Thank you all so much for your updoots and feedback. It gives me the will to go on. Want to see more? Think about becoming a Patreon. Tea refuses to buy itself and the more time one has to spend on a day job the less time there is for befuddled aliens.
“Do understand,” Base Commander Fifteenth Trill said as gently as he could, “we just want to understand.”
The human in front of him slouched in the chair. She very deliberately glanced to the window. The massive rings of muscle in her odd, concentric eyes contracted as she focused on the branches of a tree in the middle distance. Her massive digits began to writhe. They twined with their mates on the other hand and untwined again. She shifted her center of mass and glanced at him out of the corners of her eyes.
Base Commander Fifteenth Trill recalled his psychology training and squared his primary joints on either side of his head. He tilted his head up to put his sensory horn on display and fixed the human with what he hopped was a firm stare. He needed to let the silence be his ally. Humans couldn’t stand being quietly watched. Hopefully he was reading this situation correctly. After a moment the human heaved an unnecessarily loud sigh and hunched her shoulders.
“Don’ know,” she said. “Sir.” She threw out as an afterthought.
“Let us review the facts then,” Fifteenth Trill said, pulling up the report on his tablet.
The human winced and glanced at him furtively before returning her gaze to the tree.
“Now you are rated as a mechanic,” Fifteenth Trill stated.
“Yeah,” the human confirmed.
“You are not rated as a biologist in any biology sub-field?” Fifteenth Trill asked.
“Not a bit,” the human agreed as a smile flitted across her face and then flew off.
“Yet you spent no small amount of your private funds to requisition the collection of over five thousand,” he hesitated over the complex scientific name of the species.
The human’s interested perked up and she openly grinned as she looked at him.
“Crabbits!” she said in an eager tone. “Cuz’ they look like little crabby crickets!”
“Crabbits,” Fifteenth Trill agreed. “You commissioned the collection of over five thousand crabbits and received the delivery of said at seventh hour this morning at atmospheric shuttle dock seven.”
“Could’a been seven,” the human said with a shrug. “I didn’t exactly notice.”
“I sound,” Fifteenth Trill replied. “Nevertheless you then took the container of crabbits and-“
“It was cold,” she interjected. “I took ‘em to the cafeteria to warm up first.”
Fifteenth Trill stared blankly at her for a moment, taking in the smug smile, the frank admission of premeditation, and the utterly unapologetic glint in her concentric eyes.
“You took them to the cafeteria to warm up,” Fifteenth Trill repeated as he added that note to the log.
“Yeah,” the human bobbed her head eagerly. “They don’t move much when their cold ya’ see! So I warmed ‘em up so they were nice and ready to bolt when the first bell rang.”
Fifteenth Trill heaved a sigh and turned back to his log.
“So you very deliberately waited until the first break of the day,” he said, “and went to the primary traffic juncture of the base during the busiest time locus, and released the warmed crabbits into the hallway.”
The human began spasming with barely suppressed laughter as he finished.
“You should’a seen the Trisk!” She gasped out. “I didn’t know those little legs could move that fast!”
“Which,” Fifteenth Trill said firmly, trying to get the conversation back on track, “brings us back to my original question. Why did you do it?”
The humor slowly faded out of the human’s flushed face and she slumped back in the chair. Her shoulders shrugged again.
“Don’ know,” she said, tossing her chin defiantly.
Fifteenth Trill gave a low groan and regretted not pressing harder for that Shatar personnel officer he had been denied.