Doctor Porter swiped his security card and the elevator doors slid open. He walked inside and hit the down button, and the car descended into the underground laboratory. The doors opened, and the bald headed doctor walked in, scratching his moustache as he stepped down the long hallway.
Rather than going straight to his intended location, the doctor turned down a branching hallway and down to the heart of the operation, the place where it all started: the Natal Genetic Engineering Laboratory.
He swiped in with his All Access key card, and stepped in. The lab was empty, and had been empty for a while now. This lab had already served its purpose. However, Porter desired to return here for the nostalgia. He looked over at the six glass empty tubes. Wires and breathing masks hung loose inside the tubes with nothing to hook up to. The doctor could vividly recall the six pre-natal pups that had grown inside those tubes. Six different breeds, all modified in the same way. The brilliant scientists in this facility had modified those pups when they were each only a single stem cell. They spliced DNA, took out genes, replaced genes, added in DNA from other animals. . .and humans. . .
Doctor Porter breathed in and out and nodded to himself. “Perhaps it would have been easier if this had never happened,” he said softly, “But it is what it is now. And it’s time to finally end this. Today.”
The doctor turned around and left the room, without looking back.
The doors slid open to a glass observation deck, it’s wide window overlooking an obstacle course with pits, ladders, barbed wire, and pressure cannons sticking out of the walls. Doctor Cervas was already sitting at a chair in front of a microphone when Doctor Porter entered the room.
“Just in time, Mr. Porter,” Cervas said as he sat stiffly in his equally stiff, white coat.
“Shall we begin today’s testing now?” Porter asked rhetorically.
Cervas nodded silently, and he pressed a button on the control panel in front of him.
Down in the obstacle course, illuminated by the fluorescent lights above, a door slid open. Out of the door walked a small male dog. He was still a pup, although he was undeniably slightly big for a puppy. He was only slightly smaller than an average 10 year old boy.
Cervas leaned over to the microphone and pushed its button. “NGEL-06, can you hear me?”
The dog didn’t turn to look at the observation deck. He kept looking straight ahead, and spoke into the microphone in his collar, in perfect English, “Yes, sir. I hear you, sir.”
“Good. We shall now proceed with your scheduled Morning Testing,” Cervas said emotionlessly, “As usual, you will be timed. Testing will begin in three. . .two. . .one.”
Cervas hit a button, and a bell rang.
The german shepherd ran forward just as the pressure cannon fired extra large pain balls right at where he stood a second earlier. The dog came to a ladder and pulled himself up, rung by rung, kicking his body up to dodged the paint balls being fired at him. He pulled himself onto a plat form and performed a long jump over a wide pit of salty water. He cleared the gap and ran towards the barbed wire. Rather than simply crawling under it, he threw himself onto his side and performed a quick roll underneath the wire. He then ran across a thin pole, putting one paw in front of the other, and ducked a few more paint balls as he ran towards a red button. He slammed his paw onto it, and a second bell rang.
The german shepherd pup sighed. A new record.
“Good,” Cervas said, “You may eat.”
“Thank you, sir,” the dog said as the exit door opened. After the dog exited the room, the exit closed, and the door back at the start opened. Out walked a dalmatian pup. He was an inch smaller than the german shepard, but still quite large for a puppy.
“NGEL-01, can you hear me?”
The Dalmatian turned to the observation deck and said, “Yeah, sure.”
“Address me as sir,” Cervas said firmly.
“Yes, sir,” the dog said with a shrug.
“We shall now proceed with your scheduled Morning Testing. I shall remind you that doing poorly will result in appropriate disciplinary action. Understand me?” Cervas said in that firm tone.
“Yes, sir. . .” the Dalmatian whimpered.
“Good. As usual, you will be timed. Testing will begin in three. . .two. . .one.”
The bell rang, and the dog took off to the ladder. After a long moment of tension as he struggled to get up the ladder while dodging paintballs, he made it to the top and took a running start to clear the wide gap.
But then he tripped.
He fell over, rolled across the wooden platform, and over the side and into the water with a splash.
“NGEL-O1!” Cervas shouted furiously, “You will return to your Dwelling Section and not be fed. I suggest you work on improving your poor agility and coordination!”
