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Space Pets
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ISBN-10: 1-89484-193-X
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy/SF
eBook Length: 173 Pages
Published: October 2002

From inside the flap

The highly anticipated sequel to The Pet Plague...

The Pet Plague began on earth with genetically engineered pets with near-human intelligence getting loose and practically overrunning the world, with perhaps the only chance for salvation a downed alien spaceship. Now in Space Pets, Jamie Da Cruz and his buxom girlfriends, along with his loyal animal companions, Fuzzy Britches the multihued cat and Woggly the dog are forced by circumstances into exploring other worlds suitable for humans in an untested spaceship. Their quest is complicated by enemy humans aboard who want the ship for themselves and will use any means--including sexual seduction of Jamie--to capture it. Space Pets is an epic, erotic journey in search of a new home for humanity--but in the end it might turn out that earth is still the best the universe can offer, if only it can be tamed again! Watch for more stories to come in The Pet Plague Universe.

Space Pets (Excerpt)

Chapter One (excerpt)

Jamie Da Cruz woke up and looked around his bedroom. Even after six months, he still wasn't used to the opulence. Even the bed was large and luxurious, spacious enough for four or five persons to sleep comfortably--or do other things on it. Of course his previous apartment wouldn?t have been large enough for himself, Jeannie, Kristi, and their four pets, even if John Whitmire of the Houston Enclave Security Section had allowed him to stay there, which he hadn't. Since Jamie had become so important, Whitmire was insistent that he stay within the confines of the security building to prevent a possible abduction by Moon City agents and, Jamie had to admit, the apartment Whitmire had furnished went a long way toward keeping him happy.

The bedroom was furnished with state of the art holovision fixtures keyed to his body computer and the adjoining comfort room contained facilities sufficient to bathe and refresh a bull walrus and all his family. It was more than enough for he and his consorts and anyone else they might want to invite over for a party.

The large living room was decorated with an assortment of Kristi's beautifully tanned hides, ranging from deer to rabbit and bobcat. On one wall Kristi's spare laserifle was racked on animal horns, and her extra handgun and knife dangled below on a belt and shoulder harness arrangement. The one large and several small loungers scattered around the room gave it, together with the hides and weapons, a casual, lived-in look. One wall was blank, although it contained a barely discernible door. It was used for the holovision projections. An unobtrusive accessory computer console was tucked in one corner, and another door led to a large autokitchen and dining area. To one side of the bed, another door opened out into the privacy of a large fenced yard, complete with a small pool and varied food shrubs and other nutritive plants.

Jamie removed himself from the bed and into the comfort room. Trimming his mustache, he reflected that Conan, the feral dog who had been the courier of the original alien message on a thought disk would never have been able to contact his pets--and him--had he been living here then rather than closer to the edge of the barriers. But in that case, he wouldn't have met Kristi, nor possibly have gotten so involved with Jeannie. Even so, he sometimes missed the simplicity of his life as it had been before Conan appeared. Then, his biggest worry had been aberrations in the hambean line of plants he had developed, and the foibles of his boss, the chief of the Genetic Engineering Section of the Houston Enclave.

Jamie heard soft footsteps behind him and knew that Jeannie had arrived home from her job with the almost completed spacecraft's computer system. The door had allowed her to enter silently, alerted by the code from her body computer. A pair of slim hands stole around his eyes.

"Hi, Jeannie. You're late"

"How did you know it was me and not Kristi?" Jeanie asked, puzzled.

"I checked with John before I left work. He said their patrol ran into some problems and were going to be late."

"She's not hurt is she?" Jeannie asked. Alarm crept into her voice.

"He didn't say, but I'd guess not. He didn't look worried."

"Good," Jeannie said. She circled his waist with an arm and drew him into the living room, pushing him down onto the big lounger. Fuzzy Britches, the vari-hued enhanced cat made a run for Jamie's lap, but Jeannie beat him to it. Fuzzy Britches didn't complain; he simply held up for a moment, then hopped up into Jeannie's lap in turn.

