Sozont had a restless night. It felt odd to be lying on cloth-covered
bedsprings. Eventually he got some shut-eye. He was lightly half-sleeping
when the annunciator chimed. He got up and answered the door, still
wearing the clothes from yesterday.
Tardrayn-rah came in and began installing the new field
emitter. Eventually he said, "Okay, try this". Sozont put the
VR vision system over his eyes. He saw another world! Of course
it was expectedly odd to be seeing Furry Fairytale Land but not feeling it
in any other way, but he could see to his right side just as well as to
the left. He took off the vision system.
—"Perfect!" he said to Tardrayn.
—"Good. And, um, I'm sorry I swore at you yesterday."
—"And I'm really sorry I ate your daughter."
—"Yeah. It just tugs at my heartstrings to see
her unhappy. Daughters are really something else."
—"Maybe I'll make some offspring of my own someday."
Tardrayn made a disbelieving noise. "Kids require
a lot of RL time, Sozont. I don't know if you'd want to make that big
—"Can't most of the childcare be done from VR?" Sozont
knew some furs who were raising pups. Sometimes it seemed like just
another hobby to them.
—"No, 'remote-control' parenting doesn't work well.
Children need a lot of cuddling to make their nervous systems grow
right. Otherwise they end up with a permanent feeling of alienation.
And in their first few years, when they don't have enough imagination
yet to use VR, somebody has to pay attention to them 24 hours a day. Only
a parent cares enough to give them the love they need to turn out well."
This was not what Sozont wanted to hear. He had
thought past rutting season to the hatchling period, but had not considered
the entire long-term project out to fledging and beyond. Still, in
the part of his mind where desires come from, this news seemed not to have
any effect. He still wanted kits and he was sure that he would do
what was needed when the time came, like he always did.
—"Well, I guess I still have time to think about it."
—"Yeah. And feel free to call me even when you're
equipment isn't broken!"
—"I'll do that. Thanks for fixing it again!"
—"Bye". Tardrayn went out the door.