Challenge #02614-G057: Therapeutic Bonding Exercises

in #fiction4 years ago


Humans quietly did not speak of it.
Speak of it and it makes it real, yeah?
One of the leftover prejudices from Pre-Shattering.
In reality, it wasn’t so bad. Young terrans unmeaningly latching on to inappropriate first beings when they were beginning their Adult Growth cycle. Receiving mixed and confused information due to age and species wasn’t so odd, with all the travelling.
You just had to know how to handle it so it went from "No, it’s okay!" and not "What kind of counseling do you need, small Terran???"
The growing little ones may need help, but when you thought of it in terms as them seeing their surroundings as Perfectly Normal, it made much more sense. -- Anon Guest

Before Ships' Human was an occupation, it was an infestation. Stations that had Humans lurking in forgotten or neglected spaces ran the risk of infecting other ships with Humans. There were warnings. There were precautions. Yet there were no fatalities, regardless of the fear of Deathworlders. Many who gained Humans on their ship gained them temporarily, and tended to view them as a wild animal that had decided to declare a truce so it could reach a destination.

After all, the reasoning went, who was going to stop a Deathworlder. Moreover - how did they plan on even trying? They were Deathworlders. Surviving having one on the ship was something of a badge of honour. Some Havenworlders even tried to gain a Human or two for long voyages. Even then, many travellers understood that Humans would protect even a temporary home. On those long voyages, the Humans would start to bond with the non-Human crew.

That was when other secrets about the Ships' Humans were revealed. Many of them were juveniles. Some reached their maturation in the company of relative strangers. It was, owing to unfamiliarity, a rough trip for all concerned. The Infonets shared what they could, but confirmable information was as unreliable as the knowledge from the Humans.

Human Dree was getting moody. This was, according to all sources, a sign of impending maturity. They were grumpy, standoffish, offensive when they could manage it. Worse, they were attempting to flirt with a seemingly random crewmember every other week. The efforts were not exactly impressive.

Questions like, "Do you like... stuff?" or, "Uh. You... look nice. Is it something you do?" and almost relentlessly, "Can I get you something?"

There were also episodes of red-faced mortification resulting in a lack of volume whenever Human Dree spoke. It was hard to understand them most of the time, since simple sentences were the extent of their handle on GalSimple. When they got The Mumbles, it was even more difficult, since the red-faced and agitated Human Dree would also curl in on themself and hide their face from anyone attempting to read their lips.

This was, more or less, the origin of Designated Companion. The crew of the Radiant Orb drew lots and found a crewmember to spend time with Human Dree in shared tasks, conversations, and positive-but-not-that-positive haptic feedback. Which, in turn, lead to a conclusion that has lingered throughout Galactic association with Humans as a species.

Humans are messed up.

Not just the desperate young ones escaping a bad place, looking for a better place, or just wanting to see what was out there. Not just those who figured that wherever they went and whatever happened to them was better than their point of origin. Not just the ones who were living in a world made in the image of their founder's ideals and were suffering the consequences. Even the Humans who lived with Alliance support were messed up in little ways. It was the Deathworlder genes. They did things to the mentality.

The most messed-up Humans were the ones, like Human Dree, who set out on their own with goals of their own. Those who didn't have what a pack-bonding species needed the most - a friend. For which, the new companion Thrrt had been chosen.

They began, as Human Dree often did, with a short bark of a greeting. "Hey."

"Hey," said Human Dree. They were curled up in their nest, wrapped in blankets and staring at nothing.

"Entering okiedoke?" Thrrt offered, using the Human's own vocab in an effort to be friendly.

Human Dree was nonverbal, only twitching a shoulder as an indication that they didn't mind one way or the other. Therefore, Thrrt entered with careful watch for signs of hostility. "You having mood bad," said Thrrt in GalSimple. "Crew wishing Human Dree feeling better."

"...good f'r them," Human Dree mumbled.

"Am coming for helping Human Dree," said Thrrt. "Human Dree needing..." what was the Human bark-word? "Hug?"

Only Human Dree's eyes moved, possibly sizing up Thrrt for signs of dishonesty. "Friend hug?"

"Friend hug," Thrrt clarified. "For good feeling Human Dree."

Dree uncurled, welcoming Thrrt into their arms. Arms that could break harder-shelled fruits used just the right pressure to be comforting but not restraining. Thrrt returned the pressure as much as a Havenworlder could. Presently, Human Dree's eyes started leaking.

"You're good li'l fluffies," Dree croaked in their home tongue. "I'm sorry I'm being such a butt."

Understanding, delayed by the autotranslating software, resulted in Thrrt coming up with a decent response. "Thrrt thinking Human Dree unable to not being... butt."

Human Dree started barking, it was true, but it was the good bark. The one they called 'laugh'. Things would improve... beginning with little steps like this one.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / Ulianna19970]

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"Thrrt thinking Human Dree unable to not being... butt."

Naww XD And yep pretty much that happens sometimes doesn't it x_x

"You can't stop being a butt right now but we still love you" is an entire mood with Humans.

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