" Lemme mess with your ears," William requested.
" Fuck off."
" They're fluffy, I wanna touch them."
He reached across to Nova's head, and Nova predictably batted him away.
" I won't suffer your indignities."
" Oh, but you know who will?" William stood, tiptoe, and leaned over him.
" Hey, what're you-"
" Butter Baby!"
William picked up the cat triumphantly, and sat back down. It curled up in his lap.
" That's so unfair. You're so unfair. I can't believe this."
" What's that? I can't hear you over Butter purring-"
He received a call.
" Nova, get off the desk."
And so he picked it up after Nova had gotten down.
The image of some unfamiliar person popped up on the telescreen.
" Ah, hello, Commodore General. I'm Lzdesur, Chzgurit's personal secretary. I was calling about a small change I noticed to the finalized personnel roster?"
" Oh? And what was that?"
" On the list of lieutenants requested from the main ship, it seems that a... Kirie Honda? Was mixed up with Loghred Vaan on the papers you sent over."
" Yes, that was intentional," William said. " Are there any problems with it? It's just one small alteration. Lt. Honda is a staple presence on the Theologica."
The secretary looked a little taken aback.
" Well, it's no real issue... The names were selected randomly, after all. You should've spoken to us ahead of time about any alterations, though, so please keep that in mind."
" I understand. Give the General my regards, then."
The call ended.
" Well, aren't you controlling," Nova sniped.
William petted the cat, staring at the telescreen.
" I need to have Kirie around," he said.
" Because you feel responsible for her, or something like that?"
" I know it wasn't my fault... But it felt like... my fault... And I don't know how to act around people when she's not there. Everything gets harder, for some reason."
" ...So you're holding her back for your own sake."
" ... Aren't you doing the same with Kaama?"
" I am, aren't I."