“How?” Thirty-Five Clicks demanded. “How did those lumbering idiots survive long enough to create FTL tech?”
Tsk’cht fought down the urge to punch the interrupting idiot who was currently gripping the sides of his head in those preposterous wing hooks right in his conveniently placed snout. All that tender mammal flesh just full of pain receptors.
“If I punch you I will spill my sample of floral oil,” Tsk’cht observed aloud.
Thirty-Five Clicks glanced swiftly between the mentioned sample and Tsk’cht’s primary eyes, then to each of the three legs that were free to strike, before letting go and fluttering just out of a Trisk’s deceptively long strike range to perch.
Tsk’cht pointedly turned his back on the Winged, hoping he took the full offense at the human gesture, and carefully placed the vial of volatile oils in the crucible. He deliberately took his time in manipulating the settings before turning back to the Winged. He studied the puffed out fur that Thirty-Five Clicks was rapidly grooming down with his wing hooks. Something had seriously disturbed the Winged.
“What did the humans do this time?” Tsk’cht asked.
“You wouldn’t believe!” Thirty-Five Clicks burst out, flinging his wings out.
“I cannot disbelieve what I have not yet heard,” Tsk’cht pointed out.
“He drank biofluids!” Thirty-Five Clicks declared.
Tsk’cth carefully brushed the guard hairs away from his eyes carefully as he considered this.
“Half of what humans normally consume can be classified as bio-“ he began.
“Not one like that!” Thirty-Five Clicks interrupted.
Tsk’cht folded his primary gripping legs and lowered his head into a glare position.
Thirty-Five Clicks huffed and crossed his wings back at him.
“Perhaps you should begin at the beginning,” Tsk’cht said.
“I was in the field sample collection lab,” Thirty-Five Clicks burst out. “Observing the new scientists to make sure they were aware of our safety procedures when I noticed that one of the sample containers was nonstandard. On further investigation I discovered that it was a, one of those, the humans call them mugs, of coffee. I didn’t know that any tests were being done on coffee and as I had thoroughly read the task list I was prepared to critique the new scientists on several violations when I noticed one new human reaching for a beaker of-“
The Winged shuddered and rubbed his lips near violently. Tsk’cht stiffened in distress at the gesture but Thirty-Five Clicks continued before he could ask any questions.
“A beaker of Shatar saliva,” Thirty-Five Clicks squeaked out in a tone that was only barely in Tsk’cht’s hearing range.
“Then, then before I could stop him. He lifted to his mouth and nearly drank some!” Thirty-Five Clicks burst out.
Tsk’cht stared in horror at the Winged, well aware that every hair on his exoskeleton was fully extended. Several seconds stretched out between them before Tsk’cht could formulate a reply.
“Nearly,” he finally burst out, just to end the silence, “you said nearly? Why-“
“Oh the human gagged and spat it back into the beaker immediately,” Thirty-Five Clicks, said with a dismissive wave of his wing.
“He followed that with spitting out a few profanities,” Thirty-Five Clicks went on, “demanding who had put that beaker there and then proceeded to perform a rinsing procedure with the coffee in the mug.”
“Oh!” Tsk’cht burst out in relief, “he didn’t mean to-“
“That doesn’t make it better!” Thirty-Five Clicks snapped. “Carelessness and disobedience to regulations is just as dangerous as malice.”
“Well I don’t see that it would be malice-“ Tsk’cht began.
“They knew better!” Thirty-Five Clicks went on, taking to the air in his frustration. “All the rest of the humans burst out laughing when they discovered his mistake and scolded him for breaking lab regulations before I could even bring it up. He just expressed more profanities at them! That’s when I decided to find a species that was more reasonable if not less annoying.”
Thirty-Five clicks caught a perch with his lower talons and hung there breathing heavily. For once he allowed Tsk’cht even more than the polite six seconds for reply.
“You say it was a mistake,” Tsk’cht observed. “But an opaque mug looks nothing like a clear beaker-“
“He reached for it without turning his eyes on it,” Thirty-Five Clicks interjected.
Tsk’cht stared at him as again seconds passed.
“I cannot imagine that Shatar saliva smells anything like coffee –“ he finally offered.
“Human smell isn’t directional,” Thirty-Five Clicks said.
“Sound wouldn’t have been a factor,” Tsk’cht said rubbing his primary gripping legs together at the paws. “But humans rate below only the Undulates for tactile sensitivity. They don’t even rely on sensory hairs. Their skin itself is permeated with sensory nerves, especially at the extremities! How-“
“I don’t know,” Thirty-Five Clicks replied, wrapping himself in his wings, “I just don’t know.”