“And you are quite sure that humans use the same pattern recognition matrices that the rest of us use?” Rollsaround asked.
Fourth Sister flicked her antenna in a modified agreement. She was confirming the statement but with reservations. At the moment her head was tilted at the medical report she was composing. She finally affixed her hive sigil to the end of the report and immediately threw her body into a full stretch.
“When I was studying medicine as a youth,” Fourth Sister said in a tired tone, “I never imagined that I would have to report that I released a patient after a traumatic head wound because they refused to admit that a cranial membrane rupture as a severe injury.”
“Well I know nothing of cranial injuries,” Rollsaround said in a tone of amusement.
He wriggled the appendages at either end of his soft, pliant body to demonstrate and Fourth Sister flicked her antenna again before setting them stiffly.
“But you do have the concept of blunt trauma injury in your language,” she said.
“Not as much as you’d think,” Rollsaround said. “For all that we do come from a comparatively high gravity world the tenderness of the tides and of course the cushioning effect of the water meant that it wasn’t until our industrial stage that we even had to deal with it on a regular basis.”
He slipped from the shelf he was on into the water concavity in front of his workstation and swam around lazily hydrating for a few moments while Fourth Sister taped away at her report.
“So the concept really exists in our world much like radiation sickness in yours,” Rollsaround continued when he came back to the surface. “We recognize that it always sort of existed, but it is mostly seen as an unavoidable necessity of being a tool using species when the tools get too big for one appendage to grasp.”
“Well I know that humans have a very strong,” Fourth Sister said flaring her frill for emphasis, “very intuitive understanding of blunt force trauma. I don’t know why this human seems to be suppressing his instincts on the matter.”
“His dossier did mention a general lack of situational awareness,” Rollsaround said.
“How do you know that?” Fourth Sister asked with a sharp click.
“Oh it’s a fascinating complex many humans have,” Rollsaround said. “The central university asked us to do a full write up on the behavior in any humans we came across. Not really anything I can wrap my motile appendages around. Just slightly out of my reefs if you know what I mean, but the analysis they worked up is simple enough so I just turn it in for any human I am around for more than a week or two.”
“Can it spread any light on this human’s behavior?” Fourth Sister asked.
“Well as I asked before are you sure humans use the same pattern recognition matrices that the rest of us do?” Rollsaround repeated.
“I had assumed that was a facetious question,” Fourth Sister said with surprise.
“My warm sister,” Rollsaround murmured. “You have been spending far too much time with the humans.”
“Perhaps I am,” Fourth Sister said as her neck frill lightened in amusement. “Yes, as far as every University study has been able to confirm, they show the same pattern recognition of every other sapient species, the Composting ones excepted of course. We haven’t been able to string a single line about how they work but plant intelligence can’t be expected to offer much data on mammal intelligence.”
Rollsaround hummed in surprise.
“So you have determined them to be plants?” he asked, more than willing to float down another current of conversation.
“No,” Fourth Sister said, her antenna curling tighter, “but our First Mother has determined that discussing them as such will be far less detrimental to future intercourse than not having any word at all to use for them.”
“That sounds logical enough,” Rollsaround agreed. “We call them algae of course.”
The workstation chimed with the notification that Fourth Sister’s report was complete and she tilted her head to focus all of her direct attention on Rollsaround.
“What do pattern recognition matrices have to do with this injury?” she asked, tapping a finger on the report.
“If they are all the same nothing,” Rollsaround said. “Just a sealed channel I was exploring. No, if I were to toss out a strand I’d say that this human just has a poorly developed spatial memory.”
“What does spatial memory have to do with this?” Fourth Sister asked.
“Ponder on their extremely limited binocular vision,” Rollsaround said.
“Limited?” Fourth Sister asked with a derisive flick of her antenna. “I saw that same human spot a scrap of paper flitting across the ground two kilometers away.”
“Their range is truly impressive,” Rollsaround agreed, “but the human had to have the entirety of his vision focused on that exact point of xyz coordinates to see the paper. During that time he was quite blind to everything outside of that cone.”
“They do have other sense to compensate,” Fourth Sister observed.
“Which are limited to a near blind sense of touch, with all other lacking either range and/or dirrection,” Rollsaround pointed out. “To compensate for this they have a spatial memory that activates so quickly they can use it in active combat.”
Fourth Sister clicked in astonishment as she processed these new ideas. Then her frill rippled in annoyance.
“Then why cannot,” she demanded, “this human remember the location of the same cabinet corner that he has slammed his head into seven times now!”
“It appears that while this ability is innate in humans it must be trained to be properly useful,” Rollsaround said. “There also appears to be a slight correlation between humans who swim up the academic current and a state of underdevelopment of this sense.”
“So you are telling me,” Fourth Sister demanded, giving her report a frustrated flick, as if it was at fault for humanities's oddity, “that there is a direct correlation between how much effort humans put into developing their brains, and the likelihood that they are going to smack that giant, expensive organ into stationary furniture?”
“That does appear to be the situation,” Rollsaround said with an amused gurgle.
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