Gentle red lights gleamed down from sconces in the general recreation room. The weak rays were hardly enough to read by. They provided enough light for their human partners to maneuver safely without disrupting their oversensitive vision, but really served no purpose for healthy lizard folk. They did however, cast an ambiance of slow burning chaff piles. A bit of comfort on nights like this, with the wind moaning softly over the main hab buildings and the falling external temperature causing the hab struts to tense and flex ominously, well, it was more than comforting to curl around a beanbag in the gentle light with a mug of broth at one paw and a companion against your side.
Doctor Drawing let himself indulge in a contented rumble and stretched his hind talons into the pliant yet sturdy furniture. It had been sent to them in advance of their newest human addition. One Grimes. The beanbags had actually been their first indication that a human was coming. They had requested a human agricultural consultant years ago, but their distant colony world had been far down on the priority list. Therefore it wasn’t surprising that the first human they did receive had been something of a chance happening. The doctor ground his molars over the classified notes he had received on Grimes’s mental health. No real fungus in the grain of the mammal, however he had been warned to watch for signs of lingering long term stress.
“A mutually beneficial situation,” Doctor Drawing let the words rumble out through his jaw.
Beside him Base Commander Beater gave an amused grunt and then made quite the production of rolling over onto his back on the shifting beanbag. His movements were far too stiff and awkward and his scales left not a few flakes on the rubberized material. The old grinder really should have retired long ago. Doctor Drawing mused as he compensated for his companion’s movement. However competent commanders for mixed species colonies at the edges of explored space were not plentiful.
“Snuggling usually is,” Beater finally commented, when he had recovered from his efforts.
Doctor Drawing mulled over weather he should respond. Technically Base Commander Beater had made an incorrect assumption. However his mental gears unlatched as a pleasing, low rumble echoed through the base, rattling the windows and vibrating the floor. Base Commander Beater gave a contented sigh that was have gurgling sinuses. It made Doctor Drawing fight down a wince and resist the urge for force the old grinder’s snout open for a sinus inspection. He must be more than half scar tissue to make that-
There was a distant thump from the sleeping quarters. The human’s door slammed into it’s slot as the human, previously assumed to be asleep, came flailing out of his room and staggering down the hall towards the recreation area.
The human was clearly in that state of both emotional panic and trained response where a being’s sapience had little input on its actions. He appeared to be attempting to pull on his upper layer of thermal insulation as he moved but was wearing neither his lower layer of thermal insulation nor his paw armor.
Base Commander Beater sighed and opened on eye to glare at the approaching mammal.
“What does that word mean?” the Base Commander demanded as the newly arrived human’s behavior caught the attention of the rest of the room.
“I’m not sure it is a full word,” Doctor Drawing said as the human tried to repeat it, adding another sound to the mix.
“Well,” the Base Commander grunted, reclosing his eye, “tell him that-”
The Base Commander gave a disgruntled squwak as the human, now moving more fluidly, swept down on them and snatched up the hefty commander, tucking him under one arm. Doctor Drawing stared up at the human in bemused shock.
“Where’s the nearest high-ground escape route?” the human demanded frantically, his head swiveling around disconcertingly.
“And what exactly are we escaping?” Doctor Drawing asked, fighting back the urge to sniffle in amusement as Base Commander Beater attempted to wriggle out of the human’s massive arms.
“The lahar!” Grimes burst out as if that was explanation alone.
“And what?” Doctor Drawing asked. “Is a lahar?”
The human blinked down at him in blank astonishment even as his hands absently kept the commander trapped to his side.
“The mountain,” the human finally said, and Doctor Drawing was relived to see signs of thought reappearing in his eyes, “it blows, gas escapes, mud, rocks sliding down. So fast. Gotta get to high ground.”
“Ah,” Doctor Drawing felt a vague flicker of understanding.
That had been in his notes as the source of the stress Grimes had come here to recover from. Some natural phenomenon had destroyed no small part of that colony’s food production and Grimes had been responsible for the response. The doctor wasn’t a geologist by any stretch of his tail but it had had something to do with mountains and flows of some sort. The goal now however was to calm his patient and free his commander, not expand his understanding of the natural sciences.
“We need to get to high ground you say?” he asked. “You studied the local terrain coming in. Where is the nearest high ground?”
The human’s face tensed as his attention turned towards his memory. The was the briefest flash of panic on his face and he clutched the commander tighter.
“There is no-” Grimes burst out, and this his voice trailed off as he face contorted with confusion. “Wait…” he said slowly. “If there’s no high ground around here...where’s the mountain that caused the lahar…?”
“That noise you just heard?” Base Commander Beater snapped out in human. “That was the main mill venting excess gas produce.”
The human stared down at the commander and blinked several times before nodding and carefully setting the disgruntled commander down.
“Go to sleep Grimes,” Doctor Drawing said. “We can review the local dangers in the morning.”
The human nodded and somehow leaned his way back to his room. Base Commander Beater gave a low snarl as he pulled himself laboriously back up on the beanbag.
“What are you grumbling about?” Doctor Drawing asked. “Grimes, instinctively offered to carry you out of the way of horrible danger! It was quite touching how fast he bonded with you.”
“Humans carry the old, the sick, and hatchlings,” Base Commander Beater snapped.
“A fairly common priority set for most cultures,” Doctor Drawing pointed out.
The commander grunted and shoved his rather offended snout into the beanbag.
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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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