Humans are Weird – Heads Up
No matter how well a space station was engendered, no matter how far technology advanced – at least so far as it had advanced so far – an inhabited space station was never quiet. The atmosphere had to be purified, plants rustled and filters hummed with air movement. The air had to be circulated. There was no such thing as a perfectly efficient fan. The very materials of the hull and superstructure would flex and bend minutely as the differences in temperature caused even the most stable of molecular bonds to expand and contract. Even when the frames were vented and ghosted along without air any species that had a concept of sound could hear the movement whenever their bodies, or rather space suits, made contact with the material of the station.
Most psychologists noted that this was probably for the best. They had as yet found any species that thrived in a truly silent environment. Even so called deaf species were used to the stimulation of some sort, carried on the gas or water they breathed. Even the space whales that the humans loved to observed could feel the pinging of the thinly spread atoms when they wandered out of the nebula and into the void. However if they lingered their too long they developed various neuroses that were nearly indicative of sapience they were so close to some of the common failings of more advanced brains. The various schools of psychology would occasionally note this, and for a few cycles the various Universities would be atwitter with fears of humans going mad from lack of audio stimulation and flights of Winged dispersing into the sound void. They would suggest solutions and experiments and it would usually all peter out as the various engineering departments would each in turn gently but firmly reminded the psychology departments that they were as far from developing a perfectly silent space station as their psych friends were from actually understanding Human Nature.
All of this was idly passing through the mind of Quilx’tch as he pattered along with his companion. The particular space station that had brought all of this to the base of his mental pounce as it were was a shiny new thing that the humans had built to their own specifications and tolerances and funded entirely from their own planet’s economy. The situation was hardly unexpected, with a mass three times that of the second largest species in the alliance the humans who chose to interact with the other species had needed to make accommodations that were often painful if not outright medically inadvisable.
Now Quilx’tch wondered if the Trisk bases the humans had visited felt as strange and imposing to them as this one did to him. He somehow doubted it. The mere sense of massive spaces all around him was intimidating in a way that no confinement could be. He caught the sound of his own appendages striking the spider walk echoing back at him from the distant walls and gave a shiver. His companion shivered in agreement and twitched his legs in the direction of the common room.
“Shall we find some companionship fit to fill this void?” his companion suggested in forcibly cheerful clicks.
Quilx’tch tapped his paws in agreement and they accelerated a bit in the direction of the outer hull. It was an odd design but the human insisted that all living quarters be on the exterior section of their great round structures. Their engineers said it was something about redundancy and being able to keep their calciferous inner skeletons functional with rotational momentum if the artificial gravitational generators ever went out. Given how simple and nearly indestructible even human antigrav systems were that was an odd reason to forego the protection of being in the center of a craft offered but the humans insisted.
Quilx’tch angled himself upward to glance at the indicator light and clicked in dissatisfaction to note that it was a deep amber. The humans in the common room were doing something dangerous enough to prevent the immediate entry of the smaller Trisk. That something was also producing a repeated pounding sound that was vibrating the deck plating beneath his paws. It was intimidating to be sure, but it was also the very welcome sound of live beings doing something. He and his companion passed into the safety lock and peered through the plasisteel barrier at what the humans were doing.
“Basket Ball!” his companion noted gleefully, raising his volume to be heard over the resounding noise made each time the ball stuck the floor or the wall. “I have never had a chance to see it preformed before.”
Quilx’tch clicked in agreement and crouched back on his rear motile appendages to watch the exchange. It was a very simple game in principle, he could think of pawfulls of example of similar games he had played in his youth, all of them several times more complex. The goal seemed to be to get a ball about the size of the humans’ head into a vector meet that was only two body lengths above the ground and in perfect parallel with it. A hatching game at best, if it were not for the fact that the game seemed to require another human or set of humans to actively provide challenging interference. Two humans were currently dodging about the flat surface which currently displayed comically oversized guide lines.
“Do you really think those vector and limiter lines are really necessary?” his companion asked. “Are they that vector blind?”
“Remember,” Quilx’tch said, “They only have two eyes, their vision is binocular and severely limited, and their hairs are almost useless for practical directionality.”
“And of course the mass of the ball itself is a factor,” his companion continued. “Still in proportion…”
His companion’s voiced stilled as the duo of humans began a slightly more intricate set of maneuvers that saw possession of the massive ball change several times without the humans once even brushing each other.
“Yes,” Quilx’tch continued the dropped thought, “in proportion to their mass and size it is a very simplistic game. Note however that they do not touch sensory hairs so that increases the challenge for them.”
His companion clicked in understanding as one of the humans suddenly broke away and bolted for the target vector meet. He tossed the ball and it failed, rebounding from the edge of the vector meet. The second human was right behind him and snatched the ball before tossing it up towards the vector meet.
“The human under the vector meet needs to move!” Quilx’tch suddenly clicked in horror.
“What is he doing! Human face structure is not sturdy enough to take such a blow!” His companion called out as they both darted for the emergency overide on the door.
They could only watch in horror however as the massive ball arched up and dipped perfectly down through the vector meet just as the human below lifted up his binocular eyes to watch its trajectory. The human’s slow reflexes meant that the ball slammed into his protruding nasal sensor just as it was fully extended.
The blow first turned the human’s head to the side and then twisted the entire bipedal form to the floor. Quilx’tch burst through the door clicking in distress with his companion close on his paws. However they stopped short as the sound the humans were making struck them. Both of the humans were laughing heartily as the uninjured human helped the injured one to his feet.
“Do you require medical assistance?” Quix’tch asked.
However it appeared that neither of the humans had noted their approach. To Quilx’tch’s dawning horror the injured human was beginning to leak bright read blood out of his nasal cavity, but instead of calling for the base medic he only reached up to compress the exterior of the cavity in a membrane crushing grip.
“Yo!” the uninjured human called. “Why are the indicator lights red?”
The injured human gave one of those deep grunts that could only come from mammalian lungs and swept his vision around the room before alighting on the two Trisk.
“Lil’buzzz!” the injured human slurs out as his smile caused a fresh line of red blood to streak down his lips. “Wazzuuu?”
“He said what’s up little buds!” the uninjured human said cheerfully as he strode over and held out his hands for them to jump up. “This is a dangerous game for you so I gotta get you back to the observation lock!”
“This is a dangerous game for you!” Quilx’tch insisted, so overwhelmed by the sight of the compressed membrane and the flowing internal fluids that he forgot his manners. “We need to get the injured human to the medical ward!”
“For a stupidity induced nosebleed?” the uninjured human scoffed. “We have gravity here. It’ll stop in a bit and we can limit the spread of biohazard fluids by staying here.”
The injured human nodded in agreement, causing the blood to smear further over his hands.
Quilx’tch stared at them both in horror and it apparently showed in his stance and the humans preformed that odd form of communication that only binocular species could.
“You’re puffed out like a kitten in a room full of rocking chairs lil’ guy,” the uninjured human finally observed.
“Ake oo haap I oe ediiii?” The injured human tried to speak.
“Would it calm you down if I took my friend here to the medical ward?” the uninjured human translated.
“Yes, yes it would,” Quilx’tch said firmly.
The uninjured human lifted them up to the spider walk and the injured human waved at them as the pair left the room. He used the hand he had been compressing his external sinus with however and this resulted in a fresh flow of blood from his nose that spattered on the floor triggering the biohazard alarms and gave them a good view of the internal fluids spread all over his hand.
Quilx’tch shuddered as the AI began to insist that they leave the contaminated common room until the automated cleaning systems had sanitized it.
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