Humans are Weird - Chug
Human First Father out in the full sun beyond the canopy, erecting fences around a fruit orchard that was particularly attractive to the local large herbivores. Second Father settled back on his hind legs and watched the process with interest from the edges of the forest. The human had most of his outer membrane covered in protective clothing to prevent cuts and tears. He also wore a fairly wide brimmed hat. All in all, it looked like Human First Father was taking the solar radiating very seriously today and would not need the membrane soothing gel. Still, Second Father supposed that the planet was tilting back towards summer and the change in radiation angle would soon mean that the human hive would have ample use for a gel that was good for soothing the heat of burns as well as healing the membrane. It made sense to get the trade completed early. Perhaps Human First Father was also being considerate of the Shatar hive’s needs as well. There would be plenty of time to refresh the pods before any more gel was needed.
As the sun reached the high point in the sky Human First Father reached the place where his wheeled vehicle was waiting, clearly a point he had marked out in advance to end the task for the day, because he tossed his tools and the extra fencing into the back of the wheeled transport and then activated the fence. The air around the tree glittered and hummed for a moment as the fence tried to cover them all, before collapsing to a more sustainable dome that covered approximately three-quarters of the trees. Human First Father considered this a moment before he leapt into the driver’s seat and started off for the road back to the main human hive.
Second Father stepped forward and gave a wide wave to catch the human’s narrow binocular vision. Human First Father turned the transport in his direction and as the human came into focus range Second Father could see that the mammal was dirty, sweaty, and grinning widely.
“Great to see you!” Human First Father boomed out as the wheeled vehicle rolled to a stop beside him. “Can you hop on in and come over for lunch?”
“I am afraid not,” Second Father said waving his hover wagon with it’s load forward. “I am here to deliver that skuul gel you requested.”
“Really?” Human First Father exclaimed, leaping out of his vehicle and coming forward to examine the jug. “I thought the pods wouldn’t be ready for another few days?”
“That was my initial calculation,” Second Father agreed. “However they matured faster than anticipated. First Aunt is investigating why.”
Human First Father causally lifted the entire forty ey transport jug with a single finger and flicked the lid open with his thumb before tipping the whole thing and delicately pouring out just a fraction of an ey of the gel into the wide fleshy center of his hand. He brought the gel sample up to his face. Drew in thee quick breaths through his nose, and ran his bifocal eyes critically over the gel.
“Nice amber color,” he remarked. “It still amazes me how pure you can get this stuff without any industrial level processes.”
“We put all our technological development into perfecting the gene line to make it easy to refine,” Second Father admitted with an amused flick of his frill.
Human First Father wiped the gel sample on his leg and reached into the cab of the transport for a much dented and battered thermo-insulating drinking container. He gave the container a testing swirl and from the sound and the way it moved it had to be about two-thirds full of some liquid. With a satisfied grunt Human First Father popped the lid off of that and poured the skuul gel into the container.
A sudden rush of unease shot through Second Father’s psudo-frill.
“What are you-” he began, only for Human First Father to throw his head back and proceeded to drink the mixture down in great swallows.
Human First Father pulled the depleted drinking container away from his mouth with what must have been a deliberately loud exhalation and his face visibly relaxed.
“That is topical!” Second Father finally managed to burst out. “That means it goes on your skin! It is not rated to be taken internally at all! Let alone in eys at a time!”
Human First Father burst out laughing and popped the lid back on the transport jug before setting it in his wheeled vehicle.
“Not to worry Second Father!” he said, taking another large drink of the gel mix. “I went through and checked the chemical profile against human physiology. This stuff,” he lifted the drinking container demonstratively, “is perfectly safe, quite tasty, a nice texture, and chills you down nice on a hot day like today.”
“I thought you needed it to sooth the radiation burns from the sunlight,” Second Father clicked out, still feeling uneasy. “Really the gel is only for topical use...”
“We’ve learned the patterns of the sun around here,” Human First Father said with a shrug. “Betty and the boys picked up the protocols First Sister taught them and there wasn’t a single bad sunburn last summer. Nope, this,” he reached out a flat hand and patted the jug, “is, every drop, destined for recreational use. That’s why I asked you to put such a low priority on it. Now, if you can’t come and eat lunch with me I have to get home to my wife before she sends Betty looking for me!”
The human leapt back into the vehicle, took one more long drink, and then started back towards his hive. Second Father stared after him in perplexed silence before returning home himself.
It was four days later when Human First Father stopped by the hive with a rueful expression on his face and a rather sickly air about him that Second Father couldn’t quite identify.
“You were right about that gel,” Human First Father announced without preamble.
“What was the toxicity?” Second Father asked with a sympathetic click.
“No toxicity!” Human First Father insisted. “It just sort of messes with something called insulin resistance? I don’t really understand it, but the gist is that there is a strict safe dose. Drink too much and you get hangry and sleepy when you don’t want to. On the plus side it might have medicinal uses.”
“Are you suggesting,” Second Father asked with what he knew was an exasperated set to his antenna, “that you are not giving up drinking the gel?”
“Not a chance,” the human said cheerfully. “All this means is that jug is going to last me longer than I expected. Portion control and whatnot.”
Second Father gave a human nod and while Human First Father continued chatting he began mentally composing a new rule-set on selling humans non-edibles. Of course First Mother would have to approve it, but it looked like Human First Father would be willing to provide plenty of evidence for the need.