right after Possessor: The Adoption
after the cafeteria incident, –
visit to the only store within BetaMountain selling pet
and a long conversation with the salesclerk about
why somebody wants to shop with a cat attached to his clothes:
what's–?" Shane hadn't crossed his doorstep yet when
the cat jumped off his chest and shot under his bed to remain
there as an indifferent, furry ball whose reflective green eyes
glowed back at him. "Couldn't you have done that in the
cafeteria?" he asked it on hands and knees.
not. The cat flattened his ears and hissed at him. Great. So much
for agreement. He straightened up and threw a disconcerted glance
at the big brown cardboard box that had contained O'Malley's
kittens in the cafeteria – not very well, which had started
all the trouble – and was now filled with what she deemed
absolutely necessary for the fluffy furball's further
Damnation! That cat
had more personal belongings than he did!
what to start with? The piss-pot... wait, he tried to decipher
O'Malley's scribbling, litter box, it was called.
He pulled the big
rectangular bowl of green plastic from the box and found the
litter for it in a paper sack secured with duct tape inside. At
least there was some service. He cut the duct tape with a sharp
thumb claw and emptied the litter. From the smell it was made of
pine. He had imagined worse. Judging by the size of the bowl and
O'Malley's warning that cats were prone to shovel the stuff out
of it from time to time, he'd better place it in the
He made two steps with
the litter box when something hit his left ankle and whizzed
through between his legs. Something small. Something grey.
Something fragile. He tried to regain his balance, not drop the
darn container with wood pellets, and avoid smashing the
aggressor in the process.
attempt that utterly failed.
blinked, raised his head, looked at his cat sitting with erected
whiskers in front of him, watching curiously, and shook cat
litter pellets smelling of pine wood out of his hair. Damnation!
The tiny beast had managed what nobody – not even back at
Wolf Den – had done successfully during the last four
years: he tackled him! That creature had a frightening ability to
Not for the first
time that day he thought that stripping in the cafeteria might
possibly have been the better choice...
Moira answered the comm.
any preamble: "Didn't you say he's housetrained
"Then my floor
must belong to the outside," the ST on the screen grumbled
under his breath. More loudly, "Any idea why he stopped
prepare his litter box?"
as you told me. I even showed him where it is!" He snorted.
"Don't tell me I have to show him how to use it."
of course not." Chief-engineer O'Malley snickered at the
image the dry comment created in her mind.
what's the problem then?"
everything's new to him at your place. He's nervous and unsure
about you, that'll end soon."
unsure about him as well and I don't piss on the
Moira laughed out
loud. "But you aren't a cat, Gooseman!"
beginning to think he's got the easier part in
sometimes, I use clump litter instead of the pine pellets. But
not always, it makes too much dust."
half an hour (and a second trip to the only store within
BetaMountain selling pet supplies) later:
emptied the suggested amount of Cleanlicats Clump Cat Litter
(CCCL) into the bowl he'd previously emptied meticulously of all
pine pellets and put the huge plastic bowl – pardon: the
litter box, of course – back into its place, stuffed the
sack with the remaining litter into the bathroom cabinet, and
went to change into his half-civilian black gear. The bold pine
needle smell sticking to his blue-and-white uniform had caused
too many curious looks on his way to the store and back.
Obviously, the salesclerk remembered his growl: he had refused to
sniffed and sighed, wondering if some of those pellets were still
stuck in his hair. The smell wasn't wearing off so far.
collected the uniform from the floor and went – not without
a wary glance against a possible grey-furred aggressor launching
attacks at his legs from under his bed – into the bath to
stuff it into the cardboard box for dirty clothes. Hrmpf, seemed
he had to do laundry soon...
determined 'meow', somehow underlaid with a low growl, made him
Just in time to get
the contents of the litter box thrown against his lower half,
after a somehow not at all tiny grey cat with a white snout
jumped with both forepaws onto the edge of the bowl, causing it
to flip over. Needless to say, said cat had left the bathroom
long before most of the concrete crumps even hit the
At least, Shane seriously
doubted that the grey monster had received its share of white
dust. He looked down along himself and growled: from the hips
down his black uniform was powdered white. Great.
threw a disconcerted look at his dirty clothes box. What would be
worse? Smelling as if he'd been taking pine oil beauty baths or
looking as if some insane gargantuan nanny had tried too hard to
protect his backside from diaper rash?
