The afternoon sun gleamed pink on the various species using the recreation area by the gently flowing creek. One human lay sprawled in the silty sand and a pair of Undulates were shuffeling busily around in the water a few meters from her.
“Is it really wise to interfere in this matter?” Rollslowly asked.
“Human Friend Sally specifically requested this,” Shiftsleft replied as he adjusted the throwing stick in his appendages.
“Regardless,” Rollslowly said, “this seems unsafe.”
“I told you,” Shiftsleft replied. “That is why I am using globules of filtered clay. The density is so low that it could impact her in an open eye and not cause permanent damage. In fact it is the temperature differential caused by the water that will cause the useful discomfort.”
“I was not referring to her safety,” Rollslowly interjected, “have you read the profile for a human coming unexpectedly out of sleep state?”
“Yes, yes,” Shiftsleft said with a dismissive wave of one of his few appendages not involved in the aiming process. “Five seconds is the absolute maximum danger time. At this distance we are so far out of her strike range that she would be fully awake and aware long before she could get her hands on us. And I don’t need to mention again that this service was a specific request on her part as one friend to another.”
“No you don’t need to mention that yet again,” Rollslowly admitted with a little groan as he saw that the throwing stick was finally aligned to Shiftsleft’s liking. “I still maintain that she was simply making a humorous and rhetorical comment.”
“Sound this,” Shiftsleft said. “We both know that a nap this late in the circadian cycle will throw off Human Friend Susan’s sleep cycle for days.”
He spasmed around the throwing stick, launching the blob of wet clay on an arc into the air. Rollslowly shuddered at the unnatural movement both of his friend and the clay. It splatted down on the other side of the human earning only a slight twitch on her part.
“Less power,” Shiftsleft observed. “As I was saying. When a human’s sleep cycle is disturbed they become not only less of an asset but nearly a liability.”
“That can be true,” Rollslowly admitted as the second glob of clay fell on the near side of the human.
“Human Friend Sally knows this,” Shiftsleft went on, “and thus requested that we wake her very specifically from ‘outside of her strike range’ if she fell asleep in the afternoon again.”
“This still seems wrong somehow,” Rollslowly said as Human Friend Sally began to shift and turned to stare at the place the last glop had fallen.
The final glop arced into the air and fell with a plop onto her nose. Her reaction was fascinating. She spasmed once, her hands came up to claw at her face in an attempt to removed the glop, and she emitted one of those predatory sounds that were so universally feared. Rollslowly believed it was called a snarl. He noted that Shiftsleft was slowly easing back into the deeper water of the stream.
“Are you not going to wait for Human Friend Sally to acknowledge her gratitude?” Rollslowly asked as he followed his friend.
“I think it would be best to accept that gratitude from out of strike range as well,” Shiftsleft replied.
“It has been far longer than five seconds,” Rollslowly observed. “In fact I think she does not even know we were the source of the action.”
“I have been told humans like mystery,” Shiftsleft said.
“Then by all means,” Rollslowly said watching as Human Friend Sally was vigorously cleaning her nose in the water of the shallows, “let’s leave her with the mystery.”
Thank you all so much for your updoots and feedback. It gives me the will to go on. Want to see more? Think about becoming a Patreon. Tea refuses to buy itself and the more time one has to spend on a day job the less time there is for befuddled aliens.