[SL4] Short/Short story

From: turbocrazed@webtv.net
Date: Wed Apr 26 2000 - 15:18:24 MDT

Building the mechanism was easy
compared to training the rats. I had
divided them into two castes, which lived   and bred in separate
societies within the   machine. The motor caste had a simple pavlovian
lesson: if the great wheels stopped turning, there would be no food.  
Among the eleven (four males, seven females, all selected for strength
and endurance) they were able to keep the 4 wheels in constant rapid
motion ( the 11:4 rat:wheel ratio put each rat on the .364 duty cycle
reccomended by Folkedal et al.) The pilot caste had a greater
cognitive challenge: to learn to associate their motion within the
cockpit tower with the motion of their vessel, and to manipulate its
spidery steel appendages with their own. It took generations for the
great mobile cage to successfully maneuver around the laboratory to find
bags of grain, years to negotiate the grounds of the estate. When my
mechanical-rat creation stalked and killed its first cat I was ecstatic.

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