Think Integration into a Hive-Mind is hard on a person? Try being a dog one day and an intellectual giant the next, holding thoughts that could never fit unfolded into your own modest canine brain. There's no going back for anyone Integrated into a Hive, but that's especially true for Rocco. A human could encompass and communicate the trauma, potentially. Not this dog. He's a lifer.

But being Integrated doesn't cut your brainstem out of the loop, not entirely. Rocco's body still retains some vote. Pauline was his favorite person in the world before Integration. Molly, on the other hand, always made him uneasy. Even as part of the Hive, Pauline is still Rocco's favorite human.

And since exercise is mandatory for Navy personnel, Hive or not, there's something to be said for the value of a seven-dimensional game of fetch around Padua station to keep mind and body limber.

Just don't let Hereford and Libby play. They prefer slinging asteroids instead of tennis balls.

The Uncanine Valley

Rise and shine, Hive-mind. Rocco's nose is a sensor network of hundreds of atom-thick copper meshes light-seconds across. Casting a wide web all over the middle of the solar system, they hang in space, measuring trillions of impacts and particle collisions a second.

But don't let the net scare you. At an atom thick you'll pass through it doing 20% of light-speed and never notice. And it will never notice you. Self-repairing, self-healing, and self-calibrating, these sensors all filter directly into Rocco's nose wirelessly, transforming momentary signals into lingering scents.

Anti-matter smells like bacon. Hey, they know‚Äč what dogs want.

Wake Up and Smell the Solar System

Great as in "great white shark". And polar bear. And silkmoth. Rocco has the finest sense of smell in the solar system, and he's hooked up to the greatest 'nose' humanity has ever imagined. 

Moths and bears and sharks smell distances measured in kilometers. Rocco measures his in Astral Units. He needs just one molecule to detect you. Three to find you. And now he's picking up the scent of Laika, the first dog in orbit, the dog who's been dead nine hundred years.

The "nose" of the Hive-Mind, Rocco is the backbone of the entire sensor network that Padua Station relies on to smell out lost ships in space. With over a third of his engineered brain devoted to scent processing, Rocco processes signals faster and better than any computer, quantum or classical. 

A Good Dog with a Great Nose

Meet Rocco