The Kitty System


The Kitty System
3500 Words
Copyright Bill Gallagher
Hudson FL July 2011

There are many ways for a world to end. Many levels of destruction. The piles of ruin which are our continual failure lie all around us, everwhere and everywhen, unto this very day. To say a world ended is just a figure of speech, afterall. Something on the world might end, but worlds themselves, planets, hardly ever do. When people refer to the end of the world they are most likely referring to their world, along with a group of people on their world; a matrix of human emotion tied into the continual crisis of night, day, weeks, years. Human interaction and its drama. Saying the worlds ended has its positive side too, however bizarre that may be. First and foremost one has survived to talk about it. A close unavoidable second is not very positive, it is the realization that great change has taken place, things have been irrevocably altered. There is no going back.

When a world ends the largest and most obvious infraction upon our sensibilities is the oh so regrettable loss of niceties for a while, perhaps forever, with even hygiene sacrificed at the altar of raw survival...that is the Negative side, the Loss, and it is big. Death everywhere. Stinx. Bad. Takes a long time to go away.

Just as sure as carrion stench though are things that begin to happen which no one could see coming, because they are products of chaos. Certain forms fit here as if engineered and constructed for just this environment. Synergy can and does occur.

From where you inhabit right now, it is a far far Earth.

Engines of Magic rule the aspects of the planet better since the world ended. Things are smarter, it takes more thinking to survive. We know more now, hindsight and all that. All the building and falling down has been going on for a very long time indeed. And Earth is just the latest stage of humankinds devolution. That civilizations continue to grow and die here is just proof humans are the greatest reproducers ever. There is the rat, it is almost better, we will get to that momentarily.

So far there is always backward drift in society, it has never reached anything of great consequence across 100,000 years or more. We know this now. It is taught to everyone from a young age. We are united in shame. It is the best we can do. Perhaps we can change things. Again.


My crew and I are hunters. We hunt for a living. All of us are well trained, and have been at this since childhood. We are pest control, the best that ever was, which is to say we act in concert to eradicate animal pests, mostly rats and mice, without poisons, because poisons are bad in the long term. Poisons can end worlds. Live and learn. We work under contract to the vast shipping port authority of Ascent City; we get a flat fee in rice coupons, and bonuses for the meat of course, paid by the carcass, uncleaned, as is. It is sometimes hard to keep my partners from eating the meat, they almost always take the head for themselves, cheshire grins all around, they are little monsters. I love them all. I can afford the heads, its just a cost of doing business far as I am concerned, and the perfect incentive. Well, not as perfect as love, duh, but pretty good. Most of the time there is not a problem about the meat.

I pick my crew up at their kennel nightly. I work 4 nights a week, 12 hour shifts, and the kitty pool generally runs anywhere from 50 to 60 animals, not counting baby kittens, nursing mothers, and hunters in training. I take four or five animals with me each night, and though I hunt with them all over time, I do have my favorites. The nester black named Panther, the old sire, is still the best at finding the nests and bringing out 5 or 6 newborns at a time, he smells them out, retrieves them, plays with them, kills them and signals me, not necessarily in that order. He is by far the most efficient of all the hunters, his target is primary, the nest, its what he was made to hunt. To kill. As he prowls he sings, half purr and half growl, it makes any nearby prey move about, he can hear them then. It is his terror tool. He is a highly specialized animal and he came that way. Fully equipped at birth. It is said the temple cats of Old Earth Thailand were this type. His ears are tufted.

Because he is so efficient, Panther is one of the few cats who have been left fertile after the age of three. The breeding cats also hunt, and thats how they are selected to breed in fact, but most of the cats are surgically made infertile at the age of 3 if not sooner. They live longer, and when the sexual urges are channelled into the hunt, some more efficient things emerge. The joy of killing. This was discovered long ago. Long long ago.

The hunters are hunters for their whole lives, and they love their lives, that becomes obvious immediately. It is the aura of feline health and it is beneficial to experience it. They are very well cared for, and they get to hunt with people like me almost every day, people who know them perhaps even better than they know themselves. Thats how systems are run, its just the way it is supposed to be. It was built to be this way. Win win means synergy. There were never any happier cats, and I make a good wage; the rest of the proceeds go to maintaining the kennel, nurturing our cats, creating good hunters, and we are very good at what we do.

Truth be told, there is already a whole bunch of biological software at work, what we do is fully awaken The Hunter already there. And we communicate with the animals. Its easy. You have to see them for what they are.


As the littlest kitties say: "Me-you."


Its noisy in Kennel Hall, cat sounds, people, automata; music. Cats especially like music. Kennel doors opening, lots of feline stretching, then making their way down ramps into sets of transport pods which are hand trucked by operators like me onto subway cars down the tunnel. Each handtruck can hold 4 pods, 4 cats. Tonight its me and the black Panther, along with Butter, a yellow furster the color of butter, he is great fun and loves to hunt. Two females along, Yumyum and Samjae, regulars you might say, both with the patience of asps, and cunning in unusual ways. It is always close between the boys and the girls as far as carcasses go, it is more accurate to class the hunters by their age. The older they get the more streamlined and accomplished is their technique, more meat for less energy expended, its the name of the game.

