Humans are Weird – Striking a Pose
The third tide of the lunch shift was at it’s peat before Shiftssubtly managed to get clearence from the Shatar medic to move about the base on his own. It was not that he minded the presence of the nurses. The Shatar Brothers were both kind and loving to an almost unusual degree. The human nurse, Damian, somehow managed to find that perfect balance between formal propriety and saccharine affection that many humans missed when faced with an injured Undulate. No, the nurses were fine, he was just delighted to be well enough to move about on his own power, even if the lingering effects of the cold damage make him clumsy and more than half deaf.
He bumped into the wall of the stream as he misjudged the current and scrambled to grab onto the portal to the cafeteria before he was swept away and had to circle the base currents again. He was dimly aware that someone nudged him gently from behind and he popped through the portal, into the confusing bustle of the cafeteria. He hesitated a moment as he listened for the voice that would be familiar but muted, like all other sounds, he finally caught the thread of Human Friend Jock’s voice and happily began to swim towards it.
Human Friend Jock was sitting at one of the recessed tables. He bare feet dangling down into the water, swinging back and forth in the idle motion that all human feet seemed to indulge in when suspended off the ground. The human was laughing at something another human had said when Shiftssubtly came up to him. Shiftssubtly did not have time to make himself known before Human Friend Jock spotted him and gave a sudden joyful sound.
“Shifts!” Human Friend Jock cried out. “Second Sister finally let you out of the medical tank?”
“She did,” Shiftssubtly confirmed.
He tried not to wince at the sound of his own voice. He had spent so many rotations mastering the subtly of a human vocal range. Now he could tell that his voice was flat and emotionless. He wouldn’t have minded so much, but even through the haze of his damaged perceptions he could see Human Friend Jock wince in sympathetic pain as the sound reminded him of the danger Shiftssubtly had been in.
“And I have used my new freedom to seek out you,” Shiftssubtly went on, deliberately guiding the conversation into a new, more productive current.
“Well here I am little buddy,” Human Friend Jock said with a wide grin and spreading his arms out to exposed his core as much as possible. “What can I do for you?”
Shiftssubtly had been told that that was a sign of trust. Apparently the human core was full of soft, squishy bits that were easily damaged and one of the primary functions of having the arms so close to the body most of the time was to prevent predatory damage. It was a touching gesture when looked at like that.
“Second Sister suggested,” Shiftssubtly hesitated as he mulled over the exact meanings of his words, “well, ordered really, that I begin increasing my physical activity in every direction in order to encourage proper tissue regrowth.”
“Right,” Human Friend Jock said with a nod that was shared in sympathy by the rest of the humans around him. “Physical therapy, a pain but necessary.”
“I researched what was suggested for my species,” Shiftssubtly went on, “and there are a wide range of physical actions that will serve the purpose. However the primary note of import was that such activities are always most effective when done in group settings. I would like you to be my therapy partner if you don’t mind.”
“I’d be honored little buddy,” Humans Friend Jock said, but there was a curious frown on his face. “But if you don’t mind me asking why not another Undulate?”
“I observed your physical exertions in the communal pools a few days ago and they looked very enjoyable,” Shiftssubtly said. “I could sense that you were enjoying yourself and the joy was very attractive. Added to that you did them for the required half-hour I would need to-”
“My what now-?” Human Friend Jock said, his face flexing in perplexity.
Suddenly his skin flushed with embarrassment and he gave a startled yelp.
“You were there?” he burst out. “I mean of course you were there-I knew that-I just forgot-”
His voice cut off suddenly and he ducked his head down over his meal. Up to this point the other humans at the table had been going about their own conversations, but at Human Friend Jock’s sudden change in behavior they began to look between him and Shiftssubtly with obvious curiosity playing over their faces. The human female he had been talking to specifically seemed to be looking at Human Friend Jock with particular interest now.
“What movements of his would you be mimicking now Shiftssubtly?” She asked with a hint of a smile playing over her face.
Shiftssubtly knew that there was some complex human social game being played in this moment but he didn’t know what it was exactly. Human Friend Jock’s reaction suggested embarrassment but not shame so Shiftssubtly obligingly settled down into the water so that it supported his appendages and proceeded to mimic the four long appendages and head of the human in the movements he had seen. A ripple of chuckles and outright laughter swelled and dipped around him in gentle waves. Human Friend Jock did not laugh the least though there was a wry tone to the sound.
“So,” the human female said with a wide grin. “Human Friend Jock was flexing in front of the mirrors for a full half an hour was he?”
“Are these movements called flexing?” Shiftssubtly asked.
Human Friend Jock gave out a low groan and dropped his head onto the table.
“Yes,” he muttered, “yes it is.”
"Humans are Weird: I Have the Data"
What does it mean when your human friend says “Watch This?”? Why does this simple phrase seem to terrify any alien that has first appendage experience with humans? #HFY #HumansAreWeird #HumansAreSpaceOrcs #EarthIsADeathWorld #EarthIsSpaceAustralia
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