The Good Guest
by leonardo maffi

 

I close the window of the kitchen and I lay down. I rock Windrunner a bit, until shi stops mewing, then I free myself from the top and I let hir suckle some... "Muurrrrr..." I sprawl more comfortably, and I close my eyes, relaxing... it feels good, and there are few other things that make me feel so whole.

But... yes, I feel that there's something wrong. I open my eyes -- Snowcloud is in distress, but it seems shi isn't hurt and shi is galloping towards me, so I wait.

Snowcloud arrives. "MOOoooommy! Somefur with two thingies on the head has landed on aunt Goldie's roses!"

Auhgrrr... Darn. I nod at Snowy and stand up, "Let's go to see..." I detach the suckling lips from my nipple with a little snapping sound... *Snap* and shi starts to mewl at once. I put hir back in hir box and I soothe hir a little with my Talent. "Mommy will be back soon."

I take a brown top from the kitchen table and put it on, then trot to the left wing of the house, toward the garden door, where my Talent now feels someone in pain. I turn around to address Snowy, "Stand by me, or... don't come in the garden at all, please. We don't know who this person is; it may be dangerous." Shi just nods, and goes mostly behind me. I poke hir chest with the tailtip :-)

I open the door, and step on the paving stones. I see the fur -- a taur, a herm or a female, and shi is radiating some pain. Shi is removing rose thorns from hir legs and lowbelly.

"Sonofabitch! Owie! The spatial alignment was really bad! Ow!"

Shi has half-destroyed the roses Goldie is so fond of. I step into the open to be seen. "Hello miss, can I help you?"

The taur looks up, but shi has already seen me. Shi seems to have two antennae with two extra eyes on the head. Shi raises a hand, waves and smiles.

"Hello Forest, sorry for ruining the roses. Your garden was so nice. Later I'll try to fix them some... My name is Chakasa Fuocoblu, child of Ventoleonino and Cinabrosavage."

A chakasa? Shi looks like a chakat, but shi isn't one. Hir name sounds like Latin or Italian. Shi looks a bit weird... hir movements remind me of a creature wilder than a chakat. It may be dangerous, but then I shake my head hard, I am better that that. Shi is a person in need, and my Talent tells me that at the moment shi doesn't want to hurt us, and aside from a few strange details, shi looks like us. "Don't worry about the roses. Are you hurt? How do you know me?" I come closer to hir, and I offer hir my upshoulder, hand and tail, "Let me assist you -- I'll help you inside."

The taur nods, smiling and stands up. I can see hir fur has some bloody holes, produced by the roses branches, and... one foreleg is broken! I help hir walk inside, "Your armleg is broken..." But shi isn't radiating much pain anymore.

"Yes, but the bone is just broken in two, I can't detect bone spikes, and there are no exposed bones. I materialized about fifteen meters from the ground."

I help hir lay in a large guest room. I can now see hir nice sheath, a bit different from chakat one -- shi is a herm.

Only several seconds later hir words ring a little bell in my head. "Fifteen?! You need medical help, you may have some internal haemorrhages."

"Only little ones, nothing serious. I am healing, and if I align the bones they will heal by themselves enough in about two to four hours. For now it's better if no one sees me."

I don't understand how shi can be so sure, but I don't comment.

"Goldenfur sends you hir regards. Recorded in my nanosystem, I have few videos of hir to show you."

I sign Snowy to call someone to take care of Windy and shi bolts away. Then I face my guest again. Shi looks at me with hir strange four-eyed gaze. Hir pupils seem star-shaped. Now I understand why I am so nervous -- shi has no scent and all! And hir emissions are passive only -- shi has no trace of active ESP Talent. Shi looks like a chakat, but shi seems more and more like an alien instead.

"I don't know who Goldenfur is, and I don't know what kind of taur a chakasa is. You look a lot like a chakat despite those antennae."

"What's the year?" shi asks.

"2332," I answer.

Shi looks at the floor for a moment, "Uh? Ahh... Then the alignment error was temporal too, not just spatial. And what an error! I owe you more explanations. Do you know about time travel?" shi asks, looking sad.

I gulp down some air, and offer hir a large glass of water. Shi thanks me with a nod of the antennae and drinks some. "Thank you. It will help me cool down and heal faster."

