Humoresque of a Little Dog

The rumours are all true. Every single one of them.

Yes, I know the only eyewitnesses you ever get are homeless people, psychiatric patients and embittered exiles. Trust me, there's a good reason. Homeless people are the only people who have the time and the motivation to sit on a park bench at odd hours of night, doing nothing but staring at passing dogs. Their senses are a little rattled from drinking all that meths but it only means they can accept weirder truths than the average person. The poor guys over at the hospital might all hide under the bed whenever they hear or see a puppy, and they might not be too keen on drinking water, and they might all believe in immortality, but when all their stories correlate exactly, to the very last detail, you have to start thinking that it might not be a hallucination. As for the exiles, well, you don't get permanently banned from a town over nothing. They're not allowed to throw you out without consulting the police for 'antisocial behaviour', no matter how idyllic a town is supposed to be.

And I've seen it too. You trust me, right?

Before you go investigating for yourself (and I'd advise you not to – its not really a place for human beings any more) I should tell you the rules. They have their own rules up there, nothing to do with the law, although its generally a quiet place. If you don't respect those rules, nobody'll give you the time of day, you'll be fleeced out of all your money even more than usual and you'll get nothing done. Firstly, don't drink the water. They'll try and sell some to you as soon as you arrive- they'll usually pretend their local source is some famous natural spring with minerals especially formulated for dogs, or if that fails, they'll use the 'your dog looks absolutely parched!' guilt trip tactic. Don't fall for it.

Actually, I'd advise you don't buy anything from there. Its all hideously overpriced. We're talking three bucks for a carton of milk only big enough for a puppy. I do mean, exactly enough for a puppy. They sell everything in small dog sized portions. That's how obsessed they are. You buy a room in a hotel, your dog'll get a more comfortable bed than you, and you'll get regular calls to remind you to feed and walk your dog but you won't get any room service for love nor money. The room'll have dog-friendly ambient music that you can't turn off and you'll get a complimentary doggy cake with your cup of tea. No, I don't know how you make a cake edible to a dog without replacing every single ingredient. The point is, you don't get a cake yourself, only your dog. But you shouldn't complain, about that or about the prices. Its the second biggest social faux pas apart from not cleaning up your dog poop.

And for Pete's sake, don't ask why there are no old dogs, only puppies. Especially don't comment on the fact that it looks like there are always the same puppies. And don't bother going to Nintendogville at all if you don't own a dog (or a cat – they've started accepting cats now). They'll look at you as if you were an alien.

Maybe I should explain properly. To be honest, I first got into this mess because I was going to buy you a surprise present for King. Throughout our adventure, we never got your dog any cool souvenirs and I thought it was a little ungrateful, seeing as how you told me he had protected you when you first went to investigate the meteorite! Then I found this shop on the Internet called BARC. Its like a Rare and Collectables shop for dog nerds. There were some cool-looking designer collars, all a complete rip-off of course but hey, its supposed to be a gift for a friend. Then I got talking to the shop owner about Winters. It turns out she's a conspiracy theory buff who goes to Winters a lot to try and find Tessie and UFOs and cavemen living in Stonehenge. She told me that her own home has a lot of weird stories attached to it; that the dogs there are immortal and don't show signs of age, that all the citizens are secretly the victim of Government psychic experiments and that the water is full of mind control drugs.

I became really interested because of the origin of the town's name - Ninten Dogville, usually written as Nintendogville. Rumour has it that the 'Ninten' refers to the same 'Ninten' who I was telling you about, the one who fought Giygas the first time he invaded. 'Ninten Dogville' is at the base of Mount Itoi, which is not an instruction but is the landing site of the spaceship that Giygas first came to Earth in. They are unusually self-sufficient and use their own water supply and generators. I arranged with the BARC girl to meet up there so we could talk about conspiracy theories and she could show me some of the more unusual stuff she's got in the back of the shop. I didn't know shopping for dogs was this difficult...

When I came to Nintendogville, it was the annual Intermediate Disc-Throwing Championships. There is always a dog-related competition of some sort going on. I borrowed Mochi (Mochi is a white Shiba Inu puppy my dad bought me so we could be a family again, but then I caught him trying to cybernetically augment the poor thing into Dungeon Dog and then launch it into space so I rescued him and gave him to Tony to look after. The puppy, that is. Not my father. Although he could do with the fresh air.) and we entered the competition. Mochi is lousy at catching discs but I still managed to win twenty dollars which is only half of what the disc cost me in the first place.

