“And when we determined that they had a five Sol reproductive cycle we realized that they were pretty much the perfect candidate for domestication.”
Human Friend Freddy was enthusiastically going on about the animals in the confinement space as she shifted the compressed bundles of groundcover fibers that were to serve as the animals’ feed for the projected ‘long winter’ the humans were preparing the base for.
Liftssignificantly shifted her, to be honest mostly ornamental, radiation shield and gripped the single stem of ground cover fiber so that it projected from her gripping end at the appropriate angle. She still wasn’t quite sure why the fashion was to hold the stem like that. The ‘straw hat’ made sense. It was easy to shape the fibers into disposable and compostable radiation shields , and even if it only covered about half of her length the ori gin of the fashion was easy to under stand when you saw the harsh dry and sun playing over the humans’ bodies and the humans were clearly delighted to share the fashion with their smaller and less bipedal allies. The stem however was to mimic the one humans held in their mouths when there were examining domestic livestock, and the purpose of that remained a mystery. The only fragment of an explanation she had gotten was when Human Friend Lee had laughed and made a joke about keeping away terror ghosts. However the humans were even more delighted to share this fashion than the other so she aligned the stem and sprawled herself more comfortably over the edge of the water trough.
“You sure that it’s safe for you to be in there?” Human Friend Freddy asked, interrupting her soliloquy on how perfect this new species of mammal was to glance down at Liftssignificantly in concern.
“There are no shared parasites that could possibly jump the species barrier,” Liftssignificantly said firmly for the twelfth time. “I know that this is a grievous concern for you but remember that my species is all but invulnerable to cross species parasite drift. We have to be to live in the water our entire lives.”
“Yeah,” Human Friend Freddy conceded, “you guys are basically sharks when it come right down to that.”
The the human grinned to herself. Presumably at the absurdity of a comparison between Liftssignificantly’s soft, cuddly body and the hydrodynamic nightmare of teeth and cartilage that was one of her homeworld’s sharks.
“Speaking of the danger,” the human said glancing up at one of the approaching animals.
The beast lumbered along on four legs. A quadruped, the humans called this land-form. It’s legs ended in thick pads that gave it exceptional traction on a variety of surfaces. It had a short, thick neck at one end of it’s body that was ringed around with a mane of sensory tendrils. Four directional eyes peep out of their soft mass and a lopsided mouth opened to reveal flat teeth and a long inquisitive tongue. The other end sprouted a tail and a matching cluster of sensory tendrils.
“Yes you drive the ecologists back at the university mad don’t you?” Human Friend Freddy crooned as she reached over to rub the animal at the base of it cranial sensory tendril cluster.
Liftssignificantly fought down a surge of jealousy. These animals might be prime candidates for domestication but they were still several generations from being truly domesticated. The humans needed to give it all the positive reinforcement they could until they could select for the proper neonatal behavior genes. Still, it did cut into the time their friends spent rubbing the Undulates. A bit of resentment wasn’t logical, but it was unavoidable.
“Four directional eyes and as far as any of us can tell a true and complete grazing herbivore,” Human Friend Freddy went on. “Not one observed reason in your natural history for you to need directional vision and plenty to make a more horsey eye set more logical.”
If the beast objected to her analysis of its sensory organs it didn’t show in the low, contented sounds it made as it lapped up the water over Liftssignificantly’s lagging end.
“Why are you so enthusiastic over this animal Human Friend Freddy?” Liftssignificantly finally asked.
“Because they are cool,” Human Friend Freddy said in a rather perplexed tone. “Perfect for a domesticated pack animal.”
“Yes,” Liftssignificantly agreed. “You have gone over that in depth. They are easy to feed, even over the winter months. They are easy to contain because they cannot escape fences, they produce offspring at a rate that does not overwhelm your created environments but is fast enough to ensure a viable breeding population in an acceptable timeframe.”
“Feedable, fencable, fecund,” Human Friend Freddy agreed. “So what’s your question?”
“You did not show nearly a similar interest in the lumberbacks,” Liftssignificantly pointed out.
Human Friend Freddy paused and frowned for a moment as she processed that.
“That’s true,” she said slowly.
Then her face broke out into a grin.
“It’s the spine!” She said with the light of revelation flashing over her exposed skin.
“The spine?” Liftssignificantly asked.
“The lumberbacks had a fragile spine,” Human Friend Freddy said. “You can stack literal tons in sidesaddles but nothing can sit directly on their spines, and to top that off they were slow, and they, well, lumbered.”
“Why is the defining factor the ability to place weight on the spine?” Liftssignificantly asked.
Human Friend Freddy’s face broke into a broad grin and Liftssignificantly felt a flicker of unease.
“Watch this!” the human called out and the flicker caused Liftsignificantly to stiffen in real fight.
Human Friend Freddy leapt into the pen with the half domesticated beast and then leapt onto its back with a delighted yell. There the human stayed as the beast gave a startled jump and proceeded to spin and race across the field with the human passenger yelling all the way.
Liftssignificantly pondered over the question of if this was supposed to answer her question as she reached for her comm unit.
“Base control?” she asked.
The Shatar on duty answered immediately.
“Please transfer me to the local human expert,” Liftssignificantly requested. “One of the humans just told me to ‘watch this’.”
She was transferred immediately.
"Humans are Weird: I Have the Data"
Why do humans insist on domesticating apex predators? Why are they so delighted by retractable claws? #HFY #HumansAreWeird #HumansAreSpaceOrcs #EarthIsADeathWorld #EarthIsSpaceAustralia
Amazon (Kindle, Paperback, Audiobook)
Barnes & Nobel (Nook, Paperback, Audiobook)
Kobo by Rakuten (ebook and Audiobook)
Google Play Books (ebook and Audiobook)
Hey! The books are moving well on Amazon and now have 106 reviews and ratings! If you bought the book and enjoyed it, it would really help me out if you leave a quick star rating on Amazon. A review would be great but just stars would be a huge boost *****!
QUICK NOTE: RE: everyone who asked. The book is avaliable in Amazon regions US-UK-DE-FR-ES-IT-NL-JP-BR-CA-MX-AU-IN. HOWEVER The above link only takes you to the US Amazon site. The one indicated by the .com ending. If it says "not avaliable in your country" that just means that you need to click over to your Amazon region.
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 $50 overseas. I'll do that until I run out of extra books.