! Sozont #7: A Technical Glitch

Chapter II:  Equipment Failure Builds Relationships

7.  A Technical Glitch

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.
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     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 ancient sweat.
     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.
     —"Hello."
     —"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!"
     —"Bye."

     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.

Next episode:    Technician's Visit    [Name-calling]
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-- Pyesetz the Dog