Profit Makes Hit Men Out Of Hunters

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No one can talk with a horse, of course…

…unless the horse has cybernetic chips connected throughout his sides that relate to trained responses learned the old fashioned way, through rewards of pleasure or consequences of pain.

I am a creature of reaction, a reflexive genius capable of springing away from danger at amazing speeds, able to coordinate four mighty limbs across uneven terrain while responding to my rider’s subtle physical commands. Yes, a horse.

Unable to stand by while emotionally intelligent beings were being stalked mercilessly toward extinction, environmentalist Penny Lane convinced some of her colleagues, including a Dr. Badall, to help her protect those they could by employing some radical new techniques and technologies.

Dr. Janet Badall helped program the cyber units implanted in me. Indeed, I was raised in Nigeria by Dr. Badall, a pioneer researcher of simian communication who had an interest in studying the nuances of horse training after hearing stories about Clever Hans and Beautiful Jim Key, horses that could add, subtract, read and interpret small changes in human behavior. Dr. Badall was perplexed because the brain of a horse is smaller than a tennis ball but larger than a golf ball, and it doesn’t even get to have its own space.

Penny carries out strategic actions against the poachers with the help of her team under the guise of “Stormrider,” a name given to her by Dr. Badall’s granddaughter when the little girl saw a picture of Penny in uniform riding my self of this world. Here, I am that “pony.” They call me Saber.

My superior  coordination, perception and motor control make me Stormrider’s greatest defense.

My horse brain shares a cavity the size of a grapefruit with organs that allow it to smell and hear, as well as glands controlling growth.

My little brain floats in protective fluid among the other items. And the only part of my tiny brain involved in “thinking” is the front third of it. As Saber, in this reality, I reached maturity at the perfect time to serve in the fight to save precious wildlife from gangster poachers. Magnificent animals are slaughtered for their horns, hides and tusks every day. We all know someone who supports this, whether on purpose or ignorantly.

The animals have a new champion. Unable to stand by while emotionally intelligent beings were being stalked mercilessly, Penny convinced some of her colleagues to help her protect those they could, by employing some radical new techniques and technologies.

Penny Lane set out as a graduate student to find an electronic means of direct communication with other species, hypothetically as a step toward artificial telepathy and possible extraterrestrial communication as well. In Nigeria Penny Lane was working it out with her team of cybernetic engineers when the tigers they were experimenting with in the wild were killed for their pelts and paws.

My remarkable equine ability to retain a learned response forever makes me the most reliable kind of partner Stormrider could hope for in the field. On the range and over the rough, this horse – me – is considered the greatest partner. Good Lord! I’m proud of that? Whoa, boy…

She can command my responses either verbally, electronically by remote control, or by touch using legs, feet or hands. Being primarily a human male, I have additional tangent responses to an attractive woman squeezing me with her legs, but those are submerged in the heat of a chase.

Likewise, Stormrider is connected to awareness of sensations smelled by me, whose capacity for scents exceeds humans by thousands of times. Certain dangers are in the air long before they come within sound or sight. My equine olfactory vocabulary humbles my handlers. Interpreting that vocabulary has opened up the world to human researchers.

Stormrider and I have been armed by our allies with the Slide Saddle, uniquely equipped with the steel bolo launcher. She fires it, causing me to trip for a split-second, but the metallic obstruction brings down the military helicopter by breaking its blades. The explosion sends a shock wave through me that I do not like. I hear hard fragments hitting things around me. I run faster.

Another chopper approaches focusing fire on the drone while Stormrider shoots a hemp net, strong enough to snare and entangle a rhino, into the chopper’s blades. This saddle is no joke. When the chopper falters but grinds the net to pieces and keeps coming at us, Stormrider slaps a projector sitting atop my rear that issues a blinding strobe effective within 500 feet. The brightness causes the chopper to waver off course momentarily. Then the chopper gets its bearings and keeps coming.

As the poacher’s airship closes in on us Stormrider hits another button and the back unit slides upward to overhead position, and unfurls into an umbrella / shield just in time to deflect a blast of shells exploding all around.

With the simple vocal command “Fire!” Stormrider turns the umbrella shield into an automatic firearm, raining a rotating bullet spray outward. The chopper is hit in the windshield, shattering and crashing the airship moments later.

As we watch the chopper burn, Stormrider launches a small video and radar sensitive drone for overhead reconnaissance, a flier that also drops two grenades on the hidden poachers in the field when she spots them.

We gallop into the midnight horizon, weary but elated, until we return for another intervention.

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