Mr. Bumbles

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Colby Brown
- 10/4/2021 10:15pm

Lots of students have pets on campus, but the APSA is especially proud of their cat, Mr. Bumbles.

Mr. Bumbles doesn't undergo the same time-cloning process that the APSA members do, but has been the club mascot for as long as anybody can remember. Which means he's old. Really old. And he can't see or hear very well. Which is why he's a 100% indoor cat--no telling what kind of predators are slinking around campus and the woods at night. Well, actually there IS telling what kind of those kind of predators, which is why Mr. Bumbles stays inside.

Or at least he's supposed to.

Somehow he followed me down the elevator and bolted out the front door of the Blavatsky Complex.

"Here, kittykittykittykitty! Here kitty!"

Colby Brown
- 10/8/2021 10:07pm

"Is he chipped?"

I had gone to see Ms. Nicholson, the Dean of Pets.

"Call me Jaimie."

There are a LOT of pets on campus, which is why they have their own dean. Psychic support animals, familiars, animals that are an extension of your psyche, exotic ornamentals, guard animals...

"No, he's not chipped."

"Well that's too bad, because we could track him if he was."

"I didn't know the chips could do that."

"Oh yes, they're very handy. That's why we chip all the students too."


"Nevermind. Right now, it's important to think of Mr. Bumbles as being in a liminal state. Is he alive? Is he dead? You don't know, so he's both. Alive and dead."

"I don't think that's a good perspective to have. Doesn't it have something to do with intention? If I sit around thinking he's both dead and alive, that seems like half giving up."

"No, it's what the science says. And you know it's important to follow the rules!"

It didn't seem like Jaimie was going to be much help.

"You know," she said, "those Build-yr-own Pets kits are very popular. I think they still have some at the student store."

"Thanks, I'll keep it in mind."

Colby Brown
- 10/14/2021 10:19pm

"So, have you found him yet?"

Elaine Ablach was always letting herself into my room. And talking to me. We didn't really know each other that well, even though we were both APSA.

"No. Dean of Pets was no help. And I've already gone hoarse walking the trails in the woods calling for him, shaking a food bag, banging on cans..."

I was tired.

"Maybe there's something to what the Dean said about Build-yr-own pet kits," I said. "I'm sure there's more than enough hair on our floor for a DNA sample, and maybe there's some kind of cloning add-on or extension you can buy...."

I was losing hope.

"You're losing hope," said Elaine. "And forgetting how this works. Don't let the haters bring you down! That's all they know how to do. They're only about gravity and weight and their so-called rules, man."

Elaine was kind of a rebel, come to think of it.

"I mean," she continued, "they act like they OWN science. And their science is always looking for the lowest common denominator, the bottom line, the big leveler. And do you know what that is?"

"Uh, facts?"

"No. It's death. Death is the one thing they want to make sure everybody's sure of, and they bake it into every piece of the puzzle. Every piece of the prison. Every brick in the wall! They make sure it's in the ingredients of everything we eat, and everything we read, and the chemical composition of the air we breathe. And then they make sure to tell us it's just 'how it is.'"

I actually hadn't realized how wound up Elaine was about this topic. I mean, about Mr. Bumbles, I guess.

"The cat is ALIVE," she said. "C'mon."

- 10/15/2021 2:36pm

It took the courage of twenty men to step foot outside this room. I would like to believe I wasn't always this cowardly, that maybe my bravery got lost during the voyage here, but there's no way to know.

At first there was not another soul in sight. I glared down the long corridors leading away from my room and felt seasick. It went on forever, but there was no one else wandering these halls. Maybe I was dead. For a moment I considered ducking back into my room and waiting to see what became of me, and that's when I heard a familiar miaow.

A splash of memory surfaced at the sound, but quickly dissipated when I located the source. A dilapidated old sack of fur with long whiskers and sad eyes. The shape was familiar. I almost knew what this animal was called, but the three letter word evaded me.

I didn't want to pick the thing up. It looked frail enough to keel over at a slight wind, as if touching it would reduce it to sand. Imagine my surprise when the thing stood up, revealing it's legs, and started to walk away.

I feel stranded here without the animal, so I'm going to follow it.

Colby Brown
- 10/16/2021 11:31pm

"ALL this shit is out of alignment," Elaine said, gesturing to the whole night sky.

I'd followed Elaine Ablach up to the top of Storm Mountain, through the trails in the woods behind school. The moon was up and we could see campus down below, then a few more hills, then the lights of the town and the suburbs all the way out to the horizon.

"The climate, wealth equity, racial inequality, polarized cultures, violence," she continued. "It isn't 'natural' or 'normal,' but they keep it so everything 'makes sense' based on its own internal logic."

Elaine bent down and picked up a stick.

"It's only been this bad for a few generations though. They needed to get a global information grid in place to really mass produce the illusion, make it airtight."

