The Sydney Experiment -Rebarkable Results

2024 Young Or Golden Writer
Book Cover Image
Logline or Premise
Two lab dogs set out to rid the planet of all suffering after gaining unimaginable mental power, and enough skills to learn all about the world by hacking the lab's Internet. A team of young researchers, a farmer, a girl from the Gadigal tribe, and an ET join their quest through space and time.

First 10 Pages

Episode 1.


March 15. 2023. 8:50 am

Sydney University, Sydney, Australia

Sydney University is the oldest university in Australia and is regarded as one of the world's leading institutions. It has been built on tribal lands. The University’s School of Veterinary Science was established in the 19th century and is home to about 700 students.

Tiana, an apprentice of Neurosurgery, was in a hurry. She was supposed to start work early today to prepare for surgery.

Shit, I will be late again, she thought.

Her wavy dark brown hair was set in a ponytail. Her eyes reflected worry, but they reflected the remnant of a smile from last night.

As she passed the Old Quadrangle, an imposing old sandstone building, she saw its tower clock. It was at 9 am sharp. Finally, she made it to the door with the small copper table, saying:



Ben, the other apprentice, was already there, preparing the instruments. He was in his early twenties, 6 feet tall, and quite handsome. He had neatly combed black hair and a little goatee giving the impression of a well-cared man, except for his socks. He was wearing two different colors, due to the somewhat hasty start of the day.

They tried their best not to look at one another while calibrating the mapping and monitoring instruments. Tiana tried not to think about the fact that they woke up together at Ben’s place, just 25 minutes ago.

Time to pull myself together, the prof will be here in minutes, she thought.

Prof. Emery T. Salvi’s, Senior Lecturer and Head of Neurosurgery, entered the lab, dropped a bunch of paperwork on his table, and pulled the blackboard down making its content visible to all.

He was around 5’8” with grayish hair, a clean shaved face, and a somewhat high-pitched voice.

“We are going to perform surgery on two healthy intact mixed-breed dogs, V-1 is a 3-year-old male, and V-2. is a 6-year-old female. We will begin by inserting two sondes into the thalamus and hippocampus. We will then use the MRI to define the exact location of the craniotomy and later placement of two electrodes with a diameter of 0.04 millimeters each. To ensure the accuracy of the placement we use a new computer-controlled mapping system,” said.

Ben was sitting by the table, playing with his pen; he heard these details reviewed over and over in the past weeks. He felt overwhelmed. He knew he had to distance himself emotionally from the dogs of the experiment. Then there was Tiana, who he also had to keep his distance from right here and now. He had no one and nothing to rely on.

I should ask something professional, he thought.

“How long will the post-operation healing take?” he asked.

“Good question!” Salvis replied, “As the sondes are fairly small, the animals presumably will be up and running within a week or so. Ok, not really running, but back in good health.” The professor flashed a hint of a smile, and continued:

“Then the conditions are ripe to start using the sondes to send scaled impulses to their brain in order to test the right stimulation method to be applied to dogs with seizures. The system will be monitoring their vitals as well as their brain activity. Ben, can you stay overnight? We need to make sure the recovery goes as planned.” Without delay, Ben replied, “sure I can boss, no problem.”

Ben was in a gloomy mood. Due to this all-nighter, he was now missing a date with his new girlfriend. There was nothing else to comfort himself than a pouch of high-quality licorice candy he found in his drawer. This brand was his favorite for its perfect taste and calming effect.

When he went to check on the dogs, they were both sleeping, as expected with the amount of anesthesia they were put under earlier, but the noise of the door woke V-2 up. As Ben filled up her water bowl, a small piece of licorice fell into the water. He hadn't noticed until V-2 started drinking voraciously. She finished the bowl within a minute and noticed the little black chewy piece on the bottom. It only took her a brief sniff to gobble it up and she looked at him. Her eyes brightened up as if to say, “this was delicious, do you have some more? ... please?”

“I can’t do it, pal! I already broke at least five of the Company Regulations by bringing food to the lab, eating, while dealing with you guys, and even right now by making verbal contact with you.”

V-2 started to scratch the cage and looked agitated.

Ben sighed. He gave into V-2’s pouty stare, and over the next hour, he gave 4 more pieces to V-2. After V-1 also woke up, he gave 4 more pieces to him as well, until the pouch had no more chews in there.

It took another hour till he checked on the dogs again. It was then that he realized he must cover his tracks to make sure there were no licorice remnants left.

He noticed from 10 feet away that the dogs were asleep. As he got closer something he saw made him stop abruptly. Closed his eyes and opened them again.

No way! He truly could not believe his own eyes. Apparently, V-2 ate 1 piece, but 3 of the inch-long black licorice chews were still in her cage. Specifically, 3 pieces were in her cage, and 3 pieces were in V-1’s cage as well.

And not just that; the triads were neatly arranged in a perfect, equilateral triangle. In BOTH cages.

