Humans are Weird – Boop
“To be fair to the beast,” Grinds said as he settled down into the conference couch, “I would have been sorely tempted to bite the human under the circumstances.”
Grandmother felt her antenna twitch in stern disapproval and was grateful, not for the first time that their lizard like allies were so poor at reading Shatar body language. This child was barely out of his father’s gardens according to his notes and a little inappropriate language was to be expected. She clicked her mandibles in what she hoped he took as a sympathetic manner.
“And what were the circumstances?” she asked as she turned on her recording device.
The reptile heaved a long drawn out sigh that turned into a discontented grumble.
“There’d been canisters of damage to the north fields,” Grinds began, rubbing behind his eyes with one hand. “We’d already lost hectares of new growth to the creatures and we really couldn’t afford it you know?”
“I do not know,” Grandmother corrected him with a gently rebuking tilt of her triangular head.
“Those’re the experimental fields,” Grinds explained. “We’re trying to breed up a mostly native domestic crop. Tweaked a lil’ for nutrient yield you know, added an off-world symbiote to the roots to up the iron production and the like. Well, it worked.”
The reptile gave a rueful grimace and his tongue flicked over his teeth.
“We got the grain to yield plenty of iron,” he said.
“That is what attracted the humans to the project?” Grandmother asked, glancing at the notes.
The lizard waved his tail in confirmation.
“Iron’s a huge problem for ‘em,” he said, “All that blood you know, and they just burn through it with all that bleeding and the like.”
Grandmother flicked an antenna in understanding.
“So the humans got involved with protecting the crop because we couldn’t really handle it ourselves without just killing a lot of the local fauna,” Grinds said. “Turns out it was these local amphibians that were doing the damage. They start out small and keep growing. We didn’t notice them at first because the pre-reprodcutive stage don’t bother the grain-fields, and then for years and years the reproductive stages aren’t big enough to do much damage, and in the standard fields a little loss doesn’t matter, but this was an important seed increase field.”
The lizard heaved a sigh and shifted his position.
“Scent this,” he went on, “these amphibians have a lot more bones than usual. They have a whole set that stick out from the lower ribs. They use ‘em to tear up the banks of the streams to make places to lay their eggs, then they have these big, round bony protuberances on either side of their snouts that they use to punch a hole in the torn up ground. That’s where they put their eggs. Always took a tole on the grain-fields by the banks of the river but it was never enough to be worth dealing with them.”
“I see that the individual in question was significantly larger than usual,” Grandmother observed.
“Yeah, they keep growing,” Grinds repeated. “This one, the humans call her Thumper, she’s probably several centuries old, maybe a millennia or more, not much that can predate ‘em when they get past a certain size.”
“We tried to relocate her ourselves,” Grinds said and his face contorted into a grimace at the memories. “That was a time of madness alright.”
“I read the reports,” Grandmother said. “It was very fortunate that there were no injuries of note.”
“We are pretty tough when it comes right down to it,” Grinds said with and amused glint in his eye, “but the fact that she couldn’t hurt us didn’t change the fact that we couldn’t move her.”
“So you called the humans,” Grandmother observed.
“So we called the humans,” Grinds admitted. “We were a little worried. She had those external bones and humans are pretty soft, but they didn’t have any trouble at all with the capture. They just made use of that massive thermal energy they have and went out in the cold of the morning when she was still torpid from the night. The have a ranged restraint device that shoots nets. So they netted her from a distance and loaded her up into the transport tank before the first sun was even up.”
“It sounds like a perfectly safe operation,” Grandmother said with confusion wrinkling her frill as she looked down at her data pad.
The torn and bloody limbs it displayed contradicted the story so far.
“It up until the humans got bored,” Grinds said with another sigh. “When humans transport anything with a snout and teeth like that they usually bind the maw with reversed adhesive strips, but the shape of her jaw wouldn’t allow for that so they just trusted to the compression container to keep her still and calm.”
“But it didn’t?” Grandmother asked.
“It did up to a point,” Grinds corrected her. “She couldn’t move her legs or tail, or even her neck really, but she was big, bigger than the compression container allowed for and her head stuck out into the cargo hold. It sill would have been fine-”
Grinds paused and shook his head.
“There weren’t enough seats in the personnel transport section for all of us,” he went on. “So one of the humans, the youngest, sat in the cargo space with her.”
“Wasn’t there room for him to maintain a safe distance?” Grandmother asked.
“Ample room,” Grinds said. “In fact he had to unsecure the harness to move into her space.”
“So this human,” Grandmother said. “A trained professional in the field of hazardous fauna removal. Broke protocol to remove his safety harness in a moving vehicle, reached out and deliberately put his hand in the strike range of a creature known to have dangerous teeth?”
“I wouldn’t even call it a strike range,” Grinds said. “She could really only open and close her mouth.”
“Then what happened?” Grandmother asked after a pause.
“The human self applied first aid and tried to hide the event from the commander,” Grinds said. “If he hadn’t mentioned that he’d accidentally let her ingest some of his blood out of concern for her safety we might not have noticed at all.”
“Typical human behavior,” Grandmother observed, letting her frill lay flat on her neck in irritation. “Did he give any explanation as to why he put his hand in that situation in the first place?”
“He said that he was just sitting there staring at her for an hour,” Grinds said, “and she just had that big, round, boopable nose. So he booped it.”
“Booped it?” Grandmother asked, tilting her head to the side in confusion.
“Haven’t you seen the boop reflex before?” Grinds asked in surprise.
“Not that I am aware of,” Grandmother said.
“It gets stimulated in humans a lot around the infants of our species but even adults seem to trigger it,” Grinds said.
He tilted his head to the side and examined her face, then slowly shook his head.
“Yes,” he said in a speculative tone. “I suppose you Shatar don’t have any nose-like protuberances to tempt them, but humans seem to have the urge to lightly tap round things, especially if they are part of a face that demonstrates neonatal proportions.”
“The boop reflex,” Grandmother said with a tired sigh. “I will make a note of it.”
"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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