I have love in me the likes of which can scarcely be imagined and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I can not satisfy one, I will indulge the other. -- Anon Guest
If there is one rule of the Universe beyond, never ask questions to which there may be a painful answer, it is this: Never Anger a Primary Parental.
Q'essoj was busy learning this. They thought that taking a Human infant from an apparently unguarded area would be a great way to have a Deathworlder bonded with them. What they hadn't known was that Human perception was greater then they thought it was. They had presumed that the Humans on this planetoid had lacked communication skills and the ability to find their camouflaged ship.
Wrong on all counts.
There was a cordon of armed humans surrounding Q'essoj's vessel. The Human infant screamed for its parentals whenever it spotted another human. Sometimes it screamed in the night. Q'essoj had learned quickly that Humans found no comfort in a Vrethi carapace nor the warmth of their abdomen. Humans liked soft, fluffy things. Worse, feeding a Human child was an exercise in frustration, noise, and weaponised foodstuffs.
Just because a nutrition source was compatible with Human digestive systems didn't mean that a Human would actually like it enough to eat it.
Then there was the entire matter of the toxic sludge produced by a Human digestive system. Q'essoj did their utmost, but nothing could disguise the rank scent. They suspected it was the primary means by which the Humans tracked them.
Most relentless of all was the Primary Parental. They had started by running after Q'essoj and, after the initial race to get ahead, kept pursuit. Q'essoj was only faster than a Human for short bursts. The rest intervals they needed became longer and longer. This adult Human kept tracking them down. Kept following them. Kept on. As far as Q'essoj knew, they never slept.
There were more Humans involved in the pursuit than the Primary Parental, but this was the one who was the most determined. After the first few encounters, this was the one that was armed. This was the one who got the closest. This was the one that Q'essoj learned to fear.
This was the Human that made Q'essoj learn the true meaning of the Sunk Cost Fallacy.
Finally, when Q'essoj ran out of tricks, when they ran out of energy, and ran out of directions to run, this was the Human that other Humans had to restrain. What followed was a shock that almost ended Q'essoj.
They could speak Galstand Simple.
"I kill," screamed the restrained Human. "I kill slow! I take off graspings! I take off limbs! I separate on joints! I take out spare organs for feast!"
The only thing that stopped this Human from fighting was the presentation of their young. Unharmed, but upset. The demeanour changed instantly. From raging murder beast to gentle caregiver in less than a picosecond. Harsh screams died in the Human's throat, to be replaced by soft, whispering coos.
Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered...
Q'essoj had thought that gaining a Human infant by themself would be a coup. They understood, now, why it took teams to acquire one. They understood, now, the risks inherent in the process. They understood completely why those teams roamed far and wide. They understood why, after a mere few such infants had been procured, the hunters moved to a different planetary system for two decades.
Humans valued their children, and would move the very stars to retrieve them.
Q'essoj also understood that they were very lucky to become incarcerated, not only alive, but also with their body intact.
[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / asasirov]
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