The even tougher
question though, was what to do about the litter box before that
cat needed its toilet again? The wet spot on his carpet showed
clearly that the tiny beast contained much more liquid than one
assumed at first sight, so... What?!
Poss sat in
front of him, staring him down with unmoving green eyes, produced
a clearly arrogant snort, turned, made some scraping movements in
front of the still upside-down bowl and marched, tail raised high
above his back, back into the living room, leaving behind a
clearly out of sorts Gooseman.
Moira O'Malley on the screen shrugged. "The symbolic
scraping is a clear indication that something's wrong with the
litter box, Gooseman. He did with it what he usually does with
his feces: burying it. It's a strong expression of
Did you use the litter I told you?"
do you think I'd risk experiments?!" he snorted. "I
have no idea what's going on with him."
bred him! You're supposed to know how he works!"
an apologetic expression Moira sighed. "He's a cat,
Ranger. Nobody understands cats. I certainly don't."
O'Malley shrugged. "It could be anything."
half an hour on the third trip to the only store within
BetaMountain selling pet supplies:
salesclerk gaped at him as if Goose had just used his bio
defenses to create a second head that had a totally different
opinion than Goose-head-1. Not that he – Goose, standard
version – was too surprised about that. Even his limited
knowledge of human behavior schemes recognized his demand as odd.
Especially when the demand came from a six foot five man in black
gear that was powdered white from the hips down and who smelled
pungently of pine needles.
want two of every kind of cat litter boxes you have in stock,"
he repeated in an over-patient manner that only barely hid his
impatience. "And I assume you do accept returns."
We– Well, yes, absolutely. As long as the commodities are
undamaged and haven't been used, that's our shop's policy.
Buts." Goose growled, pointedly. His patience was wearing
"Do– Do you
want a bag?" The salesclerk stuttered.
glanced wearily the heap of over twenty cat boxes. "I don't
suppose you can lend me a trolley, do you?"
aren't serious, are you?" he asked his cat in disbelief
about forty minutes later, and – as he had feared –
got a faint, confirming purr as reply. A faint, confirming purr
coming from a tiny, monstrous grey-furred something
sitting in a bright yellow litter box some obnoxious twerp had
decorated with smiling (!) ladybugs (!!).
least it was the pine pellet litter variant and not the concrete
crumps – on his way back from the shop he'd decided that
the cement dust was worse than the pine smell – Look on
the bright side of life, Shane, he berated himself
be sure," he growled at the purring cat. "There'll be
no further replacements, clear?!"
cat didn't deign to look at him.
about the fifteen minutes he needed to change into his sports
gear, empty the remaining 23 litter boxes of pellets and
concrete, stuff his black gear into his washing machine and his
uniform into the bag he'd drop off at the personnel laundry after
he returned the rejected boxes. Then it sat in front of the door,
menacingly purring and more-or-less effortlessly keeping him from
leaving the apartment by sitting in the way, risking being run
over by the trolley.
look at O'Malley's list informed Goose of the task due now: food.
A quick, but thorough search of the box with cat stuff made it
clear that food was not delivered with the cat.
left, he darted right and out of the room before the kitten could
escape and force him into a chase across the mountain. After the
experiences of the last two hours, he wasn't too sure he'd win.
fourth trip to the only store within BetaMountain selling
pet supplies (after a stop at base laundry - 'Uniforms whiter
than white!'. Goose just hoped they'd leave the blue alone with
one of the finest brands of cat food–"
It smells horrible!"
do you expect?" The clerk nearly gaped. "That's cat
feed my cat stuff I consider toxic waste!"
