Floppy ears are good for rubbing.
Big brown eyes for looking sad.
Little tummy grumbling.
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…
A storm swept through my home state with gale force winds.
Cue the jokes about what a tough lady Gale is.
Tress fell, dogs escaped, dogs were caught, ducks were happy.
I read a lot.
"Dying Embers" is a great book for storm days. Just make sure to get it in hard copy.
Because power outages.
It's Friday folks. Time to sit back with a good book and read all your stress into oblivion. Find a warm corner, sit down, and escape.
Humans are Weird – Rituals
“Hey Twist bud,” Mack Dodge called out from the open refrigeration unit, “have you seen the bottle of chilled acetone?”
The human continued to paw through the bright orange unit causing a clacking of various containers and a rustling of sample bags. After a few moment passed with no response he lifted his head from his search and stared across the small laboratory with an annoyed frown on his unshaven face.
“Twistunder!” Mack said with a bit of a snap in his voice.
However, despite the display of irritation in the much larger human the Undulate sat still on the counter that lined the far wall.
Mack frowned and closed the unit. He walked towards his friend.
“Twist,” he said. “That was not a rhetorical question if you were wondering.”
He frowned as he considered Twistunder. The Undulate had balled himself up in what Mack might have called a thinking loaf position but something was different. All of Twist’s many appendages were tucked tightly under him, too tightly. He looked less like a bread loaf and more like a bundle of rope someone had tightened too far.
“Twist?” Mack asked, real concern in his voice now.
He reached out to touch the Undulate but hesitated. He instead held out his hand, palm down, and then violently twisted his fingers in a clockwise motion, moving his wrist as little as possible. Twist started , a tremor running through his body, before his gripping appendages appeared and reared up in a soothing greeting.
“Friend Mack,” Twistunder said, his voice flat with distraction, “forgive me, I was lost in thought.”
“You okay bud?” Mack asked with a frown. “Are you dehydrated? Do you need a sink bath?”
“No, no,” Twist assured him. “I am fine. I could use a drink though.”
“Let me grab one for you,” Mack offered.
He scooped Twist up under his arm and headed for the commissary. An odd tremor, one the likes of which Mack had never felt before ran through Twistunder’s body and the human glanced down at the Undulate in surprise.
“Are you sure you’re okay Twist?” He asked again.
“I’m fine,” Twist insisted. His voice was firm this time, showing that he was at least aware enough to give it human specific emotional overtones. “I am just processing disturbing concepts.”
“Ah,” Mack nodded as they reached the now empty commissary and he set Twist down on a chair.
For some reason laboratory counters were acceptable perches but tables and other eating dedicated surfaces were not. Mack got a glass of water and brought it back to Twist who gratefully dropped a few secondary appandages into it.
“Thank you Friend Mack,” Twist said as the water slowly drained out of the glass.
“So have you seen the acetone?” Mack asked.
“No,” Twist replied. “But I did scent it in the upper cabinets.”
“Thanks,” Mack said rising. “I’ll just go get that and put it in the fridge to chill.”
“Friend Mack,” Twist asked as Mack reached the door. “Do you have a tattoo?”
“Yeah,” Mack said with a grin. “I’ll show you when I get back.”
That same tremor went across Twist’s body and Mack shrugged. He put the acetone in the fridge, what idiot left it in the cabinet anyway, and strolled back to Twist.
“So tattoos,” Mack said with a grin.
He hiked his leg up on the chair and went to pull up his pants leg. However Twist held out a gripping appendage and gently restrained his hand.
“Exactly what was the ink made of that was used for your markings?” Twist asked in an oddly neutral tone.
Mack arched an eyebrow at that.
“Carbon black, iron oxide, and silver,” he answered. “My parents insisted that if I wanted a tat, I learn everything about them.”
“There is no ash in your particular tattoo?” Twist asked, letting a little eagerness slip into his tone.
“No,” Mack said with a grin, “Old Man Kirkpatrick was trustworthy as they come. He would never cut his ink with anything and not label it.”
“Oh, then I would very much like to see your body ornamentation,” Twist said, perking up immediately and spreading out his appendages a bit.
Mack smiled and pulled his pants leg up and his sock down. Twist eagerly reached out his sensory appendages to examine and touch the small school of tropical fish inked in black on Mack’s ankle.
“This is a lovely pattern,” Twist said brightly. “Made of carbon black you say?”
“Yes,” Mack confirmed. “What did you think it was made of?”
Twist hesitated and pulled his appendages back to his sides.
“Ah, I do not mean to offend Friend Mack,” Twist said. “Are you comfortable discussing human death rites?”
Mack let out a bark of laughter.
“Sure thing Twist,” he assured him.
“Well,” Twist said, “I was talking to Smith Three.”
“Well that explains things,” Mack said rolling his eyes. “Old Three is confusing as they get.”
“He showed me his,” Twist paused and a shudder ran through his body again and his voice went so flat it became hard for Mack to distinguish the words, “commemorative tattoo.”
“And what was the ink in Smith Three’s tat made of?” Mack asked, guessing the source of Twist’s discomfort.
“His grandfather,” Twist said in that same flat tone.
Mack stared blankly at the Undulate trying to parse his words.
“You mean he said his grandfather made the ink?” Mack asked.
“No,” Twist’s voice seemed to grow stronger on seeing Mack’s confusion. “The ink was made of his grandfather.”
Mack stared at Twist long enough that Twist began to wave his gripping appendages.
“Dose this disturb you Friend Mack?” Twist asked.
Mack started, he wondered is the pleased eagerness in Twist’s tone was deliberate.
“That can’t be right,” Mack sputtered. “Humans don’t, I mean not now, I mean how is that even possible?”
“Smith Three went into great detail,” Twist shuddered again but not so strongly this time. “He described how the body was devoured by flames and reduced to carbon and calcium. Then the remains were powdered finely and mixed with the ink that was used to mark his skin.”
Mack let out a low profanity. Neither Twist nor Smith Three were the kind to make something like this up.
“I take it you are disturbed,” Twist stated.
“Ya’ think?” Mack demanded.
“I do,” Twist said in satisfaction. “May I sit in your lap and share your warmth and distress?”
“Sure, sure,” Mack said with a sigh. “I need to finish the experiment but sure.”
Twist scrambled across the space into his lap and settled into a more proper thinking loaf. Mack sighed and dropped a hand down to stroke his upper side.
“Ash,” Mack muttered.
“Ash,” Twist confirmed.
“Man, humans are strange,” Mack observed.
“You said it,” Twist agreed.
Author note YES this is a thing that is done.
Betty Adams is an up and coming author with a bent for science and Sci-fi.