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Master is © Warner Brothers
Rally and Romeo are © Me
DJ and Keith are © Jake Williams
Cadillac and the Seville are registered trademarks of General Motors Corporation
Lincoln and the Mark VIII are registered trademarks of Ford Motor Company

"Rally: The Origin Story"

Story is © 3-10-01 by David Reynolds

SETTING: Bakersfield, California.

A gruff-looking man driving a faded blue, 1987 Cadillac Seville pulls into the driveway of a house and stops.  He cuts off the engine, gets out of the car, and walks to the door.  He knocks and after a while, another man answers the door.

Man #1: Yes?

Man #2: Hi, my name is Leroy.  I'm here about the ad in the paper.  You said you had some dogs for sale?

Man #1: Yes, come in.

They enter the house and walk to a room where the man's wife is sitting on a couch.

Man: Honey, this man is here about the dogs.

Woman: Oh, good.  It's getting kind of hard to support `em.

Leroy: Well, my son has been wanting some dogs for a while now, so I finally decided to get him some.  I was thinking about two if you have `em.

Man: Well, we have three, so it's your decision.

Leroy: Where are they?

The man just points to another side of the room.  Two dogs are play wrestling while another is just sitting around watching them.  The one sitting around is Romeo, a solid brown shepherd mix whose ears are both limp.  The two that are "fighting" are Rally and DJ (Who is unnamed at this point in time).  Rally is a black shepherd mix with a brown stripe down his face -- including the bangs, a brown tip on his tail, and three brown paws.  His left forepaw is black, his left ear is limp, and his right ear is erect.  DJ is a brown shepherd mix with a black stripe down his face -- including the bangs, a black tip on his tail, a black "saddle" mark on his back, and three black paws.  His left forepaw is brown, his left ear is limp, and his right ear is erect.  All three dogs are brothers and are five weeks old.

Man: We had more, but sold a lot of `em.  These three are the only ones left.

Leroy: Hmm…  Well, that solid brown one looks nice and the black one seems like he has a lot of spunk.

Woman: Yeah, Rally's always full of energy.  That's the black one.  The solid brown one's Romeo.  We haven't named the other one yet.

Leroy: Well, I think I'll take Rally and Romeo.

Man: OK, they're $20 a piece, so that'll be $40.

Leroy pulls out his wallet and pays the man.  He and the man then take Rally and Romeo out to Leroy's Cadillac and put them in the back.  Leroy thanks the man, get in his car, and pulls off.  Rally and Romeo, who are confused about what is going on, look out the back window as the house they had once lived in gets farther and farther away.  The man walks back into the house and turns to his wife.

Man: Well, now we just have to figure out how to get rid of the other one.

SETTING: House in Bakersfield, three days later.

It's nearly midnight when Leroy stumbles into his house.  It turns out that Leroy is a heavy drinker.  Rally immediately starts to bark at Leroy.  Neither of the two dogs had been fed that day, but Rally is more impatient than Romeo.  Romeo is sitting in a corner near a chair.  Rally continues to bark from hunger at Leroy.

Leroy (Drunk): Shut up, mutt!

Rally continues to bark.

Leroy (Drunk): I thought I said shut up!

As Rally continues to bark, Romeo gets up and also starts to bark at Leroy.  Leroy walks out of the room and returns carrying a lead pipe.

Leroy (Drunk): This oughta shut you up.

He brings down the pipe hard against Rally's head, knocking him to the ground.  Romeo immediately stops barking and backs up towards the wall, his tail between his legs.  Rally doesn't move and blood seeps from the side of his head where the pipe hit him.

Leroy (Drunk): Great, now I gotta get rid of you.

Leroy wipes off the pipe and sets it down on a table.  He then picks up Rally's body and carries him out to his car.  Romeo is still too frightened to move and remains backed up against the wall.  Leroy puts Rally in the passenger seat of his car and drives off.  A few minutes later, he stops the car on the side of the highway.  He picks Rally up, lays him on the side of the road, and takes off.

SETTING: Highway, Bakersfield.

Rally is still lying on the curb when a black Lincoln Mark VIII pulls up and comes to a stop.  A tall man gets out and walks over to Rally, who has just started to wake up.  The man kneels down and picks him up.

Man #3: Good.  You're still alive.  I got no use for a dead dog.  Better get you some medical treatment `fore we go home.

He carries Rally to the car and gets in.  He lays him on the passenger seat and drives off.

SETTING: Waiting Room, Veterinarian Clinic, Bakersfield.

The man is sitting in a chair reading a magazine when a vet walks out of another room.  He is carrying Rally, who has a bandage around his head, a red spot on it where he was hit.  He walks over to the man and the man stands up.

Vet: Well, he should be fine in a couple of days.  I recommend that he doesn't try to do anything that would put stress on him.  It could cause him to receive some brain damage.

Man #3: Don't worry, Doc.  My dogs never do anything they're not supposed to.  I make sure of that.

He pays the vet and takes Rally from him.  He then walks out and drives off.

SETTING: Basement, Bakersfield house.

There are dozens of cages along the walls, each with a different type of dog in it. (Sort of a canine grab bag.) The man walks into the basement carrying Rally in his hands.

Man #3: You're gonna like it here, uh… *Looks at his collar* Rally.  As long as you do what I say, anyways.  You're just in time for the daily let-out.  Now you can mill around down here and get something to eat, but don't make any noise or get restless.  There's a punishment for that.

