Twenty-seventh Cousin stared at the datapad in front of her and laid her dusky orange frill tight down against her neck. She rattled her mandibles together and finally leapt up from her crouch. She would simply have to find a human. She stepped out of her office and flicked her frill in companionable frustration at the other Twenty-seventh Cousin stationed in this one small college. She returned the greeting with her green frill.
“Have you seen any humans?” Twenty-seventh Cousin asked, fluttering her frill to indicate a very recent time frame.
“Second Brother is repairing the ground transports in the mechanical bay,” the other Twenty-seventy Cousin replied.
“Gratitude,” Twenty-seventh Cousin bobbed her body respectfully and stepped out lightly.
She found the human exactly where she had been told. Bent in a nearly Undulate manner into the engine compartment of the boxy green ground transport. She was about to greet him but caught a glimpse of his base defensive covering and clicked in annoyance at the stitched markers on the arm guards. Humans did not use the same naming system they did. That is why she was here after all. She pulled up the translation screen and readied the sound file she needed. She waited until his head was out of the metal chamber before tapping her talons lightly on the concrete floor.
“Hey!” he glanced over at her and his strange, fleshy face contorting in that hilarious motion called a grin even as he wiped his stubby hands on a bio-fiber rag. “Tenth Sister right?”
“I am Twenty-seventh Cousin,” she said, lowering her frill in disapproval at the attempted flattery.
“Right, right,” he said. “Which one now?”
“The linguist,” she replied. “And you are Private Grimes.”
“I never denied it!” He said with another grin.
She paused a moment, tilting her head to the side as she parsed her question.
“Are you capable of aiding me with a matter of translation?” She finally asked.
“I can speak English pretty good,” he said.
She tried not to leap back in shock when his primary arm attachment joints suddenly shifted up several inches. Were humans even attached under that pliable skin? She shook off the discomfort and held up the datapad.
“How do you pronounce this word?” She asked.
He leaned forward and his strange internal eyelids compressed.
“Colonel.” He said firmly.
She lowered her frill in a clear sign of aggravation that he actually responded to. Stepping back with a sudden change to a clearly defensive stance. She forced herself to relax.
“You have not offended me,” she quickly informed him. “I have simply reached an impasse in my work.”
“Ah,” his head bobbed loosely on his thick neck. “So what’s the problem?”
“Where is the,” she pressed the recording so that the sound she could to enunciate played, “sound in this word.”
He gave a laugh and started to point but the sound and the gesture broke off mid way. His face contorted and his eyelids blinked rapidly. The flesh flaps covering his teeth opened and closed several times and he slowly withdrew his indicating finger.
“I don’t know,” he whispered in confusion. “Where is the ‘r’ sound in colonel?”