Sozont the Tigri-Hippo-Strich was hungry and wanted to hunt, but there
was something wrong with his eyesight. He closed one eye and then the
other, but couldn't see out of the right side of either one. For a
moment he toyed with the idea of continuing to hunt in his half-blind state,
but Sozont prided himself on doing what was needed when it was needed, so
he invoked the "exit program" sequence to return to his hy00man form. ««««««««««««
The first thing that hit him was the stench.
The air was dusty and moldy in his... "house"? No, it was an "apartment".
These were not words Sozont had used recently. He could smell urine;
perhaps there was a plumbing problem with his VR unit. It was a semipermanent
model that allowed him to stay in Furry Fairytale Land almost continuously,
while maintaining his human body for when he needed it, but there were some
things it didn't handle well. His skin was covered with the grime of
Sozont disconnected the equipment from his body.
He ran hardware diagnostics on the vision system: A-OK. He ran diagnostics
on the device drivers: fault detected. Sozont was pretty good with
computers, but this was outside his expertise. He needed help.
It was time to call Tardrayn-rah.
Sozont picked up the telephone, then realized
he couldn't recall the number. But next to the phone was a piece of
paper with "Tardrayn" and a phone number, so Sozont dialed it.
—"Hi, Tardrayn, this is Sozont."
—"Oh. Hello." Odd, Tardrayn seemed
rather unhappy to hear from him.
—"The right side of my vision system is kaput.
Can you look at it?"
—"Well, you know, I have a lot of work to do.
I have to support my *family*." Very odd. In the past the response
had always been "Sure!"
—"Don't you want Fairytale Land credits anymore?"
That was what Sozont always paid him.
—"Yeah, I guess. Why don't you get cleaned
up and I'll be over in about two hours."
—"Great, thanks! See you then!"
Sozont went to the bathroom to clean up—and froze
in front of the mirror. He was not a kid anymore. How long had
it been since he'd looked at his human form? There had been a problem
with the equipment two months ago, but it had been a simple loose wire that
Sozont had fixed himself without need for anyone else to see him. Actually,
Sozont couldn't remember the last time he had used a bathroom.
Well, that didn't matter right now. Sozont
hopped into the shower. Of course, he knew how to wash himself, but
it required thought because he was out of practice. And the proportions
of his body were just *wrong*. It didn't move like his tigrihippostrich
body did. Sozont had never liked being a primate.
Eventually he got out of the shower and put on
some clothes. Black pants, black shirt, black socks, black shoes.
He wanted to put on black gloves and a black baseball cap, but there was
just no excuse for that since he wasn't even going out. He spent a
moment looking at the box holding his fursuit, but wearing that for
Tardrayn's technical-repair visit would invite a conversation that Sozont
didn't want to have. Tardrayn had always been more comfortable than
Sozont with being a hy00man.
He passed by the VR unit and the smell hit him
again. Well, that wouldn't do. Whatever was bothering Tardrayn-rah,
asking him to work on stinky equipment would just worsen his mood.
Sozont got some Wet-Wipes® and cleaned up the contact surfaces as much
as he could.
Next, Sozont examined the auto-vac. The
suction manifold had come undone. The stupid machine had been sucking
up dust and then mindlessly spewing it back into the air for who knows how
long. Sozont pulled the manifold taut and retightened the screws.
Hopefully that would fix it.
The annunciator chimed. It was Tardrayn-rah!
He was early! Sozont went to open the door.