“What is so interesting about that rock face?” Sixteenth Cousin asked as she came upon the base morale officer.
Xts’tlk shook himself and stretched each of his eight limbs slowly in the morning sun. Sixteenth Cousin eased back into a comfortable position, letting her hind legs take most of her weight. The tall fence that surrounded the pace provided more than enough shade to protect from the weak yellow suns the planet boasted. All attempts to cultivate native flora in the enclosed grounds had been failures, leaving only a few scraggly shrubs protecting mangy patches of ground cover. It was no wonder the cheerful Trisk wanted to look elsewhere.
“Human Friend Gregor’s newest recreational interest,” Xts’tlk informed her finally.
Sixteenth Cousin knew very well that she shouldn’t respond immediately as would be polite back home in the gardens. But it was hard to seemingly ignore a polite answer. She satisfied herself with a brief flick of her neck frill and examined the rock face closer.
“Is this a matter of projected lights or applied paints?” she finally asked.
Xts’tlk began to reposition the view screen on his range finder and then adjust the screen display so she could see it.
“Neither,” he observed. “Rather he is there himself.”
“He is where?” Sixteenth Cousin asked.
The Trisk settled back on his motile legs and expanded the screen for her.
“There,” Xts’tlk finally said.
He pointed simultaneously to the rock face that was klicks away and the display screen. Sixteenth Cousin suddenly felt her frill prickle with unease. The same way it did when her, admittedly spoiled, Fourth Brother, was plotting to escape First Father’s garden. She wasn’t sure what she was looking at at first. There was Human Friend Gregor, First Engineer on the base, and it appeared he was climbing a rock face.
Sixteenth Cousin suddenly leapt back with a hiss. She snapped her head side to side trying to judge the distance from the base to the rock face, trying to understand.
“Is First Engineer climbing the rock face?” She demanded.
“He is,” Xts’tlk replied after an unbearable pause.
“What safety gear does he have?” Sixteenth Cousin demanded, searching her mind for anything that had been checked out.
“A bag of dust and his two strong arms,” Xts’tlk replied.
Sixteenth Cousin stared at him in utter horror, her head cocked so far to the side the broad triangle was near parallel with her abdomen.
“Did you even try to stop him?” She finally demanded.
“It is a registered human recreation,” he defended himself. “They call it free climbing.”
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.