Pug-Monkey Does a Stinky Job

Booges wedged his lanky human frame next to Cream in the tiny control booth. “No, really, there are a whole bunch of levels of stink finger.”

Booges wasn’t a bad guy, he had just spent way too much time alone. The research centers on Jy had been cut off from New Saturn and Station One when Allied Interests pulled out of the system. Station One had chosen Captain Janice and Cream to make this trip as the first step in opening a trade route.

Cream looked over the reservoir and sighed. The little pug-monkey set the comm system to external broadcast. “Bo stay in the shallow end. If you get stuck in the filters again I will leave you there until we lift off.”

The large canine gave no sign of hearing Cream but he did swim back to the beach. He ran back and forth on the sand, pouncing on random wads of slime and chasing his tail. He had never been on the surface of a habitable planet before.
“The first level is your basic armpit stink finger.” Booges tried to demonstrate.

Cream turned his attention back to the control panel as another bladder filled and detached from the siphon tubes. Cream used remote robot arms to send it rolling down the slick newcrete slide to the space ship. Janice would be waiting to move it into the cargo hold.

“Then you have your butt crack stink finger, but that only really works on true primates, canines kinda dig it.” Booges skipped the demonstration on that one.

Even though it was an incredibly primitive water filtration and packaging system Cream appreciated the work the residents of Jy had put into it. Station One needed water and extracting moisture from the frozen arid surface of New Saturn would have been almost impossible.

“Then you have all the varieties of bio-lab created stink.”

Cream noticed a problem with one of the siphon tubes. He finished filling the bladder hooked up to it and opened a comm channel to the ship.

“Captain, I think one of the filters is clogged again and Bo isn’t stuck in it this time.”

“Once I brewed up this stuff called skunk funk, pretty cool, huh, but I never could wash it off my finger.”

“Ok, Cream, I’ll meet you on the dam as soon as I load the last bladder.”

Cream shut down the siphon tubes and used the robo arms to lift the banks of filters up. When he headed down to the dam Booges followed.

“Then there was this time I created pink stink. It came on like abalone and then POW! You’d get this cayenne after smell. Hey if you want I can write all this down for you. Really, it wouldn’t be any problem at all.”

Cream was inspecting a Bo shaped dent in one of the filters when Janice climbed over the edge of the dam.

“Stink finger!” yelled Booges as he waved a digit in Janice’s face.

Janice caught his wrist in one hand and twisted it hard enough to spin him around and force him down on one knee. She grabbed the back of his neck with her other hand.

“Yeah, Cream, you’re right. That dent makes the filter less efficient and it still has wads of his hair stuck in it. It’s just going to keep clogging up and we don’t have any replacements. Just shut the siphon off. We’ll have to get by without it.”

“Ow. Please don’t kill me. Ow.”

“Aye, aye, Captain.”

“Ow. It was just a joke. Ow. I’m harmless, I swear, I’m harmless. Ow.”

Janice started frog marching Booges along the edge of the dam towards the beach. “When you get back to the control booth lock yourself into it.”

There was no lock in the control booth, but Cream managed to jam the door with the chair. Janice is up to something, he thought as he started filling bladders again.

Janice had Booges marching along the beach before she started yelling at Bo. “Hey, come here. Bo! Come! You’re not in trouble! Booges really likes you and wants to be your friend. Come here and play with Booges!”

Janice released Booges with a shove just as Bo got close enough to jump on him. Her timing was perfect and she stepped out of the way as they rolled along the beach together. She jogged back to the space ship listening to the sweet sound of complaints muffled by wet, slimy fur.

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Pug-Monkey Does Some Stargazing

“Why do you think the Allied Interests abandoned us?” whispered Cream.

“I don’t know. Maybe they got involved in a conflict. Maybe they decided we aren’t profitable. They never gave an explanation. The only reason they started development here was to make money.” whispered Janice.

They were floating in the bridge gazing at the stars. The constellation that held earth was directly in front of them. They were whispering because Janice still had a very bad headache.

“Can they still see us?”

“Yes” Janice was quiet for a moment. “If they want to they can probably still pick up all our transmissions too. If the surface station on Zita-Smith was still operational we might be able to see and hear them too.”