He puts Rally down and proceeds to open all the cages.  The dogs get out slowly, but don't bark or really interact with each other.  They all walk over to some bowls with food in them and start eating.  Rally just watches them for a minute, then walks over to get some food for himself.  He starts to wonder about Romeo when a Labrador retriever starts barking.  The man walks over to him and gives him a swift kick to the ribs.  The dog yelps and falls to the ground in pain.  Rally looks on in amazement.

Man #3: I told you, no noise.  As for the rest of you, that was your warning.

The man walks off and sits in a chair.  Rally walks over to the Lab to see if he's OK, but the Lab gets up and walks off, limping in pain.  Rally tilts his head to one side in confusion.  A few minutes later, all the dogs are locked up in their cages.  Rally is put in a cage on the top row between a female Alaskan malamute and a male Golden retriever.  Rally remembers what happened earlier and decides to keep to himself from then on.  Three days later, he gets lucky.  His new owner had gotten really drunk that night, and when he puts the dogs back into their cages for the night and heads to bed, he forgets to lock the cages.  At first none of them notice, but as small as the cages are, it would be hard not to lean up against the door.  Rally does this and almost falls out when the door opens.  At first he doesn't know what to do.  He looks at the now open cage door, then at the floor.  He finally musters up the courage and jumps out.  He silently climbs a stack of boxes and opens a small foldout window that leads to the street.  The other dogs follow his example and get out of their cages.  They all manage to squeeze through the small window and escape.  Once outside, the dogs all leap around and bark loudly.  All except Rally, that is.  He walks off down an alley and a few of the other dogs who have stopped jumping around follow him.  He eventually becomes their leader and they walk the streets together.  Their little group consists of him, a female border collie, a male German shepherd, the malamute and Golden retriever he was caged next to, and a male American foxhound.  They are all fully-grown except for Rally.  Even though he is still a puppy, the others think that he would make the best leader.  For a few months, everything goes fine.  No one, not even other strays, dare to mess with them.  But one day, all of them except Rally and the foxhound are taken to the pound and executed.  The two remaining members of the group go their different ways, hoping to outrun the people from the pound.  Rally always keeps one step ahead of them, but they eventually catch and execute the foxhound.  Rally is left to fend for himself in Bakersfield.

SETTING: Bakersfield, the day after Rally was left on the highway. (Yeah, I'm goin' back a few days.)

Romeo is let outside and immediately gets out of the yard.  He runs as fast as he can until he reaches a very familiar neighborhood.  It's the same neighborhood that he was born in.  He walks to the house that he had once lived in and heads to the fence surrounding the backyard.  Through the fence, he sees DJ (Still unnamed) laying in the sun.  He barks a few times to get DJ's attention and DJ walks to the fence.

DJ (Translated barking): Romeo?  What are you doing here?

Romeo (Translated barking): I came as soon as I could.  The man that bought me and Rally is evil.  He killed Rally yesterday, so I'm running away in order to keep my life.

DJ (Translated barking): He killed Rally?!

Romeo (Translated barking): Yes.  Listen, I better get goin'.  Maybe we'll see each other again some day.  Good-bye, brother.

Romeo turns and runs off.  DJ just stands there, watching his brother run off in disbelief.

SETTING: Bakersfield, the next week.

The people who own DJ decide that they can no longer afford to keep him, and no one has come to get him.  The man picks DJ up and puts him in his truck.  He drives for a while and finally comes to a truck stop on Route 99.  He reaches into the glove compartment of his truck and pulls out a dusty burlap sack.

Man: Sorry to have to do this, but it seems as though no one wants you.

He crams DJ into the sack, ties it up, and steps out of the truck.  It has started to rain and the man looks around to make sure no one sees what he is doing.  He walks a few yards to an open field covered in weeds and drops the sack with DJ inside to the ground.

Man: Good-bye.  I'm sorry it had to come to this, but that's the way it is in this world.

The man turns and walks back to his truck.  He pulls out, leaving DJ alone in the field, where his future owner Keith Stevens finds him later that night. (To find out what happens to DJ from here, read Jake Williams' story "Trial By Fire".)

SETTING: Airport, somewhere in California, a few days later.

Rally has run off and found his way to the airport.  He waits until the coast is clear, then dashes to the conveyor belt and is put in the cargo bay of a 747 undetected.  He hides behind some crates and drifts off to sleep as the large plane taxis into position and takes off.  A few hours later, the plane lands and Rally wakes up.  When the cargo bay doors are opened, he quickly runs out, startling the airport workers.  He is now in Fort Scott, Kansas.  He walks off and comes to a train station about an hour later.  He once again sneaks aboard and falls asleep, hidden from view.

SETTING: East Side of New York City.

Rally is walking the streets, looking for food.  Rally has been on his own for several weeks now.  He is very thin since he could not find very much to eat in the garbage cans he dug through.  Although thin and frail, he is holding out fairly well.  He is digging through an overturned trashcan, but backs out seeing that there is nothing edible in it.  He is about to walk off when a bright light shines on him from above.  He is startled and freezes in place, looking to the sky.  From the light, he hears a voice only a select few get to hear.  It is Master, creator and true leader of the Road Rovers.

Master: Rally, you have been chosen.

Rally barks a reply and runs off.  He finds a luge at the end of another alley and jumps in.  The luge takes off at an incredible rate of speed, but instead of being scared, Rally finds it to be very fun.  He arrives at Road Rover Mission Control (RRMC) and runs toward the transdogmafier room, barking all the way…


(If you want to find out what happens next, read my first story, "Brothers: Reunited At Last".)