Humans are Weird – Neighborly
“Are you quite ready to move on to the next shrub?” First Sister asked, being very, very careful not to sound annoyed.
Human Second Cousin Betty started up suddenly from where she had been studying a local insect in fascination. Her pheromone profile flushed the air with just enough stress to let First Sister know that she had failed in keeping her irritation to herself, but the human only smiled and quickly shoved her tools into her bag. First Sister very carefully ignored the indisputable fact that Human Second Cousin Betty ignored the specially made holsters for each tool and simply tossed all the tools in the bottom of the bag, where they would damage each other and make it much harder for the human to find them again. That was not a useful thing to point out however. The human made tools were ridiculously sturdy.
Despite her obvious stress a moment before Human Second Cousin Betty was cheerfully singing to herself by the time the crossed the short distance to the next fruit bush. The human thrust her hand down into the bag and rooted around for the tool utterly without care for the skin on her fingers. First Sister fought back a wince and reminder herself again that human skin was much more resilient that Shatar outer membrane. Human Second Cousin Betty finally gave a satisfied grunt and pulled out out a set of hand worked mechanical clippers, she gave a few test clicks, for some reason she considered this necessary every time she pulled them out of bag, and looked at First Sister expectantly.
First Sister considered the plant and chose a stem of the correct age. “This one!” she said tapping the wood.
With, a speed and skill that seemed wildly beyond her overall maturity level Human Second Cousin Betty set to work trimming the stem of excess branches, clearing the other stems around it, and tossing all the extra biomatter into a pile to the side. This part of the grafting would have taken First Sister much longer and she was grateful to have the human’s help, even if Human Second Cousin Betty had a tendency to mentally wander off when she wasn’t actively using the clippers. First Sister took her razor thread and cut into the stem.
“Hold this,” she requested.
Human Second Cousin Betty carefully pried apart the halves of the stem and First Sister reached into her bad and pulled out the new branch, a different fruit, far more magnesium rich. She placed the new cutting in the existing stem. Human Second Cousin Betty release the stem and its own force was enough to hold the new graft in place while First Sister wound the tape around it.
“So what’re we having for dinner at the hive?” Human Second Cousin Betty asked.
“Your First Father said that you are not staying for dinner,” First Sister reminded her with half an antenna as her fingers continued wrapping the tape. “Along after that we do not have meals at the hive.”
“I know,” Human Second Cousin Betty said rolling her eyes, “but we are staying and I want to know what there is to graze on when I get hungry.”
“The gourd-mushrooms are in full bloom,” First Sister said. “You enjoy those correct?”
“They taste like chicken!” Human Second Cousin Betty agreed with a nod.
“Why do you think you are staying?” First Sister asked as she finished the wrap and gave it one last touch to be sure it was solid.
In response Human Second Cousin Betty pointed to Human First Father who had come into view around a particularly dense stand of grass. He was walking with one of the free ranging Human Grandfathers who lived deeper in the undeveloped forest. The new human had a long ragged fringe of hair that seemed to consume his head and upper arms. His clothing was tattered and fraying. He looked, to any Shatar, like someone half dead, but his walked with the full confidence of a healthy human and in his hand he clutched a preposterously heavy stick.
“I see the visiting Grandfather,” First Sister said as they walked towards the next bush, “but what does that have to do with your departure time?”
“Did you see how they were talking?” Human Second Cousin Betty demanded as she started skipping after First Sister. “Once Daddy gets going like that with one of the forest neighbors he won’t stop till he gets hungry. He had a big lunch too. He’s probably not going to come out of the tall grass until after the sun goes down.”
First Sister flicked an antenna over her eye at that, but Human Second Cousin Betty would know her own father she supposed.
“If he is going to loose track of time perhaps we can get First Aunt to fry him some gourd-Mushrooms?” she suggested.
“Oh yeah!” Human Second Cousin Betty agreed as she pulled out her clippers and gave them an experimental click.