Cream licked his nose. “Do you think they will ever come back?”

“I hope not. They would dismantle Consensus. They consider all of us their property and would start ordering us around.”

Cream was silent for a while then he asked “What about the viables? Are we going to expand our population?”

“Eventually. First we need to bring the settlement on Jy into Consensus and make sure we can support everyone.”

“Lot of work to do.”

“Yeah, lot of work to do, but we get to build our own culture and do everything our own way.”

Suddenly the quiet was broken by howls of rage from the cargo bay. They carefully looked out the door and saw a half bald man covered in gold paint staring at himself in the reflective surface by the crew washer.

“Balls. I don mind that they shaved half me head but why did they go an shave half me arse too? How am I gonna splain it to me missus?”

Janice had a very guilty look on her face.

Pug-Monkey Attends a Party

“The station’s hull is thicker than your head” said the robo-doc as he slapped another piece of adhesive epidermal fixer on Bo’s head. “But not by much.”

Bo had a dazed look on his reddish brown canine face. His long floppy ears did not perk up when the bot spoke. Maybe he couldn’t hear it over the drumming and trumpets. Cream shifted the strings of beads on Bo’s neck so the robo-doc could slap a medi-patch of pain killer over an artery.

“Keep him off the jet juice, off the walls and don’t let him chase any more chrome bunnies.” The robo-doc ordered the pale pug-monkey. “They are just for decoration.”

Cream nodded and led Bo back into the swirling, costumed crowd which filled the main corridor. At least the station has some gravity, thought Cream. Without it Bo might have picked up enough velocity to actually catch the bunny.

The last time they tried to go back to the ship a human male they didn’t recognize opened the airlock and made farting noises at them with his mouth. Then he screamed “Consensus wooo hooo!” before he popped back into the airlock. He had been wearing nothing but his underwear and some red and gold paint. Half his head had been shaved.

Captain’s buddies from the Space Corps had turned their cargo hold into a private celebration. Shortly after they started setting off paint bombs and launching themselves from the padded walls Captain shoved Cream and Bo out of the ship with her boots. She couldn’t use her hands because one was clenching a half empty bulb of jet juice and the other was grasping a greasy looking dark haired human male with long sideburns. She had been yelling “Gu haf sum fon! Gu si te shassion! Brin me beads!”

Bo had plenty of beads now. The bunny chase had been popular entertainment for a good portion of the crowd. He probably wouldn’t mind giving a few strands to Captain when they finally got home.

Cream saw a trio of pug-monkeys marching through the crowd on their hind legs. One had a drum, one had a fife and one had a flag. They seemed to be the beginning of yet another parade. A ragtag column of ‘tangs wearing three cornered hats and playing fifes and drums followed the pug-monkeys. All of them took one step back, two steps forward, one step left, two steps right, a skip left and a skip forward.

Cream was amazed that they did all the steps in unison. Some crews had been too inebriated to walk. This must be a serious crew that had been practicing for months. They had a nice ancient mythology theme too. Cream wanted to see the rest of the parade so he started looking for a spot with a better view.

A chrome squirrel zoomed up the wall behind Bo and circled overhead. Cream dove for one of Bo’s front legs and held on tight. He had no hope of stopping his much larger friend. He could only hope to slow him down and let the robo-doc patch them both up later.

Bo sat down and looked confused. Was Cream afraid of something? Bo was dimly aware of lots of noise and activity, but no one was yelling at them. He licked the pug-monkey’s head to reassure him.

Just as Cream was pulling his head away from Bo’s droopy, dripping jowls he heard a high thin voice say “My, don’t you look cute together.”

Cream looked up and decided that someone had spiked the air supply. He had been sober just a minute ago. Bo wasn’t chasing or sniffing anything and a tiny mankey was sitting on the shoulders of an android where the head should have been. Cream must have inhaled a lot of whatever it was because the mankey was trying to talk to him.

“Alanadolphous Hutley at your service, sirs.” The mankey made the android execute a bow and almost fell off it. “If you will pardon my observations, you seem to be a bit lost. Would you care to join me on my viewing platform for refreshments?”