The Dalmatian growled angrily. “But I just tripped-!”
“Do not talk back to your serperiors. Return to your Dwelling Section.”
The Dalmatian whimpered as he took the long walk to the exit door.
Cervas sat back in his chair and frowned grumpily. “It’s pathetic, really; how the first tries are never perfect. 01 is incredibly clumsy and awkward, as you just saw. 02 was better, although that speech impediment of his can drive me insane sometimes. Heh. At least he can walk on his hind legs. Personally I feel the scientists went to far with him. 03 is too timid and sensitive, ironic considering his breed and build. Then 04 developed hydrophobia. Many feared that he had rabies, but it turned out to be a simple phobia and nothing more. Aquaphobia is a better term I suppose. Luckily, 05 and 06 were both great successes. Their agility, strength, and intelligence are all we could have hoped for.” Cervas gave a deviant grin, “Heh, and what’s more, they seemed to have formed a connection of sorts. Perhaps we can get them to breed.”
“How interesting. . .” Porter remarked.
Cervas sighed and stood up, “Well then, let’s go. I want to observe 03’s testing personally.” Cervas went towards the door, but then Porter suddenly stepped in front of him.
“I’m sorry, doctor. But I’m afraid you won’t be seeing any experiments. Period,” Porter said seriously.
“What?” Cervas said flatly with a facial expression of annoyance.
Porter reached into his pocket and pulled out a silver badge. “Department of Justice- Civil Rights Division,” he declared.
“What’s the meaning of this?” Cervas demanded.
Porter put his badge away and said, “You and the other workers in this facility failed to realize that the moment this genetic enhancement project showed its results and produced your six ‘test subjects’, it was you who were being tested by the government.”
“What do you mean!?” Cervas demanded.
“That’s the thing with experimenting with DNA, with changing the nature of any creature on this Earth, with giving non-humans the intelligence, awareness, and sentience of humans. It blurs the line between man and animals, Cervas. It changes the name of the game from Animal Rights to Civil Rights.”
Cervas stood open mouthed as Porter continued to lecture him with arms folded.
“I collected more than enough evidence during all these months. Records, audio, video, you name it. The boys up on Capitol Hill went over it all with fine tooth combs held by experts from nearly all fields. The fact is that each and every one of those six dogs is a person. That is to say, they are legally entitled to personhood and all its rights. They speak, they think, they emote, they are intelligent, they possess empathy and sympathy, they have the capacity to comprehend morals, and they could easily look out into the future with desires and concerns about their state of being . . . that is, if you were to allow them.”
Porter then looked hard at Cervas and said, “And it is clear that life in this facility is not true life. If humans were put through this, it would be considered an atrocity. These dogs are neither animals nor pets. They cannot have masters, and they deserve restitution for the isolation and mistreatment they have endured here.”
Porter’s gaze softened suddenly, and he gently placed a hand on Cervas’ shoulder. “But I don’t blame you for any of this. Such a concept is so hard to grasp. An animal that is a person seems so impossible, and yet we’ve made six of them. This facility will be shut down and dismantled, you and your staff will be decommissioned, and we will all leave this in the past. Hopefully there will be a consensus to not perform experiments like this ever again. I believe it would be better that way.” Porter motioned to a chair. “Sit down. Relax. Let’s wait for the government men together.”
Cervas stared at Porter with a dazed facial expression for the longest time. Then, with a defeated sigh, he sat down.
Porter smiled and sat down as well. “I get to retire after this,” he said contentedly, “I’ve been long since due for retirement, there’s no doubt about that. I have big plans too. I plan on opening a nice little restaurant and grocery store in Adventure Bay. I’ll get to spend a lot more time with my grandson-”
Porter’s watch beeped.
“Ah, there it is. The National Guard has just arrived. Won’t be long now. And don’t worry, no one blames you. You won’t be arrested. Just out of a job. You’ll have a nice fat pension to live off of. Oh, and let me give you some advice.”
Mr. Porter smiled before continuing.
“Don’t have any pets . . . or stick with cats.”
The doors were suddenly kicked open.
