Humans are Weird – Layers
Hek’tck felt his chelicerae twitch in amusement as he let one paw idly tap out a warning on his comm alerting the smaller inhabitants of the base to stay off the floor and on the spiderwalks until the humans had full control of their limbs. He lifted his drinking bowl to his lips, still staring out into the darkness that was slowly softening with morning light, but more and more of his attention was shifting to the large form swaying around the kettle and morning fluids station. There was something a bit different about the human this morning, he couldn’t quite touch a thread to it, and the difference was just interesting enough to pull his attention away from his solitary musings. However not interesting enough to do so before he had finished his warming broth.
Hek’tck gave his drinking bowl a swirl to mix any undissolved broth particulates in the final few sips and smacked his chelicerae in satisfaction as he gave a slow leisurely stretch. In the process his paw brushed the window and he took a moment to marvel at the insulation that managed to keep the temperatures so well defined. He could not feel either a hint of cold, nor a drop of condensations on the clear surface. A far cry from the primitive materials sciences integrated into many bases he had been stationed on. He swung his body around, bringing the human into full view of his primary eyes and set out over the spiderwalks towards the sink.
The early riser was Human Friend Maria as he had half expected. She was usually the first of the giant mammals to shake off the deep torpor of the night and stumble into the communal area for her stimulant. She preferred a fragrant chocolate that was just a mild enough toxin that it didn’t require special handling in a shared kitchen. The scent was pleasant enough, if you didn’t mind a little burning in your eyes, and she was now clutching a mug of the dark fluid as she carefully moved to one of the massive chairs in the middle of the room.
What had first caught the attention of Hek’tck’s hindeyes was a dramatic change in shape. Even with his primary eyes now fixed on her it was still a bit of a web to untangle but she had apparently, in addition to her usual clothing, wrapped herself in at least one blanket, and then put her ‘bathrobe’ on over that, tying the mass with a cloth band around her waist. Hek’tck wondered what could have inspired her to sacrifice that much movement as he rinsed out his drinking bowl and set it to dry.
He walked over the spiderwalk network and paused over her head. He crossed his paws over the safety rail and let his attention drift back to the slowly lightening darkness outside the window while Human Friend Maria carefully drank off the top layer of her chocolate. When Hek’tck judged that the mug was safely emptied to an acceptable level he gave several loud clicks. Human Friend Maria blinked and yawned, shifting her bifocal eyes from the window to the spiderwalks in search of the sound.
“Good morning Human Friend Maria,” Hek’tck called out. “I trust you slept well?”
“Like a log,” Human Friend Maria said, the words slurring at the end as her mouth gaped in a yawn. “’sup little bud?”
“I was wondering why you are wearing so many layers,” Hek’tck observed.
Human Friend Maria’s hand reached down and grasped the mass of cloth, shifting it over her lap. Her face went thoughtful and then she smiled and shrugged.
“It’s cold,” she said, before taking another sip of her chocolate.
Hek’tck let that stick for several seconds longer than was strictly polite before moistening his chelicerae and tasting the air.
“The communal room is at the standard daytime temperature,” he observed.
Human Friend Maria blinked up at him slowly with a puzzled look on her face and then she gave a rueful smile.
“It’s cold out there Heck buddy,” she said, gesturing at the window with enough energy to make the chocolate slosh dangerously close to the rim.
Hek’tck taped the guardrail thoughtfully as he stared down at her.
“But we are in here,” he pointed out.
“But I know that it is cold out there,” Human Friend Maria said, nodding her giant head towards the window, where the morning frostfall was just beginning to sparkle in the morning light.
Hek’tck would have pursued that particularly odd thought thread, what did a mammal’s knowledge of the external temperature have to do with it’s experienced temperature, when the door swished open letting in Human Friend Maria’s mate and offspring in a tumble of legs and noise. Hek’tck watched them as they came into his range of focus. Not one of the other humans, even the smallest ones, were wearing more than a single thin insulating layer, on the other hand none of them questioned their mother’s layers of insulation.
Hek’tck shook out his limbs, waved at the smallest human who had noticed him, and trotted off to begin his workday.