The Sapin Pets
The knock at the door announced the arrival of the venerable researcher Bolgar, who was also a friend of the esteemed Dulgard, the owner of the estate. Both were nearly three meters tall, blue and the crown of their heads were studded with sharp protuberances.
“Good day, Dulgard!” the visitor said as the two males clasped their claws on the shoulder of the other in friendly greeting.
“To what do I owe the pleasure of your visit, Bolgar?” he asked as they sat on the comfortable couches in the sitting room.
“I was in the area on a research project,” Bolgar said as he accepted a metal cup of hot liquid from the other who happened to have a tray with the pot and an extra cup, “You know the uproar that happens every time the Cronia reports that some animal can speak and understand our language?”
Dulgard nodded, “I stopped my subscription when they began running these fake attention-seeking kinds of articles. What animal is it this time?”
Bolgar sighed, “Unfortunately, this time they might have something. Purely by accident if it turns out to have a factual basis. They are now reporting that sapins are actually intelligent and can be taught to understand our language.”
Dulgard had a strange expression for a moment before frowning, “What kind of idiocy is this?”
“Yes, well I have seen that look in their eyes. They do have a look of an intelligence species, being bipedal and all,” Bolgar said, “Their discovery is still recent as things go, less than one hundred crossings of the plane.”
Dulgard smiled and said, “Are you saying there is some credence to the theory?”
Bolgar waved his arms in the air, “We do not know where they came from, or how. We do not know the origination planet. Sure, some space-faring species might have dropped them off on Plexis where we found and rescued them, but what if they got there themselves?”
“Once they are house trained they do normally make good pets,” Dulgard said, “I bought one for my daughter not too long ago.”
Bolgar considered this, “Might I see this creature?”
Dulgard frowned, “I don't want you dissecting my daughters pet, it was quite expensive. Besides, she doesn't seem intelligent to me. We had a hard time teaching the thing to defecate outside instead of in the flower pots.”
They both laughed as Dulgard poured more of the hot liquid into their cups.
“It is a fascinating species. The idea that they were once a space-faring intelligent species that has fallen to this level is interesting, we just don't know enough about them to prove it is not true. I would like to do some tests, no not cutting them, just talking to them and showing them images and observing,” the researcher promised.
Dulgard, “I suppose we could come to an arrangement.”
“Can I just... see the pet before I go?” Bolgar asked sheepishly.
The door to his daughters room opened a small bit and the two males peered inside where the sapin was lying, apparently asleep on a corner of the bed.
“Your daughter apparently likes to keep the hair trimmed,” Bolgar observed, “No hair on the face, it is a female then?”
“I think so, although it's not like I know much about them,” Dulgard answered with a shrug, “I only objected when she tried to put clothing on the poor thing. One must not traumatize pets that way, especially really expensive ones.”
The female sapin stirred ad stretched her arms into the air before turning its head to look directly at the observers. The sapin appeared to smile in their direction.
“It doesn't seem upset to see us,” Bolgar said, “I have seen some animals kept as pets that would be screeching, biting and spitting at us. This one does have that intelligent look in its eyes.”
“As far as I can tell about this one, it seems to have a very agreeable temperament,” Dulgard said, “Although quite fragile, they so seem to enjoy a good rubbing. This one truly enjoys being bathed, I have seen it laughing and playing.”
“I must get funding to find out where they came from and how they reached Plexis.”
Dulgard nodded, “I suppose I can always propose such a thing to the council, but I won't make any promises.”
After the visiting researcher left, Dulgard entered his daughters room. The sapin was still sitting on the edge of the bed.
“I suppose you need to be fed and let out to defecate,” he told the creature that climbed down from the bed and walked toward him. Dulgard did not tell his friend the whole truth. In fact, Dulgard knew for certain that sapins were capable of intelligence. This pet obviously understood what he said, sometimes he thinks it understood a lot more than simple things too.
After the sapin scarfed down milky oats he let it out the sliding transparent back door. The creature took a small spade and dug a hole near a tree on which to squat, finishing by wiping itself with leaves and burying those along with the excrement. Using tools counts as a sign of intelligence, Dulgard believed.
The creature stood up, but instead of coming back inside immediately she was staring at something in the sky. It was Plexis, dominating the daylight skies. The two worlds orbited each other. Dulgard wondered if all sapins looked at that world so longingly as this one. All he saw was a blue-green world covered with a lot of white clouds, just like the world they stood upon.
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