Remember that children's poem?
Starlight, star bright,
First star I see tonight.
May I wish., may I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight?
The one thing that irritated me as a kid was that you actually had to catch the first star to make it work. I never could seem to notice the first star before there were a dozen in the sky and everyone knows that star contracts are null and void if you try to invoke one after the other stars come out. Only the first one will do. It makes me wonder.
Was that poem started as a way for parents to keep their children mindful of the time before watches were a thing children could carry out into their play?
Puppy snoot are good for meditation.
Floppy ears are good for rubbing.
Big brown eyes for looking sad.
Little tummy grumbling.
Humans are Weird – Don't Touch That
“And then the human picked me up and said, no, in that particular way,” Idly Spins said, tightening his tertiary appendages in furious exasperation. “The way that means there is no point in arguing.”
“How rude,” Half-twist replied. “One might almost suspect that we have been collectively conditioning humans to pick us up to cuddle at the slightest provocation or sign of danger.”
“It wasn’t about that,” Idly Sins insisted, tossing his gripping appendages up in frustration. “It wasn’t at all uncomfortable. The point is I wanted that sample. I am a zoologist. That was a zoo!”
“Well the humans have certainly affected your grammar,” Half-twist replied, letting half his appendages droop in amusement. “I must say, it is rather impressive that you can convert sloppy human habits from sound to motion.”
“Again, that is not the point!” Idly Spins insisted. “The human just picked me up and carried me away.”
“From the danger.” Half-twist pointed out.
“From an invisible danger that only he could sound!” Idly Spins growled in frustration. “From a zoo that was a thousandth of my mass, let alone his.”
“From the report it sounded like a reasonable assessment.” Half-twist observed. “A venomous invertebrate is nothing to mess with given how thin our outer membrane is.”
“There was no evidence of venom!” Idly Spins insisted. “We didn’t get nearly close enough for the chemoreceptors to take any readings. The human made that distinction based only on the external colors and patterns. Patterns that I couldn’t discern.”
“Do remember that the Council specifically petitioned for a human crew for this mission,” Half-twist said. “Do you know why?”
“Of course!” Idly Spins replied. “This is a class four survival level planet. We needed a predator to protect us.”
“And that protection extends to perceiving dangers that we cannot,” Half-twist said firmly. “I will not censor the squad mate who was sent out to keep you safe for taking action to keep you safe.”
“But I need that sample!” Idly Spins insisted. “Gathering the native flora is the primary reason we came to this planet. There was no reason for us to hire the humans to protect us if they prevent us from doing our jobs through that protection!”
“Understood,” Half-twist said. “Fortunately the humans have provided a solution to this particular issue.”
“Really?” Idly Spins asked cautiously. “Does this so called solution involve sticking a human in a preposterous battle suit and me getting shoved in a glorified hauling sack with a sad excuse for an appendage extender on it?”
Half-twist curled up his appendages in amusement and began tapping on the screen in front of him.
“Yes, you were with the Scorpion crew weren’t you?” He asked.
“It was supposed to be a scientific expedition,” Idly Spins muttered. “The only data we ended up gathering was on the physiological effects of extended periods of terror on scientists.”
“No, no,” Half-twist told him as the printer began to hum. “This is a remote device. You place it in the suspected environment and passively collect the fauna. The human can drop it off and pick it up while in a defensive armor.”
“Wouldn’t that be subject to degradation?” Idly Spins asked, stiffening his appendages in suspicion.
“Well they don’t use it underwater,” Half-twist replied. “Be warned. Don’t touch the center of the folding area. We had to ship the last tech who did that off to the medical facility on Globual.”
Idly Spins looked at the flat print out with interest and mentally folded it into functionality. He cooed softly in surprise. The third dimensional triangle should be a very effective trap for the invertebrates he was studying. The adhesive center really needed no warning. What sort of idiot would touch that?
“There will be plentiful incidental traps.” Idly Spins muttered as he folded the device into shape.
“That is your issue,” Half-twist said, waving his gripping appendages dismissively. “And I don’t see how having more samples is a bad thing. Does this solve your problem?”
“Not the problem of overprotective humans,” Idly Spins pointed out as he lifted the now complete trap.
“I am sorry,” Half-twist said dropping his appendages in irritation. “But we have a legal policy against discouraging friendly interactions with a species of predators that are forty times our mass on average.”
Idly Spins grumbled as he left the room.
Idly Spins wasn’t grumbling when he returned for more traps several cycles.
“I am not sulking!” He muttered when Half-twist couldn’t quite keep the smug pose out of his appendages.
“The human was right,” Half-twist said cheerfully.
“He was only able to identify the venom and poison level of the samples with eighty percent accuracy.” Idly Spins returned. “It is not a fail proof system.”
“Only eighty percent,” Half-twist observed. “Practically useless.”
“I might be adopting bad human grammar,” Idly Spins growled. “But you are adopting horrible human sarcasm.”
A unicycle under a kilt.
A Sasquatch in sunglasses.
The dark lord of Mordor.
Lots of Captain Americas.
Crafts and arts.
