Humans are Weird – Palindrome
“Want to see something cool?” Human friend Susan asked of the room at large when she came through the inner airlock.
There was an amber colored flurry of movement in the central perch tree as the Winged left the exterior perches and sought cover in the inner compartments. Three Undulates eased under the surface of the rest pool without so much as a ripple. Five Trisk sprinted up the ladders to a higher level catwalk, putting them conveniently out of Human Friend Susan’s line of binocular sight.
Krs’ktt suddenly found himself regretting his last promotion. If he were still a lowly sub-commander he could have justified joining his subordinates on the higher levels. As it was being the ranking officer in the communal room meant it was his duty to determine if they over-enthusiastic biologist had brought back anything particularly horrific from her rounds. The quarantine protocols should have prevented any such thing being dangerous but this human in particular had proven quite adept at finding creatures, items, and … well the only proper word for them was monstrosities that somehow did not meet the criteria for exclusion.
“I would be very interested in seeing this cool thing,” Krs’ktt said aloud as he walked to the edge of his work surface.
The human grinned and held up her datapad at about hip height. Krs’ktt felt the tension in the room drop dramatically. She had only brought back documentation. A few tentative sensory appendages poked out of the pool, paired black eyes peered out of the perch tree, and his traitorous kin edged to look down at what Human Friend Susan was showing him. He relaxed even further as he saw not the expected visual image recreation (nothing needed as many organs as the last carcass she had photographed had displayed) but only the standard data entry screen. He loosened his joints in relief and tilted his head to the side curiously.
“I am afraid I cannot recognize any pattern in this data set,” he said with an apologetic wave of his primary gripping leg. “Perhaps another biologist might-“
“No! No!” she interrupted with a laugh.
Krs’ktt fought back a wave of bristling annoyance.
“The metadata!” Human Friend Susan went on. “Look at that data point. I think it’s seventh from the bottom.”
“That is a data point,” Krs’ktt said.
Human Friend Susan laughed.
“It’s a numerical palindrome in the standard Core font!” she said.
She looked at him expectantly.
“What is a palindrome?” Krs’ktt asked.
“Oh,” Human Friend Susan blinked and her head tilted as she thought over her response. “It means the written item reads the same in both linear directions.”
Krs’ktt angled his primary eyes at the screen and tapped a knee joint thoughtfully.
“I do not see the pattern,” he finally said.
Human Friend Susan’s face wrinkled and she turned the screen to look at it.
“This one,” she said, touching the beginning of the indicated line.
“It is not symmetrical,” Krs’ktt pointed out.
“Leave out the punctuation,” Human Friend Susan suggested.
“It is still not symmetrical,” Krs’ktt argued. “Not that I can see. It has an odd number of digits.”
“Well just cut the central naught in half!” Human Friend Susan pressed.
The Undulates where all heaved out of the water now, waving their appendages attentively at the interaction. The Winged had taken to the air and were circling closer. Krs’ktt stretched out a bit and waved the Winged commander down.
“What do you thing Fifteenth Click?” he asked politely.
The amber Winged hovered in front of the screen a moment.
“I do not see this as symmetrical even with those specifications,” he said. “The tails on the threes alone would-“
“But aside from the little stuff!” Human Friend Susan interrupted.
Fifteenth Click and Krs’ktt glanced at each other curiously.
“We do not see the pattern Human Friend Susan,” Krs’ktt finally said with as much firmness as he could muster.
“Well it’s there,” Human Friend Susan said cheerfully. “I thought it was cool. Well ciao .”
She dropped the datapad in her hip pouch and strolled towards the kitchens.
“Cool,” Liftsgently spoke from the pool. “She uses the same designation for a single datapoint with an unusual pattern in the metadata as she does for a container full of fungal reanimated insect corpses.”
Krs’ktt stretched out his legs and returned to his work space as the common room fell into the usual noisy discussion that followed their human’s return.