Challenge #02528-F338: Meeting Bip and BopsteemCreated with Sketch.

in #fiction2 months ago


A human is always highly protective of a large front pocket of his shirt. He makes sure, when he puts on his skins, always clear ones never opaque, or his armor, that there's a space there, rather inefficient, but it's when a tiny head pokes out that people realize, he has a pet there. A sweet little sugar-glider that is his constant companion. Sure they're almost as fragile as a level 4 Havenworlder, but he loves his little pet very much. He has been raising these sweet earth-creatures since he was a child, and has never travelled without one in his pocket. -- DaniAndShali

Humans are strange. Most Galactics know this, but every now and again, they find the statistical outlier on the normal curve that just serves to remind them of the very strong stereotype. Such as Human Li. When not on duty, when 'just bumming about' the station secure zone, they wore a shirt with a pocket that they guarded with their lives. They were careful of it and nearly ferociously protective of it.

Worn over Ships' Skins, the garment was almost superfluous, and some wondered if the Human Li was somehow uncomfortable in Standard Mean Temperature[1]. As observations continued, Human Li's co-workers started to wonder if their Human had something toxic or dangerous in their pocket. So a small committee of concerned peoples gathered to figure out who would get to ask the Human a dangerous question.

The eventual loser of the competition carefully approached as the Human was gently manipulating an eyedropper to the mouth of their shirt pocket. "Human Li... we are all growing concerned with--" Grix paused as the pocket in question moved on its own. "--the pocket of the shirt you wear. You have been... alarmingly protective of it and we need to know... are you carrying toxic matter and if so, why?"

Human Li laughed, showing too many hard teeth for many beings' comforts. "No, nothing toxic. I got my babies in there."

Grix had just enough knowledge about Humans to say, "These are not Human babies, yes?"

The eye dropper was placed carefully in its receptacle and Human Li scooped the contents of the controversial pocket out into the open. "Their mum didn't want them, so I'm keeping them warm and fed," they said.

There, cradled gently in the Human's massive palms, was what appeared to be a lump of striped fur that sprouted two small heads and three even smaller feet. "They're baby sugar-gliders," Human Li whispered. "I've got a colony of the little bitties in my quarters' livepod, but these two need a little bit more love than the rest." One meaty thumb moved to stroke the tiny bodies. One of them responded by licking and then attempting to bite.

Knowing Humans as Grix did... "Are they venomous, poisonous, or otherwise hazardous?"

"Nah, just hungry," the sugar-gliders went back into Human Li's pocket and Human Li resumed messing about with the eyedropper. "They're one of the few critters who can win against space-armoured roaches, so be glad I've got them."

"And the downside?" Grix prompted. There was always a downside with Terran fauna.

"They pee all over everything, but that's generally it."

As far as Deathworld life was concerned, that was 'almost completely harmless'.

[AN: Skins are literally skin-tight and most often used like underwear. Only those new to Galactic life wear their more habitual underwear underneath their Skins. Either way, it's not nice for any living creature between human skin and worn Skins. Also - sugar-gliders are not best suited for solitary life. They need nestmates like we all need air. (insert The More You Know gif)]

[1] The mean temperature at which most lifeforms are comfortable. For those who prefer much hotter or much colder environments, there are livesuits for those extremes, as well as personal quarters with the appropriate warning labels.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / rujitop]

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Oh, I didn't know that, I thought people often only had one sugar glider. :-) And I didn't know that about the skins either. Though, either way, they are absolutely adorable!

Obviously, I need to work on making such distinctions clearer in the novels, when I mention them. As a writer who researches THE most random crap for fun, I enjoy a chance to educate. You're cool :D