Galveston, 4/17/38 T.A.D. – An evening at the bustling harbor-side bar “The Anchor’s Down” in Galveston, Texas, took an unexpected turn when a bioengineered land octopus intervened to save its owner from a violent aggressor. Named “Ollie” by its owner, Nina Delacruz, the octopus quickly gained both praise and notoriety for its actions.
Witnesses reported that Delacruz was enjoying a drink on the outdoor patio of the bar when a belligerent patron approached her, escalating a verbal argument to a physical confrontation. In a swift and decisive move, Ollie, with its agile tentacles and four-foot span, wrapped itself around the assailant’s neck, subduing him and preventing any harm to its owner.
“It all happened so fast,” recounted Ms. Delacruz. “Ollie sensed the danger and acted immediately. I’m so grateful to have him by my side. He’s more than just a pet; he’s family.”
Ollie is a specimen of Octopus pulcherii, a bioengineered species designed to thrive in terrestrial environments while retaining the flexibility and intelligence of its aquatic counterparts. This rare breed is the result of advancements in genetic modification and has become a popular, albeit controversial, choice for exotic pet enthusiasts.
While bioengineered pets like Ollie are celebrated for their unique traits and companionship, they have also raised ethical questions within the industry. Animal rights activists have expressed concerns over the potential for exploitation and the unforeseen consequences of tampering with natural genetics.
“The creation of bioengineered species for novelty or convenience sets a dangerous precedent,” stated Dr. Aria Calderon, an advocate for ethical biotechnology. “It was one thing in the 20s when we were turning animals pink, but these animals are a whole different order of creation. We must ensure that these animals are treated with dignity and respect and that their welfare is prioritized.”
Famed philanthropist and entrepreneur Nick Oakes agrees. He spoke with Future News for this piece in his capacity as ambassador for All Our Children, which funds independent animal shelters worldwide, including a small number that specialize in bioengineered species.
“Everyone knows animals like dogs can be sad when they are neglected and not given opportunities to play and be social,” Oakes explained. “What people don’t realize is that for some animals, like engineered cephalopods, the effects of neglect can be much more cruel. Wild octopuses are incredibly intelligent, and engineered ones even more so. They have strong emotions. Very human-like emotions in some ways. These are passionate animals and they have a tremendous capacity for mental and emotional suffering when mistreated.”
Despite these concerns, the market for customized pets continues to flourish. Among the most intriguing creations are pets designed for specific services, such as the “SuperSleuth” hounds being sold to police K-9 units around the country, which have enhanced olfactory senses and reasoning, or the wildly popular “Aquapals,” colorful fish engineered to purify and monitor water quality in home aquariums.
In response to the incident at The Anchor’s Down, local authorities have issued a reminder to bioengineered pet owners to exercise caution and responsibility in public spaces. As for Ollie, the eight-armed hero, he has received an outpouring of adulation on popular social media networks like Mastodon, with some users even calling for a “National Octopus Day” in his honor.
Reporting for Future News, this is Isabella Torres in Galveston.