“So, those are the infamous seal-snakes,” Ranger Belts observed as he stood on his hind-paws and gripped the middle bar of the safety rail in his fore-claws.
The salt spray from the icy water tickled his nostrils and he had to force himself to keep his nostril slits open. The smell was strange, alien. Dead marine flesh was perhaps the only discernible odor and even that was different from what he was used to back home. Theoretically he should recognize the scent of the algae that covered every damp surface of the land and seabed, but even a hatchling knew that a sample in the lab wouldn’t smell the same as even the exact species in a wild environment. He blinked his inner eyelids to clear his vision and stared out at the writhing mass of golden life that had taken over what was originally meant to be this station’s primary water surface level boat dock. The air was full of their soft murmuring vocalizations.
“Yup,” Ranger Darryl stated from where he had crossed those preposterously long human fore-limbs over the topmost bar of the safety rail.
Ranger Belts leaned companionably into the mass of his partner’s thigh so he could swish his tail thoughtfully as they examined the infestation. Elder seal-snakes, their long ragged fur bright with decades of symbiotic algae growth poked out of the mass at intervals. Individual eyes open, nearly completely silver with age. Ranger Belts knew from research that their thick coils would make up most of the pile. Breeding age females, their fur glowing bright golden formed the next layer, distinguishable from the males only because of the patchiness of their fur. The sleek, smaller breeding age males writhed lazily over the top of the females in the hot noonday sun. Around the dock the water teemed with young seal snakes darting about in what any species could identify as play behavior.
“This would be downright delightful if they hadn't commandeered our dock,” Ranger Belts said ruefully. “Even with human lifting and gripping capability, loading and unloading the research equipment must be difficult with so little machinery on this world.”
“It’s a pain,” Ranger Darryl replied.
Ranger Belts waited for some exposition to this comment, but his companion seemed to have completed his reply at least to his own satisfaction. The reptilian ranger started mulling over the words but had made little progress when the human suddenly altered his position, forcing Ranger Belts to drop his own tail for balance. Above him the humans broad chest expanded and then emitted a honking hiss. Ranger Belts was trying to figure out if this was human speech, or what the human thought was reptilian speech when the dock in front of them suddenly erupted in chaos. Every one of the seal-snakes uncoiled and began writhing over the dock. The sleek young males flopped off to the side yelping. The patchy females began honk-hissing in turn and than began biting at each other with quick snatching movements. The elders raised their heads meters above the docks on long swaying stocks, honk-hissing in deep, nearly booming disapproval.
Ranger Belts glanced between the now laughing human and the chaos he had initiated on the dock. However instead of offering any explanation the human turned and strolled back up the ramp to the main laboratory. Ranger Belts licked his eyes one more time and then dropped to all fours as he followed after. Somehow, starting a seal-snake riot was amusing to the human. That was, interesting information about the sole other sapient inhabitant of this island.
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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
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