Project Nimby
By Cactus Gulch and Emmit Other

The inciting incident is that Ted wandered where he shouldn't have and ceased to be Ted.

So once upon a time, there was a Sapient Cactus who had a cat. Except in this case the Cat was a human. Sure, many sapient everything exists; fungus, humans, animas, posthumans, digital ghosts, digital zombies, all kinds of crap. But sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes a Sapient Cactus is just named Bob. Granted, the B’s in that name were made from an alphabet that could only be comprehended by an IQ of 3000...

Ted had known where they were going and had strict laws, but he hadn't truly believed that Bob was going to make him go somewhere where humans weren’t welcome. It was literally risking his life. Sure, he had his mind backed up in the galactic archive, but it could be a full 20 Standard Years before he was rebooted if he was snuffed unless Bob paid a great deal of money to get him out and Bob was not pleased about the practice in general.

...but they both basically made a B sound with a slightly discernible fractal orange that required resurrecting the color yellow. The cat, or human in a very large pet carrier, was called Ted; and his name required no special letters at all; just T E and D written in crayon in toilet paper from the rubber room walls.

Cactus Bob had a problem (Please resist the temptation to put special umlaut and apostrophes and shua insignares over the O comrade. It is just a regular O.)

Anywho, Bob’s pet human was not welcome on the planet Metmetmetrion. The entire name being a mockery of the old galactic capital of New New New New York before everyone that wasn't human toppled humans and put them in their place. Everyone considered that place differently, and it was why the high Arthurian dream of a united Galactic Republic was a shattered one. Some wanted humans to be equals, their dainty poodles in purses, or their dinner. The latter was particularly rare since the majority of the galaxy considered this both tacky and the sort of thing they loved to lord over being Not Humans like a clubbed baby seal killed by a nasty human. The planets that let humans be equals were regarded as the trash to the rest of the galaxy.

Anywhere with any culture, any kind of neighborhood where you could raise your kids and not worry about roving gangs of murdery rapey humans or their neglitionary owners ...well, you get the idea. And if you don’t, dont worry about it, because you probably never will. Hi Ted.

No more worries Ted
No more worries Ted
No more worries, no more woes.

Ted, I’m taking you to live on a farm. My farm. No, I know you saw that old human show about humans taking their dogs out to live on a farm when they died and lied to their children about it. But you understand Ted, you understand that this is a special message for you and if you can finish it you get a big big ice cream. Ted, the ice cream is real and you will get it if you can understand the special message.

Cactus farms were widely regarded as the gold standard by the galaxy at large. They had a full biome that allowed complete self sufficiency and a bit more for export as long as the owner was judicious in their allocation of energy and time. As an experienced farmer, Bob knew precisely how to do this. Even drunk half the time, he could make this a very profitable enterprise.

All of this is a roundabout way of telling you, Ted, that the world doesn't make any sense. And that’s good for you, because the planet I am trying to smuggly you onto doesnt let humans be ...well...alive on it. But it’s SUCH a cool place to live Ted, the sunlight is just right and the air is so dry...it's THE perfect Desert Ted, and I’m going to tell you that you are a cat, with such definity and purpose that you will realize that you are in fact Ted. That you are Ted the Cat. It will be like a thunderbolt from above Ted the Cat, and you will realize that you are Ted the Cat.

Ted the Cat was a human Cat.
Not a cat shaped human
Not a human shaped cat.
Not a human android cat
Not a genetically engineered hypercat.
Not a cat that was the AI ghost of a cat that gained sapience through sheer psychic realization.
No, the kind of cat that was where it was.
But basically who was a human, who had a simple limited mind compared to higher lifeforms who loved them but realized they were dumb so basically just called them a Cat.
Yes Ted, I mean you, not the other Ted.
There is no other Ted, Ted, there’s only the Cat.

They had warned Ted that there might be the occasional existential crisis with the gene shift. He flickered in and out about thinking of himself which was not so bad but he hadn't realized the difference in reference frames between the species. He had elaborate schemes to keep track of things like leaving marks on his hands but he tended to fail to remember...

Our story proceeds. Ted the Cat was a Cat, and so the Anti Human sensors that detected and monitored the thoughts of everything that came or went from the planet and sought to see if it thought it was a Human. Not a human kind of person that was cool in a “Hey I’m only human” kind of way, but a smelly farty gas bad oily lard human that smells up the joint, Human, those weren't allowed.

But when the story checked to see if a Cat landed on the planet Metmetmetrion then it would be sent to the Human quadrant of the galaxy and no one would think about it ever again, and it would definitely not be sent to live on a nice “Farm” out in the country where it was happy to live it's filthy disease ridden filthy filthy life. Mammaries. Humans are always thinking about Mammaries and as such, as a Cactus I can relate, eyebrows wiggle if you get what I mean. Yes of course I have eyes, Ted, they’re just hyperdimensional ones in the ultraviolet spectrum that your Human eyes can’t see. Of course since you are a Cat, you can definitely see them.

