You can break my soul.
Shatter my mind.
Take my life away.
Beat me, hurt me, kill me.
But for the love of God
And for the sake of your own lives
Touch her. -- Anon Guest
The human was already half-mad, even by human standards, when Kri'ko met her. She called herself Dog. Mutt on the bad days. Whenever she was awake, Dog would chatter to herself. A constant diatribe of ideas and denials.
They threw Kri'ko in the cell with Dog in an effort to terrify her into talking. Yet the human had taken one look at her and merely said, "Beautiful. Too beautiful." And never acted as their captors expected.
It took Dog three days to say Kri'ko's name. Before that, it was a string of compliments in substitution for names.
"They never stay for more than three days," muttered Dog. "Don't get attached. Don't break my heart. Talk to Wally. Keep what's left."
Wally, Kri'ko would discover, was a crude effigy of a smiling humanoid, drawn in blood on the wall.
Dog was both an example of what they had planned and an implement of torture. Or she was supposed to be. Kri'ko recognised that the human was sane enough to know a Havenworlder when she saw one. And thusly, tried to be kind.
The human was kind in return. Shared her warmth. Her food. What she could remember of her moral code.
And when they finally came for Kri'ko the human went berserk. Flying at their captors, howling and snarling and employing all their strength and all their body against them.
Once she bit them... it was over. Swarms of bacteria from the human's mouth flooded the bloodstream and killed them in a matter of minutes.
Dog stole their armour and gently fitted Kri'ko into it, any way they could make it work. Stole their weapons with a very evil grin.
And circumvented their biometric security in a suitably barbaric manner.
Dog forever sat at her feet. Even after they returned to the safety of the Galactic Alliance. Therapists tried to restore her sanity and failed. The pirates had made a permanent mark on her.
Dog received Diminished Responsibility bracelets and anklets, and remained in Kri'ko's custody because she refused to be anywhere else. Kri'ko worked with an assigned therapist and did what she could. She owed Dog that much.
Progress was slow, if it could be measured at all.
But Dog rarely left her side, and always kept her safe. They said it was love, of a sort. A strange, fierce, platonic love that would only die when Dog did. Which was, when Kri'ko thought about it, the kind of love that any dog had.