Box Blue Doctor.
Fractal spirals of artisan soap.
This is a good start for a scavenger hunt for Cherry City Comic Con.
I will be there promoting my book "Dying Embers" and showing off "Flying Sparks".
Does anyone else fell the entire volume of air in their lungs resonate with the beats of a humming bird's wings when the little buzzers are within ten feet?
It is like having a tiny engine plugged into my pulmonary system and set on vibrate.
The local humming bird population testily informed me that it was well past time to fill up the hummingbird feeders. How are they supposed to know if my offering is worth tasting or not if I don't put it out for them to snobbishly refuse?
Humans are Weird – Smiley Faces
“Quartermaster?” Fifty-seven Clicks approached the Undulate cautiously, staying safely above his gripping range and circling slowly.
It wasn’t like there was active hostility between there species, not like the hostility that burned low and fierce between the winged kin and those earth crawlers. No, one had to be careful with Undulates because it was just so easy to miss each other. Fifty-seven Clicks’ small body and his quick flitting motion made him as hard for the quartermaster to perceive as it was for the winged kin to see the slow moving lump against the floor.
“Ah, Fifty-seven Clicks,” the quartermaster said as he raised several sensory rich appendages to find Fifty-seven Clicks in the air.
“I have a request,” Fifty-seven Clicks stated quickly. “I would like to be assigned the lighter mobile vices. I would like to exchange all of my current supply for the new type if possible but even one would be a benefit to my work.”
The quartermaster was quiet for a long period but his raised appendages waved gently in the air. Fifty- seven Clicks shifted in agitation as he waited for the slower Undulate to process his request.
“Forgive me,” the Undulate said when he finally dropped his appendages. “I am unaware of any difference in the mobile vices save for the standard size variation.”
“The ones that come in multiple color schemes and have a significant portion of the flat gripping surface removed for weight concerns,” Fifty-seven Clicks explained.
“What leads you to believe that such a thing is in our stores?” the quartermaster asked. “I have not seen such a thing.”
“Human Smith had several in the common room today.” Fifty-seven Clicks replied.
The Undulate expanded out his appendages and then relaxed them in a gesture that translated to a sigh very well.
“Of course it was a human,” the quartermaster said glumly. “I can assure you no such item came through our base supplies-“
“Human Smith must have ordered it personally,” Fifty-seven Clicks said in sudden understanding.
He gave a disgruntled chirp and landed on a high shelf.
“Perhaps if you bring me an example on the item in question I can order some for a feasibility study?” the quartermaster suggested.
Fifty-seven Clicks took off again in delight. That was the thing about having Undulates around. They were so good at figuring out ways around things. He darted back across the base and begged to borrow one of the mobile vices from Human Smith. Smith handed it over easily enough, admonishing him to bring it back. Fifty-seven Clicks flew the bright red folded metal back to the quartermaster.
“This!” He called out holding up the vice.
The quartermaster took it in his gripping appendages and twisted it this way and that, humming thoughtfully.
“I do not know that I could justify this,” he finally said. “These three cuts sacrifice quite a bit of strength and the weight saved is negligible.”
“Maybe negligible to a land crawler!” Fifty-seven Clicks snapped. “Every gram counts when you have to carry everything with you on your wings!”
“Could you get the initial justification from the human?” The Undulate asked. “Surely they did a feasibility study before altering their design.”
“Humans made these things?” Fifty-seven Clicks asked in surprise. “I thought we did.”
“No,” the undulate waved a gripping appendage in dismissal. “The humans developed these to hold their documents together. Their actually designation is ‘binder paper clips’.”
“Very well,” Fifty-seven Clicks said. “You just need me to get the formally stated logic for the modifications correct?”
“Yes, specifically why the metal was punched out in this specific pattern,” the undulate said waving the vice to display the three holes in the metal. “I cannot determine what structural purpose it serves.”
Fifty-seven Clicks sped out and returned far more slowly, radiating so much annoyance and befuddled irritation that even the quartermaster noticed it.
“Were you not successful?” he asked.
“Humans,” Fifty-seven Clicks muttered as he landed on the shelf.
“Did Smith not have access to the justifications?” the quartermaster asked.
“No,” Fifty-seven Clicks said curtly.
“Did he know the justifications?” the quartermaster prompted. “Even a colloquial understanding might give me enough to get a study justified.”
“Oh he knew,” Fifty-seven Clicks said with a sigh.
The quartermaster poised his gripping appendage expectantly.
“The three-hole pattern,” Fifty-seven Clicks explained. “Is a ‘smiley face’, and the justification is that it was ‘cute’.”
A long moment stretched between them.
“Humans,” the quartermaster muttered.
“Humans,” Fifty-seven Clicks agreed.
“Well I will try,” the quartermaster offered. “But I advise you now, not since the Klath Beast incident has any feasibility study been justified because of human perceived cuteness.”
“Thanks anyway,” Fifty-seven Clicks said glumly as he flew off. Maybe he could trade for one of Smiths…
Betty Adams is an up and coming author with a bent for science and Sci-fi.