The English bulldog pup whimpered as he stood in the small room, a man with a clipboard observing him from through a window. He looked over to the winding stiff metal cable on the table in front of him.
“Why?” he thought miserably as he crawled over to the metal loop at the base of one end of the cable.
He picked the metal handle of the loop up with his teeth, and slowly began to move it up along the cable, trying his hardest to not let it actually touch the cable. He silently moved the loop along the path, moving over the wires up and down curves. After a few seconds, he had made it halfway, a new record. Realizing this, the bulldog pushed himself to go a bit faster.
The dog yipped and squealed in pain as electricity raced through his body. After a few seconds of being stuck to the wire with this handle in his mouth, he was thrown back hard onto the ground, sliding over to the wall.
“NGEL-03. Again,” came a voice over the microphone.
“No more . . . please. . .” the dog whimpered pitifully, shrinking back from the hated wire.
“I said, again,” said the voice a little firmer.
The dog shook his head. “No. . . please no. . .I can’t do it anymore.”
The dog looked up fast to see men in uniform burst in through the door and surround the man at the controls. He also noticed Porter enter the observation room behind them, and open the door into the test chamber. He quickly walked over to the bulldog, knelt down, and started to pet him gently.
“It’s okay now,” Porter said, “You won’t have to do this anymore. I promise.” He gave the door a kind smile and said, “Come with me please. I’ll take you and your friends out of here. I promise.”
As the dog looked up at the man, he felt that he could truly believe him.
The German Shepard lay in his Dwelling Section, which was really a cage with an area of 3 square yards. He looked across sadly at the hungry looking Dalmatian, who lay dejectedly on his back, staring at the ceiling.
At this moment, the Dalmatian spoke, perhaps because he noticed that the German Shepard was staring at him. “Why can’t I be like you? Serious. Mature. Not clumsy. Not losing meals.”
“Don’t you even think like that,” the bigger dog replied, “You’re perfect just the way you are. And besides, I’ve messed up plenty times too. You know what?” the brown pup gathered his thoughts, lowering his head in concentration, and said assuredly, “What they’re doing is wrong!”
The Chocolate Labrador two Sections down lifted his head in confusion. “Wrong? But. . .humans are always wright! . . .Wright?”
The grey mixed breed across from him shook his head. “Wrong, my friend. I’ve thought about this for a long time, and I’ve determined that if something makes someone else unhappy when they don’t deserve it, then it’s wrong. Like when those mean guys made fun of the way you talk.”
The lab whimpered and hung his head sadly.
The grey dog smiled and held a white paw out, “Aww, its okay. You don’t have to worry about what others say. I like you for you. We’re friends, aren’t we?”
The brown lab smiled and nodded, holding a paw out in response, even though they were too far to touch. “Yeah. Friends!”
“That’s all nice, sure,” came a female voice from the cage next to the German Shepard. Everyone turned to see the female cocker spaniel and poodle mix, which was currently standing on her head with an expression of distress on her face. “But the real crime is how. . .small and close everything is!” She fell over, landing flat on her tail, and whimpered, “I want to move, to twirl, to rise above everything! But I can’t. . .I’m just bored, bored, bored!”
The large brown German Shepard looked on with a sadness that couldn’t match the sadness in the female’s pink eyes. He silently wished there was something he could do to help her. . .and everyone else of course! Yes. Right. . .
Suddenly, the doors to all of the cages swung open.
All the pups stuck their heads out and looked at the main door. Standing in the doorway, with the bulldog next to him, was Porter.
The man smiled at all the surprised pups. He smiled beneath his mustache and beckoned them over. “Come on. I want to show you something.”
The pups were brought to the elevator and taken up higher than they ever thought possible. Then, they went into the back of a truck, and were driven for quite a long time. They were all slightly nervous, and only the German Shepard had the nerve to ask the occasional question of what was going on and where they were going. Porter simply told them not to worry and that they could trust him to show them something wonderful.
Before long, the truck stopped, and the back of the truck opened. Golden light streamed in, blinding the pups temporarily. The pups shielded their eyes with their paws for a moment, and then finally let them down and looked out into the world.