Shi puts the glass on the soft floor, and slowly yanks the broken foreleg with the hands, probably to align the bones. Then shi sighs deeply and relaxes a little. Hir mind doesn't radiate much pain, but I don't understand why.

I nod. "I know that it is theoretically possible, but I don't know the details." I see hir take a large breath, and I know shi is ready to drop the bomb.

"I wasn't aiming to travel in time at all, but I have travelled about 11 years back in time, our error is that big. And I come from another dimension, not just from the future. You don't have to believe me right now, but eventually I can probably find enough ways to convince you."

I offer hir a plate with some leftovers from the lunch. Shi nods and seems to sniff it with the antennae too.

"Thank you, this smells good."

"I have seen... very strange things happen in space, and I can tell you believe the things you say, so I'm willing to listen."

I lay beside hir. Shi doesn't feel dangerous to my senses, but hir lack of scent is unnerving. Shi looks like blank to my instincts, like talking to a video, or even with an audio-only link.

"Yes, and I'm willing to explain. Well, it's a long story but I can tell you the essential points. About six years from now Goldfur will work in a very large starship with Chakat Braunpfote, and..."

"The Lead Engineer?"

"Yes, right. You know hir already then?

"I have heard of hir, shi is famous enough, but I haven't met hir. It seems Goldfur’s rank will increase some more..."

"I see. A weird accident will occur on that ship, to Goldfur and Braunpfote, because of a teleport malfunctioning happened right on an energy peak during a solar storm. A copy of Goldfur and Braun will materialize in my universe, in the shape of two chakasa, that is my species, and they will live there. After a while that copy of Goldfur will change hir name to Goldenfur, to remind hirself that shi isn't a chakat anymore. I come from that dimension, to visit your family and your version of the Earth."

It's so crazy that it sounds almost possible, "The teleport will move my sister and Braun to another dimension?"

Shi shakes hir head a bit, smiling. Hir fangs look very pointy; shi must be young, despite the way shi talks.

"The pair will be copied in my universe, with some changes. There are no chakats in my dimension. We believe that the originals have survived and will keep living in your universe. Goldenfur has changed hir name to remind hirself shi is a bit different person inside too. Probably in about eleven years you will know the truth."

I feel so cold! I brace myself with my tail on the floor, but I have to lay down anyway. I facepalm. Goldfur may die in eleven years! "I can't believe you are saying it like this. Shi is my sister, and I love hir with all my heart. I can't stand the idea of losing hir in few years..."

"I am sorry. Now you know it, so in theory you can... tell hir. This may lead to a temporal paradox, as you know. If no teleport accident occurs, I'll vanish from this universe, because I can't come here, while the two new chakasas will vanish from every universe, and their children too. But the teleport accident will occur, because I am here still, so if you will tell the truth to Goldfur, I think shi will choose to go in that teleport room anyway, despite knowing that shi will have an accident. I have to think more about this. The time travel has made this situation more complex."

I take a breath, and I murr, trying to understand.

"I know it's a lot of stuff to digest in a few minutes." Shi then opens hir muzzle only to eat the other pieces of roasted rabbit on hir plate. I can see shi crunches and gulps down all the bones too.

"This is the best tasting rabbit I've ever eaten. It's a real animal, right?" shi asks, grinning.

"Yes, it's real rabbit."

"In our solar system, usually people don't kill mammals for food. They grow rabbit meat in vats, and it doesn't taste this good."

I nod. "If there's a way to travel across the dimensions, why isn't Goldenfur with you? Maybe because shi doesn't want to meet hir original version?"

"This inter-dimensional travel is dangerous and highly experimental still, and Golden has two mates, one of them is Braun hirself, and shi has two children. Shi is rather young still, so shi can't risk losing all that to come back where shi can't be a chakat anymore. To tell the truth, I think the first years shi was probably willing to take such risk, but the inter-dimensional travel wasn't refined enough yet to be used by people. And later, with hir new growing family... you know. Shi has a new home there. Shi is the same person, but shi is changed too, in a way. Grown up a little too, probably. My universe isn't easy for a person with a chakat mind."

