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  • Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

K@ In Command

All necessary translations have been made.

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“There goes my big, diligent P¢t¢, out the door and off to work. Just another good-looking talkie-monkie,” said K@ with satisfaction. Life on this planet required a good money-maker.

Morning sunshine warmed the high shelf where K@ lolled. “The sun doesn’t always shine on everyone’s behind,” but it does on mine,” K@ thought smugly. Ever since P¢t¢ installed the shelf over K@’s favorite window, it was K@’s favorite spot to sit and watch the world go by. Cat-sized steps that P¢t¢ had pegged up the wall allowed K@ easy access to the shelf. P¢t¢ had even tacked a scrap of rug onto the shelf, which made it quite comfortable. It was the devil to clean when K@ hacked up a hairball there, but that was not K@’s problem. The space from shelf to ceiling gave just enough clearance above K@’s ears to avoid the sensation that something could swoop down from above, like a B@ or a pesky ←<>→. K@ had some serious aversions to guard against, and B@s and ←<>→s were high up on the list.

K@ turned its beautiful green and lambent eyes here and there around the room, seeking an errant mouse (knowing there weren’t any anymore), a toy (knowing there were many piled about and neglected), or even so much as a dust mote out of place (nope). K@ did not like change, most emphatically it did not like change. Even dust bunnies were to stay in their warren when K@ was in command. Gazing over the expansive open floor plan of P¢t¢’s home, K@ saw absolutely zero changes since last night, or even a week ago. It helped that P¢t¢ was driven to earn that bacon, bring in those cans of tuna, and was not much of a furniture shuffler. That was just one of many reason’s K@ had chosen him.

“Mine, everything here is all mine,” K@ yawned possessively, incisors like steak knife snikting past velvet furred jowls. Such large fangs for a small body type was an odd choice, a quirk comparable to K@’s decision to scale its physical manifestation on Earth to felis domesticus when it could easily have assumed the stature of tigris. K@’s over-sized fangs were a nod in that direction. At any rate, the home of mega-pet P¢t¢ was a satisfactory base of operations, and K@ felt appropriately sized.

K@ remained fearful every time that P¢t¢ left the confinements of his safe haven home. Immediately after the discovery of the humans of Earth, the ←<>→s, who manifest as charming little birds to belie their vile intentions, had argued for installation of commercial human processing plants to turn humans into pet food for more manageable pets such as beetles, ants, or fancy mice, their argument being that almost any other life-form on Earth was more attractive, more amenable, and less dangerous that humans who talked of peace while plotting murder. It was hard to argue with that last, but there were other factors and extenuating circumstances. Considering how newly evolved humans were, they couldn’t be expected to do much better. And, the Earth was so small, there really were too many of them, a fact of which they seemed to be very aware but for which they had completely inadequate solutions. It was sad, sad to a level that should evoke compassion rather than disgust or abandonment. The ←<>→s counter-argued that an immediate human harvest was literally the humane thing to do. Put them out of their misery, they said. Extract their useable physical essences, but vent the shrieking, stinking death fear along with the other industrial wastes. Which to entities who sustained on ephemeral essences seemed wasteful, but they were otherwise occupied and did not enter into the fray.

Before the ←<>→s could get their production plants going, they were drawn into heated dialog with the B@s who had an entirely different take on the value of humans. B@s advocated for enslavement. B@s felt humans, with their proven ability to dig tunnels and mines, and their lesser intellect, could best be utilized as diggers of colony caves for the B@s, creating nurseries, smaller cities, and retirement centers. Anything and everything that required large, underground chambers could easily be dug out by humans. Well, that was easier than for the B@s to do it themselves. It was hard to counter this line of thinking, but the ←<>→s would not be swayed from their own interests, and soon both groups were stymied.

Eventually the B@s decided to back the K@s in their more benign approach to human management, namely the pet-rification of humanity. With the B@s support, K@s prevailed in their argument that humans were actually quite appealing once you got used to their odd habits like clothing and arming themselves. It was just that humans felt so insecure, poor lummoxes. All humans really needed were reassurances, obedience training, a predictable routine, and mild surroundings. Only the nuances of habitat remained to be resolved. Would these new human pets be housed in old style zoos with bars and acrylic walls since that seemed to be the human standard? Or, maybe set up a large terrarium, dump them all in, and let nature take its course? But a terrarium was really just the Earth on a smaller, even less sustainable scale, and simply not workable considering the nature of humans. Before long the best option for humans was decided. They would remain in their own homes, each with a K@ on-site and in command, watching out.

K@ felt a surge of ownership pride whenever it thought about how well P¢t¢ had responded to training. P¢t¢ really picked up his tricks quickly. A soft pat on K@’s command light-ball to initiate a few mind-to-mind tweaks was all it took. Now, on K@’s command, P¢t¢ would dependably groom himself to standard, follow a routine such as sleep-feed-work-feed-play-feed (repeat), sit pretty in front of flat screen visuals, announce visitors with confidence, and converse pleasantly. No more yelling, no more hiding weapons behind the curtains for a quick draw. P¢t¢ hadn’t pointed a weapon at anyone since the first week K@ worked with him.

Usually, K@ and P¢t¢ spent their home time together. From time to time, P¢t¢ would even gaze into K@’s eyes and give that slow blink of acceptance. P¢t¢ tried meowing but he just didn’t have the throat for it. Tickle-your-belly was P¢t¢’s specialty, and that would send K@ into raptures. These were the best times of their days together.

The downside to training P¢t¢ so extensively was that P¢t¢ suffered from extreme separation anxiety. On those few occasions that K@ left home, say perhaps for a seasonal rendezvous, P¢t¢ suffered pitiful distress. When K@ returned, redolent of love, P¢t¢ would plunged K@ into a bath of soap and water in some kind of rage fit. Clearly P¢t¢ did not like change any more than K@.

It pleased K@ that P¢t¢ was such a good wage-earner, earning everything necessary to support K@ during its sojourn on Earth. This time on Earth seemed more like a vacation to K@ than an obligation. The one time that P¢t¢ lost his job, K@ had groused, “P¢t¢’s not worth 2¢.” But K@ was wrong, P¢t¢ quickly got another, even better job. P¢t¢ was a keeper. K@ had heard that it was actually coded into human DNA to work relentlessly at whatever was set before them. This suited K@ purr-fectly, for whom work had no such appeal.

So, K@ sat on its high shelf above its favorite window, watching, watching, watching. Watching to catch sight of any change that meant danger to its Human P¢t¢.

Ever since watchers in the Galaxy had discovered the humans of Earth, K@s had been assigned dominion over each and every one of them, each K@ choosing a talkie-monkie human to command. By their own highly evolved moral and legal code the K@s were obligated to take command of the well-being of humanity in a way comparable to how humans were socially and legally obligated to provide for the mentally and socially challenged of their own. But for the K@s it was on the global level of Earth, and for how long?

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This work is copyright protected. It is a work of fiction. Incidents, places, and names (especially those of alien entities) are products of the author/artist’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Caption: K@ In Command, by Annmarie Throckmorton 2016.

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