Challenge #02057-E233: In-sult-roduction
A genetically upgraded cat is hired as a ship's crew member. The Captain unfortunately thinks that since ancient cats hunted vermin, this crew-member would do the same. -- Anon Guest
When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me. -- Ancient Human Mnemonic/Caution.
Mixi Thicktail made certain she was crisp, businesslike, and formal. This was her first posting on a UFTP vessel and people had doubtless heard things about Nufurria and its residents by now. The difference between now and then was that all of this was her choice.
Her education was her choice. Her body shape was her choice. Her libido and reproduction was her choice. Her companions and bedmates would be her choice, too. Assuming she could embolden herself enough to make them. Her anxiety, however, dictated flex/scratch pads installed at her uniform hip. And they were very useful now. She forced herself to disengage so she could salute her Captain and her immediate superior. "Assistant trainee engineer Mixi Thicktail reporting for duty, sirs."
"Wow," said Captain James. "I heard the Nufurrians were made to please, but -whoah. You are amazing."
Half of her abject terror drained right away. "Thank you, Captain."
"You aught to get a real handle on the local rats."
Aaaaannnnd there it was again. "I beg your p-pardon?" Don't think about the stutter, don't think about the stutter, oh flakk I stuttered, they know I'm a stutterer, I'm doomed, I'm so doomed...
"Rats," said the Captain, as her immediate superior very slowly winced and pinched the bridge of their nose. "You're a cat. Cats hunt rats, right?"
"I'm a c-cogniscent being, nnn-not a p-p-pet. I eat rrr-real mmm-meals just like anyone else. You should have sss-sss-skitties for that." Flakk. I just mouthed off to the captain and I'm stuttering and I'm on report and I'll be on KP for a fortnight and-- And her fur was all fluffed up. After she'd spent a solid hour making sure it was smooth and groomed.
"Subsection five chief engineer Max Jabronski. Apologies for our Captain. He gets... ideas. I had to prove I'm not like all the stereotypical N'Ozzies before I got a modicum of respect out of him." She leaned closer and whispered, "But it does let me get away with saying things like that in front of him"
"The kitchen's willing to be accomodating if you want them cooked," said Captain James with a wink and a click.
Mixi put her boss between her and the Captain before he could go for her ears. "Don't. Lll-let him t-t-touch me."
Max sighed. "He's from one of the Deregulations. Quotas and all that. Captain, if you continue, you'll have to do another week's Sensitivity Training."
Captain James grumbled and found somewhere else to be.
"We have a green room, a warm room, a steam room, a cool room, and a soft room if you need somewhere to be comfortable for a while." Max deliberately did not touch her, but ushered her gently away from the direction that Captain James fled in. "We can order you the comfort supplement of your choice."
"I need www-warm and sss-soft and... f-fried ss-salmon in holland-daise sauce."
"I know just the place. I'll lead you there, okay?"
Mixi nodded. There may have been worse first days, but this was feeling like she was a kindergartener missing her mommy for the first time. She stimmed by stropping her claws on the flex pads. All the while, Max spoke in a calm voice and asked permission and warned her before things happened.
Hot food and a warm drink of her choice and the warm, soft room worked miracles to cure Mixi's stammer. As did having Max as the voice of reason and CapAlert App installer. Homebrew software that alerted his -ha!- loyal crew to his proximity and travel vector so they could either brace themselves or be up to their elbows in something else.
Mixi put it on her main screen and set it to alert her on a definite vector alert. She felt a great deal more relieved when Max got the alert out that Mixi didn't like being randomly touched. The Captain may not be sensitive to her emotional needs, but the rest of the UFTP more than made up for it.
And for the record, the closest she ever got to the ship's vermin was the kitchen's ratatouille.
[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / zsv3207]
If you like my stories, please Check out my blog and Follow me. Or share them with your friends!
Send me a prompt [29remaining prompts!]