Humans are Weird – A Bit of Damage
“Yo! Fives!” First Field Ranger called out.
Fifth Sister let her frill ripple in amused irritation at the shortening of her designation and the friendly imposition it showed. She tilted her head to focus on the approaching human and shifted her tablet to reach a hand out in greeting.
“Yo.” She awkwardly used the informal greeting. “First Field Ranger. How are you?”
“Fair to middling,” First Field Ranger answered, swinging the mug of coffee he was drinking with one hand while his other was clamped tightly to his side.
Fifth Sister curled her antenna in suspicion as she realized that the human was holding the mug in his left hand. He was still dressed in the full membrane covering that they wore under their extravehicular activity suits. The tight angle of his lips suggested the rigid control they used when hiding some emotion.
“I was wondering if you could pop over to the storage bay and take a look at my suit?” the human went on. “Took a bit of damage while I was out this morning and I want to know how long it’ll be out of commission.”
“That is well within my duties,” Fifth Sister said slowly.
The human was clearly hiding something. She wasn’t sure what but she had enough experience with the species for her frill edge to be prickling. She just wasn’t sure at what yet, other than that the distinctly asymmetrical First Field Ranger was using his non-dominant hand when his dominant hand was clearly free.
“Great!” The human bobbed his head eagerly. “Can you have that done by lunch? If you can then I’ll send the data to the fab-bay for parts but I have things to do and places to go before then.”
“I can fit that in my schedule,” she said.
“You’re a life saver Fives!” the human called out before pivoting and strolling down the corridor.
Fifth Sister flicked her antenna in irritation. Rudeness aside, the human’s bipedal stride also displayed the strange, overly controlled movements that his facial expression had. She flicked out her antenna in frustration and continued to the storage bay. The stench of evaporated poly-carbons caused her antenna to curl as the doors cycled open. The source of the reek wasn’t hard to find. The human’s suit was hanging on the storage rack. The armor plating was missing a significant portion of the mass it had boasted this morning.
Fifth Sister crossed the bay slowly, her frill and antenna extending in shock. She reached out and spread her digits over the damaged surface. She couldn’t reach the outer edge of even the central portion of the damage. The armor had clearly taken an energy blast, perhaps a stray laser discharge, the inspection should tell her. Whatever the cause, the outer layer had experienced a massive evaporative explosion incident.
“The force would have torn outer membrane,” she clicked to herself.
She shook out her frill and reminded herself that this was a human she was dealing with. Membrane damage meant very little to them. It was that peculiar calcium rich endoskeleton that would have taken the blunt force damage. She recalled the odd position of First Field Ranger’s dominant hand. As if it had been offering support to something internal.
Fifth Sister clicked her mandible in frustration as she activated the scanners on her tablet. Of course her work would be done by the time First Field Ranger returned. However analysis and repair of damaged materials was not her only function. She dialed up the medical bay as she worked.
“Greetings Third Sister,” she said politely, “I suspect that First Field Ranger is attempting to hide an endoskeleton fracture.”
On the screen Third Sister’s antenna barely flicked with surprise.
“Where will be the best place to catch him?” Third Sister asked.
“I suggest you conceal yourself near the chocolate,” Fifth Sister advised. “They seem most vulnerable there.”