Flash Fiction

Animal Husbandry

word prompts: sanguine / limpid / luging / animal husbandry / stuffed animal / fondler / petter

Only a handful of petters were allowed into the zoo. This was due to the harsh and random attacks that the humans would inflict on you if you weren’t properly trained and disguised. Untrained petters were too sanguine; the humans spotted them right off, being used to the dour mood that creeps upon the imprisoned. In truth there were only seven pens, a total of 1000 humans and all in the same complex, but they kept the myth alive that their home planet, an undeveloped water-sphere called “Earth”, had successfully rebelled and that new humans would arrive periodically, supposedly taken captive. In truth Earth had been domesticated in a little short of a solar week. This population had been kept wild, without the drugs that kept production up on the planet below. The station was a tourist destination, and nobody wants to see slack-jawed monkey-beasts. They want their animals peppy.

So here she was, hardly cut out for animal husbandry, but without a keeper of her own she had little choice but to become a fondler. So she was here, pretending to inform her new charge in fervent tones about the situation on Earth. She had to be careful, just enough detail to be plausible but not so much as to distract from her main purpose which was, of course, to provoke the copulation that visitors came to see.

It was all a little boring, she thought, quite below her natural talents. These human were so easy. She had spent a few days in the biochem lab running tests, getting the pheremonal signals just right. Apparently this species couldn’t even control their own stink-glands. No wonder they were so easy to manipulate. The female of the species were a little more complicated, but still not a challenge.

Oh well, it was a job. Of course, she had never thought she would need a job, since her former keeper had contracted her for several lifetimes of service. She definitely never considered that she herself would be the one to terminate the contract. And for what, a simple amputation request? They were commonplace now. What was her problem? Why did she insist that she keep all her original limbs? Weren’t bionics better?

She sighed, and shook her head slightly to bring herself back to the moment. OK, these creatures were dumb, but she still had to pay a sliver of attention. But it was all so predictable. Heart rate increasing, breath rate up by 25%. She could see, with her implants (augmentation is different than replacement!), the blood in this specimen beginning to gather in the sexual organs. It was all so…obvious. The subtlety was simply lacking.

But that wasn’t really a surprise. No, this job held no surprises. Except for the Rajan-ess. They were different. They wanted to go in as triplets, but it was voted too implausible. Humans did bear litters on occasion, but the likelihood of all three escaping together was too slim to be convincing. Humans, though feeble in intellectual ability, weren’t completely incapable of reasoning. They needed a remarkable degree of continuity or they became confused, and then hostile. And this cage couldn’t afford any more breakdowns. They’d already mindwiped and redistributed several of the initial inhabitants due to unfortunate breaches of plot.

So the Rajan-ess was stuck running tests and tweaking environmental controls. And she, she was stuck in this cage with no friends to help pass the time. Just these doughy creatures and the knowledge that a few years of this would be enough to buy her passage to the Planar Nexus, where she could start looking for a new keeper. Hopefully, an old-fashioned one, who would like an original model with all its parts intact. Unless she could win the Rajan-ess over and create a tribe. But that might be beyond even her abilities. Still, she might as well try. She hated being bored, and the challenge would keep her skills sharp.