buts!" Gooseman rummaged through his pockets till he found
the scribbled list, O'Malley had given him. "Do you have–"
he struggled to decipher the scribble. "Hell's Sense
what ever this is supposed to be." He showed the list to the
clerk. "Engineer O'Malley has kind of a strange
The clerk's face lit up. "Then I know what you mean. That's
Hill's Science Diet." He placed a set of pet food cans on
the counter that looked only slightly less complicated to prepare
than what a five-star-master cook would produce for Premier –
Kubliiieee evil-spirited smile at the brainless wife
Dutch's – wedding feast. "It's really easy," the
man reassured him. "Just remove the lid and place it in the
microwave for half a minute and–"
don't have a microwave, mister," Goose, nerves slightly
wasn't put off. "You can warm it on a stove as well when you
store it in the fridge to keep it fresh. It's explained on the
back of the packet. But I warn you, it doesn't smell any better
least, it doesn't smell like a chemical waste deposit." He
put the food bowl down and watched the cat almost launching
himself at it. Then a skittering stop on the floor, a sniff, a
disgusted snort. And green eyes penetrating his gaze in a clearly
don't have a microwave! Get that through your furry
brain!" he snarled with the result that the tiny cat tilted
its head with the great ears, blinked – and turned his ass,
offended, towards him. Oh great, he sighed inwardly. Asses
don't eat, either.
studied the offended cat some more, then decided to go with the
saying of hunger makes eaters...
hours later, he accepted that the saying said nothing about the
noise said unwilling eaters produced and also failed to refer to
the rather rapid frequency with which an unfed cat a) went around
your legs, b) scratched your boots under the table, c) meowed
your ears off, and d) flopped onto the damned report you were
trying to complete despite all this.
yawned and padded barefoot up the stairs to answer the door.
"Ye–? Shane? What on Earth are you–?"
ST looked slightly weary and definitely unshaved and interrupted
her. "Do you have a microwave?"
mind heating this shit for me?" he yawned. "The beast
won't take pot-heated food, no matter what the veterinarian
sleepily. "Can't that wait till tomorrow morning?"
if I want any sleep."
extended feeding of a – theoretically grateful for the
effort though Goose couldn't tell – cat:
way! That's my bed!" He snarled at the cat without being
rewarded with more than a sleepy raised lid above a bright green
That immediately dropped
shut again. The tiny body spread some more, somehow successfully
covering most of the bed.
much for authority in his own place. But not with his bed. Never!
He didn't care if the beast was 90 per cent elastic or not! He
shoved the cat sideways with his hip. At the angry hiss: "Get
into your own bed or make room," he grumbled and curled up
At the second hiss, he
hissed back. With bared fangs. A moment later, a small warm body
snuggled purring against his back.
next morning, really early...
I'll kill you!" Goose growled, ground his teeth, and tried
to force his mind back to sleep. The obnoxious snoring couldn't
possibly come from any other place but the next sleeping
cubicle, and he knew that Killbane had been assigned to it
finally reached his sleepy, infuriated brain.
there was no "next sleeping cubicle" unless he counted
the next apartment, separated by one and a half meters of
BetaMountain's solid rock from his. All there was to snore was a
tiny grey furry creature he felt as a hot spot through his
covers. A tiny grey furry infernally snoring creature, to
after his sleep deprived brain processed the facts: He'd have
preferred Killbane. Killing Killbane was ok, killing a snoring
cat wasn't. So what...?
while trying to figure out what to do, his hand wandered slowly
across the furry back. The snoring turned to purring.
Three hours later
positive, my Goose man. Surely you had worse things than a tiny
cat living around you sometime in your life!"
Goose hid his face in his hand. "But that cat could make
mincemeat out of him."
hacker sniggered. "You don't want to tell me you were
defeated by your tiny furry friend, do you?"
glowered darkly at him, then he spotted something and his
expression lit up. "Doc, Poss is chasing one of your
holograms, my Goose man. He can't–"
A loud, somehow
wet sounding crash followed by a telltale electronic
"Is on your
keyboard." Goose finished, watching with a grin as Possessor
cleaned his paw of coffee with an arrogant expression of What
do you want? I meant to fall off the desk along with that
to S. 'Trivia' Blank for chasing not jarn rolls but mistakes out
of this story! :)