Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Notes from the Mad Science Lab: Scruffy Meets His Destiny

One of the neighbors dropped by yesterday afternoon. Apparently their dog Scruffy is missing. Mr. Neighbor wanted to know if I'd seen the dog or knew anything about it.

Now, this was not just an innocent inquiry. Scruffy has a long history of defecating in my yard - despite having a perfectly good yard of his own, I might add. On several occasions he's gotten out, and when he does he comes straight to my house and either starts digging around outside the windows, or barking loudly just outside the house. I have long suspected that Scruffy smells something from the Mad Science Lab, since he mainly does his damage near the hidden vents for the crypto-zoo.

I assured my neighbor that I had not seen scruffy, and - more to the point - that I had not done anything to harm his dog. After a couple of reiterations, he went away. I don't think he was completely satisfied, but he left.

Yesterday evening, I went back outside and looked around the yard. There was, of course, no sign of Scruffy himself, but I could see where he'd been digging. Sure enough, it was over by the vents of the crypto-zoo. And after a bit more looking, I found that Scruffy had unearthed one of the vent covers... which meant that there was a non-zero chance that the idiotic mutt had slid down into the crypto-zoo.

I placed a sentry-bot just inside the vent. (After all, if Scruffy had fallen in, he may have cleared a path where something else could come out. The sentry bot is equipped with sensors and a limited range of weapons. As a last resort, it will blow itself up and seal the vent that way.) Then I put the grate back in place, and replaced screen that conceals it.

Scruffy was indeed in the crypto-zoo. He'd fallen into the cavern with Cuddles and his friends. I'm not sure which of them got to Scruffy first, but they obviously thought I'd started offering them Labrador Snacks. Fortunately, there was enough left for my purposes - in this case, cloning.

Scruffy 2.0 is still in the vats, but he's coming along nicely. (I can't send him over as a puppy; I'm discreetly replacing a full-grown dog, after all. So he has to go through a bit of artificial aging, and that requires both growth accelerators and a nutrient bath rich enough that the process doesn't starve the poor beast.)

Since I'd be a fool to pass up an opportunity like this, I've taken some steps to make sure that Scruffy 2.0 has no desire to visit my home. To start with, I tinkered with his genes before I grew the clone; given a few months to assimilate his new life, the dog will have human-level intelligence. (He'll probably be smarter than my neighbors, not that that would be any great feat.) Once he's able to communicate, I can explain how he came by his remarkable intelligence; I'm sure he'll be sufficiently grateful that he'll leave my lawn alone. Failing that, I can at least explain why it's a bad idea to dig in the vicinity of my home; revealing the fate of his first incarnation should do the trick nicely.

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