The local star sent it’s pale rays weakly through the dense, gray clouds that had been roiling unceasingly over the power station for weeks. Commander Tk’tktc flexed his legs one at a time and debated running along the walkways that lined the massive walls of the room to turn on the main lighting. Without much hope he pulled up the central computer controls on his tablet. As he had expected the lighting and temperature controls were still the same grayscale that humans used to indicate a non-functional link.
Tk’tktc expanded his lungs slowly and adjusted his insulating sweater so it was a bit looser around the joints before rising from the stool his abdomen had been resting on. The concept of being forced to wear thermal regulation layers within an established structure was something he still disliked, and even with that he found he required a small space heater to maintain a comfortable temperature while doing more sedentary work. Taking command of a human base built pre-contact had taught him many new and interesting ways of suffering quietly during the workday. As such an assignment was designed to he supposed rubbing his face under his primary eyes. His cultural understanding had certainly been expanded.
He flexed once more and began skittering briskly along the walkway. The metal composite material under his paws vibrated in impossibly low tones as the walls they were anchored to flexed in response to the power of the storm outside. Commander Tk’tktc shivered as he went, wondering if it was the cold or the unease that caused his hairs to bristle against his sweater. The manual controls were lengths away from his work area, something that he had not thought could be an issues before he took the assignment.
“You learn something new every day, as the humans say,” he clicked to himself.
“I need to formally measure this distance,” he observed to himself, “it feels far longer than what the official records indicate.”
He finally reached the panel and reached up to touch the control for the lights. The moment his paw touched the screen the walkway shuddered strongly enough to make him clutch the wall in panic. For an embarrassing long moment he frantically attempted to figure out what button he had inadvertently touched. However the main lights were on and even a cursory examination of the control panel showed that there was no other control that could have caused the base to shudder like that if activated.
Tk’tktc slowly pulled his appendages away from the wall and considered the situation. He had gotten fairly used to the vibrations caused by the storms. This felt more localized, smaller in scale, but it was still something to be investigated.
“One of the benefits of a human built base was supposed to be that nothing could break them apart,” he clicked to himself.
He ignored the voice in his head that sounded remarkably like his first tutor that added, except humans.
There was another of the odd tremors, less powerful than the first but immediately followed by a series of others. Tk’tktc followed the raised walkway out of the command center and then paused in the corridor lit dimly from the skylights above. He dropped all eight of his paws to the floor, spread out as far as he could go and the tremors came again. They were clearly coming from his right though a few seconds later his attention was rendered rather pointless as a quarrelsome human voice rose in complaint from their shared sleeping corridors in the same direction. There were several more thumps and bumps, now that he was in the corridor he could hear them as well as feel them through his paw hairs, and Human Friend Rogers came stumbling out of the room.
The human, presumably just having come from the sleep state where he would have been insulated under several of his massive blankets was only wearing a thin set of garments that barely covered his core. Tk’tktc felt a sympathetic shiver rattle his joints. Even at this distance he could see that the human’s pitifully few body hairs were raised in an attempt to keep him warm. However that thought was snapped quickly as Tk’tktc realized that the human was in acute distress.
Human Friend Rogers was precariously, more precariously than usual that is, balancing the majority of his weight on his non-dominant leg as he staggered away from the door and clutched at the wall. His face was twisted in a grimace and he seemed to be taking a moment to brace himself before lifting the leg that appeared to be the source of the pain and slamming his foot repeatedly into the floor. Each blow sent waves of vibrations through the floor, up the walls, and into the walk way as the limb the length and thickness of a small tree impacted the surface below it.
Tk’tktc clutched at the walkway for support as his hairs bristled in shock and a little panic as the pounding continued.
“Stupid. Charlie. Horse.” The human spat out in time to his, stomping, Tk’tktc believed it was called.
Human Friend Rogers suddenly shook out his body and began walking down the corridor away from Commander Tk’tktc. For a moment the Trisk hopped them meant the pain had passed, but he saw that Human Friend Rogers’s face contorted every time he slammed down the painful limb. With a start Tk’tktc realized that the human was deliberately striking down with excess force when bringing his weight down on the painful limb. The human passed out of his focus and Tk’tktc debated activating his comms to attempt to talk to Human Friend Rogers. However he had not seen the comm device on the human’s wrist and the best he could do would be to wake up the other humans and send on them after Human Friend Rogers. The situation resolved itself when the human turned around and began stomping towards the commander. Tk’tktc raised himself to a polite attentive stance and lifted one paw in greeting. However the human stomped right past him without even a flick of his binocular eyes in the commander’s direction. The human reached some predetermined point and swung around again.
“Human Friend Rogers?” Tk’tktc called out as loudly as he could.
The human staggered a bit at the sound and his head swung wildly around before his eyes focused on the commander.
“Comman-” the humans first attempt at a greeting was cut off by a gaping yawn that displayed far too many teeth.
“Commander,” the human finally managed to say.
“You are in pain Human Friend Rogers?” Tk’tktc made sure to put the proper tones of a question in the words.
“A bit,” the human admitted with a shrug. “The mineral supplements didn’t come last shipment so we’re a little low on bio-avali-” the human was interrupted by another yawn.
“Ain’t got enough magnesium to eat,” the human finished, before staring at the commander with a blank face.
“And that causes you pain?” Tk’tktc asked, confusion distracting him from the constraining sweater.
“Muscles can’t work right without it,” the human said. “When we’re sleeping sometimes the calves get all painful without it.We got more coming of course, and we ain’t gonna die, but we gotta live with it till then.”
“And your ...stomping...gets rid of the pain?” Tk’tktc asked.
The human bobbed its head up and down a few times and then yawned again even as his eyes darted towards the door of the communal sleeping chamber.
“I will let you get back to sleep,” the commander said slowly.
The human gave him a grateful smile and trudged off towards his bed, still limping slightly, just before he reached the door he grimaced and stomped the floor again.
Tk’tktc lightly tapped a paw of his own against the walkway and considered how he was going to document this particular early morning disturbance. He was reasonable certain that the human had not been punishing the offending limb for misbehavior, that level of mental disorder he would have noticed before now. However it might be wise to contact a psychologist just ot be sure.
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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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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 $60 overseas. I'll do that until I run out of extra books.