"So, why is the facility full of dogs again?"
The Pomeranian held tightly in the laboratory director's arms wriggled, barked and tried to lick his face. Dr. Andonuts chuckled and ruffled the dog's thick white fur.
"Didn't anyone tell you about the dogs?" he asked the scientist, "There was a village out in the mountains. Some corporation had been carrying out unlicensed psychic experiments, putting something in the water supply and messing with the locals' heads. The sort of thing conspiracy theorists always think is going on, which makes it harder to report in the few instances where it is happening. Something needs to be done about it, I tell you. The Board still doesn't believe me about the UFOs..."
"The dogs," the scientist reminded him. Meanwhile, the Pomeranian panted and tried to eat the collar of Dr. Andonuts' labcoat.
"Yes, the experiment sort of worked on the humans, got them to buy more overpriced water, but they didn't realise the dogs were drinking the water too and it turns out dogs are more sensitive to psychic phenomena than humans. Must be why everyone thinks their pet sees ghosts. I always thought they just had better hearing," he coughed and rescued the pen in his labcoat pocket from the dog, "They had taken over the mountain when the Government managed to send in a psychic squad. They're still just dogs, though, it's not their fault someone made them more dangerous, so they need somewhere to go."
"But why this facility in particular? Why the Dragon Project? Dogs can't even have a Magicant and all the little bastards ever seem to do is steal everyone's food and occasionally mobile phones and also anything with any psychic residue whatsoever."
"The lack of potential for a Magicant of their own is what makes them so susceptible to having the correct template for the Dragon imprinted on their psyche," explained Dr. Andonuts, "OW, you little sod, let go of my beard! Ahem. Yes. It isn't that dogs don't understand the basic concepts to have an inner world. They managed to turn Mt. Itoi into a paradise for dogs, where all the humans functioned only as caretakers for the dogs and there were no predators whatsoever. Functionally speaking, the Dragon isn't all that more complicated. Simply another haven, a refuge just in case the worst happens, with certain guardians and a... failsafe."
His voice dropped to a mumble when he said the word 'failsafe', fear and uncertainty showing on his dog drool covered face. None of them wanted to be in the same building that the thing was being manufactured in, even though it wasn't even real, just a bunch of powerful psychic suggestions. But that kind of thing was more dangerous than guns and bombs these days. They were working in the same facility as a sleeping beast, a real dragon. Actually, they had gotten the 'Dragon' idea from the first ever Magicant discovered. That had been Andonuts' work, along with his friends Ninten and Ana when he was still spry enough to go on small psychic child adventures of his own. That had been a long time ago. Now he couldn't run fast enough to catch up with that dog, so he kept a tight hold of it even though it was licking his nose and its breath smelled bad.
"This particular dog... do that again and I'll do it back to you," he snapped. The Pomeranian barked back at him with almost the same tone of 'voice', "Believe it or not, this annoying little fluffball is my most successful candidate. His creative psychic power is off the scale. He may just be Queen Mary incarnate, if you can imagine this bastard as a graceful, regal..."
"I get the picture," said the scientist, "But have you had any luck actually implanting the right suggestions into its head? It's got your pen again, by the way. Not that one. You had two, remember?"
"What the...? Spit that out! Oh, never mind, you're not exactly eating them, per se, are you?" he sighed, ignoring the enthusiastic panting sound that was suspiciously similar to laughter, "There have been... problems. You see, when I said that the dogs don't have Magicants of their own... I may have underestimated the elevated intelligence levels that come with psychic awakening."
"In other words, the dogs are doing whatever they want to, as usual," the scientist replied.
"You wouldn't believe the things that come out of this little fellow's imagination," he said, "And, of course, like any untrained psychic, he can't contain them inside his Magicant to save his life. I've had to turn off the intercom system in an emergency three times this morning because what we've come to know as 'the Dog Song' was playing loud enough to drown out all the announcements. And the sodding flowers everywhere..."
"Maybe you should give him to the regular psychic training academy. It'll cheer the kids up to have a dog."
"Toby doesn't get on that well with small children. He keeps accidentally traumatising them."
"It was that or Mister Annoying. But SOMEONE," he glared at the now furiously barking dog, "Changed the dialogue box so only four characters fit in at once."
"You name your test subjects? But you get through so many..."
"Sssh, don't say that in front of him! He's sweet and innocent to the way of the world and... OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT?"
The dog barked happily and conjured some more of them into being. His plan was going well so far. He would need the other pen, of course, to supply enough raw matter to fuel his creations but the scientists seemed very distracted this morning, not on their guard at all as they ran screaming in all directions, desperately trying to turn off the intercom. That was why he loved meeting new friends who didn't already know what to expect of them. And his new scientist friends taught him such interesting new tricks...