual citizens of the planet, Shale and her Dad were privately owned in their story as they were bought as House Slaves for one Lord Damon, a large metropolis like Capitol City has a large amount of Public Property slaves as municipal and for working in public places like restaurants because it's cheaper the city feed and care for them than the 'Mangers' of places like the Blue Danube Lounge who don't want to do it anyway.
So Bumble and Squeeks returned from their first day of apprenticeship in the evening, and were soon given their evening meal, Bumble ruefully ate his kibble wishing it was a cheeseburger and was beginning to tell Squeeks about his day but the Naked Mole Rat quickly shut down all attempts at conversation.
"I'm tired." Squeeks said huffily as he finished his meal and pulled the covers over his head "I want to go to bed, tomorrow's another busy day."
Bumble sighed seemed everyone, be they a Mizzer Humanimal or a native of Viola Strierra seemed too tired or simply not in the mood to talk, it was the middle of summer here as it had been on Mizzer and the days were long and hot for those covered with fur, feathers or even blubber and having to wear clothes over that insulation.
Bumble sighed again, lay his head down on his pillow and hoped for a conversation with one of his fairy mentors.
Remember when those fairy mentors said this was when things were going to get hard? Well this time the fairies did not send him a pleasant dream of fun and games or even just a comforting conversation to remind him he wasn't alone in his struggles, this time the fairies took the form of his parents as his first 'nightmare test'
Bumble found himself in a pitch black space and he saw his parents with disgusted expressions on their faces.
"How could you be friends with a naked mole rat?" His Mom asked
"Son," His Dad said "We do NOT fraternize with the other species!"
"They're dangerous!" His Mom snapped her voice becoming more like canine barking
Bumble for the first time felt himself getting hot under the fur, no longer was his parents views merely tolerably with a nod and simply giving his laird back equivalent to 'whatever' now for the first time he was really beginning to get angry at his parents for their levels of ignorance and the injustice of it all because he was the child he had to submit to their ignorance.
His parents had been going on and on to Bumble they no longer seemed like majestic Labradors but yapping little dogs that were so stereotypically kept in the purses of rich human women particularly from Beverly Hills…
"Just because you're grown-ups doesn't mean you know everything!" Bumble snapped, and maybe he could have said a little more to back up his case but in dreams we're never a hundred percent logical, in dreams our animal instincts come out to play where it is safe.
He barred his teeth a leapt and his parents fully intending to bite them. But his parents faded away and instead Bumble fell into a swirling mass of psychedelic colors…Before finally floating back down in the pitch black space.
"Congratulations…" Bumble heard the Dream Fairy's voice echoing in this dreamscape "…You've passed the test."
"Test?" Bumble panted "What test?"
"You'll soon see." He heard the Dream Fairy's response
"Oh…Wow man…" Bumble sighed realizing the Fairies really meant it when they said things were gonna get harder…
The digital alarm clock blared once again the herald to the daily grind…Working 9 to 5 as Dolly Parton famously sang about.
As Bumble began to get dressed mumbling about his upcoming 'Gracefulness Training' the middle aged Mongrel Dog-Woman Delores who seemed to be the closest thing to 'Den Mother' of this Cabin of City Slaves said "You don't have to go to the Blue Danube Lounge today."
"Why?" Bumble asked "Is it closed today or something?"
"Unfortunately no," Delores said "The reason is a lot more disturbing, a Nobleman who lived in the same building as the lounge has murdered his wife, and while the death a Humanimal may not be important here the death of a human is…So the police have that entire building under investigation…The Humanimals who have been working at the Blue Danube for years are being questioned as even the humans have to admit we can be a source of valuable information but the new apprentices don't have to come in today…They might tamper with the investigation."
"Oh." Bumble said than he shuddered at the idea of a genuine murder, something that had been the subject of many a Saturday Night movie back when he lived on Mizzer but something everyone felt was a thing of the past…
Then on a whim, he turned to Squeeks, "Hey Squeeks since I'm not going to my job training today, can I come with you and see what your job training is like at the Mechanic's Shop?"
