“Commander Grrank,” the voice of the security officer cracked over the comm, interrupting Commander’s Grranks review of the latest inventory.
“Yes Captain Graln?” He responded, reaching over to scratch the microphone on.
“There has been a manual security alert in the primary corridor,” Captain Graln said slowly.
“Are you at optimal temperature Captain?” Commander Grrank demanded, narrowing his nostrils in concern.
“Perhaps my thoughts are not,” Captain Graln replied.
But Commander Grrank could hear his security officer shake himself and began speaking more briskly.
“The security alert. I have never seen this exact pattern.” Captain Graln explained.
“What is the pattern?” The commander asked.
“Five diamonds over mesh.” Captain Graln answered, his teeth grinding together in confusion.
Commander Grrank remained silent, waiting for the rest of the pattern but Captain Graln remained still.
“All I can gather from that,” Commander Grrank, finally replied. “Is that the ranking officer, namely me, needs to deal with this personally.”
“That was my conclusion as well,” Captain Graln agreed.
“Who reported this?” Commander Grrank asked as he slipped off his couch and pulled his utility harness over his shoulders.
“It is a community report,” Captain Graln replied.
“So who reported it?” Commander Grrank asked, flicking his nostrils in annoyance.
“All of them,” Captain Graln answered.
“All of them,” Commander Grrank repeated.
“Every member of the base who isn’t you, me, or that private who is stuck in med-bay for frost-bite.” Captain Graln assured him.
“And what is the location of the disturbance?” Commander Grrank asked.
“The main corridor,” Captain Graln replied.
Commander Grrank stopped in front of the door and ran his clenched claws over the scales on his forehead.
“Where in the main corridor?” he asked.
“It’s full length,” Captain Graln said.
Commander Grrank stopped and narrowed his nostrils again.
“Is the human involved?” he asked.
“Oh yes,” Captain Graln said. “The human was the other one who didn’t report the event.”
“The scent thickens,” Commander Grrank muttered as he stalked through the door.
He found the disturbance easily enough. He had to all but climb over three geologists who were crouched in the door that led to the main corridor. They were apparently fascinated by the source of a rhythmic thumping sound that was passing up and down the corridor. The source of the sound was the human biologist who had been assigned to the base. He was clutching a data pad in one of his hands, glancing at it occasionally as he fell down the corridor.
“It think it must be true that they have a secondary brain in their lower spinal column to control their bipedal walking,” one of the geologists observed.
“Do you think that the secondary brain took over his physical functions while the main brain was distracted by preparing for the conference?” Commander Grrank asked as he followed the human’s movements with one eye.
“There is no secondary brain,” another of the geologists snapped. “That is a myth.”
“Then why would the primary brain be dictating this behavior?” the first asked.
Commander Grrank gave a grumble of irritation and thrust his forequarters out into the corridor.
“Human!” he barked out, pumping extra power into his vocal chords.
The human kept walking for several paces before he slowed. His head rotated slowly and his predatory binocular eyes swept the higher levels of the corridor blankly for the disturbance.
“Human!” the commander barked again.
The human seemed to focus on the sounds and rotated his body to blink slowly at the commander. They stared at each over for several long moments before the commander spoke.
“What are you doing human?” he demanded.
“I’m,” the human paused, reaching up to sweep his fibrous radiation scales away from his eyes, “I’m just prepping for the presentation.” He replied.
“Does this require you to take up the entire main corridor?” Commander Grrank demanded.
The human stared at him for several long moments. The round eyes unfocused and the head bobbed.
“Yeah, pacing helps me get my thoughts together,” the human finally replied.
Commander Grrank eyed him skeptically.
“Do you think you could do this pacing during the night cycle?” he suggested. “You are making the corridor unusable for your fellow scientists.”
“No,” the human shook his head slowly. “I need to get this done…but I can do it outside!”
“Outside,” the commander said. “Where the temperature is currently well below the freezing point of your blood.”
“Yeah, yeah,” the human said with a wave of one of his wide, flat hands. “I’ll put on a coat and hat, and all that.”
“I cannot allow-“ Commander Grrank began.
“No, no it’s cool,” the human said as he headed for the exit lock. “The pacing will keep me warm. Warm blooded and all that. Cheers.”
Dozens of pointed green noses poked out of doors and dozens of amber eyes stared after the human as he passed through the inner airlock door. Then they turned in confusion on the commander.
“Are we going to allow that?” the medic asked.
“How do you propose we stop that?” Commander Grrank indicated the sealed door with a flick of his tail. “Warm blooded and all that indeed.”