I yawned, stretched, opened my eyes and looked around carefully. These days, one never knew who or what might have crept into one’s quarters while one was grabbing forty winks.
So far so good, the cleaner had been. The tray was glistening with fresh kitty litter and my bowl was full of feline supplement. I sniffed it cautiously – hm, number 79 if I wasn’t mistaken. One of my favourites. I snaffled a few pieces and then had a look around for my human.
Well, human is a bit of a broad stroke (feline pun there). My human is, apparently, a machine, but he strokes me like a human, and as long as I’m fed, what do I care? His name is Data. My name is Spot.
I have lived with Data for many years and he fulfils all my needs; food, cuddles and in depth socio-political conversations. Although he doesn’t seem to notice I am not all I appear to be.
I am not a feline, on the contrary I am a highly developed alien being sent to the USS Enterprise to observe humans at work and rest. A small clue is that I continually wear out my carbon based persona and have had three incarnations – but nobody on board has said anything, so I’m keeping schtum about it.
Not only have I had these three bodies, but have also assumed the body of a lizard – looking remarkably like that Jub Jub who featured in a 20C televised animation called the Simpsons. Even then, no one turned a hair, merely recognising me by my astoundingly bad taste collar! But then that was alright, because my friend Reg was a huge spider – so who was going to care about a lizard?
Anyway, enough of this rambling, off to find my human.
The red lights aren’t flashing - always a good sign on this ship! There are no loud klaxons or some woman giving us verbal abuse of the auditory senses. I slinked around the chairs, time to leave a few hairs here and there – nice to make the cleaners feel needed. No sign of my human.
I jumped delicately – what am I saying? Everything I do is delicate; I’m a cat!! – onto Data’s work place. The flashing lights were off and there was not even the teensiest vibrations coming from the console. No warmth to signify recent occupation either. I sniffed the air. Why do I still do that? Data has no scent……he’s a robot! Guess old habits die hard. Perhaps I could persuade him to start using aftershave – Lynx would be my preferred choice.
Anyway, no assault on my olfactory sense. Data taught me that word, Good isn’t it? So much more stylish than ‘smell’ …… or ‘nose’. And the old eagle eyes have spotted nothing out of the ordinary.
I leapt off the console, revelling in my solitude, and proceeded to do a little more chair-rubbing. I have to earn my feline supplement somehow, don’t I?
He’s not on the chairs………or the sofa……..or the desk…….. Sometimes I wish this feline persona had the power of speech, or at least that the Universal Translator spoke Cat, then I could ask that annoying disembodied woman where my human is.
Strolling past my bowl, I paused and munched absently on some feline supplement 79, and had a sup of water to wash it down. If Data’s busy, then I may not be fed again for a while. If he’s on an away mission, I may not get fed for days. Somehow, the other humans always forget about me – except Reg, and he doesn’t live here any more. The only other human to feed me was Woof. Big man, looked canine – Spot no like.
The door is firmly shut. To keep me away from the local toms, I presume. I am one fertile mama and the Captain thinks I should stop having kittens. He should try it sometime as the only female on a ship with twelve males!! Funnily enough, with twelve males and one female – there is no vet on board to care for us, and I’m damned if I’m going to go and see that human doctor……! Anyway, he knows full well my kittens saved the crew when Reg did his spider impersonation.
So, the only other option is the bedroom. Now this is not a room that Data uses a lot – being a robot like he is. The bed is pristine, so I jumped onto it and kneaded the coverlet into something resembling comfy. I nestled down and thought I’d just have twenty winks while I waited for Data, not the full forty, but twenty would suffice.
I awoke with a start. Where was I? Oh yes. On the bed. The coverlet was now mashed into a most cosy heap and there was plenty of fur around to show this was My Cosy Heap. I yawned, stretched and looked around – why does that sound so familiar…..?
I struggled to remember what had awoken me so suddenly. That dream. The same dream I have day in and night out. The ship is crashing and I’m calling to Data to save me but he doesn’t hear me. Then silence and the big lunkhead (his word, cute isn’t it?) finds me where I have hidden out under some metal stuff. The man cries – I mean, the Robot actually cries – gets my fur wet! – over my discovery. I tell him I’m fine, but I guess his newfangled emotion chip has gone into overdrive or is surging or something. Odd dream, but I’m sure Deanna would be able to interpret it – I mean, seven years on this ship, and I still can’t fathom her purpose. I am more use as therapy than she is! Nothing to beat a good stroking session to ease all those worries and concerns.
Still no Data. I padded out to the lounge room, so called because it is where I lounge around (another feline pun) and looked hopefully at my bowl. Still number 79. Shame, I was kind of hoping it would be number 126 by now, boy that 126 is tasty!
Where is that robot man? I’m running out of things to do; I’ve slept, eaten, hunted. I need stimuli, I need human interaction – well, robot interaction. I tried scratching the door, but the metal tastes nasty and I can’t make it swoosh no matter how hard I try.
I would jump up and look out the window, but a cat can only look at so many stars before she gets really bored.
I would bat my toys around, but they have been batted to a standstill, and no matter how hard I try, they do not look like juicy mice.
I would walk over the console, but I tried that once and Data called me a ‘varmint’ – not one to try again!
So here I sit. A lonely cat on a huge spaceship. Two thousand people……and me. Ffiteen decks and one lonely room.
Perhaps Data will be back soon. He may bring me a new toy. He may bring his friends home for some social interaction. He may sweep me up in his golden hands, tickle my chin, gaze at me with his cat-like yellow eyes and tell me I am a beautiful girl. He may sit pensively opposite me and recite his ‘Ode to Spot’ while I accompany him with some rhythmic purring. He may just sit at his console and work while I doze on his lap.
Whatever happens, I am a cat (for now anyway), and Data is my human. I love my human, and he loves me - in his own special way, of course…….