I nod a bit, "Isn't this dangerous for you too?" With a hand I perform a jumping sign.

Shi puts the empty plate on the floor and offers me hir hand. I take it and squeeze it -- hir feelings are so sad... and old.

Shi smiles at me. "My species lives up to about one century. We get old really abruptly, and I am almost 98, so I have only few years of life left, probably only three or four, so even if this travel fails, I can't lose too much. For me this is probably my last adventure. As Dante once said 'Fatti non foste a viver come bruti, ma per seguire virtute e canoscenza. That means 'Ye were not made to live like unto brutes, but for pursuit of virtue and of knowledge'. I am here to see new things, because I am a chakasa. We are built to perceive and learn."

Shi sounds so proud, but I sigh anyway, because shi seems to mask some sad feelings, "How can you go back to your world?"

Shi doesn't answer me, shi just lays down on a side, and lays the side of hir head on my forelegs. Shi caresses my lowback with hir tail -- there's a furless zone under hir tail that looks natural. Shi is now radiating bad feelings. I caress hir head and shoulder -- hir fur and body look very good. Shi doesn't look like shi is near the end of hir lifespan at all. There are many things I don't understand still about hir.

Shi licks my fingertips -- hir tongue is warm and unusually soft. "Before my travel, we exchanged some little probes with some of your scientists, rather far from here. You don't have the tech to travel between parallel dimensions yet, and you will not have it for about the next ten years. Only about eleven years from now will you have the technology to help me travel back to my dimension. But probably I don't have that many years of life left."

I feel cold, that means shi will probably spend hir last years with us, away from all the people shi knows. But shi was willing to risk hir life for this travel, so... And shi seems rather friendly, and curious; shi may adapt to live here, despite hir age. I think Goldfur will probably try to help hir as shi can. We have space for another guest in our house. Shi may be a friend of Goldenfur, so I have to help hir if I can.

But there must be other solutions. I refuse to surrender already, "But can't you teach us how to built them? That may speed up things a lot."

Shi nods. "In the memory of my nanosystem there is the complete design of the parallel teleport I have used. The machine is designed to work in my universe, and between our universes there are some differences, even at the level of physical laws. For example in my universe ESP Talents can't exist. But yes, I think that machine can be adapted and it can be built here too. But it will require lot of work. Even if I talk some of you into giving me enough resources, it may require many months." Shi then stands up, and takes my hand. "I am willing to teach you how to build one of those machines, but inter-dimensional travel isn't a neutral thing. It has many ethical consequences, and risks, that it's right for your people to discuss a lot before even thinking about building it. Those discussions may require years."

"I know some people on Chakona that may help in that." I stand up and I get an apple to offer it to Fuoco. Shi takes it, sniffs it, and then slowly eats it whole.

"Thank you, the food will help me heal faster. I am willing to tell you the story of Goldenfur with more details, and I have time, for the next two-three hours I'll need to heal."

I take the comm, and compose a short message for Kris, while I go toward the door, nodding. "I am really curious, but I have to finish nursing my baby. Wait for me here a moment, and I'll show you my kitten. You can tell me the story while I nurse hir."

I leave hir, and I go to my hungry baby. I hold hir, rocking hir a little. Shi feels that I am ready to feed hir again, and shi mewls. I offer hir the nipple and shi starts to suckle at once. Uhmmrrrrr. I sigh in pleasure while a shiver travels through all my spine, up to my tail tip!

I look at hir, and I pet hir a little, sitting down. Fuoco seems a friendly person, and shi isn't wearing any visible weapon. Shi is wearing very little for such big travel. Do I really trust my Talent enough to risk exposing you to an alien that comes from another universe? I sigh. Shi says Talents don't even exist in hir universe, so my readings may be all off.

I take a breath. I do. I trust hir enough. I stand up and I go to hir, shi tailwaves for the kitten, and I lay two meters from hir, to keep my safety instincts at bay. Shi nods, seeming to understand my inner turmoil.

"Shi is beyond cute. Shi looks a lot like one of our kittens. The most visible difference is the antennae. You look like a very good mother ::-)" Fuoco says.

I fold my ears a bit, feeling them blush. "Thank you. Shi is hungry, and hir mother loves to feed hir :-)"

I feed hir for a couple of minutes, while shi starts to purr, feeding my heart back.

