“So the commander of the central flight wants to make a formal ceremony of the act of gratitude,” Forty-five Clicks informed the human who was busily strapping something onto his legs. “He-“
Forty-five Clicks stopped speaking as he realized exactly what the human had been trying on. Just to make sure he flew up to the top of the backpack the human was loading and chirped in, sounding the fragrant depths.
“Why are you packing up this personal heat shielding?” Forty-five Clicks demanded.
He wasn’t sure why all the fur on his body stood on end but by the gum of the mother tree he had learned to trust that instinct.
“I need it to get the samples,” the human replied cheerfully.
Forty-five Clicks wasn’t one to perch on ceremony, even by the loose standards of his people. He leapt up and threw all of his forty grams of mass in the face of the human and dug his winghooks into the soft flesh under the human’s ears. This let him glare furiously into one of the cavernous pupils of the larger mammal.
“What. Samples?” Forty-five Clicks demanded.
“Of the lava,” the human said quickly. “Hey, winghooks man.”
“Why?” Forty-five Clicks pressed.
“For fun,” the human replied.
“Where are you going to get lava from?” Forty-five Clicks demanded as slowly as he could.
“That volcano that just popped,” the human replied, gesturing in what Forty-five Clicks assumed was meant to be the direction of the former mountain.
It wasn’t. How did they survive in nature on their own the poor directionless things.
“The volcano,” Forty-five Clicks said. “The one that nearly killed three flights. The one that took down not only our silverwing atmospheric flyers but also one of your near indestructible helicopters. The one that utterly destroyed hectares of land. The one that is currently spewing ash, gas, and liquid magma.”
“It isn’t magma after it gets to the surface!” The human insisted.
Forty-five Clicks groaned and loosed the human. He slid down the human’s chest until he was caught in the broad hand. The hand that was covered in scars so thick any one of them would have utterly incapacitated his wings, and a fresh cut that he knew the human had gained in the rescue operation. Forty-five Clicks sighed and rubbed his eyes.
“You are not going to collect magma-“
“Lava.” The human corrected hopefully.
“Lava samples from the volcano.” Forty-Five Clicks said as firmly as he could. “For fun.”
“And why not?” demanded the human.
“I just can’t right now,” Forty-five Clicks said. “Just go ask the commander.”
“Will do then,” the human said cheerfully as he set off.
Forty-five Clicks flew up and passed over the backpack once again. He glared at the thermal armor. He had assumed it was only for rescue missions. His mistake.