Rael had seen Augments before. Animals that humans normally called pets were genetically altered to be smarter, more able to do the things that humans did. They rankled him, but they were legal. Most were companions and helpers.
A very rare few were ability aids.
The female pushing the trolley bore no external signs of being less than fully able. Until she spoke.
“I want chocolate milk you’re in the way.” Each word fired out rapidly next to the other without emotion or inflection.
The augmented St Bernard by her side said, “We say ‘excuse me, please’.”
“Excuse me please.”
Rael moved himself and his burdened shopping trolley out of the way.
The female human lunged for the chocolate milk.
“Ah-ah. No-no,” said the St Bernard.
“I been good I want chocolate milk.”
“Sometimes food. You must brush your teeth more.”
“…'es, Nana. Sorry, Nana.”
There was a story there, of course. Everyone had a story. It was rude to pry and demand to know what it was. He knew more than one person who had an Augmented pet as their only family. After the disaster of his first encounter, he made a habit of being the part of the community that stopped by to see if they needed any help.
Rael got his press-pak bricks of polenta and caught up on the couple, now having an argument over another treat.
“Excuse me, ladies?” Rael offered his card. “I’m available at discount rates if you should need help.”
Nana the St Bernard took the card with a, “Thank you. I appreciate the offer.”
“Your coat is pretty,” said the human.
Rael thanked her and went on with his day. Nana had been tailored, he had no doubt, to help a female somehow stuck at a particular progress level. All things considered, the dog had more rights than the human she was assisting.
Things had gone a long way since Gaspode, the first Augment in galactic history.
He, too, had been made to help someone who was not, strictly speaking, completely cogniscent. Human and dog, the pair made one functional entity.
Rael wished them every luck they could obtain.