"Uh Oh!" Fuoco says.

Shi is looking at hir hand. "Are you okay?"

"Well, uhm, maybe. Technically the answer is probably positive. I was wrong again, after all."

"What's the problem?"

"I'm seeing double images, and I don't see your thermal image anymore. I am not fully here anymore."

I stand up. "What?"

"It seems you are making your mind up still. You will tell Goldfur to avoid that engine, or that ship, and somehow the teleport accident will not happen."

Shi is becoming translucent!

"But..." I say, but I don't know what to say. Shi is right, I can't let Goldie risk hir life.

"I am fine, don't worry. This travel of mine will just not happen, and I'll keep living in the other Universe. I'd like to give you a parting hug, but I think I can't now." shi says.

Hir voice is getting thin. What shi says means that all traces of hir will vanish from my universe. "I am sorry for forgetting you," I say.

Shi stands up, and shi is getting almost invisible. "Don't be sad, Forestwalker. Be happy and have a long and very good life. I'll forget you, but I think you will remember me. In my universe minds are created by the brain, but in your universe mind-matter Dualism is a reality, so your minds will..."

Then I lose hir. Even the dish is vanishing, probably back in the kitchen, filled still. And probably the roses aren't broken anymore. But I remember hir still... and I keep remembering hir. I look around me, I am back in the nursery with my kitten. I remember everything... I look at the clock -- I am even back in time! I go back to the garden, while I rock and nurse my baby, and the roses are indeed intact. Good for Goldfur.

"MOOOOMMA! I have..."

"I know I know, me too... It wasn't a dream."

"But momma! The roses...!"

"Goldfur has them still. It was a kind of dream."

"But then why is shi back in the living room?"

"What!?"

Snowcloud leads me while we gallop into the living room, and... there shi is! Shi waves with a hand.

"Fuoco!"

Shi looks at me opening hir four eyes wide. "How can you know me!? That's impossible!"

"You are Chakasa Fuocoblu, and you have just left! What are you doing here again?"

"Really?! Ouhm! This is unexpected. What hum... And what did I do?"

"Nothing... just coming to... I don't know..."

I look at hir better, shi is the same person, but shi seems a bit different... then I lay down, "My head, it hurts... Are you here from another universe because of a teleport accident of Goldfur?"

"I am from another universe, but not because of a teleport accident, this is a planned travel. I don't understand how I can possibly be... known here. I don't know yet. This is my first inter-dimensional travel."

"But you seem a bit different..." I say.

"Really? A different me?"

"Well, no, I am sure you are the same person. Your mind has the same emission patterns, and your body looks the same, just the top you are wearing is a bit different and your belly fur looks shorter now, but my Talent tells me you are... somewhat less complex. How old are you?"

"I am sixty four."

"AH, gotcha! The other Fuoco was more than thirty years older than you," I feel my head spin a bit, so I open a curtain and a window to let more light and air in the room, and I lay down in front of hir, beside Snowy, with my baby in my arms still. I take a very long breath. "Snowcloud, please, go get some milk and food for our guest Fuoco." Shi gallops away. "Time to tell me your story again, I presume," I say to hir. Shi nods and smiles.

Just now I realize hir leg isn't broken. This time the alignment was correct, I presume.

Shi looks around. "You have already seen me, but for me this is the first time I have seen this place. Give me few moments to think and adapt… First of all, let me tell you that I am very happy to be here, and to know you and your family. My purpose here is to learn about your universe and your species. I plan to help your technicians build two inter-dimensional teleporters in few years, so I can go back to my universe with one of those machines which will bootstrap this temporal loop."

Now things are getting interesting! :-]

 


This may be seen as the antecedent to Chakasa Goldfur's story. It's a crossover, the things it contains aren't canon in the chakasa universe. But I don't care too much, I like freedom.

Specie chakasa © leonardo maffi and Alessio "Scale" Scalerandi.
Chakat species, Chakat Forestwalker, Chakat Goldfur, Chakat Windrunner, Chakat Snowcloud, and Kris are © Bernard Doove.
"The Good Guest" © 2008 leonardo maffi.


 

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