I rolled my load out of the hall after grabbing my backpack kit, and the electronic clipboard with the information I needed tonight. Each of the cats said hi in their own way, and I banter with them as I walk them briskly up the tunnel. Each operator becomes familiar with at least 30 different areas during the course of their career, and the cats as many or more. Destinations vary as much as possible, which spurs interest among the cats who wish to see what has changed since their last visit, perhaps to even see who has been there from their own kennel, or somewhere else. Perhaps to even see, horror of horrors, if a dog might have stopped by. This elicits an almost electric excitement and wariness among all the cats, like group telepathy, and does not go away until hours have passed and everyone becomes quite sure the dog is gone. Yes its all fun and games for the cats, its we the operators who are saddled with the bejugered paper work, and other indignities, pardon my descent. Oh its good to be a cat.

Once loosed for the night the cats are basically free agents, its a great adventure constructed just for them, or might as well be, it is without a doubt Kitty World, no questions asked. I am there to monitor, and to collect carcasses, and make notes. The cats have their collars, and they are very well trained. It is routine, it is exercise time, they love it, it is their purpose. We arrive. Away they go. I monitor each through its collar and am alerted to major vocalizations of each. Instant location of all animals is possible. They will find me or I them, in the meantime I will walk. I too will hunt.

Off to my left I can barely hear the Panther terror noise, a little night song of carnage and blood lust on the early evening breeze. I inhale the oceans air deeply. About ten miles away one of the great ships stands impossible against the night sky, so huge, readying for lift off later tonight or tomorrow morning by the looks of it. Everything here on the docks is containerized or crated, the old standing lamps on metal posts cast their yellowish glow everywhere, a perpetual full moon, robbing colors, assigning starkness and shadow.

The rats, they are the worst enemy of human food that ever was. They key on it, are especially attracted to it. Human food, so ready, willing, and able, is a vast opportunity to be exploited at all costs, to be eaten and shat upon is easy to become obsessed with the occurence of rats, to perceive them as something diabolical, and to despise them, once you go hungry because of them a few times. After you see friends and family die of starvation while the rats get fat, turning carnivorous later, they become the stuff of your nightmares. The cats, the darling kittehs, are medicine against those bad dreams. The end of the world did not happen so long ago that some things can't remain fresh, indelible, across time.

I received a call from Butter. Not purposely, its the sensor at his neck which picks up certain nuances or loudnesses. He seemed to be in some sort of minor distress, I located him on the clipboards screen, and ran that way. He could hear me when I pushed a button on the clipboard, and I spoke low, knowing how close his collar was to his ears: "On the way now big boy hang tight kitties do cause kitties can don't forget that my good man..." its like a mantra each operator develops, utilizing all the communication tools at their disposal, and then some. Higher communication. Soothing, confident, partner is on the way, feel better right around the corner.

He was hunkered down under a light about eight rows over and three rows up, obviously he had a certain destination in mind. A place of good hunting. Its how they are. There was a dark spot back near his right haunch, and I could see something protruding. Bad. As I got closer I saw debris over by one of the crates, it looks like the wood gave way, rotten perhaps, and Butter fell a good eight feet. Nothing for a cat but there are always unforeseen circumstances and even the most agile cats can be caught unawares. Gravity is all encompassing when you're down in it.

Butter was growling low as I got next to him and he rolled slightly to show me the wound. Well no more hunting for you tonight sir. I put my light on it and saw it was a lot less of a problem than initially thought because what was protruding was a bloody splinter of wood which Mr. Butter Butter had gotten for all his trouble on the way down to the pavement. I pulled it out quickly. He yowled and then purred. Its all about the language. He immediately began cleaning himself, and when he was done I picked him up and we walked over to the place he had fallen. The crate was old, thats for sure, some sort of machine parts according to the label. No food markings, there should be no vermin. There must be more though, or the cat would not have come directly here. I had a look around.

Aha. I said it aloud. The 17 pound cat I was carrying over my shoulder purred a short burst. Nests. Birds. Yes I remember a Butter type now, from the past, who was a birder from Haders, loved birds more than goat cream. Well birds are detrimental pests too, in the wrong places. This nesting area should have been spotted earlier, it already had caused a premature rotting of the crate. I added details and photos to my report, sent it in, saved it on the clipboard too. I carried Butter until he wanted to walk, which I let him do. He would be with me the rest of the night, he knew it too. The spot on his fur was less dark, getting worked, all was good.

The two girl cats were quiet and stalking something somewhere, probably as a team, or maybe just snoozing by a pipe opening, waiting with resolute viciousness for the inevitable to happen, for vermin traffic to commence. Once they snuggled on down, wherever that may be, squinting their eyes real tight and concentrating on invisibility, why, they became invisible. Vermin traffic will begin again just as if a giant monster was not there watching and listening and marking each datum like a teardrop. Yum and Sam were seasoned veterans, I would find them later and retrieve their piled carcasses. A small rodent scurried as we turned the corner of a ship container, and Butter was on it immediately, with a vengeance, as it were. It was pounce, crunch, time to move on. The first carcass of the night. I put it in the cryobag, and patted the cat on the head. He likes that.