For a moment Cream thought he was being asked to climb up the headless android, then the mankey turned the android to walk away and gestured for them to follow.

“Consensus woo hoo” said Cream quietly as he led Bo after the mankey.

Alanadolphous Hutley settled them on a platform created from old packing crates and served them tea and cucumber sandwiches. They had an excellent view of the parade.

“Please call me Al. All my friends do. Sugar? One lump or two? Lovely way to celebrate our new government, don’t you think?”

Cream enjoyed the island of calm in the sea of exuberance and they chatted until the crowd started to thin out. Sometime after Bo started to snore Cream realized that the mankey was actually a shekey and that he was beginning to like her a lot.

The ‘keys had a reputation for being snobbish towards canines and canine mixes but Al seemed interested in everything about Cream and Bo. Cream was aware that some of that interest may be due to their status as crew on a spaceship. Al facilitated social introductions and economic exchanges for a living. Now that Consensus had spread from New Saturn to Station One it was poised to jump to the nearby planet of Jy. Once a trade route opened up it would be very lucrative to have friends on a ship.

Eventually Bo woke up and started sniffing everything. *hi howaruh* he sent to Al, but was careful not to get too close. Shekeys could be mean if offended.

“Why, he has a lot of beads and you don’t have any at all!” exclaimed Al.

Cream looked down at his pawgers. “Guess I’m just not as entertaining.”

Bo caught site of a chrome bunny gimping along the wall at half speed. Some one had managed to get close enough to damage it. Bo started to bay loud enough to rattle Cream’s teeth and the empty tea bulbs, but he didn’t try to chase it.

“I need to get him back home” said Cream.

“Dear Cream, I find you highly entertaining. Will you accept some beads from me before you go?”

Cream nodded in surprise and Al opened a little compartment in the android’s shoulder. The beads were cut crystal with one blue and black medallion on the strand.

Al looped the beads around Cream’s neck three times. Then she leaned over and gently touched her nose against his. All the way back to the ship Cream imagined that his nose was tingling.

Remii Sensor for the Earthling Guy

Welcome to our current edition of Remii Sensor for the Earthling Guy. During this rotation on Space Station Titania our five intrepid Remii; Jonquin, Azalea, Quince, Pomegranate, and yours truly, Zinnia will help earthling couple Jason and Jeffery become more polished and cosmopolitan.

Here we are at Jason and Jeffery’s home pod which is located on a lovely side tunnel near Atrium 234. Jason and Jeffery both work as computer techs for Earth Authority and Transit, which is just perfect for them, since no one pushes buttons like humans! However, due to their low pay scale and relative isolation from other species their lifestyle, their personal looks, their pod décor and even their pet have been in the same holding pattern for eons.

Hello Jason! Hello Jeffery! How are you darlings? Are you ready for your total upgrade? Oh, good. Let’s go into your pod and take a look around. Oh, my. Is this a fully functional airlock? It is so small in here, such a tight fit. Oh, my! Your pod isn’t much bigger than your lock! Is this a fully detachable unit? Oh, oh yes of course. I understand human mods for surviving hard vacuum in case of a station breakup are quite limited. But if a station break up did occur what would happen to all this clutter? It would just go careening around and bop you in your strangely fuzzy little heads wouldn’t it?

Well, at least you have sticky storage on all the surfaces. It is rather convenient to just throw something against the wall and have it stay there, isn’t it? But it is rather outdated and it makes it hard to find your hygiene and sleeping closets.

Eiiiieee!!! Omigod omigod omigod! What is that thing?

Oh, my. Is that your pug-monkey? I have heard of them, however I have never seen one up close like this before. Oh, yes, I suppose it is rather cute now that I can get a full visual of it. The head and temperament of one of your native canine species blended with the body and tail of one of your own primate relatives. Such a nice balance of intelligence, loyalty, and ability to maneuver in zero g. It must be wonderful to have traditional companionship when you are so many light years away from your point of origin, but we must really do something about his fur. It is a bit scruffy. Quince will work his retro-DNA magic and have your little friend glowing in no time.

Speaking of scruffy, what is with this blah covered up look you two have going on? We are just going to have to strip you bare, find your new style and show you off! Don’t look at me like that. We won’t use anything toxic. I promise!

