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This is a decidedly weird story.

Not that it was weird that Puder would make a clone, or that such a clone would have questionable leadership qualities, or that said clone could become a dictator.

What is decidedly weird is that there was a civilization of cats living underneath the earth’s crust waiting for a dictator.

These cats were, of course, the species known to some as Puder Cats.

And this area underneath the earth’s crust was, of course, the land known to some as the Puden.

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How Puder acquired a cloning machine in the first place is a topic that’s been heatedly debated by many scholars. Some say he stole it from a high tech lab. Others that he built it himself. And one scholar suggested that he built a time machine and went to the future to get a cloning machine. (He wasn’t invited to any debates after that.)

The only thing that they could all agree on was that it was a decidedly crappy thing to happen.

Once Puder got his grubby little paws on a cloning machine, it’s unknown how he found out how to use it. Some scholars say he stole the information from top secret government archives. Others that he came up with the process himself. And one scholar suggested that he just read the instruction manual. (He also wasn’t invited to any debates after that.)

What is known is that the results of the experiment were not what anyone, least of all Puder, expected.

Some would even go as far to say that the entire cloning process failed.

Such people would be almost—but not entirely—right.

The Clone’s fur was thicker than Puder’s. Tan instead of red, and not tabby. Its legs were shorter and stubbier. Its ears were larger, with tufts of black fur adorning the tips. It wasn’t even a cat really, it was more of a lynx.

Later on, Puder would find out that it didn’t have his likes or his interests or his personality. But it did have one thing—one thing that probably would have stopped him from doing what he did next. It had his memories. And what he did next, unfortunately, was bury the Clone alive. Or bury the Clone dead, because, in his defense, Puder thought that the Clone hadn’t survived the experiment.

In reality, all the Clone needed to activate itself was a great shock. The most common shock to use would have been electricity, but apparently finding out that you’ve been buried alive also works quite well.

Fortunately for the Clone, it had a mutation of hemoglobin in its blood cells that helped it tolerate the higher levels of carbon dioxide and reuse the oxygen that had been pumped into it aboveground.

Unfortunately for the Clone, it started to dig downwards instead of digging toward the surface.

As it happens, two thousand miles below where the Clone Puder was digging was the largest city in the Puden.

In that city: a mansion owned by the supreme dictator of the Puden. In the center of that mansion: a courtyard. And in that courtyard: an assembly of Puder Cats fervently wishing for a better ruler.

Sadly, they got Puder’s Clone instead, who fell from the ceiling of the cave of the Puden onto the dictator.

From there, the cats took the chance they’d been given and they claimed the Clone as their new ruler.

And the first thing that he did as their dictator was to shorten the name of the land from the Peculiar Underground Discombobulated Earth-like Nook to the P.U.D.E.N.



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