Every ship-morning, I woke up covered in a half-dozen cats. Sometime in the ship-night, they’d wander in from the ducts and find spots to curl up around my sleeping body, virtually pinning me under the sheet and all purring from speaker grilles when I stirred.
I can’t imagine they needed the warmth, having bodies made from carbon polymers and bellies filled with fuel cells. But, I guess some unexpected consequence from the neural patterning made them retain some basic mammalian aspects. That, and they knew I had access to the alcohol tanks and could scrub them where their raspy tongues couldn’t reach.
But, as long as they kept the ship groomed throughout the rest of the day, I didn’t really mind the companionship. I was the only active human-par intelligence on the vessel for past century. All the colonists were corpsicles—and so was I, for that matter. I’d appreciate the memories when the merge came up at arrival time.
Now, if only I could get them to stop chasing the conduit-mice around the fusion bays.