Tyee had hoped Missy was the queen, but he'd played poker with her. She couldn't bluff if her life depended on it, so he accepted that she spoke the truth.
In his pocket, the wolf pup wiggled. By passers, didn't seem to notice as he walked down a stairway to the harbor. Shewolf awaited as grand as ever, her hull and superstructure spotless.
As for Missy's pretense that they weren't dating, Tyee went along with her conceit. Truthfully their relationship had moved beyond courtship. Sharing telechirics was more intimate than even marriage.
He could return the device. He should return it, but by using he had a chance of regaining use of his neuro—a chance he couldn't turn down.
Wulfie, she'd called the device. Odd name. Must be Terranglic. He boarded the ship and went to crew quarters, where he lay his parka on his bunk.
A nose poked out.
"I'm going to the dining room," he said. "I don't want the crew to see you yet."
Wulfie's brow drew into a frown, her blue eyes bright with the same indomitable spirit that animated Shewolf and Missy.
Wulfie snorted and burrowed back under the jacket.
He took it that they agreed.
Tyee turned in at midnight after the evening shift. Taking care others didn't see her, he cradled Wulfie and opened his sea chest. She squirmed.
"I'm going to put you away," he whispered. "You can't sleep with me. I might roll on you in the middle of the night."
Wulfie whined. Lunging, she went for his comset.
"Okay. Okay." Tyee fit an earbud in place.
"Wulfie never sleeps alone," hissed Missy. "Almost never. I can't sleep without her being held."
Tyee whispered back. "I might damage her." The truth was, he wouldn't be able to get any rest. Sleeping with Wulfie would be almost identical to sleeping with Missy and as disconcerting.
"I'll yelp if you do."
"Who are you talking to?" said Rothrocki from his bunk. "No shining. Get some sleep."
Tyee scooted onto his bunk with Wulfie, and she joyously licked his face.
He kissed her snout. "You're welcome," he whispered. "Goodnight."
In the morning, Wulfie jumped down from the bunk. Nose down, sniffing, she disappeared under a bunk, then came out sneezing, dust bunnies on her snout.
Rothrocki laughed. "What the depths is that? A rat?"
"Telechiric device," said Tyee. "I'm using it to reprogram my neuro."
"Looks like a rat or a toy."
"I'm setting up neuropathway, so she is in a way. That's what toys are for."
"She looks like she's seen better days. Where'd you get her?"
"Second hand," said Tyee. "She's worn but works fine."
Rothrocki grunted. "Cute thing, Here, girl."
Wulfie sniffed at his foot and yipped.
Rothrocki picked her up and scratched her ear.
"Put her down," said Tyee. "Telechirics like this one are personal." The truth is he didn't want Rothrocki to realize Missy, not Tyee was merged with the device.
YOU ARE READING
The Return of the Cybernaut PrincessScience Fiction
A long-lost princess, a mariner, and a sentient ship battle intergalactic intrigue in a quest for love, identity, and to save their planet from a deadly cyber-virus. The Princess- Having fled her planet as a small child, the princess has little kno...