Space Janitor 164 felt an urge to back off from Denabol. Shep had succeeded in agitating the alpha of the group. Who would be the recipient when it came time for Denabol to release the anger, remained to be seen. Space Janitor hoped that Shep was playing the long game. A long game that would involve de-escalation of the conflict.
“You always have to remember things,” Denabol said to Shep. Denabol turned and faced Shep. “Can you not just forget like the rest of them. Make it fair on me if you can,” Denabol got up in Shep’s face. The two dogs started to circle each other.
“This is real fairness,” said Shep.
“It isn’t, real fairness means you do what I say,” Denabol said. “You don’t have to keep asking me questions I don’t want to answer.
“Admit that there is no real promised land for these pups,” Shep said. “How come you want to lie to them. They’ll end up hating you. You don’t understand that you are no better than the owners you want to fight. How come you feel the need to have so many dogs under control? What difference does it make? You are jealous of the owners,”
The idea caused pain to Denabol. He recoiled as if he had been struck on the nose.
“Now how come you reacted like that Denabol?” Shep pushed further. “There is a truth in there. You don’t want to admit it, and I don’t blame you. It can be hard to acknowledge it,”
“Shut up,” Denabol said.
They had backed down the corridor, still circling—a slow-moving tornado. The audience of guard dogs, digger dogs and Space Janitor were rapt.
Shep was close to something, would it cost him his life to discover?
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