[Crinis, could you come over here please?]
[Of course Master] the tennis ball of endless darkness responded immediately.
I get the feeling that she's able to sense where I am since she manages to roll towards me despite having no sense of sight. Once she reaches a space just in front of me she unfolds a few tentacles and 'stands' up, holding her body up on a few slender tendril like limbs.
[How are things going Crinis?] I decide to lead with a general question.
[Well, Master!] she replies happily, [since maturing I've been able to gain levels and Biomass at an accelerated pace. It feels good to be useful to you Master]
[Yep, you've been a great help]
The little ball wiggles happily in front of me for being praised. Despite her image she really is quite weak to positive reinforcement….
[How have you found spending your skill points and Biomass Crinis? Has there been any issues? Do you need any help or advice?]
She pauses for a moment. [I've been a little hesitant to spend my points Master since I couldn't be sure my choices were exactly what you wanted. I didn't want to make any mistakes…]
[It's your skills and your Biomass Crinis, you spend it however you want!]
Just because they are pets I don't want to micromanage every aspect of their lives! I'm probably a bit naive about it but I like the idea of my pets making their own choices and finding their own way in life.
Is it because I'm lazy and can't be bothered going through all the menus and burning up my brains working out a balanced strategy where every member of our group functions as a cohesive part of a whole?
Still… viva la freedom! Viva la pet choice!
They can work it all out on their own! I don't need to get involved!
[So tell me Crinis ] I say cheerily, [how many points have you spent? What sort of skills are we looking at?]
What is this? … Somehow, even though she doesn't have a face, I can tell she's looking away from me.
[What's wrong? Have you got a few points stored up? I'm happy to give advice if that's what you want…. ]
Something is starting to dawn on me.
[Crinis … How many points have you saved?]
[.. All of them]
[ALL OF THEM?! You haven't spent a single thing?!]
[I'm sorry Master! I didn't want to spend them incorrectly!]
[It's fine if you just spend them however you want! Do what you think will work for you!]
[ but, but, but what if I make a choice that doesn't work out!? Or doesn't work with what you wanted me to do?!]
Sigh. It's nice to have a pet that's diligent and thoughtful, a direct contradiction to Tiny, but she's TOO diligent and thoughtful. She's become paralysed by wanting to make the perfect selection. Unable to make a choice because she's preoccupied by what I might want.
It's time for me to show my understanding side and educate her, just as I educated Tiny.
Using my antenna I swing one in a wide loop and whack straight into the little ball suspended in front me.
[M m m Master?!] she cries in shock.
[Go spend your points! All of them! Right now!]
Spinning both antennae I whip one from the left and the other from the right, timing it so that one strikes a moment before the other, cannoning the little ball into the second blow which sends her flying to the corner of the chamber.
[Every point! I'll be checking back on you in an hour!]
I turn aside from Crinis mental snivelling with a heart of cold steel. I know she's only trying to do what is best by me but if I relent and go through the process with her this time she'll come to rely on me even more. I want my pets to be more independent than that. If she can't even upgrade herself without consulting me just how independent could she possibly get?
This is tough love!
You can do it Crinis! This is for your future growth and not because I don't want to dig through all of your menus with you!
In truth, a part of me kind of hopes that I can release my pets one day. The idea that they are essentially indentured servants, magically unable to refuse my orders kind of sits uncomfortably with my modern sensibilities. Much as the colony has come to be my family, Tiny and Crinis are also part of that family. I would rather that we teamed up and worked together as fellow family members that master and slave…
Perhaps I'm just too sentimental…
[Tiny! Wake up buddy, come over here for a minute]
The giant ape wearily open his eyes and groans before rolling over and gradually picking himself up.
Is it really that much of a bother to move five metres over here?
Eventually he pulls himself up onto his feet and walks over to me. His dark red bat eyes contrasting sharply with his black and silver fur. He really is an impressive sight. His huge, bunched shoulders and massively thick arms are intimidating enough, but his huge fists, well beyond basketball size at this point, look truly scary.
[How's it going Tiny?] I lead with an easy one.
Any minute now.
There it is.
[How are those skills going? Spending your Biomass points ok?]
He tilts his head quizzically to one side.
Well…. I knew it was going to be like this…
[I'm going to use a skill on your big guy. Hold still for a minute ok?]
When he nods I place both of my antennae on his arm and activate the core surgery skill. Immediately huge amounts of information flood my brain and I have to whip m processing speed up a gear to comprehend it all. Using the core surgery skill isn't like directly looking at the status menu of another monster and then making changes. Whereas the status screen is a nice piece of paper with everything written neatly, using core surgery is like sticking your face in a bowl of crumpled sticky notes.
All of the information is there but you need to filter it, sort it and poke about here and there before being able to piece together the full picture.
Eventually I manage to get a handle on what Tiny's status is like.
Level: 7 (core)
Skills: Ape Boxing lvl 5; Uppercut lvl 5; Leap lvl 5; Smash lvl 5; Stamina lvl 5; Grappling lvl 5; Crushing Blows lvl 5; Fancy Feet lvl 2;
Mutations: Enhanced musculature +4, Bones +4; Legs +4; Heightened Sonic Enhancer +4; Lightning Mana Affinity Gland +4, Lightning Mana Affinity Gland +4, Energy Conversion Gland +4;
Species: Dire Lightning Storm Kong
Skill points: 28
So first off. He hasn't upgraded anything… Like nothing. He has what? 28 skill points and … 129 Biomass…..
ARE YOU KIDDING ME TINY?!
AND WHAT THE HECK IS FANCY FEET?!