The fact that there were two wing’s-worth of messages waiting for him in his message que when the silverwing finally reentered the range of the broadcast antenna was hardly surprising Five-Trills mused as he ran a winghook tiredly over his sensory horns. Their exploratory flight had been out for nearly a local day past their stated return time and on a planet that was only barely rated as safe, and that only with the obliging presence of the humans to offer advice and protection, the idea that they had all been messily devoured by some random plant was a worryingly likely suspicion. The fact that they had been sent to investigate some, “cool” carnivorousness plants by on the humans’ suggestion made it more so. However the humans had said that the plants seemed harmless for even a creature of the Wingeds’ size and despite the little incident with the mother-plant it had turned out to be so, for the most part.
Five-Trills shifted his talons uneasily in the soothing wraps the medic had somehow fabricated from their field supplies. Being trapped in a non-sentient, let alone non-sapient living organism that was trying to eat you in the slowest possible way imaginable while countless insects died around you was a rather unpleasant way to spend the greater part of a day, but he had eventually managed to claw his way up the slippery sides of the plants digestive chamber and had even managed to dry off his wings and fly back to the Silverwing under his own power. The poor fool who had, successfully, tried to eat his way out through the side had needed to be lifted aboard and was now quietly retching into the waste disposal unit. Though he had admitted that the inner flesh of the plant was pretty tasty.
“Nearly home,” Eight Clicks said from where he was slumped in the copilot’s hammock.
Five-Trills gave a grunt of affirmation.
“To bad Human Friend Esteban couldn’t have come with us,” Eight Click went on, his voice reanimating as they neared their destination. He had been nearly comatose with exasperation by the time he and climbed back into the Silverwing, “He could have rescued us all in a flight of wing-beats, and prevented any damage to the plants as well.”
“He is a little hard to fit in the Silverwing,” Five-Trills pointed out in a dry tone.
“Still,” Eight Clicks went on as he made another attempt to groom the bare patches where his back fur used to be, “I just feel safer with a human around you know.”
The sentence ended abruptly as the alarms on the Silverwing started clicking frantically, moments before a sonic shock-wave ripped over its sensor rich surface causing the craft to shudder.
“What-” the suddenly perfectly alert Eight Click started to demand when a second shock-wave hit them.
“-was-” he rather boldly kept trying.
A third shock-wave triggered the self defense protocols in the Silverwing and it dove for the ground. In a moment it had pressed it’s underbelly to the foliage of the ground-cover, giving them a fine view of the soft, ear shaped leaves, still trembling from the wind of their landing.
“-that?” the determined Eight Click finally got out.
“Silverwing why have you diverted from your landing instructions,” the curt voice of the air traffic controller suddenly pipped up from the comms unit.
“We were knocked out of the sky by some sort of sonic wave!” Eight Click snapped. “Three of them!”
“Injuries?” the air traffic controller asked quickly.
There was a brief murmur of negatives from the back of the Silverwing and Five-Trill raised a wing for silence.
“We are uninjured and undamaged,” Five-Trills said. “The force of the sonic blasts triggered the emergency landing protocols in our Silverwing. It does not look like they had power enough to actually damage us, but before I take us airborne again I would like to know what caused it.”
“That will be tricky,” the air traffic controller said after a moment. “We are reading the disturbance but, despite its intensity it is difficult to get-”
“Human Friend Esteban,” Five-Trills suddenly cut in.
“Oh don’t worry,” the air traffic controller said with a click of amusement. “We will certainly send the resident human after whatever the threat-”
“No!” Five-Trills snapped. “Assume he is the cause, and use his location to compare to your data!”
There was a moment of sudden silence and then the voice on the other end heaved a tired sigh.
“Your analysis is correct-”
Another set of three sonic waves swept over them and the air traffic controller waited for them to pass.
“He requested clearance to test the function of a tool he has been making from the skin of that predator he killed on the other continent-”
Three more sonic waves, faster now.
“His justification was desire to participate in his ancestral culture through the construction of and practice with the tool-”
Six sonic waves coursed over them in rapid succession.
“There is in fact a note about how the tool uses sound waves to direct the course of large, dangerous herbivores-”
Now nine sonic waves, with increasing power, ripped over them.
“Can you tell him to stop?” demanded Five-Trills.
“I have triggered the visual alert in the training field,” the air traffic controller assured them.
Three more sonic waves whipped past before the sound stopped.
“Human Friend Estaban is coiling up the tool and signals that he is returning to the base proper,” the now cheerful voice announced.
“Coiling?” Five-Trills demanded. “What is this thing exactly?”
“He called it a, bullwhip,” the air traffic controller announced. “Now I need to sign off. It should be safe for you to proceed to base.”
Five-Trills set about convincing the Silverwing it was safe to take off and shot Eight Clicks an annoyed glance.
“Always safer with the human around?” he demanded.
Eight Clicks shrugged.
“At least we are safe from large, directionless, herbivores,” he pointed out.
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Hey! The books are moving well on Amazon and now have 56 reviews and ratings! If you bought the book and enjoyed it, it would really help me out if you leave a quick star rating on Amazon. A review would be great but just stars would be a huge boost *****!
QUICK NOTE: RE: everyone who asked. The book is avaliable in Amazon regions US-UK-DE-FR-ES-IT-NL-JP-BR-CA-MX-AU-IN. HOWEVER The above link only takes you to the US Amazon site. The one indicated by the .com ending. If it says "not avaliable in your country" that just means that you need to click over to your Amazon region.
Of course if you want a signed first edition you can email me at the email on my website and I can ship you a signed Author copy of the first edition for the same price as the crowdfunding campaign $35 domestic and $50 overseas. I'll do that until I run out of extra books.