"Why would you want to do that?" Squeeks asked
"Because I don't have anything else to do?" Bumble said "Besides you got a cool job! Working with those flying cars sounds way more important than waiting tables!"
Squeeks was genuinely taken aback, he didn't think the life of mechanic was anything anyone would think was exciting but then realized compared to the job Bumble had been given of being a waiter at a restaurant, yeah probably does sound better by comparison.
So Bumble followed Squeeks to his transportation, they left their underground cabin by 'Transportation Tubes' which pushed things to and fro with only the force of air, both humans and Humanimals used them for rapid transport but Humanimals were not to dare enter the ones Humans used unless they wanted death.
As they pushed along the long tube, Bumble kept thinking about how much this reminded him of The Jetsons how for Mizzer Cubs that was the meaning of 'The Future' even though the age they were living in was several thousand years from the era the Jetsons supposedly lived in 2062…
For the Mizzerans discovered they didn't actually want flying cars, houses on poles several miles above the ground or sassy robot maids, what they really wanted (At least according to Mizzer's Humans) They wanted to live in (relative) peace and harmony with nature, to explore the boundaries of Mother Nature as gently as possible without upsetting her delicate balance and to finally create the Peaceable Kingdom where the various children of Earth (Represented by the Humans and Humanimals) could live in peace and friendship.
That's what the humans were aiming for, but they failed to properly communicate that with the Humanimals when they were first let out of their pod all those thousands of years ago, in their worshipfulness of animals they believed the Humanimals wise enough to already know what the humans wanted because the animals must want the same peaceable kingdom as well but what the Humanimals got from the educational filmstrip they were shown upon first awakening from their pods was 'You should be like Man in all things, because Man is superior to you, he created you'
Poor communication kills Folks.
So arriving at the Car Repair Shop, Bumble's sensitive canine nose was immediately overwhelmed by the familiar scent of gasoline, not exactly a pleasant aroma to any Humanimal but he was instantly taken back to when the family car was acting funny and his Dad took the car to the car repair place and they were there for several hours, while there Bumble wandered about the shop part of the place examining all the cool car paraphernalia and marveling at the scent of rubber tires.
The two mechanics who were teaching Squeeks were also naked mole rats, two males, their beady eyes widened when they saw Bumble.
"Squeeks," One of the rodents "Whose this?"
Bumble immediately spoke up to clear up the matter "Hi, I'm Maurice but friends call me Bumble, I'm an apprentice waiter for the Blue Danube Lounge but since somebody was murdered the apprentices can't come in…I asked Squeeks if I could follow him for today."
The two naked mole rats shuddered "Oh yeah that case." Said the rat who had asked "That's been all over the news, in that case you can hang around so long as you don't touch anything or otherwise mess with our work."
"Yeah…" Said his partner with a deeper voice "…As long we're not helping an apprentice play hooky cuz we could get in deep trouble for that."
"Anyway." Said the First Rodent "We got a house call today, an overseer for the city power plant can't get his car started at all…We need to head over to his place to work on his car….Since he's an overseer he works with Humanimals all day and doesn't like them…So we'll work with him and you Cubs best stay out of the way…Little Cubs tend to get overseers twitchy, you know what I mean."
During the Car Ride over with the two adult mechanics in the front seats and Bumble and Squeeks in the back, Bumble began thinking about how Squeeks had two mentors who were his species, I mean yes Naked Mole Rats were known for their intelligence, but being a car mechanic, even if they were flying cars couldn't be that hard…Thinking back to when they had to get the family car repaired Bumble remembered there was a Domestic Pig and a Black Rhinoceros working with the two human men who surfaced the car…Then he was beginning to realize something else about his own workplace, all the 'Native Workers' were Domestic Animals mostly Dogs and Cats and some Common Farm Animals mostly Pigs, the only wild, exotic zoo animals were among his fellow Mizzer apprentices, come to think of it in the Cabin most of the Native Humanimals were Domestic Dogs…Having lived in the Domestic Dog District of Mizzer for of his life his was accustomed to being surrounded by Fellow Dogs but in this place where supposedly all the species mingled together the lack of biodiversity in the Native Populations was becoming quite clear.