I decided to go look up the Panther, and just then, as if by telepathy, a war screech from his direction and the yellow cat and I stepped up the pace in a big way. We turned another corner and there was the black cat, in a tableau like I have never seen before. He was pacing and deftly hopping about while baring his teeth and making very hostile sounds. Somehow, someway, a large snake, a very large snake, had gotten loose on the docks, and it considered Panther to be just the right size for a meal. I could not harm the snake, anything that usually eats rats is a friend of mine, but that little conflict of interests was not the issue right then. The gig here was keeping the snake off the cat, and capturing the snake alive. I had rice coupons in my eyes, thats for sure, plus the snake was posing unique scenario and solution needs, which I like a lot.

Now there goes Butter, jang it all, it is getting more interesting by the second. I drew my gun and called the cats off. They veered away without hesitation. The snakes head was a big as a saucer, its glowing eyes each the size of a mans thumbnail or larger. Of course its serpent tongue flicked here and there too, it was a disgruntling sight. Later it would be measured at over 8 metres long, and near 200 kilos. Thats a lot of snake. It will be employed and maintained in other places, under supervision. I am making a nice bonus, which I like a lot too.

Back to the now I sent a short burst of plasma energy, a floating orb of whitish blue light, a ball of very "Weird Noise" if you like, right at the snakes head, and it fell asleep. The two cats were hunkered down out of the way, good boys, and they watched as I made arrangements to have the snake picked up here in a little while. I patted them both and had favorite treats, each got some, and I checked on Butters wound, which was already seeping ichor from his relentless self imposed program of health. The Kitty System.

The robo flitter arrived and its automata loaded the snake and away it went. Now it was time to find the girls, and collect some carcasses. I located Samm and Yumyum on the clipboards screen, and together myself and the two other males began our hike. The boys ranged out a little as we moved, and there was some indiscriminate killing along the way, just on GP mind you; we had six total carcasses by time we reached destination. We collected the 13 which Sam and Yumyum had dispatched, and there were more than a few heads missing. I pretended not to notice.

The oldest female is a calico medium, with pink skin in her ears and nose and everywhere except for a black toe on her right front paw, and she is not called Yumyum for nothing. She takes more heads than any other cat, and she is what we call a super hunter. An old feline being, in line with the program, getting it done day by day, practicing the craft. Perfecting the craft. Master of the craft. Sexual urges left this beings reality long ago, before the being even knew what it was all about. The job, the purpose, the program, that is all, that will always be all. Beings like this are awesome to behold, even fearsome.

Just as we were wrapping things up the large ship began taking off ten miles away, and it shook the world, but was over quickly. The cats came close to me and we watched it together. Strange times. Behind the ship had been the rising moon, quite a bit too close still, but in control now. When the moon had begun to break apart, that was the end of the last world, just another end of many. That did something though, the survivors somehow united in purpose, and the colonies too, and the effort to set things right, to put the moon back on track and to maintain the planet like the machine that it is has tweaked things in many ways. The Bandage on the break at the moon did more to stimulate the efforts of life here than anything in the last one hundred thousand years. Its too bad that adversity is the only road to truth. Too bad. But history proves it beyond doubt.

The changes we are making teach that long term projects are the only way to survive here, and to also teach the goals themselves so that they may be constantly updated and improved as time travels along. Each child knows our real history as we know it, not fairy tales or profit matrix, but the truth as we know it. Each child learns what the next five hundred years will bring, and the next thousand, as well as realizing they themselves will not live to realize the actual goals. It is humbling, and dangerous, but no where near as dangerous as that moon, which is in everyones face all the time, so everyone gets smarter. We could be so much if it wasn't like this though. Oh well.

The colonies of course were the first to understand, to actually explore first hand the ruins and wreckage on the other planets. Some of the asteroids were resort cities. Many of the craters on Earths moon are collapsed underground facilities. Actual traveling spaceships have to be planetoids with thick coatings of ice to deter the debris and dust of space habitation. All easy to see after the fact.

Mars was the place of primary origin in this solar system, from before there we know not yet. That is plenty, believe me. It is still a ruin, although the new colony seems to be self sustaining finally. That is what has become of The Great City. Mars is where house cats were created from Tiger and a few other things, and dogs from Bears and a few other things; just about everything that got patented at The Great City ended up on Earth, and some that did not get patented as well. This blob of rock was a mined planet, remade, repositioned, and dedicated to agriculture. Water wealth beyond imagining. A giant optimized Garden, it did a perfect circle of 360 days around the sun, one rotation/day per degree. The number of days off the 360 was how we were initially able to calculate the time since maintenance. Since the world ended that time.

Earths moon was the depot for the product, a free-zer, not a lot of gravity to deal with, also part of a vast scalar machine, interplanetary and beyond, an engine of huge proportion whose battery is the sun; when one of our many worlds ended oh so long ago, and maintenance ended with it, about 100,000 years ago, then the devolution of us began in earnest. The best we have been able to do is to see what we once were, Kind of. Through the things we once made for ourselves. Things like the Kitty System.

As one world ends, another begins.