In the early dawn stillness the rustling of his own wings echoed back to Prince Trill from a thousand points in the massive banquet hall. From the great archways, designed for their human guests, the sounds of the local forest waking provided a soothing background to his musings. Tonight would be the trial of his colonies systems. Hosting even one of the massive mammals was a challenge that was quite simply impossible for most pre-contact Winged systems. Finding enough space alone for a human was difficult, and even if a human could comfortably fold themselves into a mass storage cargo hold the weight distribution of their walking would destroy paths and the wrenching forces of their climbing would damage fragile new growth.
“And that is all merely the physics of the matter,” Prince Trill murmured to himself as he examined the medical report from the branch University studies.
The chances of a pathogen jumping species in any meaningful way was the merest echo of a possibility in most cases. However taking a mammalian species with that great a caloric intake and that inefficient a digestion system meant the sewage processing plants were going to be overwhelmed. The various methods of disposing of the human’s waste suggested by the medical staff, overeager engineers , and under-supervised private inventors ranged from simply practical to quite frankly frightening.
Prince Trill heaved a sigh and moved onto the next page. Something caught his eye and he clicked with anticipation. It looked like one of the human delegates had yet to turn in a medical verification form. That really was something he should see to himself. It could be delegated to one of the University Medicos of course, but this gave him the option to interview the newly arrived human himself again. He tucked the notes into his carry pouch and lifted off from his high perch. The rest of his wing slipped out from their various perches and started to follow him. He flicked a wing to send most of them back to the home tree and all but two pulled off.
Prince Trill flew out into the early morning light and took a moment to appreciate the thick canopy over head. He still had memories of his first flights and the searing sun falling through the gaps in the young forest touching his wings. Now the canopy was solid at least. It was still a far cry from the untold generations deep canopy of the homeworld, but this was one of the few colonies that could boast a complete deliberately grown canopy. He sought out the broad walkways that wound round the trunks and connected the domed huts grown from branches. He spotted the one he was looking for easily enough.
Mary Smythe seemed to be an older human than the spacefaring Winged tended to see. Prince Trill wondered if that explained her tendency to decorate her living space. Long wings of patterned cloth hung over her windows making a not unpleasing contrast to the bark of the walls. Prince Trill came to a landing on the greeting pad set beside the huts door and pulled at the bell set there. The musical chimes sounded from inside the house and he felt the entire hut vibrate as the massive mammal began moving about. The strings of beads that formed the door parted and the human’s smiling face peered out.
“Who’s there?” she called out.
Mary’s face was covered in wrinkles and her hair was flecked with silver coloring, but her skin still showed excellent vascular health. Not for the first time Prince Trill was grateful that aging was so similar in mammalian species. Somehow Mary looked, comfortable despite the alien whites to her eyes.
“Mrs. Smythe,” he greeted her remembering the correct honorific. “I was wondering if you had some time to go over a matter of paperwork with me?”
“Sure,” she said, “Come on in. I just got started on breakfast. Can I get y’all some smoothies.”
“I would be delighted,” he said, and his wing mates echoed the sentiment.
Mary bustled around the kitchen area that looked small with her filling it. She mixed a few fruit blends and passed them through the budder producing three slightly large bulbs of fruit mix which they gladly accepted.
“So what do you need?” She asked setting down to her own mysterious masses of solid protein and carbohydrates.
“The system still does not have your microfauna profile,” he said after taking a sip of the smoothie.
“Oh!” Mary exclaimed suddenly sitting up straight. “That’s right! I never turned it in. Just a tic!”
Before Prince Trill could assure her that there was no hurry she had lifted her mass from her perch and had lumbered into anther room, shaking the hut with each step. They waited enjoying the smoothie, really it was far too fructose rich but it was a nice treat for an early morning. The sounds of papers rustling came from the other room followed by sudden silence and a prolonged howl of agony that set Prince Trill’s wing mates darting into the air. He sighed around his bubble of smoothie and gestured for them to continue eating. They looked at him in shock but as the sound didn’t come again they settled back down to wait, though they kept tilting their sensory horns towards the other room until Mary returned carrying the data chit which presumably held the microfauna profile.
“Here ya go,” she said holding the chit out to Prince Trill.
“Thank you,” he said politely as he scanned it with his data pad. “By the way. I have not yet had a chance to hear that particular scream.”
Mary flushed and grinned a bit as he went on.
“Would you mind sharing what that was?”
“Oh sure I won’t mind,” she said with a laugh. “When I was getting ready to come down here I had to get all my bio-metric data in order. That included my deep bone sample.”
“Getting one must be quite an ordeal with your bones!” Prince Trill observed.
“Oh, it is,” she said nodding vigorously. “They take a chunk right outta your femur! All the medical advancement in the world and they still gotta use that big old needle. Anyway I always kept it in the same space in my gear and I had a recent one but I looked there again and again and I didn’t see it! I couldn’t find it in time to move down here.”
“So you let them take the needle to you again?” Prince Trill asked with a sympathetic wince.
“I did!” she replied. “Well wouldn’t you believe it I just picked up that data chit to show you and there was the original sample right where I thought it would be! In plain sight! Don’t know why I didn’t see it before!”
Her hand drifted down to rub at what he assumed was the spot on her trunk of a leg where they had stuck in the needle.
“So it was a scream of frustration,” he murmured.
“Mostly at my own stupid self for not seeing it,” she clarified.
“Thank you,” he said finishing the bubble and slurping down the membrane. “For both the meal and the information. Please have a nice morning and I look forward to seeing you at the banquet.”
The there of them took off easily and his companions restrained themselves until they were out of the human’s hearing.
“Did she really mean to imply that she looked right at it and didn’t see it?” one of them demanded.
“Yes,” Prince Trill replied with a sigh. “And no I don’t know how that mental circuit works for humans.”
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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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