Elaine walked over to a crescent of gnarly oak trees and waved her stick. A number of small boulders materialized out of the darkness. Had they been there the whole time?

"But the original info-system is still here. They keep defacing it, grinding it down, but there are still nodes you can access. If you know how to find them."

Elaine waved her stick again, and this time it left a trail of purple light when she moved it. The trail floated out over the big stones and as it landed on the rocks, they began to light up with golden patterns. Or was it just glowing lichen and moss?

"We will find Mr. Bumbles. ALIVE."

- 10/18/2021 12:04pm

Cat! That was the word I was fishing for. The thing I chased into this empty room was called Cat. I suppose I should try to track it down, wherever it ran off to. It was old enough to suggest someone loved and took care of it, so that same someone should be missing it.

It's odd tracing my footsteps back to the pillar where the old cat had gone missing. The squish of water beneath my shoes makes me realize it's real, and not an illusion. I'll deal with the whole saltwater thing later, I need to find this animal and get some answers.

The schedule is still in my hand, but seeing as I can't even tell the time from where I am, there isn't much reason for me to try and follow it. Besides, it's so soaked by this point that the ink is bleeding and the fibers of the paper are starting to fall apart. I figure it couldn't hurt to drop the thing on the floor, so that's where I'll leave it.

"Here kitty kitty,"

My voice surprises me. It's almost a gurgle, like my lungs were still filled with water. But that's not possible, how could I breathe if it were? And why was the idea of waterlogged lungs so familiar to me?

The old cat appears at the edge of my vision, another low miaow leaving it's jaws. I'm going to keep following it until it takes me where I need to go.

- 10/18/2021 1:39pm

"Miaow, mia-ow," the old thing almost sobbed at me, it's frail whiskers shaking as it did. I walked over to where he had stopped in front of a door. I had come this far, it would be stupid of me to ignore it, so I grabbed the handle and yanked the door free from it's frame.

The cat disappeared through the crack the moment light entered it, leaving me to blink at the soft moonlight and gently creep out behind it. There was a loud, crashing sound that repeated itself every few seconds. It tugged at my gut and left a sore feeling in my knees. Where had I heard that before?

The bouncing shape of the cat was just a few yards ahead of me. I started to follow it, then froze in place as the area around me suddenly lit up. It was as if a spotlight had found me as it swept over the ground, illuminating everything with enough power to fake sunlight. Then it was gone, just as quickly as it washed over me it moved to the next piece of land and continued on it's way. I turned around and spotted the source. I had just stepped out of a lighthouse.

Caleb IV7
- 10/19/2021 9:57pm

So I'm in ancient Egypt doing my self-designed independent study credit, but I took this picture (attached) of a cat that looked suspiciously like Mr Bumbles lurking around the temple today.

Is everything OK with Mr Bumbles?

Caleb IV7
Scribe Expeditionary Force
18th Dynasty

- 10/21/2021 9:29am

I woke up to a strange pressure on my ribs. I shifted and rolled over, trying to dislodge whatever was on me, and felt a jolt of pain as six sharp points dug into my skin.

I shouted in pain and rolled back over, then opened my eyes and glared at whatever had attacked me. It was that damn cat again, it was sitting on me with wide, tired eyes. It must have dug it's claws into me when I tried to shake it off.

"The hell do you want?" I mumbled, salt water spilling from my lips and further saturating the pillow beneath me.

The thing didn't answer. It just sat on top of me and stared. I glanced behind me and saw my window was open. That would explain how it got in, anyway. I started to sit up, this time picking up the cat and holding it against my body so it didn't feel the need to latch on. It just kept staring at me, silent as sand, as I stood from the bed and placed it on the ground. His eyes were still wide. "you're like me," they said, "you're like me."

The carpet had started to dry a bit, but the puddle under my chair was still very pronounced. How long had I been asleep?

"Mew," the cat let out a low and quick chirp. I turned to look at it. We stared at each other for a couple seconds before it stood and walked over to the window, sitting down again. I stepped over and lifted it to the windowsill, where it climbed out of my arms and gently hopped into the grass. It looked over it's shoulder as if thanking me and walked away.

As odd as that cat was, it was sort of comforting having it around.

Amelia Padilla
- 10/24/2021 10:29pm

I've been on Calypso (also known as Saturn XIV or Tethys C) for weeks gathering data for my quantum astrology project and going out of my mind with boredom. Why don't they send us in pairs, at least? It seems like sending teenagers out on trips to the outer solar system by themselves for extended periods of time might be something they would have a rule against or something.

Which is why, when I spotted that old boney cat floating around in the hydroponics bay, I thought maybe I got sent an emotional support animal. But when it batted itself around a corner and disappeared, then thought it must have been one of those hallucinations they warn you about so that is why I am reporting it.

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