Now, I realize that you don’t do much interspecies socializing except in larger public pods that are equipped to handle nanotech and respiratory incompatibility between species. You have made mention of occasionally inviting other humans over to your pod. I am going to take you two on a virtual extravaganza and find you a look that will take you from work, to a double date with your favorite joined invertebrate, to entertaining primate variants in your pod. What we would like to do now is hand over your pod to Jonquin and Azalea and let them revamp every single centimeter in a posh but primate friendly design. Pomegranate will create all the replicator designs to make it happen.

Alright! Let’s go! Jonquin get everything on the walls into the recycler! Quince watch out for that prehensile tale, I’m sure you can do something special with it! Jason and Jeffery let us see what you really have under those big orange coveralls!

Watch everything
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Selection = Option 2

Well, Jason and Jeffery, I hope you enjoy all your new stylings. The pseudo-organic tentacle storage on your walls is self organizing and so decorative. Your pug-monkey has a fabricated faux-velvet treatment that glows in the dark and changes color with his mood. Oh, I know he doesn’t like it much now, but he will get used to it, and he will be such a conversation piece when you have other primates over. Your new coveralls feel great too don’t they? The nubs are a playful sartorial statement for beings who earn their air by pushing buttons and the chameleon visual scheme is sophisticated enough for any social gathering.

Ta-ta till next rotation!

Pug-Monkey Gets a Bath

Captain Janice Curain gave a sigh of relief as her space ship gently settled into a docking bay of Station 1. Cream wiggled out of the emergency pod and gave a satisfied snuffle. Nothing had fallen off the ship and all systems were still green. Shakedown was an unqualified success.

“Are you sure I can’t make an offer to keep you around? In system work only.”

Sean eased his long arms out of the navigator’s rig and rubbed at the orange fur covering his body. “It’s nothing personal, surface to station traffic is picking up enough to keep me busy. Post on the boards, there’s plenty of good navs floating around.”

Janice was truly sorry to see the big ‘tang leave. He had taken the risky job of testing her new nav system and handled it with elegance. Now that the system was calibrated it would be easier to hire permanent crew.

Well, that’s what she assumed.

Three days later her hands were shaking from an adrenaline rush. She waited until the ship was docked and powered down before telling Rick to leave.

“You won’t find anyone who can cut the tolerances closer.” His cocky grin had faded into a defiant smirk.

Janice was beyond tact. “Get your crazy ass off my ship. Now.”

Obviously, she thought, there was a wide variation in the risk taking genes of the ‘tang population. So much for selecting her crew based on species. Cream floated to her after closing the airlock behind Mister No Safety Margins.

Janice passed the list of applicants to the little pug-monkey and said “Weed out anyone who might be insane. I’m going to go take a relaxer, next interview in 12 hours.”

Only two applicants were left after Cream reviewed accident reports and tapped into local gossip. “Which one do you want first, stellar but eccentric or conservative?”

“Conservative sounds nice. Conservative sounds safe.” Janice wasn’t sure she ever wanted to deal with an nav labeled as eccentric.

After one very conservative trip around New Saturn Janice was thinking about ancient Earth mythology. Which was slower, the turtle or the snail, and which was afraid of its own shadow? They had burned an extra three kilos of fuel by going quarter speed on the entire trip. The bald little human with blue eyes in her nav rig was calm and serious to the point of being catatonic. He turned an expressionless face to her and waited.

“I have some more interviews to do. I’ll be in touch.”

He nodded once and drifted out of the ship.

A short while later Cream opened the lock and a large reddish brown being sailed onto the cargo hold. Cream caught a glimpse of pawgers covered in suction cups as the being flew by. The job application listed Bo as a highly modified canine sub-type. His large ears were spread out and jowls flapped as he sailed through the air. He made absolutely no attempt to brake before he collided with Janice.

*nice to meet ya, yeah, yeah* he transmitted as he sniffed Janice’s entire body with his enormous nose. *yep, yep, you’re a girl, not too young tho* he sent when he reached her crotch.

