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|Peregrine Weyr > Wherhandler Quarters > can has kitten?|
|Posted by: tuathade Nov 3 2011, 08:16 PM|
| Alex was stumped. A small mewling ball of fur had somehow made it into his favorite hiding-spot-slash-napping-nook (a low sheltered crevasse in the weyrbowl, roomy but not quite large enough for dragons, with enough of an overhang to keep it pleasantly shady during the day) and proceeded to paw at his face insistently. It was loud. It was a rather startling shade of ginger. It did not smell tasty. Even if it did smell tasty, it was hardly more than a mouthful for the fully-grown hybrid, and he could tell at a glance it would be more fur and bones than edible meat.
It seemed to be a smaller version of the miniature felines that some humans kept as pets... although why wild adult felines were undesirable but miniature neotenized ones were, Alex had no idea. Nonetheless, its purring was... kind of pleasant. Like a tinier version of the deep bass rumble that hybrids could use to express pleasure.
Well, it couldn't stay with him. And somehow he doubted Salvador would look kindly on a cat in the lab. So with tremendous care, he picked the kitten up by the scruff, where it dangled calmly from jaws large enough to bite it in half. Then he padded over towards the wherhandler quarters.
He couldn't go in, of course. The wherhandler quarters were off-limits. But if anyone was going to know what to do with an infant anything, it would likely be the wher who had taken on 'Mama' as a nickname. Alex was quite sure there were no holes in his logic. Hello? Can I talk to you? I brought a peace offering, he called mentally. It was just after dark, so most of the wherhandlers should be awake but still inside their quarters, not yet beginning their nightly rounds.
|Posted by: S'yal Nov 3 2011, 08:34 PM|
| Thing is talking to Zalmask.
The word startled Z out of his zoned out space, having captured Rainbow to -finally- give the damn thing a bath. The infant firelizard whined and squirmed, snapping at his fingers and generally acting as badly behaved as he could. So when Zalmask spoke to him, Z paused. Rainbow took advantage of this to bite Z and Between to safety.
Old hybrid. He has thing for. Zalmask go see. Zalmask's come, Zalmask's very stupid and might eat something not Zalmask's proof. The gold snorted, before reaching out to Alex. Peace? Zalmask come see. Her voice was irritated and grumpy, showing that she'd rather bite Alex then talk to him.
But he had a gift, and Zalmask loved gifts. So the gold stood, snagged Z by his shirt and tugged him to his feet despite protests of not being that stupid. Pressing her head against his back, Zalmask herded her handler out to meet the hybrid.
"I don't want to see it. Does it even know what happened?" Z asked, grumbling. He didn't want to see anything offworlder related. Heck, he even glowered at the offworlder wherhandlers suspiciously.
Zalmask no like Thing. Zalmask like presents. Zalmask get presents, then make Thing go away. However, when Zalmask saw Alex and the little... fuzzy thing he had with him, she had a very unimpressed look. It looked like... a kitten?
Z peeked around Zalmask, pushing at her bulk unsuccesfully. The gold merely pushed him with her back foot and made him stagger. "Zalmask! I want to see!"
No. Thing not bite Zalmask's. Zalmask's delicate flower.
Thing! Zalmask graces with presence! Zalmask mad at, but Zalmask listen to what thing says. Zalmask cool like that. The gold sat down with an audible thump, her eyes whirling a mix between amused blue and red. Holding that kitten, Alex was almost... cute. It made her want to cuddle him. Which also made Zalmask very angry. He was a terrible thing, not to be cuddled!
And, his people had messed with her eggs. She'd have to do something about that.
"You called me a flower!"
Shush, Zalmask's. Adults talking now.
|Posted by: tuathade Nov 12 2011, 09:08 PM|
| Alex resisted the urge to bristle and growl instinctively at the irritated voice in his head. It was an ingrained response to both wher in the vicinity and gold voice in head, but he fought it down. It would hardly be fair, seeing as he was the one who sought out Zalmask, not the other way around.
