Inspired by various tumblr posts.
Humans quickly get a reputation among the interplanetry alliance and the reputation is this: when going somewhere dangerous, take a human.
Humans are tough. Humans can last days without food. Humans heal so fast they pierce holes in themselves or inject ink for fun. Humans will walk for days on broken bones in order to make it to safety. Humans will literally cut off bits of themselves if trapped by a disaster.
You would be amazed what humans will do to survive. Or to ensure the survival of others they feel responsible for.
That’s the other thing. Humans pack-bond, and they spill their pack-bonding instincts everywhere. Sure it’s weird when they talk sympathetically to broken spaceships or try to pet every lifeform that scans as non-toxic. It’s even a little weird that just existing in the same place as them for long enough seems to make them care about you. But if you’re hurt, if you’re trapped, if you need someone to fetch help?
You really want a human.
“Looks like someone for you.”
Jon kicked Ginna’s boots, which were currently resting on the table, and she glanced over toward the door. A clump of knee-high aliens, plump and round and covered in golden fur, were lifting their little pink noses into the air – scenting the air in the bar.
Ginna quickly downed the last of her drink and dropped her feet to the floor. The Gentleman of Fortune was full to the gills of professional companions looking for work, she wouldn’t be the only one in here with a fondness for sashrans. She needed to work quickly if she wanted a chance at whatever job these ones were hiring for. The sound and vibration of her boots caught the attention of the group, and Ginna followed it quickly with a greeting in the quiet shushing sounds of their own language.
A universal translator would take care of most of the talking, but by knowing a little of their language Ginna proved she had worked with their kind before and cared enough to learn it. Caring was probably the most important skill a companion could cultivate.
It paid off. The group of sashrans centered quickly on her and darted over, still in their clump.
“I am human Ginna, companion for hire,” Ginna introduced, tapping the side of her visor to activate the display.
“Sala and Rini, with crew. Spice collectors,” the largest of the sashrans introduced, tapping at their own earbud. Their information began to stream onto Ginna’s display, while her own would be playing in their ear. She was proficient in everything from weapons to mechanics to medicine, xenobiology to politics, and of course survival in any kind of situation from atmosphere decompression in space to a tsunami on a planet. The more varied the knowledge they had the better a companion a human could make, and Ginna prided herself on being one of the best.
As for the sashrans, they’d found a jungle planet with a plant that was delicious to their senses. Cultivation efforts had failed thus far, so the price was high enough to support the risk of hunting for it on its home range. A six-month tour was on offer. It seemed they’d contracted with another professional companion a few times, a man named Drix, and Ginna quickly switched over to the guild’s internal records to see what he had to say of these sashrans and the planet they were harvesting from.
The sashrans themselves would be able to check what Ginna’s former employers had to say about her too.
Drix had enjoyed working with Sala and Rini’s crew, it dripped out of every line of his reports. He’d included good detail about life aboard their ship and the risks of the planet, that Ginna would have to look into closer later to be prepared.
All she needed to know at the moment was that they paid well, the risks were not unacceptably high, and that they treated their human companions well. It sounded like a job for her.
“Sala and Rini and crew, I would take this job,” Ginna told them.
The sashrans shushed and buzzed together, their tones sounding happy to Ginna’s relatively untrained ear, and she hoped she was reading them right. They were such beautiful little creatures, and she’d always enjoyed working for their kind before. They were close enough she could have reached out to touch them, pet their soft velvet fur, but she resisted. Touching them uninvited would be rude.
Finally they turned back to her. “Sala and Rini and crew will, with joy, contract to hire companion Ginna,” the lead one answered.
Contract negotiations went quickly enough, using the standard guild template and modifying it here or there as both parties preferred and agreed upon. Sashrans were easy to haggle with, not like the argumentative akskar. Soon enough Ginna had a contract and three days to prepare her effects for travel.
“It has been a pleasure,” Ginna told the sashrans. “I look forward to being your companion.”
She would have expected them to leave, then, go get their own things ready for launch. Instead the smallest one pushed forward – all wrapped in pale gold velvet fur and their sweet little pink forepaws resting on Ginna’s knee.
“Companion Ginna will now engage in petting for promotion of pack bonding?” they asked hopefully.
“Of course,” Ginna reached out toward the sashran, let them smell her palm, but it seemed this sashran wasn’t shy at all. They immediately pushed their head into her hand. There was nothing in the galaxy so soft as a sashran’s fur. Ginna dug her fingers in around the ruff of the sashran’s neck, gently scratching, and then smoothed the fur all the way down their back.
The sashran made a dreamy-soft pleasure sound, and Ginna mimicked it back. “Oh you sweetheart,” she murmured. Already she could feel that little melting tug in her heart, that protective urge that set some humans on the path to professional companionship.
Come hell or high water, Ginna was going to keep these sashrans safe.
Aw, yes. Look at the adorable scifi! I’m proud to have inspired it.
AAAAAAAAAAAAWW!! *melts in all directions*
ScreAMING THIS IS AMAZING AMAZING OH MY GOODNESS. AHHHHH
… so, humans have a long history of exterminating species for their fur/skin/parts. Is Ginna protecting these sashran from that planet’s predators, or from black market human skin sellers?
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