"Welcome to Pack Dynamics 101. For those who don't know, this class is required for all first-time students, though it gets a fair of return students, looking for that little edge to make their pack a cohesive unit.
"We're going to start with the very basics. First: what makes a good pack? That's alright if you don't know, any guesses?"
Shouted and mumbled ideas of varying degrees of enthusiasm and confidence. Animals that work well together. Family units. Pre-existing packs.
"All great answers, and all true. Pre-existing packs and family units have an already established pecking order, so all you have to do is install yourself at the top and you're ready to go. Just remember, since you're dethroning the old alpha, in many cases, they're not going to shuffle back down the line; some species mandate that you must kill the old alpha, some species require you to abandon them to fend for themselves. You have to know that, before you try to step in, because the other members of the pack, though they will be chemically obligated to follow your lead, they generally won't do it with confidence in your ability to lead.
"Also, animals the work well together. In some cases, those are just animals who can coexist within the same climate conditions and regions without competing for food in resources, but that also applies to animals with symbiotic relationships. And seperating a symbiotic pair by claiming one and not claiming the other can have disastrous effects on the health and wellness of your pack member. Remember: nature formed that symbiotic relationship for a reason, and it's been around a lot longer than we have.
"Excellent. Any thoughts on what makes a bad pack?"
Domesticated animals. Predator and prey. The second suggestion started up a bickering murmur around the room that slowly rose to a dull roar before Avery could put a stop to it.
"Hey now, calm down. Both of those points were absolutely correct. So what's the problem?"
Noah. The classroom was generally in agreement there, but on the matters and details around him, they were much is disarrangement about.
"Ah, yes. I've heard of him. Does anyone know why he's called Noah? Anybody know where the nickname came from? Hands up on this one, please; one at a time. Yes, you there."
It's because he collects animals for his pack in pairs.
"Yes, that's half the reason. And the second half? In the back..."
Because he mixes predators with their prey, and they work together instead of fighting each other.
"Precisely. The alpha you know of as Noah breaks one of the most important rules you will learn in this class: never mix predatory animals with their prey animals in your pack. You can have both predatory and prey animals, but they must not be consecutive in the food chain. Here, let me draw a simplistic diagram.
"Dogs chase cats, and cats chase mice. Therefore, dogs are predatory over cats as prey, and cats are predatory over mice as prey. You could hypothetically manage a pack with dogs and mice, but neither with dogs and cats nor cats and mice. But that's just an example. Domesticated animals react badly to the drugs because they have had many years and decades and centuries coexisting with us, and the internal instructions on how to behave towards us are conflicting.
"Noah breaks this rule of consecutive predator and prey, and the only reason he gets away with that is because he had a very special teacher who was able to teach him how to live with the land, to coexist with nature instead of in conflict with it. That said, I have it on good authority that the he went against his teacher's wishes when he chose to employ the drug instead of leaving the members of his packs with complete free will.
"You're probably wondering how I know all this. Before I founded The Green School, I was a chairman of the think tank that made this drug possible. Two men that I worked closely with were Noah's father and Noah's teacher.
"You make take what you learn here and go any number of places. You can take a pack and help defend what remains of our once spawling metroplises from the encroachment of nature. You can take your pack and try your hand at the competetive circuit. You can find a job that allows you to use certain animals to complete your duties. But I ask you, of anything that you do please don't do two things.
"One, don't try to replicate Noah's work. It will all end in tears. If your pack doesn't tear itself apart, it may tear you apart. Some people, especially graduates of my school form close emotional bonds with their packmates, and you may never be able to work with a pack again. It can leave vicious emotional and physical scars, and it just isn't worth it.
"Two, don't go looking for Noah. He does his best not to be found, living off the land instead of in close proximity to a city, and tries to avoid people. He won't teach you, if that's what you seek him for, and if you're lucky, he'll turn you away kindly. If you try to attack him, you will find that his ability to manage his pack is considerable, and as far as I am aware, he has never lost, though he doesn't seek out conflicts. His pack demonstrates the most cohesive unit I've ever heard of, and I've been in these business since the beginning. His predatory-and-prey pairs will defend each other to the last, despite the fact that if it weren't for Noah, they'd literally be at each other necks.
"Please, just leave him alone, and find your own path.
"Alright, I think that's enough of today. For homework, I want you all to spend some time in the Green Library researching and building food chain maps. Whatever route you take when you leave, such research will aid you in assembling your team.
"Have a good day, everyone, and we'll see you next week."