Challenge #02345-F155: StressorssteemCreated with Sketch.

in fiction •  5 days ago  (edited)


There are a great many types of Phobias.
Fear of Holes, Fear of Open spaces, Fear of Rain, Fear of Francesco and their Culture...
However, only Humans develop Phobias. No other species do.
(Go wild Writer ^^) -- Anon Guest

It certainly follows that those with irrational imaginations would naturally also possess irrational fears. Some have coping strategies to get around them, but some irrational fears mean never setting foot in a shuttle or small vessel. Those Humans tend to stay planetside, for the open spaces. Agoraphobes, on the other hand, adore going anywhere in livesuits.

For Humans, letting the people hiring them know about their phobias is an important process in the employment procedures. One cannot maintain employment as an Edge Territory bodyguard if one suddenly goes to pieces around an arachnid. Well, not if your crew doesn't know about this sort of thing in advance.

Phobias are not a weakness if they are handled correctly. If worked around, or approached with care, they can be advantageous. Anxiety and fear can make the sufferer hyper-aware, hyper-vigilant. Which is a very good thing when one is a bodyguard in the Edge Territories. Even if the first threat addressed is that of small, crawling creatures.

The fact that your bodyguard can dead-eye a cockroach at fifty SDU's tends to make an impact on otherwise threatening forces.

What you don't get in Allied Space is claustrophobes. Well. Not often.

Shayde stood in the centre of a field in Big Tree Park, it was one of the higher-level greenswards, where the next level up was arrays of walkways through the branches. Her eyes were closed, and she had her limbs spread-eagle, but not completely akimbo. She was taking slow, deep breaths that occasionally shuddered as they went in or out.

She was having a bad day.

Rael, having witnessed these before, stopped a good three SDU away from her and said, "It's me. May I approach."

"Aye... yuir always fine..."

He approached. "There's several urgent messages for your immediate response and five self-declared urgent complaints."

"If any of 'em are from the Dereggers, tell 'em they can fook off," she said. "I'm no' apologisin' fer not wantin' tae be their fookain doormat, ye ken."

"Unfortunately, they also demand your personal and tailored response."

"Aw, bugger 'em sideways wi' a pineapple," Shayde muttered. She jittered in place. "The blue I see is sky, th' birds I hear are flyin' free... there are no walls..." reluctantly, she opened her eyes, head tilted towards the distant, duck-egg blue of Big Tree Park's distant ceiling. The fact that there were clouds must have helped, but she still fell into a sitting position on the grass. "Awreet," she muttered. "Let's get it over with..."

She started with the complaints, so the enquiries could potentially get 'the taste' out of her brain. Rael counted three rude gestures, four uncivil suggestions of where they could 'shove it', and one anatomically impossible haptic interaction suggestion in amongst the five tailored responses. By then, Rael had retrieved her a 'ninety nine' as an emotional balm[1].

"Ta," She used the chocolate as a spoon. "Ye know ye got it bad when yer brain knows all yer tricks and decides not tae play."

Unfortunately, Rael had been there. He had an entirely rational aversion to B'Dauss genetechs in general and ones from Wave of the Future in specific. Just seeing their uniform and logo had him flinching in anticipation of the failure klaxon. The tricks he'd used to get past that response were not always efficacious. "Would you like a diversion? I know the birdseed cart should be coming by, soon.

"Aye, that'd be lovely."

Even the worst phobias can be dealt with, provided one knows enough strategies.

[1] Soft-serve ice cream in a cone with a 'flake', or ribboned chocolate in a square prism shape inserted into the matter above the cone. Once sold in England for ninety-nine pence. Now available at a food printers' for a Minute.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / potowizard]

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My favourite line is the anatomically impossible haptic interaction 🤣

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The politest and most scientific way to say, "go f*ck themself" :D