Humans are Weird – Bound
The brilliant light from the system’s three stars pierced the atmosphere and seared through the canopy of grasses that gently waved several meters over the composting clearing. The shadows were dense enough to prevent radiations burns for most species but even so several layers of protection had been suggested by the local Ranger base. Touching the Passing Mammals very deliberately rustled the topmost layers of his central pile in a gesture he hoped the Undulate would take as a waggle of concentration even from under the additional mass.
Probesswiftly was a little difficult to read himself. The domed radiation shield he local Undulates preferred took several of their appendages to control and effectively hid them from above. Fortunately they could all resort to purely auditory languages, but it did limit things slightly even so.
“I think that I have gathered the essential meaning of your communication,” Touches the Passing Mammals said slowly, “I am simply uncertain why you have brought your observations to me.”
Probesswiftly shifted his mass to the side, shoving over a pile of dropped grass seeds.
“The local medic does not recognize the behavior as problematic in any way,” Probesswiftly explained, “and her First Mother relies entirely on her for all human related interactions as there is very little language overlap between these human Rangers and the local Shatar population.”
“And yet the human’s behavior has resulted in several injuries,” Touching the Passing Mammals observed.
“As yet they are fairly minor,” Probesswiftly explained, “while there is some danger of a serious injury resulting from the behavior the human in question does seem to have taken reasonable steps to mediate these dangers.”
A particularly strong wind swept over the canopy and the grass heads bend and swished, letting a powerful concentration of radiation fall into the clearing. The Undulate retreated under his shield and clamped it to the surface of decaying leaves under him. Touching the Passing Mammals considered sending a tendril up under the shield to continue the conversation but decided against it. The wind gusts would pass soon enough and by the time he had extended enough mass to both produce and receive sound it would be unnecessary. Then he would have to pull it back down before one of the newly arrived humans lumbered into the clearing, or risk some minor crushing damage. So Touching the Passing Mammals pondered the situation the Undulate had presented to him.
From everything that he had digested the humans did not experience dormancy in anything approaching the same way that the Gathering did. For one thing this “sleep” cycle the humans engaged in occurred with the local day night cycle and seemed to have to do with the humans needing to flush waste toxins from their central thought organ.
There were a few similarities however. The humans tended to seek a low elevation and layer with dead-matter, often composed of detritus like material though many humans preferred synthetic, for warmth while their core mass was inactive. Still, that was hardly enough for the Undulate to make a connection between the two behaviors.
Touching the Passing Mammals’s musings were interrupted as the gust ended and Probesswiftly poked a slightly bleached appendage experimentally out from under the radiation shield before lifting it.
“It is a matter of individual preference,” Probesswiftly explained. “The binding process that concerns me appears to be unique to this human in my experience. You also have chosen a statistically unusual pattern of dormancy to your species and there is quite literal overlap in the methodology.”
Touching the Passing Mammals generated a thoughtful ground-hum to display his consideration to the Undulate as he processed that.
“Describe the methodology to me again,” he requested.
Probesswiftly shifted around a bit before answering.
“The human goes to bed and assumes a quite normal supine position with his arms and shoulders over the blanket and sheets,” Probesswiftly said.
“Which is the problematic layer?” Touching the Passing Mammals asked.
“The sheets,” Probesswiftly said, “the blankets are too thick to bind. As the human drops into dormancy he changes position several times, but usually the sheet is still in the overall coverage position by the time he reaches full unconsciousness.”
“And the dangerous behavior occurs after the human passes into full dormancy?” Touching the Passing Mammals asked.
“Yes!” Probesswiftly stated, “that is very strange I know!”
Touches the Passing Mammals shuffled his mass in a gesture for Probesswiftly to go on.
“Somehow the sheet becomes twisted and wrapped tightly around the human’s legs,” Probesswiftly stated, “when the human comes out of dormancy he attempts to rise from his dormancy platform and fails, causing his center of mass to drop violently to the floor. We can feel the vibrations all around the base!”
“But the human has not yet sustained injury from this behavior?” Touching the Passing Mammals asked.
“No,” Prodsswifly admitted.
Touching the Passing Mammals settled his center of mass to process this. He felt that there was a connection to himself here. Not only had he chosen to make his primary area in the great grasslands of this world, he had refused offers from his more motile allies to segment the grass sections he was slowly digesting, effectively binding himself to this one biome with their tangled interconnections. This carried certain dangers and advantages.
“I will speak to the human,” Touching the Passing Mammals stated. “Though I do not promise to attempt to alter his behavior.”
“Thank you!” Prodsswiftly exclaimed. “That is of course fair. I will tell the human you wish to speak to him.”
“He will not object?” Touching the Passing Mammals asked.
“Not him,” Prodsswiftly said with a laugh. “There’s nothing a human likes more than talking about themselves.”
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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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