Jeannie was a small, dark, pretty girl, revealing a Hispanic legacy similar to Jamie's own brown countenance. She wore the standard Enclave coveralls, sleeves rolled above the elbows and the front closure open almost to her navel. A filmy underthing showed the swell of her breasts, large for her small frame.

Jamie helped himself, running a hand inside the lapel of the coveralls and giving heran affectionate squeeze.

"Mmm," Jeannie responded. "Now, or shall we wait for Kristi?"

"Let's wait.Are you hungry?"

"Not yet." Jeannie tried unsuccessfully to smooth down Fuzzy Britches' thick wiry pelt and got a soft purr as a reward.

"Howís the work going?"

Jeanieís face brightened, as it always did when talk turned to computers or sex. "Oh, good. I?ve about finished the basic programming of the shipís computer, and thatís all I can do until we install it. When will that be?"

"It shouldn?t be much longer. Everything is basically finished, or as near as I can tell the engineers from that Alien thought disk." Jamie fingered the thin, saucer-sized disk the alien had crafted and tuned to his mind alone just before it died and thought of all the changes that had occurred since Conan brought the original message to him from the alien on an even smaller, general purpose disk dangling from his crude collar. Of all the dogs sent out by the band of feral humans after the alienís lander crashed in their vicinity, only Conan had been able to contact a human from one of the Enclaves--and apparently met his death in the subsequent fighting between the rival Dallas and Houston Enclaves over access to the alien technology.

"Where's Princess?" Jeannine asked Fuzzy Britches as she smoothed down his springy hair, only to have it bounce up again. Princess was Kristi's white-haired enhanced cat and Fuzzy Britches' paramour whenever she was in heat.

"Asleep," Woggly the dog said, coming into the room. "Cats always sleeping."

Woggly was large, brown, and shaggy haired. He was enhanced as well, but not quite as intelligent as Fuzzy Britches, though it would take someone who knew them both to be able to tell the difference. Both of Jamie's pets were loyal and protective, and both had been with him on his excursion into the wild country beyond the Houston Enclave. It had been a horrific experience for Jamie (and Jeannie), but the pets had enjoyed it (other than when their humans were in danger), and had been agitating for another adventure. Life inside the Enclave seemed tame to them anymore. Jamie had been telling them that he was soon to go on the first test flight of the new spaceship and they both wanted to accompany him. Jamie had tried to explain the differences between an earth and a space environment.

"In space, you wouldn't weigh anything, Fuzz. You'd float."

"Like birds?" Fuzzy Britches asked, licking his lips. "Birds don't play fair. They fly away when I chase them."

"Cats climb trees," Woggly said, pointing out that he had his problems as well.

"Not the same," Fuzzy Britches said. "Us friends. Birds food."

"Never mind that," Jamie said. "There aren't any birds in space anyway, and damn few on earth anymore, for that matter. And there are no bad cats to chase, either, Woggly."

The animals were aware in a way that environments different from their own existed elsewhere, mainly from watching holovision. The Houston Enclave was widely separated from the two coastal spaceports, which were still functional, so they had no live reference to spaceships, only pictures. The animals liked watching holovision, but had a hard time separating fact from fiction.

Fuzzy Britches considered the conversation then settled the issue in his own mind. "Take Kristi," He said. "Have fun. Fight. Catch mice. Have lots of fun."

Jamie shrugged and gave -up trying to explain further. Since Kristi had come into their lives six months ago, they would henceforth associate her with adventure. Kristi was a Ranger, going out frequently with others of her profession into the wilds around the Enclave, observing and cataloging the ever changing mix of feral, intelligently enhanced animals, the descendents of genetically altered pets and laboratory animals.

One experience had been enough for Jamie. He was a genetic engineer himself, or had been until his encounter with the alien in it's crashed landing craft, but his specialty had been in agriculture, using his craft to help satisfy a hungry population confined to limited area. He had little interest in adventure, unlike Kristi Carson, who seemed to thrive on it. He had been more or less forced into that one expedition, but he had to admit that it had been worth it. If he had not gone on that expedition, he would probably never had met Kristi, nor would Kristi have met Jeannie, and the three of them formed a household. It was strange, but not nearly as strange as the situation the earth was in now.