He then remembered the night of the capture how the Wranglers and Lord Sean seemed particularly pleased by the exotic zoo animal Humanimals and how he a Labrador Retriever was dismissed as 'Common as Muck' it was beginning to dawn on Bumble that perhaps the whole reason for the invasion of Mizzer was because they were running out of exotic wild species which would be more popular than common domestic animals…Naked Mole Rats were here because while they were wild they weren't 'beautiful' and thus not as popular.
Upon reaching the destination the Overseer and the Two Mechanics would be in the garage, The Overseer a large Bloodhound-Man to 'Watch the Whelps' in the house.
Clem earlier that morning had been talking to his master about how much he wanted to 'Go on a hunt' and 'How much fun it would be to put those wild varmints in their place' the Overseer had been doing his accounts at the time, he had gotten accustomed to this strange Humanimal's constant fawning and at that point pretty much tuned out the constant babbling.
As Bumble and Squeeks sat on the floor, Bumble caught the delicious aroma of baked beans and noticed in this strange surprisingly Earthy home in the middle of the city, the beans were cooking in an old fashioned cauldron made of cast iron cooking in the fire place. Why is such a futuristic place would someone indulge in such old fashioned cooking methods seemed beyond comprehension…Unless Bumble speculated that these Wranglers like the Mizzerans also have a fetish for the past but they have to hide it and keep it in the privacy of their homes.
Clem meanwhile, had devolved so much that he was quickly losing his ability to think rationally, here he was with two Humanimals, one was a Dog, but a Labrador Retriever, better than a Mongrel but he wasn't a Bloodhound the best dog of all, the other being a Naked Mole Rat, was one of those disgusting wild creatures, Clem felt his lips curl in disgust, wild creatures he felt shouldn't even have the right to approach man! Dogs were man's best friend therefore Dogs have the right to be closer to man than any other creature.
(Clem is really starting to sound like a creepy possessive lover isn't he Kids?)
Not even thinking about the two naked mole rats repairing his Master's car right now…All he could think about was his hatred for all Humanimals who were not Dogs…And his intense desire to hunt.
But Bumble and Squeeks had instincts too, they could just smell the cortisol rising in the Bloodhound making him stink the fur rising along his arms, caused the fur the raise along Bumble's back and Squeeks' naked pink skin to get goose pimples! Animals are so much more adept at reading body language than us humans, both Cubs were anticipating the attack before Clem, sprung and Squeeks quickly bolted over the green sofa, Bumble meanwhile, planned his counter attack, he ran behind Clem and grabbed the bloodhound's tail with his teeth!
Clem yelped and fell flat on his belly!
While only eight years old Bumble was surprisingly strong for his age! (It was probably all that helping Mom carrying heavy grocery bags!) With the tail in his teeth he grunted "What the Hell?!" (You knew it was serious when Bumble swore, Bumble never resorted to profanity) "Why are you attacking him?! We're all Humanimals!"
Having never had any real friends in his life Clem never realized the views of his family weren't the views of every Dog Humanimal for a moment he was suffering a 'Does-Not-Compute' moment "Why?" He exclaimed "Because he's not a Dog! He's a Wild Creature! All Wild Creatures are filth not fit to be seen by our glorious masters the Humans!"
That shocked Bumble; this jerk actually liked the Wranglers! The sudden jerk of his head with the tail still tightly clamped in his teeth accidently caused his to snap Clem's tail clean off! Leaving only a stub as Bumble howled out his pain!
Bumble slowly backed away, he quickly took the tail out of his mouth…Seeing Squeeks cowering behind the sofa caused him to do something he never imagined he could do! He dropped the tail in the cauldron of beans and then he raced over the Squeeks
"We're not safe here." Bumble said "We got to tell your two teachers the Dog attacked us.
"Why did you drop the tail…" Squeeks began to ask
"If he likes humans so much…" Bumble said coldly "…He won't mind if his beloved Master eats his tail."
Hoo Boy this may be the longest chapter I've ever done so far