Challenge #02170-E341: The Little Necessities
An alien realizes his travel buddy of a different species who he thought was a bit immature is a literal teenager and immediately becomes more protective. -- OohLookShiny
Gorkz was rather fond of Human Zae. They were rough around the edges, as all Humans were, but there were enough positives to balance out negatives like, instantly drawing a straight line between any random phrase and a crude joke. They were loyal to a fault, knew which direction to take their aggression out in, and amazingly easy-going. They fit their personal maintenance schedules around Gorkz's own with relative ease.
It wasn't until they hit a more popular Edge trading station called Swapmeet that Gorkz discovered one, slightly alarming 'negative' about Human Zae. Gorkz was determined to give Human Zae some rewards for their unswerving service, and partial payment for all the hard knocks they had taken. When they pulled up to a place serving Unsuitable Food, a fellow Human noticed them and strolled over.
They were significantly larger than Human Zae, but that was nothing to be alarmed about. Human Zae had defeated many creatures larger than themselves. Even attempted to train a few of them. This approaching Human wasn't giving any threat indicators, but Human Zae was muttering curses in their barbaric tongue. The reason why became evident very soon, as the approaching Human began conversation with, "You know is child, yes?"
This sparked an argument between the Humans, but hostilities were restrained to increased volume and restrained agitation. "What is problem?" Gorkz kept asking, with no answer that he could easily discern.
It took half an hour, and the unsteady translation from a Jixyl, for Gorkz to learn that Human Zae wasn't a full-grown Human, but rather a young Human still maturing into their adult form. The Human word was teenager. Worse, Human Zae was a rather young one at that. No wonder they kept upgrading their livesuit every time they hit port.
Human Zae explained it in GalStand, "I haven't had anyone since I was thirteen. Unlucky for some. Turns out, most of the time, you just gotta be visible on all the escort jobs, and... yeah. Not a lot of heavy hitters, you know? I got kick-ass weapons, I got a military-grade livesuit. Not a lot can get to me. I'm... I'm cool."
That was what the Humans called a white lie. A warping of the accurate truth to preserve another's feelings. Gorkz let that statement alone for a similar reason, and sought out all the information he could on the care and maintenance of physically immature Humans.
Human Zae may claim that they were 'cool', but Gorkz had noticed how they always sought out tactile therapy whenever they came into port. They needed a better quality of nutrition, a slightly more ordered schedule, and some kind of Terran companion animal that would be resilient to Terran affections.
In order, that meant a Nutri-fabricator, some institution of a Regime on Gorkz's ship, and a kitten. The kitten would, allegedly, capture and kill any shipboard pests, but what it did best was curl up on Human Zae's body warmth and purr. It was soft and fluffy and slightly hazardous in just the right ways to enrapture Human Zae. Within two days, the murderous little creature was riding Human Zae's shoulder with an overseeing air.
The change was almost invisible to Human Zae until Gorkz blurted, "Be careful," on one of their salvage missions.
Human Zae paused. "You have been parenting me, haven't you?"
Gorkz had never mastered the Human art of white lies, "A little. I respect your autonomy, but even grown Humans need someone to care for them."
They pondered this point. "Don't make me eat brussels' sprouts and we're good."
[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / yuris010]
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