Embracesgladly was carefully maintaining her grip on Human Friend Maria as they moved down the corridor of the dry cave system. The lights pained on the ceiling to provide a near surface level of luminosity were just turning orange as somewhere, und upon und of solid rock above them the barren surface of the planet turned away from its harsh, near star. Again the human’s hormone profile changed, grew past the point on the gradient the Undulate had learned to recognize. Mindfully Embracesgladly loosed a gripping appendage to ‘pat’ Human Friend Maria’s main gripping appendage. Human Friend Maria returned the gesture by applying gentle pressure with the full area of her gripping surface to where it cradled Embracesgladly’s mass.
Human Friend Maria’s massive central atmosphere pumps took on a more mechanical rhythm as she shifted from passive to active control of her oxygen exchange and by the time they had reached Human Friend Maria’s habsuite, carved into the glittering granite of the world, the human’s pheromone gradient had begun to shift back into a less abnormal range. The massive mammal paused in front of her door and drew in a deep breath.
“See you tomorrow eh Hugs?” Human Friend Maria said, her voice still sounding a bit weak as it rumbled out of her chest and though the air.
“Unless you would like a sleeping companion,” Embracesgladly offered.
Human Friend Maria’s fibers stiffened and her stripes flushed with various emotions. Embracesgladly was pained to note that there wasn’t a little offense in the mix and when Human Friend Maria spoke her voice was carefully controlled into recognizably cheerful tones.
“No! I’m good. You shuffle on back to your habsuite.”
“Very well!” Embracesgladly tried to put as much cheer in her own voice. “If you need anything in the night remember your door is right beside the waterlock!”
She made a broad gesture down at the shimmering blue hatch and scrambled down Human Friend Maria’s side when the human’s usually powerful arms went limp and released her. The human maintained her stiff, upright posture until her door had opened and the massive mammal disappeared though it. However Embracesgladly felt the thump of the human slumping against the wall before dragging her massive bipedal frame towards the human sized hydration pool.
That was one perk of this world, Embracesgladly mused. There was always plentiful water of the temperature the humans thrived in. She slipped down into the wet corridor and swam slowly towards the medical pod. She pulled herself up into the rapidly darkening medical bay and spread her appendages to get her bearings.
Human Friend John lay on one of the human slabs, emitting a rhythmic sound. The absolutely massive – even for a human – mammal had been complaining of sleep issues and was no doubt here to make sure he wasn’t suffocating in the night as (supposedly) many humans did. However he was soundly asleep by the dim glow of his stripes and the bases chief medic was quietly sorting expired medical patches by an Undulate sized soaking tank the humans kept about two unds above the floor to decontaminate their hands.
“Swim over!” Medic Lurchesover waved to her.
Embracesgladly came to him and started helping with the sorting.
“How goes your personal assignment?” he asked with his dorsal appendages even as he ventral appendages continued to sort.
“It is working,” Embracesgladly responded slowly. “I do feel that I am doing her good.”
“Despite her best efforts?” Medic Lurchesover prodded gently.
“She is participating as best she can,” Embracesgladly replied quickly. “But she does resent needing help.”
“Can you sound that that is actually a common human reaction?” Medic Lurchesover demanded with a particularly wide gesture of his dorsal appendages.
“It does not seem to flow with reality,” Embracesgladly admitted as she felt the surface of a questionable patch. “I just am trying to swim towards my best efforts.”
For several companionable moments they sorted the patches while Medic Lurchesover mulled over her half request-half observation. Finally he set down his patches.
“Have you attention-attention-attention indefinitely?” he asked, emitting a rippling overtone along with the gestures.
Embracesgladly set down her own patches and absorbed his meaning in stillness for several moments.
“I am sorry,” she finally said. “I simply cannot sound how repeated attention touches is anything but a petty annoyance? Are you suggesting I overwhelm her biochemistry induces paranoia with genuine irritation adrenaline?”
Medic Lurchesover rippled with amused understanding.
“It is very confusing to us, I sound,” he gestured in soothing swoops. “You are wise to not simply try it on an emotionally compromised patient.”
“She is my friend, not my patient,” Embracesgladly corrected him. “I have no medical training.”
“Well!” Medic Lurchesover stated as he resumed his sorting. “Why don’t you go try it out on Human Friend John and see how he responds? That should clear the waters!”
Embracesgently waved a speculative appendage cluster in the direction of the massive human who had shifted from a rhythmic to a stuttering and gurgling sound profile.
“I am not a medic,” she gestured slowly, “but are there not issues of consent?”
“Oh, John waived all those consent bits to help with the training,” Medic Lurchesover replied as he dropped a torn patch into the waste bin.
“Isn’t he in the middle of a medical test?” she pressed.
“That he failed hours ago,” Medic Lurchesover said. “You’ll be doing him a favor if you wake him. Remember to do the sound now.”
Embracesgently wasn’t quite firm in the strokes of the thing, but waiving his medical consent to save time and help out did seem like something Human Friend John would do, even if it was, rather especially if it was of questionable legality. So she shuffled across to his slab and with some effort climbed up beside him.
“You need to be on a flat surface,” Medic Lurchesover gestured. “Chest, back, or lap.”
She obediently climbed up on Human Friend John’s wide ribcage, noting again the dark irregularities of scars that intersected his stripes at odd angles.
“Like this?” she asked as she began gently tapping out the words for attention on the central bony structure that supported his internal frame.
“Slower, and don’t forget the sound,” Medic Lurchesover instructed.
Embracesgently slowed her gestured and tried to mimic the sound Medic Lurchesover had been making. It was rather difficult, especially out of water, though she found that if she pulsed the waves from her own surface down into the cavity of Human Friend John’s chest she got better results. As she expected Human Friend John woke at the attention. The sounds he was making cut off with a gurgle and his lights brightened as his eyelids flickered open. He spent several long moments blinking as his bifocal eyes brought the Undulate on his chest into resolution.
Embracesgently continued the supposed soothing method, and despite Medic Lurchesover’s assurance was surprised to see the humans colors rippled as his tension dropped. His face finally stretched into a grin and one massive gripping appendage came up and patted Embracesgently in a soothing human greeting.
“Daw!” the human rumbled out. “Someone’s makin biscuits!”
His face split open in a cavernous yawn and he slumped back, now with contented light radiating out from his stripes. Embracesgently continued her actions until the dimming of his lights showed he was deeply asleep and then eased off the human and his slab. Medic Lurchesover looked rather smug from the set of his appendages but she could afford to be generous. If Human Friend Maria responded to the odd comfort gesture even an appendage as well as Human Friend John did they should begin the very next morning. Still one question was tickling her lagging appendages.
“What are biscuits?” she asked Medic Lurchesover, “and how does this gesture resemble making them?”
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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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