After the contest, I met the BARC girl. Her real name is Hildegard and she has a Schnauzer puppy called Kurt who doesn't get on with the other dogs, which makes her somewhat of a social outcast. We arranged to meet in the mountains in the middle of the night and pretend we were walking our dogs. She took me to the spring where they get all their water for bottling and selling at exorbitant prices. There was a factory-like building hidden inside a thick clump of forest surrounded by rocks that were difficult to navigate safely. I assumed it was a bottling plant but when we sneaked closer, it was actually a laboratory. I thought it looked way too heavily guarded for a small factory in the middle of nowhere!

I carry a psychic energy reader with me at all times because of the nature of the research I've been doing lately (I hope to someday augment your powers to a level unprecedented by humanity! That's okay, right? I forgot to ask for your permission before I began the experiment because I was so excited.) and I detected a massive energy signature. I panicked and ran because I thought it was Giygas. Then I realised that the energy was passively stored, not active. I remembered that water restored your psychic powers somewhat, and so must be able to conduct psychic energy in a safe form. I managed to sneak closer and see that the machines were like those used to process ordinary water into Water DX. There were other machines as well that I recognised as channelling positive psychic energy – in other words, the kind that is used in your healing powers. I calculated that the amount of concentrated energy being channelled into those bottles would easily be enough to keep a dog alive in peak condition indefinitely.

I wanted to have a closer look, but at that point Mochi became very flustered and started barking loudly. I saw that he was barking at several other dogs. Unknown to me, I had been completely surrounded by guard puppies! Their barking had set off an alarm and I could hear guards yelling and running. Hildegard urged me to run and warned me not to approach any of the puppies. I was confused as to why a puppy, even a trained guard puppy, would be of any threat to two adult humans who also had puppies. That was when the deafening, discordant chimes began sounding in my head, followed by strange lights and an intense migraine that made me want to pass out. I identified this as a Brainshock technique. I was able to resist it (I am used to being psychically attacked by now what with Paula taking it out on me whenever a mushroom grows on her head and ruins her hairstyle) but I soon realised that the dogs were all staring at me and the meters on my device had gone crazy.

I heard Hildegard scream 'Kurt!', and saw the puppy barge past Mochi and stand protectively in front of us all, his hackles raised and his teeth bared. I felt the familiar static residue of an Omega-level psychic shield. Hildegard urged me to run again, explaining that Kurt would be okay and had done this before. I followed her advice this time.

I was identified to the local police and permanently banned from Nintendogville. They dropped all charges against Hildegard, although she is forbidden to send me any communication. I like to think that Kurt is protecting her. I asked her why an innocent would want to live in such a town. She told me that she plans to slowly bring the citizens around to their senses by planting small clues in the 'Rare and Collectable Items' she sells. The store is constantly being searched on suspicion of 'illegally imported goods' but the revenue it brings to the town makes it infeasible for the dogs to close it down.

As soon as I returned to my dad's laboratory, I had a recording of the ambient music analysed. I was suspicious of it because I could not think of any other way of transmitting ongoing psychic subliminal messages to an entire town. The dogs have been using the channel to disrupt the human sense of time and personal continuity, preventing the citizens from realising that their dogs have been living for unnatural lengths of time, and also implanting constant obsessive urges to think about nothing but maintaining the dogs. Because of Kurt's psychic defences, I was not affected during my visit and Hildegard has been able to resist the influence so far but she has been investigated on reports of 'antisocial behaviour' several times. I am worried she isn't safe. The dogs don't realise I can detect psychic activity because my mechanical devices can't be telepathically scanned, but soon they'll realise that someone knows of their plans. I need to return soon.

There's another reason. I have drunk the water. I bought plenty of bottled water with me but my supplies were stolen. I don't know what it does to humans. I don't think it is meant to be malicious but then experiments don't always produce the same results in dogs as they do in humans, and I don't think the dogs were meant to develop these kind of powers either. I need to break into that laboratory so I can find out whether there were any human trials.

We're going to keep having these problems, Ness, even though Giygas is dead. Giegue was trying to prevent psychic powers from developing on Earth, so if anything, his defeat will make things worse. That's why we always need to be on the lookout.

Your Sincerest Friend,

Jeff Andonuts