“I really think it is just their pattern seeking manifesting,” Twistunder insisted for the third time.
No one was really satisfied with this answer, least of all him. However no one in the huddle of Undulates around the datapad argued against the assertion or offered any better explanation. Twistunder ran his best sensory appendage over the screen again just in case he had missed some detail in the image. He hadn’t.
“Perhaps we are missing the details due to visual differences?” One of the physiologists suggested. “I mean the meaning might be far simpler than we are assuming.”
“Well that is a given,” another pointed out. “All of the charcoal based iridescence is the same color, or rather lack of color to them.”
“Black lines,” the first agreed. “It makes it hard to say how much we should read into details that we can see but they cannot.”
“Even though they created them,” a third said.
The huddle fell silent again. Someone absently stroked Twistunder in a comforting gesture and he returned it.
“Cuddle puddle,” Twistunder muttered.
“Say what?” Inquired someone from the bottom of the pile.
“I speculate that this,” Twistunder lightly touched one of the more confusing images on the screen, “indicates what we are doing now, a communal huddle. They have labeled it a cuddle puddle.”
A hum of thoughtful consideration ran through the huddle as they considered the mass of lines the human had drawn.
“It is the right number of appendages,” someone offered, “approximately. If I am seeing this correctly.”
“So the question is,” Twistunder finally stated. “Is this an honest attempt at training material or is it a joke?”
The huddle fell silent as they examined the primitive visual representations. Twistunder detached himself and mimicked the first entry. Twisting himself into a tight and uncomfortable circle.
“Bagel,” one colleague read from the sheet. “Smol frien is lonely. Apply pats.”
“Simplistic,” Twistunder observed. “But not inaccurate.”
“I wouldn’t mind a human attempting to physically comfort me if I were in that state honestly,” another observed.
He curled his appendages under himself and let his notochord relax.
“Unduloaf,” his colleague read. “Smol frien is much content but a lil not warmz. Cuddles or to make it warmz suggested.”
“Again simplistic,” Twistunder began.
“And grammatically nightmarish,” a linguist added.
“But accurate as far as it goes,” Twistunder finished. “I propose we analyze each image thus. One of us attempts to mimic the drawing, and then we analyze the text.”
“And then ask the humans what this nonsense is?” Asked the most experienced ambassador.
“And then ask the humans what this nonsense is,” Twistunder confirmed.