Ah you see my eyes glaring into you Ted. Good Ted. I see you can see my eyes and that I, a sapient Cactus am the friend and owner of a nice Cat named Ted. Good Ted. Ah yes, here we are on the desert planet Metmetmetrion which is totally not a farm, but is in fact a desert, ergo the name desert planet Metmetmetrion. We do have a farm on the planet Ted. I am tempted to call you a Horse because we want to plant lots of cacti. No Ted, they are not sapient Cacti, they are just Cacti. Yes Ted, I am a cannibal. No Ted, it's not gross you just don't understand.

I don't make fun of the gross things you do with your mouthole. Don’t judge me for consuming the souls of my kin. Where was I?

Sometimes the worst part of being human were the prejudices people had for current humans vs present humans. Humans in the past, sometimes due to ignorance, and sometimes due to apathy had done horrific things to Digital or non human beings, but modern humans were (except for some reactionary retrogrades) generally upright (if not stupid comparitively) responsible galactic citizens who worked for the common good of all. But sometimes old grudges died hard.

Bob was good to Ted. He fed him and gave him water, and medicine, and listen to the ennui of his desire to see other humans even though if he were to step one foot out onto Metmetmetrion the orbital scanner death satellites would shoot him with tiny nanite sized guns to alter his DNA immediately to meet the minimum required genetic variance to not be a human. Death was such a crude and frankly pointless punishment in a universe where death is just a reboot away. To be fair, any ethical person avoided murder since subjective death was terrible and painful, but for most non religious individuals, death was just a hangover and a reboot/resurrection/respawn away. Either way, Ted was prone to wander in all his previous domiciles and so to not wander now was Anathema to his restless miraculous spirit.

And, of course, Ted wandered.

Zapzapzapzap Ted’s basic molecular structure is changed to that of a 99.9% human .1% actual cat, which was cool in that he had fantastic night vision and also claws and was growing fur...well, all over but it wasn’t cool because Bob was allergic to cats. And the problem is that while the satellites were insanely effective, if he was found then Ted would still be immediately deported. Ted still LOOKED too human and his DNA was still far under the genetic variance to be a human from OFF world. The government had to live with some realistic restrictions of what people could do with their own genetics if they were a native born citizen, instead relying on cultural influences such as education, entertainment and job hiring programs that advanced non-human minorities. Yes, on the planet everyone was not human but some beings were more non-human than others with pure stock sapient aliens or uplifted xeno creatures like silicon based life forms had a leg (or lack of a leg) up on the competition.

Ted didn't need a job though, because he had Bob. Bob took care of all Ted’s human needs (except other humans had a need to befoul his environment like a fucking idiot, but no one paid attention to that human need).

Ted did what Bob told him to do and then they went to McDonalds. After they went to Mcdonald's they realized that the meat was fake, and that was because cows could be sapient now and eating them was good. Indeed, several scandals involving rival Burger King had involved replacing fake meat with real meat and that seemed incredibly human which made everyone extremely angry. There were several fish that flew by on Motor Scooters while they were eating the fake meat hamburgers.

As they sat there eating their burgers and their fries which were given to them immediately from Lord Potato from on high via an orbital transmatter beam direct from Planet Potato. Some people believed Planet Potato simply possessed advanced technology allowing the transportation of potatoes all across the galaxy, and some people believed that Planet Potato was actually the holy repository in this dimension by the Divine glory of the Sapient Potato God Lord Potato who gavest upon his flesh to those who believed and were most excellent to each other. People who believed in science tended to not bother caring about either and simply eat the potato.

Causality is totally a thing. The story began with Bob and Ted landing on the planet. Then, they evaded the anti-human authorities. Then, Ted became just barely enough cat to not be human as the inciting incident. Then, they went to a restaurant. Then, they engaged in a solliquely duel involving homages to technological Lord Potato or Cosmological Lord Potato. In the end, the story ends with Ted being accepted as a human and then deciding to be a cat.

However, in order to maintain a proper sense of pacing and character development, we are skipping the second sentence in the previous paragraph because this is a story about Ted and Bob and not about Lord Potato or the theological discourses thereof. And as such, we shall have some details about how Ted was accepted as a human but decided to remain a cat.

The details are this. Ted found the anti human alert button deep in the tunnels underneath the giant Anti Human Tower, since he wore a paper bag over his head and as everyone knows wearing a giant paper bag over your head with two holes cut in the eyes will defeat even the most advanced forms of anti human detection technology. There was nanotechnology, radar, olfactory molecular sensor, some giant metal lightning thingies and also some bloodhounds.

There were no lasers that he had to acrobat to get past to turn off the button. That was because it was a button people actually wanted to use instead of just die. The thought of a button to turn off the lasers for the other button had not yet occurred to them and so it was thousands of years before they developed that technology. Anywho, Ted pushed the button and so all of the sensors were deactivated.

Then he taped a sign over the button that said, “Do not push this button” and because no one on the island was a human (or a cat besides Ted) Ted decided to turn back into a cat because while he was glad that they would unknowingly accept a mostly human he didn't want to be entirely human and destroy the planet by shitting all over it because while cats shit a lot they dont shit all over the planet.

He did sometimes still push the button on and off from time to time.

Ted and Bob lived happily ever after.

It was worth it! It was all worth it and he was extremely happy to be what he was and who he was and where he was. It was weird, it was disorienting, but at the end of the day, heaven was who you were with, and home was where you chose to be. Ted was happy, and that was all that mattered in the end.Kat and Mause