Slowly and cautiously, the pups stepped out from under the shade of the truck. The young bulldog pup actually needed Porter to gently nudge him out.
The pups all looked up in awe at the clear blue sky, and around at the Sun soaked grass and trees.
Porter stepped out of the truck and smiled as he saw the amazed expressions on the pups’ faces. “You see?” he said, “You see how amazing this world truly is? You pups weren’t meant to be locked away in that awful laboratory. You’re all so much more than ordinary dogs. You are special, and I know that you’ll do some amazing things.” Porter addressed the pups as one and said, “So, may I ask, what do you desire? After all you’ve been through; surely you would accept something to help make up for it.”
“But. . .what do you mean?” the brown lab said.
“Oh, come now, little pups,” Porter said, “Surely you didn’t want to just spend your lives stuck in that dreary facility, going hungry and doing silly tests? You’re all individuals, with your own talents. You must have some desires. So, now that you are finally truly free to enjoy this big, wide, beautiful world; what would you all like to do now? What kind of life would make you happy?”
The pups, their eyes all wide, looked at each other, apparently too confused to speak.
“Actually,” the grey mixed breed finally said, “I’ve thought about this. It would be great if we could all do something good . . . maybe to help others somehow. It could be a life of action, where every day is a fun adventure, and not boring like where we used to live.”
At the word “boring,” the German Shepard’s ears perked up and looked around frantically. “She’s gone!” he said worriedly.
At that moment, everyone finally noticed that the cocker spaniel poodle mix was gone.
The female giggled to herself as she ran through the park, feeling the soft grass under her paws and the warmth of the Sun on her back. She jumped and flipped in midair, enjoying the freedom and wide open space around her. She chuckled and rolled around in the grass, enjoying the new feeling of freedom, when all of a sudden, she heard a strange humming sound. She looked up and saw, to her surprise, something small winged object about her size flying through the air above her.
Her pink eyes widened as she followed the flying silver object across the field and through some bushes and trees. She came out the other side and saw a young boy with tall, spiky brown hair holding a remote control.
“Hi!” she said, wagging her tail happily.
The boy turned to the dog a gasped, dropping his remote in shock. “Whoa! Did you just talk?” he asked in amazement.
“Yep!” the dog yipped happily.
Suddenly, the remote controlled flying wings fell to the ground and crashed a few feet away.
“Oh no!” the pup gasped.
The boy sighed and walked over to the wreckage.
“I’m really sorry! I didn’t mean for your flying thing to crash!” the brown pup whimpered.
The boy turned to her and smiled kindly, “Oh, it’s alright. It’s just a prototype. I bet I could even improve on it. I built it, after all.”
“Really? Wow! You must be super smart!”
The boy smiled bashfully. “Well, thanks. I really like building things and coming up with inventions.”
The dog stared at the broken device in wonder and said, “It must be amazing to be able to fly. I’ve always dreamed of flying high above . . . everything! Twirling and flipping and spinning in the sky!”
The boy watched the pup jump, romp, and play joyfully, laughing all the while. As he watched her, he began thinking. “I bet I could modify the design on my mini-jet wings so that she could wear it. She could fly for real-.” At that moment, it finally hit him that he was thinking about putting a jet pack on a talking dog!
“How did you learn to talk?” the boy asked.
“Oh, I always knew how to talk . . . at least as long as I can remember. Same with all my other friends,” she replied.
“There are more of you?” the boy asked curiously.
“Yep! I’ll bet they’ll like you as much as I do! You’re really cool!”
The boy laughed warmly, “Well, thanks.” He held out his hand to shake, “My name’s Ryder. What’s yours?”
The chipper cocker spaniel poodle mix suddenly wilted sadly. “I don’t have a name. None of us do, actually.”
“Didn’t you parents-?” Ryder began, but then stopped short when he got a good look at the pup’s sad expression. He thought for a moment, and then he began to pet her on the head gently. “I understand how you feel,” he said, “My parents aren’t with me either. Back before I moved here, to Adventure Bay, I lived in the big city. There was this earthquake . . . and it caused a lot of fires too.”
The pup looked on with wide eyes, listening intently as the boy melancholically told his story.
