Challenge #02384-F194: Attitude Adjustor
There always a foul-mouthed human within every group, but when there a kid nearby, they put on a mask and they're the politest creature you ever met. -- Anon Guest
They say that people who curse a lot are more likely to be honest. If that is true, then Human Nor was the most honest being in the known universe. If they came with a censor beep, others might be mistaken for believing they were speaking in morse code. Unfortunately for those in Human Nor's aura, they did not come with a censor beep.
That is, until the day that Human Nor and five of the crew of the Consummate Scrounge rescued a life pod from the erratic course it had error'd its way into. The solitary occupant had mashed some buttons with a handful of something else that had been mashed. Forensic analysis would later identify the remains as a banana. This was unsurprising because the sole occupant was less than two years old.
What was surprising was Human Nor's reaction, and actions after said discovery. Instead of the usual stream of unfiltered invective, interspersed with actual conversive meaning, Human Nor changed their entire attitude to the point of being nearly unrecognisable.
"Aw the little diddums," Human Nor cooed. "Has we got stuff all over everything? Who's a messy? You's a messy. Come on, now, sweetheart. You and I are gonna go through decon. Yes we are. Yes we are..."
Frek and Dar had frozen in place, agape, staring at their Ships' Human as if they had grown another appendage on the spot. They had all heard about disturbing Human habits and behaviours but this... This was beyond comprehension.
The child complained in a language none could understand. Later experts identified it as a pre-lingual phenomenon known as 'Scribble', and could even trace the linguistic origins to a specific station in a close segment of the Edge Territories. Such analysis would prove useful later. What bothered the crew now was the drastic change in their Ships' Human.
The child passed through decon with little to concern the crew or the ships' biota. They were clothed and fed softened versions of Human Nor's rations as the detective work began on discovering where this little creature had come from. That, and what could possibly have happened to Human Nor to make them so drastically different from their accustomed manner.
"Cool it, you guys," they singsonged, juggling the sleepy toddler on their hip. "I'm just being nice. This little nugget's just forming their view of the world. You don't wanna pollute that sort'a thing. So you be nice. You play nice, you say nice, you see nice, you be nice... And we're all a family ta-ra ta-ra ta-rally..."
They were greatly relieved when Human Nor returned to their usual lexical choices once the child in their temporary custody was sound asleep in a safe and isolated environment.
"Holy flakking [copulation] that's an ordeal. Have any of you [wow] never heard of being [oh dear] nice around a [ouch] baby? [String of creative expletives describing an unlikely congress between a popular theistic figure, an ape, and a trapeze], people! It's common [clang] parenting [honk] techniques, [chirp]!"
Frek, Dar, and fifteen others in the immediate area relaxed. This was one of their Human's elective behaviour modification procedures. The same as when their primary parental paid a visit. Only three times more disturbing.
 Aside, of course, from condescending dialogues that begin, "When two people love each other very much..."
[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / famveldman]
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