Challenge #02009-E185: Barbarian Benevolence

in fiction •  9 months ago


What happened to the human dying the storm in “Challenge #01981-E157: One Educational Day on a Strange New World”?
How did their relationship change after?
Please write more of this story! It’s so fascinating! -- Anon Guest

[AN: Callback to this one for those who don't want to go hunting]

Stern mum Human Shaz was a fierce guardian. Horx understood that, now. The mother with one chick would protect it from even the mildest of potential hazards. And since Human Shaz's grasp of GalStand was nebulous, it took a while to work out a shared shorthand.

Outsiders were very disturbed to hear phrases from Dog Handlers, like, "Sit" or, "Down, girl". And even further disturbed by Human Shaz's resultant laughter. Horx learned one phrase in Human, and it was, "I wanna do it," in the tones of childish petulance.

It was an odd relationship, but no relationship with a human could ever be accused of being normal. Humans with other humans in their pack could be alarmingly rough with each other. Wrestling and manhandling other humans was almost background noise. Humans with Havenworlders in their pack were... alarmingly gentle. Galactic strategies with big problems was usually, point humans at it and sweep up the wreckage afterwards. It was very disturbing to see a bulky, scar-covered human kneel to gently fix a Havenworlder's ship Skins or engage in companionable grooming at a level the Havenworlder could appreciate.

And after the first few times Horx actively climbed Human Shaz to have a higher vantage point, the Human anticipated hir needs and picked Horx up with the same ease that humans could casually shift metal furniture. Finishing by holding Horx aloft by hir feet, with a single Human hand as a platform. Horx easily glided down once ze was done, and remembered to thank Human Shaz.

Of course, there was always, "Ay" in their shared lexicon. But now there was also, "Ut." A gutteral sound that meant, 'freeze, danger'. And there always was danger. Human Shaz excelled at spotting predators and poisonous things before Horx could even see them.

It was a shocking sadness to end the mission and return to the safety of Galactic society. Human Shaz didn't seem much smaller out of her livesuit. All muscle and scars and tattoos. She hunkered down so that they shared an eyeline and said. "No want go." And there was moisture in her eyes.

Leaking from her eyes.

Horx handed her a biotainment cloth. "No leaking, Human Shaz. Is not end. Little birdie coming back inside year."

Human Shaz contained her dangerous fluids. "Oh. Holiday. You taking fun times for happy."

Of all the difficult things Humans had conquered, mutual understanding had to be the hardest. They wrestled with the easy words as hard as they wrestled with macrofauna. Pinning down meaning with as many holds as they could manage. "Yes. Fun times for happy. Horx sending pictures."

This made Human Shaz show her teeth. "Yes. Shaz waiting happy. Little birdie having many fun. Shaz having many fun, also."

Humans would pack-bond with anything. And, oddly enough, Horx felt honoured to be included in this Human's friend pack.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / AlgolOnline]

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