Janice pushed him away, a maneuver which sent her flying backward and him spiraling into the cargo hold. He immediately began sniffing the stowed crates.

*mango chicken jerky! there are crates full of mango chicken jerky over here! i would work for just mango chicken jerky! can i have some please, please?*

Cream and Janice exchanged a look. The crates were unmarked, sealed and had sat out in hard vacuum for almost a decade. Was he picking up on stray molecules that clung to the package or was he fitted with some sort of scanning device? Either way he was salivating by the liter and blobs of modified canine spittle were floating all over.

“First test flight, then jerky” said Cream.

Bo noticed Cream for the first time. Cream was not fast enough to avoid contact. By the time Cream received *yep, yep, you’re a boy, a half n half, but a boy, yeah, yeah* he was completely soaked in modified canine saliva.

Janice forcibly separated them and shoved Bo into the bridge. “Clean up everything” she said to Cream as she dodged slimy blobs and escaped from the hold.

Stellar, thought Janice, just stellar. Then she saw Bo in the nav rig. He was using the virtual reality feature and was spiraling and dipping and sniffing through a forest of simulated data. None of the other navs had touched the virtual controls. Curious, Janice got clearance and undocked.

Much later, after a smooth, safe, fast trip, Janice fished Cream out of the crew washer. “You really only need one cycle to get his spit off.”

Cream just made a gruff little noise. Before they opened the mango jerky they set up an enclosed chamber with forced ventilation and a very efficient filter on the downstream airflow. Bo ate all of his meals there, a blissful look on his face and his ears flapping behind him in the wind.

This Old Bot – Rosie

Hello, my name is Zark Colepsy and welcome to today’s edition of This Old Bot. Today we’ll be looking a domestic bot leaving private service and becoming a museum piece. Our first consultant is Gigo Buckets, an input/output specialist. Hi, Gigo, what can you tell us about Rosie’s loving, generous, loyal personality?

I’m having a heck of a time updating her logic and emotive circuits and until I can do that she is stuck in catatonic depressive mode.

Did she suffer some sort of trauma?

No, Zark, just the opposite. She served a stable family who repeatedly told her that they would never replace her with an updated model. She believes metal pirates have stolen her and she is waiting for her former owners to rescue her.

Why did they replace her?

The family also had an ageing canine and when her sensors started to malfunction she wasn’t able to sense the piles and puddles he left everywhere.

Isn’t it fairly easy to upgrade sensors?

Yes, but by the time they realized what was wrong she had been zooming through the Astro droppings for several cycles. Not only did she spread it all over the living area, the moisture ruined the electrical components in her leg. Sentimental attachment is no match for new cheap micro cleaning bots.

What about a complete memory wipe?

Only as a last resort, Zark. Much of her value to the museum is as an interactive piece. Being able to discuss her memories with visitors is the whole reason she was acquired.

Good luck with that Gigo. Hopefully Rosie will be her old zoomie self again soon. Now we’re moving right along to our aesthetics consultant, Fab Rick from Hot Aire Dome of Fashion. Hello Fab, I understand that you are putting a shiny new look together for our maid bot.

Oh, no, Zark. Shiny shiny is so non-orbital this rotation. Rosie needs a matte sparkle treatment for all her visually exposed metal. And we are keeping the exposed metal to a minimum, she’s never been a sex bot, you know. The whole point of this make over is to maintain her original styling with a few enhancement updates.

Is matte sparkle treatment the only visual update?

Oh, of course not Zark. All of her fabric accessories have been redone with cyber shimmer material and a slightly more modern cut. She also needed a slight reshaping in key areas like her eyes, hands and leg. We streamlined her torso, too. She really looks up to the nano-second now.

So, none of her original styling is still intact?

Of course she is intact. I’ve preserved the essence of her historic era and given her an aureole of being well maintained.

Um, I thought you said she wasn’t a sex bot.

Just because I know how to properly use the Latin term for air does not mean I gave her any naughty interfaces.

But, I thought…

You were thinking of areola. Go query it before I turn your horrid plaid shirt into a peek-a-boo kilt. Uninformed is not the new trendy.

And that concludes this segment of This Old Bot. I’m Zark Colepsy and thank you for receiving this transmission.