Duster is a 16 year old gray cat, super senior in cat years. Some say Duster is too old to venture out into the unknown. Cars, and dogs. Raccoons, and parasites. Lilies.
But Duster is as indestructible as the NCC-1701.
With advanced detection systems to perceive energy disturbances within a 400 foot radius, and instinctive cloaking, he sees before being seen, and threat assesses in under a second-most of the time.
Impeccable situational awareness means he knows how many seconds to the nearest safety spot should he encounter a threat bigger than himself. Even at advanced age, Duster can still go to Warp, and outrun anything to a safety spot. Should a small dog be unfortunate enough to chase through, Duster will take its eyes out.
Broad spectrum vision sees the power flowing through the asphalt, informing it can only be crossed during times of stillness. The asphalt is no place to hang out.
He has adapted to the chaotic good of Oakland, and even enjoyed a late night stroll on the Fourth of July in the midst of the heaviest fireworks ever, floating through the heightened energy as if it were fairy dust.
However, Duster is not a very good judge of character, and therefore resorts to the shortcut of protection rings. Distrust everything in ring 3. Trust everything in ring 0.
Raccoons are apparently ring 2. Once on a warm, still night, at about 3am, Duster stopped to smell some flowers in his favorite side yard that leads into his favorite backyard. It is a beautiful garden, leading to a garage, a large redwood tree, and calm, still green space. At night there is dim light towards the front, but complete darkness deeper in. Distracted by the flowers, he didn’t notice an old 25 pounder come lumbering out of the darkness until it got within 5 feet. The human escort was alerted by a motion detector light that Duster is too small to trip, and immediately raised shields. Duster didn’t immediately categorize the raccoon as a threat, but rather a curiosity. The raccoon was mellow, and chill. There is a very real possibility these two senior animals could have had a chill experience together had the human not intervened. The raccoon may have learned behavior reinforcing, “hey buddy, which way to the best food?”
Duster’s 560 square feet of personal space is ring 0, secured by a dead bolt, and one key.
One night, while it seemed that half the world was burning, Kali entered ring 0.
Kali was a ball of hate, anger, and destruction that Duster’s human had allowed inside. Kali had pain, lots of pain. Everyone who had ever been close had hurt her. Every single person she had ever counted on had wronged her. She was a victim of every single person she had ever had any interaction with. Kali also had many degrees, and was conventionally beautiful, and deserved everything. Kali deserved the world, the entire universe in fact. Kali was the most special person that had ever been created in all the various incarnations of the multiverse. The one.
Life taught Kali to strike first. Shields, phasers, photon torpedos, all set to 360 spray mode upon any threat perception.
Duster approached Kali with curiosity. Kali reached out to Duster. Kali was an advanced martial artist, and competitive athlete. She had incredibly powerful hands, and arms. Kali stroked Duster. She wrapped her hands around Duster’s face, and rubbed beneath his neck. For the first time ever, Duster’s human feared for his death at the hands of a person. Vivid images of Kali snapping Duster’s neck looked like arms of wrath reaching out from a ball of hate. Duster remained oblivious to this energy.
Without the north star of love, Kali was chaotic. A bear, or a raccoon will spare small animals for inherent love of life, but Kali had none. She was a black hole, the place in the universe of pure destruction, the reset button, power off, and whatever reconstitutes from the gama rays. Forests use this pattern to create redwood trees. The entire ecosystem becomes a pristine, disease resistant biologic force. Humans echo the pattern in the form of hate. A central message from Star Trek TOS is that the power of human intellect, and innate love for all life will prevail in an advanced world.
After living through Kali, Duster’s human reflected on his love for Duster, and even Kali, and took action to be done with Kali for the rest of life.