Surely everyone reading this is already familiar with how, once genetic engineering reached a sufficiently mature state of the art, the science began to serve not just the correction of debilitating deformities and conditions but also peoples' fantasies and whims. So it came to pass that pet catgirls had been genetically engineered into existence using a blend of feline and human DNA. They became a popular pet in well-heeled homes along with creatures like the Toy Elephant and the Minigiraffe. See Wackopedia for information on the moral and social developments leading to the unquestioned acceptance of such things, but let us save that discussion for another time. This essay is actually meant to be a short insight into one man's life; a certain Mr. Roberts. You may have heard of him. You may even have seen him in some of the "Wanted Fugitive" advertisements. But let us not get ahead of ourselves.
As pets, catgirls were engineered to have low intelligence with the intention that they might be easily trained and managed much like any other engineered pet animal except perhaps Microbears which, no matter what was done, always tended to be grouchy and headstrong.
But not all breeders were equally careful. A strain of normal-IQ catgirl spontaneously evolved (scientists now say this might have been predicted) and instead of being euthanized as was required of any unauthorized genetically-modified versions or mutations, they were allowed to develop. Their creator, Kawaii-Kits, a small lab operation, could only make a few and the investment in the work was too much so that they needed to sell those few in order to remain in business. And they did so through a few small vendors whose scruples allowed them to overlook certain paperwork and other such niceties.
Enter Edwin Roberts. It so happened that despite not being precisely as "well heeled" as some of his acquaintances, their breaktime conversations had made him curious about catgirls as well as slightly status-conscious, and by either accident or divine intervention (depending upon whom you talk to) he wandered into a shop that had purchased from Kawaii-Kits' little batch. And, of course, the brightest-eyed and most interesting kit in the shop was the most intelligent. And, of course, that one caught his eye, then his heart, and went home with him.
He named her Nicolle. He told himself that he despised the overtly cat-themed names his coworkers gave theirs: Kitty, Catrina and so on. But Nicole sounded normal enough to his sensibilities yet, he thought, it hinted slyly at the Japanese Neko and he pronounced her name with a soft "i" so that it came out Neh-cole. He told himself the despised names were merely obvious puns but he thought his invention was clever. It was, after all, his own invention. So, perhaps he was only fooling himself.
It was somewhat of a let-down to Edwin that he didn't make an impression with colleagues when he revealed he had purchased his own catgirl. The fact that he had done, however, gained him "entrance" into chats about whose kit did what and how difficult some of them could be.
Difficult was what first grabbed his attention. Nicolle was not difficult. She never needed anything explained twice. She seemed happy and eager to fit into her new home. Her vocabulary grew daily. She was beginning to understand writing represented real words. In short... she was bright.
Other catgirls, he learned from his almost-friends at work, were hard to train and sometimes did not clean up after themselves. Often they were sulky. None seemed interested in anything like books, except for one who enjoyed chewing paperbacks when left at home alone. Very soon, he stopped mentioning Nicolle's accomplishments and habits. Then he stopped mentioning her at all.
Edwin realized there was something terribly wrong with this catgirl.
Next: Part 2 / 25, “Facts”