Tardrayn came in and went directly to the VR unit without the handshakes
and other hy00man stuff he usually did. He ran some test programs.
He fiddled with the vision hardware. He tweaked this and tested that.
Sozont suddenly remembered that he had been hungry
when this all started and had had nothing to eat since then. He went
to the kitchen to get an emergency ration. Opening the wrapper, he
bit in and—ewwwww! Sozont had eaten nothing but wild food for a long
time. The ration had "tame" written all over it. Well, it was
filling, anyway. Sozont continued to eat it, but in small bites.
Tardrayn stopped working on the VR. "Bad
news, I'm afraid. I think the field emitter has actually failed, even
though the diagnostics say it's good. I'll have to get you a new one."
—"Do you have any in stock?"
—"No. And the supply depot is closed for
the night. I'll get it in the morning." He added snidely, "you'll
just have to stay hy00man all night." Sozont was glad he hadn't dressed
up too much for Tardrayn.
—"I can handle it." I will do what I have
to do, thought Sozont.
—"It will cost about $300. Can you pay
Sozont fired up his desktop computer. He
transfered some money to Tardrayn's account.
—"There you go."
—"Thanks. Now, there's something else we
should talk about." Oh oh, thought Sozont, here it comes.
—"YOU ATE MY DAUGHTER!"
—"Venus Fly Trap. She was telling you about
her RL and you just bit her head off."
Shit! "I'm... really sorry. I thought she
was an NPC. She didn't look anthro at all."
—"She was playing an FLR6. Aren't
you carnivores supposed to look these things up so you don't go eating people's
characters?" Actually, Sozont almost never checked the records before
making a kill. He prided himself on being able to sense whether a
character was a computer-generated food animal. Well, he had flubbed
this one, big time.
—"I guess I forgot. Look, I'm really very
—"You're just a goddamned troll! It's guys
like you who are making all the good furs leave Fairytale Land and
move to a more controlled scenario. Do you have any idea what it feels
like to have your head bitten off? She was moping around the house
for days. I ought to bust your ass, you fucking bastard!"
The stream of epithets made Sozont feel beside
himself. "Just stand here and take it," he told himself. "If
he can get all the words out, there won't be any hitting. Somehow there'll
be a way to go on."
—"Is there anything I can do to make it up to
—"Just stay away from her. She's playing
'Siren Fox' now."
—"Yes sir. And thanks for working on my
—"Yeah. Bye." Tardrayn-rah went out