His intentions in this meeting were fairly transparent: making peace with the senior gold would make his life less miserable in the long run. With more whers and more hybrids around, the two were bound to cross paths more and more… and Alex was the closest that they had to a senior anything as far as hybrids were concerned. (Well, except Salvador… But even Alex, socially nonfunctional as he was, could tell that Salvador was not someone you sent places if you wanted a pleasant and diplomatic outcome.) If he and Zalmask were at least on speaking terms, it would make his job of keeping an eye on the new hybridhandlers much simpler.
That, and the weyrlings and the wherlings would hopefully not all murder each other before they graduated.
Alex knew nothing of the iron hatchling, of course. He simply had a kitten. And the kitten was both inconvenient to Alex and potentially convenient as a bargaining chip. He set down the piteously mewling ball of ginger fur, and nudged it encouragingly in Zalmask’s direction, hoping it would walk over towards her and her handler. Instead, it purred and then fell over. Kittens, Alex concluded, were not very good at things.
Instead, he backed off, so that Z and/or Zalmask could come forward without having to move into Alex’s personal space. I brought a kitten? It was in my usual napping spot. I can’t really do anything with it, and I heard humans like them, so…
|Posted by: S'yal Nov 12 2011, 10:11 PM|
| Zalmask stared at the fluffy thing in shock, her eyes slowly trailing from it to Alex. Why had Alex not killed it? It didn't match up to what she thought she knew of the hybrid- which admittedly, wasn't much. All she knew was that he'd once attacked a baby dragon. She knew nothing of the fact that Alex wasn't actually all that bad.
Z, however, was more excited to see the kitten. When he saw it, he stepped around Zalmask. Zalmask snapped at him, earning herself a stop. The wher grunted, but lowered her head to eye Alex anxiously as her handler crouched and made a clicking noise.
"Here, kitty kitty." He wanted to hug it! But hugging it might scare it. Z didn't want the cute kitty to run away!
... Yes. Zalmask's like kittens. Zalmask had a tone of defeat to her voice, staring at the kitten with horror. A kitten. Zalmask's-
"Thank you! I can keep him? He's so cute!" Z you are a grown man, stop this right now.
Thanks. Zalmask replied, awkwardly. She shifted her paws, not quite sure what to say to Alex when he had brought her handler something that made him so happy.
"I'm going to call him B-"
|Posted by: tuathade Nov 13 2011, 10:07 PM|
| The kitten mewed, then wobbled unsteadily over towards Z. Warm person! Warm person calling for kitten! It mewed again, then attempted to climb him.
Alex watched in mild bemusement, still uncertain of what the appeal of this creature was. They had some kind of magical effect on humans that apparently didn’t work on hybrids. But… the handler seemed to like it? Which was all for the best, considering Alex’s Plan B was to offer it as a delicious snack for Zalmask. That probably wouldn’t have gone over well.
…I heard there was a clutch recently, he said, a little bit hesitantly. This was a dangerous subject to bring up, considering what Alex usually did to feral wher clutches he found. But he’d heard nothing of any of the babies being culled, which meant it was probably successful. And what mother wouldn’t want the chance to brag a bit about her children? How’d it go?
|Posted by: S'yal Nov 13 2011, 10:27 PM|
| The question of the clutch made Zalmask freeze. For a second, she thought Alex was mocking her. She wanted nothing more then to rip his head from his shoulders- But then Z gave her a swift command not to move. She glanced to her handler, who had quickly diverted attention to the puffball.
... Clutch... Zalmask looked away from Alex, her eyes whirling lavender and yellow. Her clutch. Her eggs, her babies, Torinarsk
Gold egg wasn't gold. Gray. Offworlder messed with it. Or Zalmask. Zalmask not know which was messed with. There. She wondered if Alex would understand the horror that entailed.
Why was she sitting here, sharing what had happened to the hybrid? She didn't know. She wanted to see his reaction. She wanted to know if he knew who had done such a thing to her baby.
"Torinar isn't happy. A lot of people won't be." Z suddenly added, turning the kitten over in his hands and smiling gently at it. "But other then Torinarsk, the clutch went excellent. We didn't have any go wild. No duds, either."