His mind started to work as he took a piece of paper and wrote:

Fact 1: 2 dogs got 2x2 sondes inserted in their brain.

Fact 2: Both dogs arranged 3 small objects in a proper geometrical formation.

Fact 3: The objects were licorice pieces.

he hesitated a bit, then added:

Fact 4: If I share this with anyone, I get fired.

Ben stared at the lines on the paper and started to feel a bit better, like written words would make this whole thing more real or more normal somehow, he thought.

He picked up all licorice chews from the cage, then slowly continued to write:

Fact 5. Both dogs also ate 1 piece of licorice each.


- How come both dogs arranged the licorice in the same way if they had no way of seeing each other?

- Is it possible that they communicated with each other? How?

- Did the dogs try to communicate with me by making the formations?

Ben felt his head dizzy for a moment, then calmed down.

“I have to find the answers, and I will have to find them all by myself.” It was almost 6 am, and he could hear the cleaning lady, as she started working in the hallway. Quickly shoved the paper deep into his pocket, grabbed his bag and left.

Episode 2.


A few minutes before 5 pm Ben texted Tiana.

“I need to see you tonight.”

A moment passed. Tiana replied:

“I miss you too, but I have a test on Monday.”

“ Tia, this is something else.... something very strange, and potentially very significant.”

“What the.... okay, fine, see you at 8 at my place.”


“I am making spaghetti!” said Tiana while opening the door to Ben.

“Well, I am making history!” Ben exclaimed.

“What the heck?” said Tiana.

“Look, look!” Ben looked like a madman. He scrambled to pull out his phone, which already had a picture pulled up on it of V-1 and V-2 in their cages.

Tiana looked at the picture with a furrowed brow. She murmured, “The two dogs in their cage and... what are those black pieces on the floor? Ben, are you crazy? Have you been THAT bored? You can get easily fired for this…. What are those bits anyway?” She glanced back at Ben.

“It doesn’t matter what those bits are and doesn’t matter if I get fired. What matters is that I did NOT do this!”

Silence sat in the room between the two young lovers.

“So.... are you trying to say, someone got in there? Who would do such a thing and more importantly, why?” asked Tiana.

“No one could get in there; I was there the whole time.”

“So, you’re saying... the dog, did it?” laughed Tia as she rolled her eyes. This was clearly a joke to her.

“The dogs, Tiana…” he stared intensely at her. “Both dogs made the same arrangement at the same time.”

Another long silence fell in the room. Tiana looked away as she started to scoop out the spaghetti onto their plates. Some pasta hit the floor. Tiana’s hands started shaking as she scrambled to wipe the mess she made.

“We need some red wine for this,” she said to break the silence.

Ben nodded and filled two glasses with dark red Cali Merlot. Did she need the wine for the spaghetti, or to process the fact of animals creating regular, even-sided triangles from bits of candy?

The couple sat down at the table.

“Well, the surgery went well, as far as we can tell at this early phase. The dogs have been awake, moving, eating, and showing no irregular behavior up until now,” said Tiana. “We have not started the actual experiment with their hypothalamus yet. What else happened between the surgery and the time when they did those triangles?”

“Well, I accidentally dropped some of my licorice into their cage,” Ben admitted with guilt in his tone. “They wanted them, they’ve eaten them. I have never seen them so happy about food.”

“Oh, God! You see, I told you to stop eating that sticky crap!” Tiana stopped in the middle of the sentence because she noticed that she did not make sense anymore. In fact, this would have never happened, if he did stop eating “that crap,” or at least there is a link between the change of behavior and their eating.

“On another note... Tomorrow it’s my turn. I watch the dogs till 9 am, when everyone arrives and record my observations in the diary.”


They made passionate love without a word that night. Holding each other tight, like grabbing the only fix point in this changing, shaking, up-side-down world, ignoring the fact that they are triggers of that change...

Ben tossed and turned all night in bed. As he tried to doze off, he kept seeing visions of people he couldn’t recognize flashing before his eyes. He could see their facial expressions and the details of their clothes, every movement as if in a film. Admitting defeat, Ben rolled out of bed, made some hot tea topped with a generous amount of Merlot, and set a cup aside for Tia as well, in case she woke up in the middle of the night - although she seemed already knocked asleep by the previous dose.

Episode 3.

Letters and hugs

Tiana - despite the events of the evening - got up on time and arrived at the lab very early. She walked through the lab, turning on all the lights and experiment equipment that she was supposed to start.

She was eager to see the dogs but was also afraid to see something she could not explain after she had heard from Ben. Took a deep breath and went to the cages with full bowls of food in her hands. The dogs were already up, wagging their tails quietly at the door of their cages. Tia set the food down and went back to grab their water bowls.

By the time she returned, she noticed remnants of food scattered on the floor. 6 letters were sprawled on the floor in V-2’s cage:


and just 3 letters in V-1’s place on the floor:


“What the...?” Tia murmured.

