Random encounter time! K and I drive into the shuttlecraft parking module and grab our civilization training gear, when lo and behold, we have a critter call! Slightly bony, gray haired kitty announces his/her low fuel gage and projects that psionic command line letting you know if its not happening now, you’re dead meat! Such encounters get added to your lifetime RSS feed when you come under the province of a cat’s karmic lessons. Yup, there’s our very own cat responsibility in the window silently meowing. Yeah, thanks for letting the rogue traders know where the soft touches are.

At first, I think its smokey, our nickname for the local cat constable for the neighborhood up the hill. Might well be, in which case, way to hook up with the protection racket, purr puff! Kitty is friendly, vocal, and affectionate. Yup, pulling out all the bonuses for the Beg Roll on us. Ha! The first meow knocked out the shields and put me on auxiliary power. No worries there, nagging hungry stomach that is the cat uber-psychic “now” of feline study on earth. I pass the retina scan and open the supply lines for a hit of the expensive vet stuff. K distracts the pit stop kitty with pets and praise (humans have a few desperate measures that can sometimes be relied upon to work, or at least reassure us that something is happening).

This paw-puff knows what time it is. The meow-bombing ceases, food is calmly assimilated into main reactor, and mandatory licking of mouth commences. Without any further ado, kitty powers up disruptors and goes back to whatever appointed quest or neighborhood duties may be pressing. See ya next time! Hey, this racket has been getting these creatures by for thousands of years. I don’t see natural selection weeding this behavior out with a ten-foot pole any time soon. Next, feed the cats that, you know, actually live with us. Just another night in the maintenance of inter-species alliances, I suppose.

Next morning, as I’m setting up the recycle pod for the local truck feeding, I see a white and gray cat in our neighbor’s yard, munching contentedly on catnip I swear wasn’t growing there before, but of course its reality change 22-732 and its been there all along. Whether it’s a change in the Matrix or the local cloaking device is down for repairs today, how would I know? I don’t make monkeys; I just play one on earth. The cat looks at me and chooses at that moment to munch dramatically to emphasize how lucky I am that there’s more than one fueling station. Hrm. I guess this is what in cat free trade practices is known as “opening new markets for exploitation”.