Challenge #02578-G021: Spoil Them Good
Love me as an equal, and I will pay you back. Exist while I love you SO MUCH, and I will burn entire star systems for your sake. (humans and pets) -- Anon Guest
Humans will pack-bond with anything, though the continually most mind-boggling example of this is Humans and inanimate objects. Second in that esteemed list is the non-cogniscent animals that Humans elect to share their space with and how intensely those creatures are spoiled.
The Humans themselves will put up with many discomforts. Some sell their passage on vessels as being 'eminently adaptable', but the one thing they insist upon is acceptable accomodation for their pets. The famous story concerning this is the plight of Human Tir, who had their berth dominated by accomodations for their cat, and slept in the closet that they had converted into a bedroom... which was also inevitably dominated by the cat.
Human Tir had the aforementioned bed, and one chair by a small workspace that they used for any relaxation or creativity activities when they were off duty. Any and all spaces there belonged primarily to a black cat with blue eyes that Human Tir had named 'Void'. The rest of the space, appropriate for a cogniscent of Tir's size, was dominated by cat things. Cat beds, cat hammocks, cat toys, a water fountain, the mandatory litter tray, cat walkways, hider-boxes, cat-friendly greenery, and of course multiple cat food dispensers. This in spite of the fact that the Chief Decisions officer had noticed this and given Human Tir double quarters in the hopes that they would take some of the space for themself.
Speculation, always rife in an enclosed vessel for extended journeys, held that if Human Tir was given a living space on a planet, the majority of the space would be given to the cat, and Human Tir themself would inhabit one closet-sized bed space and a small workstation. Therapist Fyor came to confront them about this and ensure they knew their rightfully-appointed space was also theirs to use.
The padded sack the crew had given Human Tir in an effort to get them to occupy more space had been a relative failure. As far as anyone knew, Human Tir never used it. Indeed, as Fyor entered, ze saw that the bright blue floppy bag had a small black hole nestled in its exact middle.
Fyor stared at Void. Void yawned, groomed a paw, stretched, and stared back with unimpressed blue eyes. An effect slightly spoiled by the fact that the cat left part of its tongue out as it regarded hir.
"Another visit, Doc?" said Human Tir from their accustomed perch at the small workstation. "I'm up on my haptic feedback, today... and the nutrient plan's working with the meds. I'm as balanced as I can get." A moment's thought had them catching up on other reasons why Fyor could be there. "Aren't I?"
"We're continuing to be concerned about your self care," allowed Fyor.
"Uh," said Tir, still apparently lost. "Clean, fed, medicated, hydrated... I got all the good habit reminders, and twice the necessary space. It's all good, right?"
"Our concern is with how much space is truly yours," said Fyor. Ze gestured at the space that was, by percentage, Void's. "You permanently claim a space that's legally inhumane. Your inhabited space is the bed and that workstation. The rest of this is... well... your cat's."
"Naw, I share this with Void."
Fyor looked up at a walkway and hide-box that was close to the ceiling. "You can't reach and you can't fit in that one," ze said.
"Well, okay, not all of it," Tir confessed. "But I can reach Void in most places and then we play. Or we share the soft furniture and just chill. It depends on the mood. When it's just me giving Void his space, that's when I stick to the minimum. I grew up on Knockelbow Station, remember? Itty bitty living space. It's... good manners to take up the least possible portion of room when there's others sharing it."
Well, that explained one half of the continuing problem. Old habits had a difficult death. "And the space you allot your cat?"
"Oh. Yeah. Uh. It's good to spoil your pets. They have such short lives compared to us. It's only right that they get as much luxury as we can afford to share. Within all reason, naturally. Knowing what's good for them versus what they'd love to have and all..."
Fyor considered Human Tir, and their expected lifespan of, with intervention and maintenance, one hundred Standard years. In comparison with their own pentupling of that amount, it didn't seem fair. "Have you thought, Human Tir, that we might be attempting to employ a similar strategy for you?"
It took them a moment to realise. "You're... you're all trying to... spoil me? Keep me happy and all the rest? Like I spoil Void?"
Fyor nodded. "Exactly so."
"Oh," said Human Tir. "Oh shit..."
[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / Smit]
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