“People were going everywhere, trying to help everyone at once. The police officers, firefighters, and other rescue workers tried hard, but there was just so much going on. There weren’t enough people to respond fast enough. I got out, but . . . it was all just too tight for any of the rescue workers to get them out. The adults were just too big. It wasn’t their fault, but. . .”
Ryder stopped speaking and sniffled, wiping his eyes and nose on his sleeve. The pup’s heart went out to the boy. She found herself wishing that she had been there. She was sure a little pup like her, or her five friends could’ve slipped in quickly and protected Ryder’s parents from whatever fire or falling debris endangered them. Perhaps one of them could’ve moved any obstacles away, or dug them out somehow. She briefly recalled how much the bulldog liked digging.
She licked Ryder face in an attempt to comfort him. Ryder smiled and hugged her in return.
“It must be amazing to be able to fly. I’ve always dreamed of flying high above . . . everything! Twirling and flipping and spinning in the sky!”
“I could give you a nice name, if you’d like,” Ryder suggested.
“I would like it!” the pup said gleefully.
“What do you think of . . . Skye?”
“Skye . . . yeah! I like it! It makes me wanna fly!” Skye cheered. She jumped up and gave a few more puppy love filled licks to Ryder’s face. “Thanks Ryder! Thanks for everything!”
“Everything?” Ryder repeated.
Skye nodded, “Yeah! You gave me a great idea for what my friends and I can do in the world!”
“There she is! I found her!” shouted the voice of Porter.
Soon, Porter and the rest of the dogs were running over to Skye and Ryder. Skye ran over to meet them, calling out happily, “Guys! Guys! I’ve figured out what we’re meant to do!”
Mayor Goodway stood in front of the large crowd of people who were gathered in front of the large newly completed tower. She spoke to the crowd at large in her speech making manner as cameramen from “Hello, Adventure Bay,” filmed her.
“Ladies and gentlemen. Citizens of Adventure Bay. One year ago, our community was greeted by the arrival of six very unique pups. Though they appear to as dogs, they are very truly much more. Each of them is an individual, a person, and a citizen of Adventure Bay. One year ago, they decided upon the role they would play in our community, and ground was broken on the magnificent Lookout you see before you today. These six pups, along with our local brilliant child prodigy and inventor Zack Ryder, are now the defenders, protectors, rescuers, and first responders of Adventure Bay. I present to you, the Paw Patrol!”
Mayor Goodway stepped aside as the glass double doors of The Lookout opened, and Ryder and the six pups proudly walked out. The pups were fitted with custom made uniforms, and on their backs were the ultra-lightweight yet super strong gadgets (perhaps they were made using some kind of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer).
The crowd cheered and applauded as the pups enjoyed the results of a whole year of extensive training and education from their new brilliant owner . . . no, friend . . . Ryder.
The German Shepard, now a police dog named Chase and leader of the pack, turned to Ryder and said with much gratitude In his voice, and his heart, “None of this would have been possible without you, Ryder.”
Ryder just smiled and reached down to pet Skye, “Well, Skye’s the one who came to me and got me talking with her.” He then looked down at Skye and said, “Speaking of which, get ready for your cue!”
Skye smiled excitedly, and everyone took their positions in front of the mayor and all of Adventure Bay. With their paws (or hands in Ryder’s case) over their hearts, they recited their pledge.
In dark of night, in light of day,
We, The PAW Patrol will serve Adventure Bay.
From runaway trains to stranded whales,
We’ll rush to the rescue with wagging tails.
If danger is near, just give a yelp!
The PAW Patrol is here to help!
Skye lowered her pink flight goggles over her eyes. She took a running jump into the air, and her pink jet wings opened up from her jet pack. The engines carried her up into the air and to the top of the Lookout. She then fired the small canon Ryder had temporarily attached to the jet pack for just this one time, and the firework rockets shot up into the air, and burst into a showering of color.
The crowd oohed and aahed at the amazing display as Skye landed back on the ground safely.
“I love flying so much! This pup loves to take to the sky!” she cheered.
Skye caught Ryder in a playful tackle, which caused the other pups to join in to form one big, laughing happy dog pile.
All’s well that ends well!