“My concern is, not that a human almost started a fire in the base,” Wing Commander Five Trills explained, speaking in carefully modulated tones, “our fire suppression protocol’s are more than sufficient to prevent danger to wing or lung, no.”
The Winged, an older officer whose sensory horns were starting to wrinkle reached up and rubbed the sensory nubs absently. He should have hung comfortably over his semi-spherical desk in a spine supporting perch that was common to Winged of his advanced years. There he did perch, but his spine was arching in a distinctly uncomfortable angle to avoid the stacks of datapads and piles of papers on his desk. The walls of his office were well padded with tastefully colored vibration canceling hangings. They were almost a necessity for a healthy Winged on a human built base, for an aging Winged with growing horn sensitivity they were a medical essential. As if to emphasize this reality Wing Second Twenty-two Clicks felt the uneven beats of a human walking shiver the perch he was clinging too.
“My concern,” Wing Commander Five Trills went on, “is that there have been no less than five close calls involving the humans and fire in the past week.”
The wing second clicked in concern and felt his wings flare a bit as he gripped that information in his winghooks.
“I was not aware of that pattern,” he interjected.
“That is a compounding concerning factor,” Five Trills went on.
The wing commander cut off the quick apology Twenty-two Clicks tried to make.
“The concern comes not from the fact that you did not know,” he assured him, “rather I am deeply concerned that of the five incidents where something caught fire, or almost caught fire, only this latest one was reported through the proper channels.”
Twenty-tow Clicks gave a low tooth-whistle of unease at that.
“Nor is fire the only issue,” the wing commander went on, pulling up a list of reports on his desk projector. “There have been wingfuls of minor flooding incidents both in the base and outside in the transport yards. There has been a sharp uptick in slip, trip, and fall injuries in the humans, both reported and unreported. Private Psmith cut one hand deeply and is on medical leave as well. While one such serious injury is hardly a pattern in of itself, as part of the larger swarm of issue it is concerning.”
Wing Second Twenty-two trills stuck his tongue out in agreement, in the position that humans described as “blep”. Then he thoughtfully ran his tongue over his teeth to show he was mulling over the issue.
“Do the humans offer any explanation?” he asked.
While there were other species on the base he sincerely doubted that they would have his commander pulling his fur out in the same way.
“I have not yet had time to initiate proper conversational investigations,” the Wing Commander said, wrinkling his nose intently.
“Why not?” Twenty-two Clicks demanded.
“The main thermal of this investigation was Private Psmith’s injury,” the Wing Commander stated, shoving a small stack of datapads to the side of his desk so he could pull up the grotesque injury information in the projection. “I went to the medical ward to sympathize with him, there was no thought of investigation in my mind, but, even taking the effects of the drugs into account, he was oddly reticent to discuss the cause of his injury. At first I assumed this was pride causing him to refuse to discuss a particularly foolish action, however his manner seemed to truculent for that.”
“Truculence,” Twenty-two Clicks interjected with a thoughtful hiss. “Now that you bump me that way the humans on base have been rather over truculent-”
“Over what time frame?” the wing commander demanded.
“Over exactly this time frame,” Twenty-two Clicks responding indicating the increases accidents shown on the graph. “Also they have increased their safety protocols in response to our presence. I had been curious about it at the time, but didn’t feel the need to report a sudden increase in safety mindfulness-”
“Let’s make putting a new regulation in about that on our front teeth shall we?” Wing Commander Five Trills interjected in a dry tone.
Twenty-two Clicks gave a raspy laugh.
“Probably a decent vector,” he admitted. “I’ll add over conscientiousness about safety to the suggested paranoia file.”
The wing commander emitted a tired laugh that trailed off into a sigh as he rubbed his horns.
“I think it’s safe to say that whatever is causing this issue was something they saw coming,” Twenty-two Clicks stated.
“Did they give you any reason for the increased security?” the wing commander asked, shifting on his perch into a more comfortable position.
“I do recall that they suggested a connection between the precautions and the shift change,” Twenty-two Clicks stated.
“The shift change for the observations of the night terrors?” Five Trills asked.
Twenty-two Clicks flicked his ears in confirmation as he pulled up the schedule for the base.
“The spiky-dark moth survey as the humans call it,” Twenty-two Clicks went on. “The night terrors are such a nuisance, even a danger, to us it just made sense to delegate handling them to the humans.”
“Did the humans object?” the wing commander asked.
“Not in the least,” Twenty-two Clicks replied with an amused flick of his ears. “They called it the perfect seasonal work. “Hunting night terrors in spooky season” is what they called it.”
“Could their be a superstitious element to the behavior change?” Five Trills asked.
“Possibly,” Twenty-two Clicks said slowly, “I know humans don’t like discussing their personal superstitions very much, but I don’t think that is a major thermal in the issue. They were treating it more like a physical issue in theirselves. I recall Psmith specifically stating that the shift in schedules, ‘night hours’ he called it, would ‘mess him up until he adjusted’.”
“So there is an expectation that the problem will resolve itself,” the wing commander stated. “Still I would like to find out what exactly it is about shifting from a daylight hour shift to moonlight hour shift that ‘messes up’ the humans so bad.”
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What does it mean when your human friend says “Watch This?”? Why does this simple phrase seem to terrify any alien that has first appendage experience with humans? #HFY #HumansAreWeird #HumansAreSpaceOrcs #EarthIsADeathWorld #EarthIsSpaceAustralia
Hey! The books are moving well on Amazon and now have 300 reviews and ratings! If you bought the book and enjoyed it, it would really help me out if you leave a quick star rating on Amazon. A review would be great but just stars would be a huge boost *****!
QUICK NOTE: RE: everyone who asked. The book is avaliable in Amazon regions US-UK-DE-FR-ES-IT-NL-JP-BR-CA-MX-AU-IN. HOWEVER The above link only takes you to the US Amazon site. The one indicated by the .com ending. If it says "not avaliable in your country" that just means that you need to click over to your Amazon region.
Of course if you want a signed first edition you can email me at the email on my website and I can ship you a signed Author copy of the first edition for the same price as the crowdfunding campaign $35 domestic and $60 overseas. I'll do that until I run out of extra books.