Emerald Legion interlude
“Are you now, or have you ever been?” – Where Imra asks the most important question of them all…
The three had returned to the Embassy and loitering in front of Imra’s quarters, as if hesitant to end the evening they had shared.
~I have a question, for both of you. It’s the most important question, ever.~, a playful smile flitted across her face and her eyes sparkled in the dim lighting.
“Shoot.” Garth responded confidently.
“I retain the right to lie about it, if it might serve to embarrass me…” Rokk qualified with a grin.
~You first Garth, are you a dog person, or a cat person.~
“That’s important?” Garth’s eyebrow raised skeptically, “We had dogs on the farm. Two or three, usually, and they were hard-working and helpful. When we wanted to go run around in the fields and play fetch, they’d play with us, even when Mekt was being a turd-for-brains. They were big dogs, working animals, and so they’d bowl us over and wrestle with us, and we’d have to team up, because they were so strong, but they never hurt us, it was just play. It was great. Dogs all the way.”
~And yourself, Champion Krinn?~ Imra said with a slight curtsy.
“’Champion Krinn,’ is it? Well, very few people on Braal had Earth-pets, or any other sort of pet, unless they were really rich. It was a status symbol to have an Earth-pet imported, and they had to stay indoors, because the iron content of the atmosphere would poison them. Even then, the vast majority of Braalian pets were fish. But, as planetary champion, I was expected to live a conspicuous life-style, and I had an Earth-cat, Benni. I’d be gone for days at a time, doing tryouts and exhibitions and sponsorships, and I’d come home and she’d be sitting on the couch, looking at me like, ‘Oh, you’re home.’ It was the perfect pet for my life-style. I could come and go, and she didn’t suffer at all for it. I had this metal ball that made tinkling noises, and I would make it roll around on the floor and she’d chase it around. It drove her crazy when I’d make it fly around above her head and she’d leap for it and try to pull it to the ground. But she knew it was me, even if I was sitting across the room. When she didn’t want to play, or got really frustrated, she’d ignore the ball and walk over and swipe my leg…” Rokk’s smile faded and his voice trailed off.
~That’s a wonderful story.~ Imra thought, looking so beautiful in that moment that Rokk was able to put aside the unpleasant memories that followed.
“And I think we’ve figured out you’re a dog-person,” Rokk added with a wry grin, nodding his head in the direction of Garth.
~Don’t be so sure. We had no pets at all on Titan, but we had *memories* of earth-pets that had been handed down for many centuries. They were our most prized possessions, these worn and faded memories of life on Earth, and they were a valuable commodity among our people. I have memories of running through grass and tossing sticks and handling tiny kittens, but I’ve never actually seen any of these animals with my own eyes.~
“We have to do something about that! That’s just crazy!” Garth exclaimed, as it was a great offense that Imra had never gotten to have a pet of her own.
~Yes, now that I’m Earth, getting to meet real animals is definitely high on my agenda.~
“You’re stalling, Im. What is it, dog or cat.” Rokk insisted.
~Well, I like dogs…~
“Saw that coming…”
~If I might finish?~ Imra said with a glare, hand on her hip, until Rokk gestured that she continue, ~Thank you. I like dogs because they are loyal and dedicated. Their feelings are all out there in the open, they have nothing to hide and they are always happy to see you. If you cry, a dog will curl up next to you and lick your face, and it doesn’t matter where you go, a dog will try to follow at your side, no matter what.~ at Rokk’s smug look, she added, ~*And,* I like cats. They always seem so commanding and confident. Everything they do looks graceful and deliberate. They never look like they’re sorry or confused, as if anything they’ve done is exactly what they meant to do. They never doubt themselves, and I always wanted to have enough self-confidence to be able to walk into a room and own it like they do.~
“So why did you think Imra would be a dog-person, Rokk?”
Rokk’s smile turned mock-innocent and the faint glow from his eyes shone through the shadows as he bowed his head, “Oh, no reason at all. On a *completely* unrelated note, how did you guys like those little sandwiches? I think the green curry added a pleasant feistiness to the dish, gave it certain… *lasting* qualities…”
Imra’s face flushed with embarrassment, but Garth just smiled broadly.
“They were awesome, thanks buddy!” Garth nudged Imra, “See, told you!”
Rokk afforded Imra a smile before turning away, “I’m off to bed guys. I was hoping to do some training together in the morning, learn to coordinate and try that crazy team-work concept the Earthers are so on about, so don’t stay up too late…”
“Night man,” Garth waves absently to Rokk’s receding back, turning to see that Imra has already stepped into her quarters. Looking both ways, Garth pushes the curtain aside and pokes his head in, “Hey, ahh…”
~Oh come in already, you silly man.~