"How did the hybrid clutch go?" He was practically gritting his teeth at asking- the first hybrid wasn't so bad, but he knew nothing about the others. But he wanted to know. "Er... the hybrids can't go wild, can they?"
|Posted by: tuathade Nov 19 2011, 05:42 PM|
| …What had he said wrong? Alex pulled back when Zalmask froze, bracing himself for an attack; did she think that he was threatening her children? But it was well-known by now throughout the weyr that Alex avoided bonded whers, going after only the feral ones. He posed no danger to Zalmask or to any of hers.
And then she explained, and things became clearer. Alex’s eyes were fixed into a single color, the weird pale blue, which made his decidedly nonhuman expressions difficult to read. But his head dipped slightly, and from the stiffness of his body it was clear that he had not been expecting this news. …I didn’t know. They didn’t – they don’t really tell me things. Was that a twinge of bitterness, of anger in his mindvoice? Oh yes. The prototype was a guinea pig, just as much as this new gray wher was. No need to share that kind of information.
If it’s any consolation – if it helps, I don’t think they would have been able to mess with you without your knowing. At least with the hybrids, they altered the eggs directly. He was dimly aware of the process: combine donated genetic material from dragons and whers, mix in a little extra weirdness for flavor, inject into an egg, place in a surrogate wher mother to grow like a normal clutch. He’d met the green wher in question, nothing particularly strange about her.
But that probably was more than Zalmask would need (or want) to know. Hybrid clutch went about the same – no duds, no ferals. Couple injuries, no one killed. Strangely, Alex sounded mildly surprised by this. But you won’t need to worry about feral hybrids. If any fail to Impress – well, Salvador doesn’t want a repeat of the first mistake.
His voice went oddly flat and devoid of emotion on that last sentence. Awareness of his own status as unbonded? Perhaps. And although Alex had been bloodthirsty and eager to prove himself when half-grown, the older he got the more ambivalent his feelings grew. There wasn't any joy in culling infants of any sentient species - even if he suspected the world would be better off without this hybrid clutch.
|Posted by: S'yal Nov 30 2011, 05:08 PM|
| Zalmask regarded Alex with light yellow eyes as he pulled away, but she said nothing to him. Her ears flicked back, observing his body language. Sometimes, she almost forgot he was a hybrid and not just a very strange looking, big wher. Things would be easier if he was just a wher. He wouldn't make her feel disgusted.
Didn't think so. Zalmask answered, her eyes going to a flat, almost unmoving green-yellow. Why would they tell Alex anything? He was an unbonded hybrid, and now they had new toys to play with. Zalmask felt bad for him. Sympathy was not an emotion she liked to have for something that ate whers- wild or no. Zalmask herself was not above killing and eating wild whers close to her own size... but a creature born for that express purpose? Creepy.
"They won't touch the eggs again." Z butted in, turning to look over at Alex. He was still holding the kitten, even though being a kitten it was probably nomming on his hand. "The question is, how the shards do you get past a queen wher without waking her up?" Z scowled. It was a slap to the face of his own ability to train his wher, and Zalmask's clutchtending. Someone had gotten by Mama. That was not okay.
Good. Zalmask hesitated, listening to the flat, dull tone. When she stepped forward, she felt a trickle of alarm from her bond partner. Z was worried. Zalmask ignored him, instead focusing on the hybrid. Then, if he allowed her, she'd gently reach out her muzzle and lick his cheek. Thing. The word, offensive as it could be, was said in an almost affectionate manner.
Zalmask will let Thing into wher barracks. With that, she stepped away and returned to the golden statue she had been before, regarding him with those pale yellow eyes. Was she worried about him? She thought he was lonely. Whether it was true or not, Zalmask didn't know. Thing half-wher, yes? Wher is pack! Half-wher is pack. But not new ones, Zalmask eat them. Just Thing. The best 'You're not so bad' Alex was going to get from the gold.
Z eyed Zalmask, uncertain. He didn't like anything made by the offworlders anymore, and he certainly didn't want to welcome Alex into his home. "But not near the wherlings, unless they come up to you. They're still being trained, and they'll probably bite." His tone suggested he was more worried for the infant whers then Alex.