Humans are Weird - Found Footage
Doctor Sieve was just calculating that the basking rock had warmed to perfection when the ground rattled with the excited approach of the University’s chief archivist’s distinct tread. Doctor Sieve indulged in a heavy sigh and cast a longing look at the nice toasty basking stone as he arranged himself behind his workstation, the door burst open without even a perfunctory tail-slap, or even a slowing of that distinct tread. The chief archivist, only having three whole paws due to a frostbite related accident that he insisted did not merit a prosthetic to correct, had poor vector control at the best of times, in his obviously excited stated he absolutely skittered across the floor, and impacted the wall with a thump that Doctor Sieve could not fail to find amusing.
“Spout you old fool,” Doctor Sieve said, clicking his tongue fondly, “Slow down and ferment a bit before you knock a hole in a load bearing wall with that thick skull of yours.”
Archivist Spout did manage to pause and gave him a toothy grin, a habit picked up from humans that did effectively convey his excitement. He lifted his good fore-paw and his clumsiness was in part explained by the archival canister he was gripping. It gleamed with newness and was precisely marked with the labels of one of the best data reconstruction services available on the planet. Archivist Spout, never in the best of shape, was panting heavily from his run and Doctor Sieve gave him time to calm his lungs before asking any questions. However before Spout was anywhere near normal he gasped out.
“It came in! It finally came in!”
His speech was interrupted by a gurgle as various stomachs were interrupted in their work by the frantic efforts of his lungs.
“Shatar vineyard data- priority – but they – finally!” Archivist Spout grunted out as his attention switched to the canister reader next to Doctor Sieve’s work station.
The archivist scrambled over and shoved it in with a grating click that made Doctor Sieve wince and then the old duff-tail scrambled up on Doctor Sieve’s perfectly warmed basking stone and had the grist to pat it invitingly with his tail. Doctor Sieve suppressed a grumble and scrambled up beside his friend.
“Start the recording! Start the recording,” Archivist Spout gurgled.
A gear caught in Doctor Sieve’s mind as he ordered the device to play.
“These are the recently discovered personal records from Frost Death?” he asked, feeling a bit of excitement stir his own tail.
“Fresh from the data mill!” Archivist Spout confirmed, wriggling on the basking stone in delight.
“A first pressing account of the most pivotal moment between our species and the humans!” Doctor Sieve said as he snuggled into his friend’s side. “Direct documentation of what they valued and considered important during their finest hour on the galactic front.”
They fell silent as the first video resolved and watched eagerly as a mass of tumbling mammalian bodies came on screen. Excitement bleed away into confusion as distinctly non-sapient yelping and growling filtered out of the damaged audio.
“Those are the canids,” Archivist Spout said, disappointment clouding his voice, “the ones that pull the sleds in the snow.”
“They were critical to the rescue efforts on Frost Death,” Doctor Sieve reminded him with a comforting wave of his tail. “These must be the infant stage of the individuals who were assigned to the sleds during the rescue. This is good back end documentation, besides look at how much video must be in this file. The humans would not have dedicated this much storage to only recordings of infant canids.”
Many hours later Doctor Sieve bravely chewed his error. The humans had in fact devoted a singularly large amount of data storage to only recordings of the ‘puppies’ as they were called. There was almost no incident relevant information in the recordings at all. Aside from several puppies wrestling with a broom that was distinctly of his own species make the videos might have been recorded on any planet at any time. Archivist Spout was understandably disappointed but had dutifully posted the recovered data to the University open archive. It was well into the next day with Archivist Spout stalked into Doctor Sieve’s office and slammed his mass into his friend’s side with a sigh.
“Check my citation rate,” Archivist Spout spat out without preamble.
Widening an eye Doctor Sieve pulled up the relevant data and gave a happy grunt.
“My friend!” He exclaimed. “You are now the most cited academic of our day!”
“It’s the puppy videos,” Archivist Spout grumbled. “I have been cultivating relevant archives for generations without attention and now I post a cluster of videos of non-sapient mammals frolicking and everyone knows my name.”
Doctor Sieve fought back a gurgle of amusement and indicated the species of most of the citations.
“At least we now have a deeper understanding of what information the humans value,” he said, not quite keeping the gurgle out of his voice.