With paws and nose, soft and warm, he nudges my leg. I know he did it. He knows I know. Neither of us really cares. Ears back, eyes up, you love me anyway.
Humans Are Weird – Q-Tips
Everyone inhabiting Rough End Base knew that Thursdays were luxury days. Not every Thursday mind, usually every third, but if the nebula were tricky every fourth or fifth. The overworked Confederation supply ships rarely carried anything heaver than data in excess of the strictly necessary food and mechanical supplies. No, it was the cloud runners who brought the isolated sentients the little pleasures that saw them through the cold dark nights and scorching days of a planet that just barely qualified as habitable.
“One box for Human Sharon,” the Shatar free-merchant said holding up a roughly rectangular box wrapped in brown paper.
At nearly two meters tall and covered in body paint and semi precious stones the outcast Shatar made a rather spectacular sight. The fact that there was no way to tell which of the ornaments were actually ornamental and which were weapons added a certain zest to these mostly legal transactions.
“Yes,” Michael Sharon, PhD geology, crowed in delight as he snatched up the package. “About time.”
“We brought it in good time,” the Shatar said, his frill bristling with offense.
Sharon grinned at him and patted the free-merchant on what served him as a shoulder.
“Sure thing Big Guy,” he assured the Shatar. “There is no question. You little ships are never the problem. This probably got bogged down at the post office in Fairbanks.”
The Shatar’s skin, or outer membrane, Sharon wasn’t sure what exactly you called the smooth covering of their exoskeleton, cooled to a more reasonable shade of green. Or at least what was visible under the extensive body painting did. Big Guy dipped his antenna in curiosity even as he finished sorting the unclaimed packages back into his satchel. Sharon knew the free-merchant had a few hours before his ship had to jump back into the nebula currents and was probably interested in conversation. With a smile Sharon began to carefully open the paper wrapping that covered his purchase. Big Guy clicked in interest as he tilted his head back and forth to get a better look at the tightly packed items.
“Q-tips,” Sharon explained as he popped the package open and pulled out two. He handed one to Big Guy and slipped the other into his ear with a contented sigh.
“What are you using that for?” Big Guy asked in surprise. “I was under the impression that human auditory canals were nearly as sensitive as our own.”
“I’m cleaning out the waxy buildup in my ears,” Sharon said with a grin. “It’s okay. Look, there are instructions on the box.”
Big Guy reached over and took the offered package. He held it up in front of his eyes and rolled his head to analyze the human writing.
“It says it is for applying dermal paint,” Big Guy said in surprise. He glanced at the one in his hand and tested the soft tip with his fingers. He clicked in approval before turning back to the package. “It also says that it is good for cleaning hard surface optic sensors, and applying medication to minor injuries.” Big Guy’s frill suddenly stiffened in a show of surprise and he shot an annoyed and perplexed look at Sharon who had taken a second Q-tip to his other ear. “And here, in markedly larger print, it specifically says that it is illegal, unsafe, and unsanitary to insert them in your ear canals. It says in fact that this behavior serves no purpose and causes damage.”
“Does it now?” Sharon drawled, giving the Q-tip a twist.
Big Guy stared at him through one incredulous eye for a moment before tossing the package back and walking away muttering something about humans.
Here is a story idea.
Tell the story of first contact thought the casual, natural conversation between a father and grown child driving for at least five hours through a snowy landscape. The story would be revealed in anomalies in the landscape, unexplained comments in their conversation, and maybe a big twist at the end.
Think of the scope.
For a moment, let us stand back and take a deep breath.
Look up into the night sky tonight. (Bundle up it's very cold.)
Appreciate the timeless beauty. (Man that starlight's really old.)
Be grateful for the giants of engineering who went before us. (The rocket men were mad as hatters.)
Those who gave us a stair way to heaven. (They got it done that that's what matters.)
Starman rides his roadsters around the Hohmann orbit, circling the sun is class. Some day one can imagine astronauts taking selfies against the asteroid dust pitted body of the roadster.
Cheers Elon Musk.
Seriously, think about that. There is a roadster circling the sun!
Oh, and according to space.com it will circle close enough to Earth to be seen by private telescopes
Remember kids! Alien microbes, sentient or not, are loads of fun and add many fascinating layers to your world. Don't forget your germs.
Nothing to see here. Just a little shameless self promotion. Go look for cleverness elsewhere today. I hear there is a lot of that on the internet.
Humans are Weird – Cold Sores
“Yeah, so I‘m pretty sure from what the medical computer says that this won’t be contagious but it’s a viral outbreak and I don’t know whether my implant works on skin conditions like this.”
Quilx’tch stood behind his commander as they listened to the slightly slurred voice of the audio only communication coming from the human who had locked himself in his quarters. The nutritional anthropologist was concerned. Any time the term viral out brake was used it was time for concern. But the human had willingly isolated himself and after all, human. It wasn’t like they were so fragile as to be taken out by their own internal microbes.
He signaled his approval of the course of action to the commander but held up one leg to stop him before the formal order was given.
“You mentioned that the symptom was visible on your face?” Quilx’tch asked. “This ‘cold sore’.”
“Yeah Quick,” the human responded. “It’s a doozy too.”
“A doozy?” Quilx’tch asked.
“Especially big and red.” The human explained.
Quilx’tch clicked in confirmation and rubbed his primary manipulators together, trying not to sound too eager, but the human seemed to hear it anyway. The human laughed.
“Do you really want to see it Quick?” He asked.
“It would be for science,” Quilx’tch insisted but he could not restrain the eagerness in his voice. “These types of surface irritations are rare amount chitenous species like ours for the mere reason that they can so easily be fatal and-“
His voice cut off and he bristled in horror as the human activated the visual connection. The human blinked in surprise and his face broke into an amused grin.
“Ya’ll’re so cute when ya puff up like that,” the human said.
“You are bleeding,” the commander said, his legs tight with disgust and fear. “You smiled and now you are bleeding from your mandibles.”
“Lips,” the human corrected, idly reaching up to dab at the blood and puss leaking from the lesion on his skin. “My mandible is inside and I only have one.”
“Pustule is covering nearly twenty percent of your visible endothelial surface,” Quilx’tch said when he could finally bring himself to speak.
“Yeah,” the human squinted at him in bland confusion as he replied. “If you say so I guess. I figured this’d freak you little guys out. You know cuz your exoskeleton integrity is so important to you. It’s why I decided to stay in till this healed. Suggested protocol from the Ranger Core.”
Quilx’tch quickly drew himself up into a less horrified stature. “Yes, yes, and as I recall human surface damage is not nearly so hazardous. So you are quite well? I can’t bring you anything to aid your recovery from the galley.”
“Well some of those fresh berries would be nice,” the human admitted. “Fresh fruit always has been a Navy man’s best friend.”
“I will pick some myself immediately,” Quilx’tch said, backing out of the room. “The commander can finish the communication.”
He was well aware that he had left the room with less dignity that he had ever possessed but he felt no qualms about leaving that revolting sight to the commander. He shuddered from hair tip to hair tip. Cold sores. Oh dear this was going to be a report and a half.
Guess what the weather is like outside right now! Guess! Guess!
You will never guess.
Because it CHANGES EVERY FIVE MINUTES.
But insulation is important. That, and having good books to read. Like the new "Thrawn" comic book by Marvel.
It was a delightful read with excellent art that worked well with the cut down version of Zahn's novel. The artists really managed to capture both Thrwan and Vanto in the classic Star Wars comic style.
I eagerly await book two.
Betty Adams is an up and coming author with a bent for science and Sci-fi.