Tia expected the dogs to wag their tails, jumping up, whine, ask for food, but never expected THIS.


Actual letters. They kind of look like words, because.... because they are in fact words! She wanted to dance, but no one was there to share her joy with - other than the dogs.

“You guys are so clever; I cannot believe this!” she exclaimed.

She took two pics of the 3-letter messages and frantically sent them to Ben without time for any explanation.


Ben was there within 8 minutes. They were staring at the two words in disbelief together.

Ben spoke up first.

“‘MOR’ obviously wanted to be ‘MORE’. It seems V-1 is not quite apt in the mysteries of English spelling,” he said with a chuckle. “‘LIQ’ could mean one of three words: ‘LICK,’ if one allows some slight misspelling errors, or ‘LIQUOR.’ It is not very likely that the dog was demanding alcoholic beverages,” he shot Tia a glance.

“It must have been ‘LICORICE’! That’s it. More licorice candies.”

Tia continued his thought, “And the dog held this so important that he made it the object of his first communication with a human. There must be something in that licorice gummy that he needs for thinking. Something that works, like a catalyzer in the brain’s thought processes.”

She was about to Google “ingredients of Australian licorice candy,” when another thought stopped her hand.

“The NET must mean the Internet. V-2 wants to be connected to the Internet!”

“It makes sense, isn’t it?” They laughed hysterically, like some weight lifted in their chests. For a moment they left that reality, where people talk and dogs bark.

Ben pulled out his phone, opened his online ordering app, and navigated to the ingredients of his favorite treat.

It said Licorice root.

He then looked up “Licorice root chemical composition.”

His eyes caught on “Glycyrrhizin acid“ he had never heard this name before.

He switched tabs and looked up” Glycyrrhizic acid effects: Natural sweetener, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, anti-allergic, antioxidant, anti-tumor, anti-diabetic and hepatoprotective.” Wow, so many anti-s. But what the heck is hepatoprotective? Ok, hepato- is something related to the liver. The hepatoprotective effect must mean this stuff protects the liver from getting damaged.”

“This applies for humans,” Tia remarked, “But it could be true for other mammals as well. Dogs' basic buildup is not very different from that of humans.”

Ben continued reading, “consuming more than 57g (2 ounces) of black licorice a day for at least 2 weeks could lead to potentially serious health problems for an average size person, such as an increase in blood pressure and an irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia). For a 45-pound dog, she estimated about 20 grams which translates to 3 pieces per day.” To be safe, let’s stay with a piece a day. Hopefully it does not do any damage.

“Do you have some with you, Ben? Let’s get some with their food again. One piece each.”

Ben looked at the clock. “Oh, God, the Prof and Lucas will be here in 20 minutes!”

“How can we keep all this secret?”

“We should talk to the dogs. Of course…”

Ben crouched down next to V-1 and V-2, who were staring at them intently. “Hi guys, you are truly smart now. You should write to me or Tia only. You eat and talk licorice with me and Tia only, ok? Nobody shall know…”

They both stared at the screen of Ben’s laptop, where letters of a word started to appear slowly.... ALKA ...SUL ...TIA....BEN...FRIENDS.

“Who is Alka and SUL?”

“Alka V1...Sul V2.



Ben was so overwhelmed with feelings towards their newly declared friends, he rushed into the cages with Tia following him. Hugging and kissing, tails wagging, they both got licked all over their face multiple times.

It was a heavenly moment for all.

Episode 4.


The rest of the day went by quietly. Prof. Salvis and Lucas attended the monthly meeting of Sydney University, Tia had to study at home today.

Ben had the day to arrange his random thoughts into some kind of order, like this:











3. DO I NEED THIS JOB...?????

He took a break. Started to feel better now, like putting all this down to paper took off some of the weight from his shoulders.

Time for the “LIQ” for me, and of course for Alka and Sul. He poured out a few pieces of candy into his palm, shoved a couple in his mouth, and extended his hand to the cages. The dogs barely lifted their heads, grabbed a black licorice from Ben’s hand and went back to sleep.

Ben returned to his desk to continue writing:



(I have to be brief and concise to keep this easy to overview)

2 dogs' mental capacity has been substantially increased.


- Sondes were inserted in a certain area of their brain

- Consumption of liquorice


The dogs

+ have self-awareness (have names)

+ able to communicate with each other with no visual

+ able to connect to a computer interface

+ learn various skills extremely fast (e.g., writing) by using the interface

*That implies they have somehow gained access to the Internet*

+ Note:

High emotional intelligence is not affected.

They are able to feel joy, love, empathy, as before.


- Ability to access and understand the entire knowledge base of humankind via the Internet,

- Ability to access the Akasha records.

Ben got really dizzy at this point. Let his head drop on his arms on the desk and remain like that for a while. Tia’s text rang on his phone, rising him.

“What’s happening?”