Base Commander Thresh gripped the textured sides of the construction pole and glared out the small opening of the storage area at the green sky beyond. The bright light of the alien sun outside made the interior of the room seem darker by contrast.
“We really should be using the heavy shifting equipment for this,” grumbled his third in command from his secondary elbow.
“Ranger Smith is sure that he can handle the mass and proportions,” Commander Thresh replied absently.
“And those thrice ground reports say that they are within human tolerances,” the other muttered in an offended tone. “I don’t care what they say. It can’t be safe to drop a tail-cutting structural support pole off a roof to let one person catch it.”
“It does seem absurd on the surface,” Commander Thresh admitted as he eased the pole forward, “but much about any alien species does.”
Noting that the end of the pole had passed the warning mark the third in command scrambled up to the window and shouted down to Ranger Smith.
“Passing the one meter mark now!”
He scrambled back and grasped the far end of the pole, using his not inconsequential weight to steady it as they moved the pole forward. Commander Thresh felt gravity pull on the far end of the pole and he gripped it more firmly.
“I see it!” the human called.
The pole shifted further out and Commander Thresh eyed the distance between the lagging end and the top of the window.
“Let it go,” he ordered.
The pole slowly lifted up and slid out of the storage loft.
“I got it! I got it!” the human shouted.
Their end of the pole slowly slid down until it suddenly halted, and then finished sliding out at an obviously controlled pace. Commander Thresh heaved and sigh and turned back to pull out the next pole. The following two hours passed in a blur of shifting poles until they had the necessary number stacked on the transport. It was with considerable relief that they switched to moving the bundles of connecting joints. Though the joints had several shapes and sizes, they had been packaged the previous year in standard sacks that, though there were nearly the same volume as Commander Thresh himself were reasonable light. His third in command was able to nip the sack lightly in his beak and give it a neck toss that landed it by his hip. There he gave it a stout kick that moved it down to the curve of his tail. A swift undulation of his thick tail sent the sack gliding to Commander Thresh’s waiting tail. The commander curled his tail around it and then shouted a warning to the human. The human shouted back and Commander Thresh sent the sack sailing out the window into the open air and, presumably, the waiting hands of the biped.
“I got it!! I got it!” the human shouted, accompanied by the rattling smack of the sack landing in his hands.
They quickly built up a nice work rhythm and were nearly done when the human’s usual two-beat shout was interrupted, and cut off, not by the rattling smack, but a much more hollow thunk followed by a clatter and a disturbing silence. Commander Thresh darted to the window and felt his third arrive beside him a moment later. They peered down into the bright light, closing their secondary eyelids to screen out the ultraviolet.
The human was sitting beside the ruptured bag on the ground, one wide, flipper like hand pressed to his forehead. A small trickle of bright red blood was already oozing out from under his fingers. He blinked a few times and then squinted up at the window with a rueful grin.
“I didn’t have it.”
Commander Thresh heaved a sigh and tried to ignore the pointed look his third was giving him.
“Call the medics,” he muttered. “I will get the first aid kit.
"Humans are Weird: I Have the Data"
What does it mean when your human friend says “Watch This?”? Why does this simple phrase seem to terrify any alien that has first appendage experience with humans? #HFY #HumansAreWeird #HumansAreSpaceOrcs #EarthIsADeathWorld #EarthIsSpaceAustralia
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