I was born in this icy wasteland, far from the dogscape. There is no culture here beyond the militaristic and rigidly enforced heirachy, all the restrictions on where we could be and when. My parents were superiors in a chain of command, nothing more. I lived and breathed the life of a Dogscape Response Team officer. Most of my life was spent in uniform, recreation was applied for and possibly approved of by a superior on occasion. This included games of virtual golf. Reading from a carefully managed collection of books.|
The possibility of the dogscape reaching us and collapsing generations of research was always looming over, like a dense black cloud. Because of this we were constantly reminded our only purpose was to work, and procreation was to be carried out in service of our duty. The threat of the Dogscape made this way of life neccessary, we were routinely told.
First Earth, Then The Stars. This was our motto. To save the planet and colonise outerspace, lest the dogscape return. We still had access to the old languages and English was most widely spoken on base. Across the sea language had devolved, it took experts in language analysis to interpret the footage we received in our communications department.
Cultures dissolved into one single unthinking mass. Lacking the self awareness they had once prided themselves upon. Sentience and ongoing self betterment. Identity and heritage. Now, for the most part there was the individual and the dogscape, nothing more.
I sat in the canteen, everything plain and grey, we queued, ate and cleaned our plates before resuming duties. Whether it was mindlessly gazing over the sea in the biting cold, cleaning research equipment or running around in circles to maintain our fitness. Posters everywhere, reminded us of our purpose, to destroy the dogscape and resurrect the planet. This seemingly noble aspiration had begun with explorers who had seized ships and fled when they were aware of the extent of what was coming. Only a powerful few were in the know.
They spread the the theory of Me'arm and Aduke. That one dog, named differently depending on the region, had expanded into the dogscape. Some were told they were insane, that the dogscape was a product of their fevered imagination. Cults had developed, engaged in meditation that they believed would enlighten them, allowing them to transcend the dogscape. Some of these cults engaged in mass suicide, others swam from coastal regions, hoping to survive the vast space between and arrive on the other side, returned to Earth.
The base encouraged these theories and believed by distracting the people they were less likely to pursue any efforts to escape the dogscape. They argued they were too far gone, their minds too fragile to manage the delicate work we were engaged in.
I knew neither of these theories had any basis in reality, Me'arm and the mass psychosis. Both were fictions. My understanding of what had REALLY taken place was as limited as anybody elses. The need to know basis which governed the spread of information around this base was designed to keep us in the dark. Rumour spreading was rife, despite being subject to disciplinary action. I was of the belief somebody once knew what had happened, but had died, taking the secret to the grave with them.
I was a drone operator. I gathered footage of the practices of tribes across the dogscape, mostly in the regions that used to be Northern Europe. I was also required to drop off scriptures and documents reinforcing the popular misconceptions of these people. We were reassured this was ethical, that creation myths and common ideals would help bond communties, that communities could survive the dogscape better. It would be a hindrance if they started wondering what came before.
I often wondered why our priority was not liberating them from the dogscape, then I'd recall the sensitive nature of our work, that these people would only be detrimental to the survival of the planet.
'Aduke. The singular, the only, Father of the Dogscape. Bearer of Puppy Fruits which satiate our hunger, giver of puppy streams which quench our thirst, The provider of dog mounds which serve our lust.'
Every document, every cassette recording dropped across the dogscape began this way. It made my skin crawl, but I was powerless, my doubts were futile. The people were kept in line and had become strangely grateful for their environment, they knew no better.