Today was the big run.

Gobbet was excited, they'd all been cooped up on the Big Texas for far too long already. Kindly usually never took this long to line up a job for them unless it was something big.

"Are you sure about this?" Gobbet asked as she was about to leave.

Is0bel had offered to watch Gobbet's rats while she and Seattle went on said run (an all day job that required a lot of long and boring planning on Seattle's part) but Gobbet could already tell that Is0bel was on edge.

"It's fine, don't worry about it," Is0bel smiled nervously. Gobbet hesitated but decided not to press her. She didn't really know why Is0bel had been eager to volunteer but figured there had to be a reason behind it. It wasn't as if Is0bel disliked Gobbet's rats or anything, but she'd never really wanted to interact with them for any longer than she had to.

"Okay," Gobbet said, and leaned down to kiss her girlfriend. She trusted Is0bel, and really - how bad could her rats be? "Just contact me if anything goes wrong, alright?"

Is0bel nodded and watched Gobbet leave, once she did Is0bel breathed a sigh of relief. She wanted to impress Gobbet, badly, and figured that, next to food, (and Is0bel was an admittedly terrible cook, not that Gobbet minded) looking after her rats was the best way to Gobbet's heart.

Watching twenty-something rats shouldn't be that hard.


As it turned out, watching twenty-two rats was hard.

Is0bel spent a solid hour just trying to round up the rats for sorting. She wanted to clean Gobbet's room while she had the rare chance to do so and couldn't manage to get anything done with the constant scurrying and chitter chatter of the rats. Gobbet could somehow tell all of them apart from each other but to Is0bel they all looked for the most part the same, except for Madness and Folly, the most distinctive of the bunch. They're also the only named ones as far as she knew.

After some chasing and coaxing with bits of food Gobbet had squirreled away, Is0bel managed to stick them all with RFID tags and quarantine them in a box while she worked at cleaning. For all her efforts, (a whole three hours that she could have spent in the Matrix) she only managed to get the majority of the room clean (she started to suspect she'd need a pressure washer to get some of the grime off Gobbet's floor) ... and then the rats managed to break free. Scurrying around the room again with their dirty little paws while Is0bel supressed the urge to scream.

For her own sake, Is0bel decided to name them all so she could tell them apart for easier roundup. Order was good, it helped Is0bel think, Is0bel liked order. (Maybe Gobbet would be thrilled that she could finally tell them apart.) The only issue was that she didn't have the slightest clue what to actually call any of them: what do people even name rats?

She decided Shadowland was probably her best bet for an answer. The users were at least sometimes helpful, and it wasn't like she had anything better to do. Racter was the only other person on the boat and the more she could avoid starting a conversation with him the better. Is0bel shuddered just thinking about the time he described one of his vivisections in detail with glee.

Is0bel typed up a post and waited.


[See title.]

- Is0bel 13:47:18/09-15-56

[Is this a joke?]

- Pha3dra 13:52:58/09-15-56

[IDK, Is0bel usually never posts stuff like this.]

- Maofuu 13:55:29/09-15-56

[No, it's not a joke, can you please just give me rat names. I'm serious.]

- Is0bel 13:58:43/09-15-56

[okay, how about: thunderpaws, brightwhiskers, startail, strongnose, sharpears, kindeyes]

- anonymous32833 14:02:12/09-15-56

[Are you alright with constructive criticism? I don't want to be mean.]

- Is0bel 14:10:04/09-15-56

[go ahead i wanna hear it]

- anonymous32833 14:13:27/09-15-56

[They suck.]

- Is0bel 14:20:59/09-15-56

[that's not constructive criticism]

- anonymous32833 14:25:21/09-15-56

Is0bel sighed and logged off the BBS.

So much for that idea.

Maybe there was another way to impress Gobbet, getting them all to behave might work. She tried to round them up again with no luck, they were on to her this time and didn't go easy. After one of them nipped her finger, Is0bel really really started to regret volunteering. But it would make Gobbet happy and Is0bel was both a Good Friend and Good Girlfriend.

What made rats calm down? There had to be something.

Movies, Is0bel thought suddenly.

Is0bel knew Gobbet's rats liked movies: she'd walked into Gobbet's room on occasion to see them almost enthralled by whatever show Gobbet'd put on. Sets of beady glowing eyes in the dark lit up by the faint glow of the trid screen coupled with the sounds of Gobbet's loud crunching. Is0bel could never decide if it was adorable or creepy.

What kind of movies did rats like?


[See title.]

- Is0bel 15:47:18/09-15-56

[...try stuart little?]

- anonymous32833 15:52:12/09-15-56


- Is0bel 16:02:23/09-15-56

Bad idea, who knew Gobbet's rats really really hated Stuart Little? Is0bel scrambled for something else to put on for them. That something, after a quick look through the trids Gobbet had lying around, ended up being the latest Tingler.

Is0bel really hated Chork Tingle.

She just couldn't understand the appeal. His movies were juvenile, plotless pieces of trash meticulously designed to pander to the lowest common denominator and peddled out every week to anyone stupid enough to buy them.

Gobbet loved every single one of them.

Is0bel put on the latest Tingler, an especially trashy movie entitled "Cyberpounded In The Cyberbutt By The Sentient BTL Chip". The rats all gathered about to stare at the trid in rapt attention and she sighed. It wasn't all that bad, not that she'd ever admit it. Is0bel kept watching until she eventually nodded off.

"Awww babe, that's adorable! They like you," The next thing Is0bel knew, she was hearing Gobbet coo before she opened her eyes.

She hadn't realized she'd fallen asleep. So had the rats too, apparently: a large number of them were either curled up against her or sleeping nearby. Gobbet carefully removed a couple so she could help Is0bel up and kiss her. "Did they give you a hard time? I know they're a handful."

Is0bel thought about it for a moment and shook her head, "No, not at all."

"Oh, don't say that. I know you don't like them that much," Gobbet looked around the room. "And look you even cleaned up!"

"Yeah," Is0bel looked everywhere but Gobbet. "I was trying to impress you. I thought it was the least I could do, all things considered…"

"Aw, Iz. You don't have to impress me, you know that right? I'm happy when you're happy."

"I know, I know."

"Good," Gobbet said and then grinned at her. "You wanna watch something else? I know you hate Tinglers."