The arrival hub of the Proxima Space Station was buzzing with the usual amount of life and noise when Shiftssubtly swam up to the check in counter. The chaotic color scheme that the humans preferred seemed appropriate to the interior of this section that they had contributed, if not particularly conductive to quiet thoughts, something that Shiftssubtly was rather in want of. He joined the waiting cluster at the terminal and absently exchanged greetings with the other returning undulates. He gave vent to a wriggle of amusement at the energetic antics of a small child traveling secured to one of her parents. She appeared to be attempting to describe a group of Shatar who were briskly striding over them. The cluster slowly rotated as each member passed the inspection and new members arrived.
“How was your exploratory outing with your human friend?” the clerk asked as Shiftssubtly regretfully abandoned his light touch on the little one and swam forward for his inspection.
Shiftssubtly wasn’t quite sure how the clerk knew what he had been doing but shrugged the question off.
“Rather confusing,” Shiftssubtly admitted. “I suspect I may have misinterpreted the purpose of the outing.”
“Please extend and rotate,” the clerk gestured to him. “Interesting, do go on.”
Shiftssubtly knew that these clerks were trained professionals. Their interest and concern was a considered a medical necessity to reintegrate Undulates who had been isolated for long periods or time back into a healthy culture. Therefore their responses were always somewhat sterile, but this clerk seemed genuinely interested. It was pleasant.
“This road trip,” Shiftssubtly explained, “Human Friend Bryant explained it to me as an attempt to make himself more familiar with the geography and natural resources of the Shatar controlled portion of Proxima Beta. He also said that they had the best roads of any planet he had been on since Earth.”
“That sounds,” the clerk agreed. “Only the Shatar build their transport currents to anything approaching human specifications.”
“We rented a wheel and axle based transport and spent the better part of the first two days modifying it for comfort.” Shiftssubtly went on. “I noted the seeming waste of time but Human Friend Bryant seemed unconcerned. Then we spent most of the third day securing foodstuffs for the human.”
“Was the local Shatar hive not able to offer much from their gardens?” the clerk asked. “Now alternate the rotation patterns for the scanner, that’s it.”
“They were able to provide us with ample food,” Shiftssubtly went on. “Human Friend Bryant seemed to want some very specific food types. They were not all Earth native but they all seemed to share certain traits. These did make them ideal for storage without refrigeration, but I am afraid that it also made them less than optimally healthy for Human Friend Bryant. He would not even let me try some of them and you know that our digestive systems are usually very comparable. The Second Father from the local garden was so distressed over what he saw of the foodstuffs that Human Friend Bryant actually decided to sneak out of the Garden rather than explain the situation.”
“You were only gone for five days,” observed the clerk. “One more rotation and we will be done with the scan set.”
“Then there is that,” Shiftssubtly admitted. “That was the most confusing part. Rather than choose one location to explore in depth Human Friend Bryant just loaded us both into the transport and drove straight along the road until we ran out of time. He only stopped to relieve his physical needs and to get fresh water for my transport tank. Not only that I was observing his eyes the whole time. You know that you can figure out generally what they are observing if you do the math based on how their eyes are aligned? Well his eyes never seemed to leave the road ahead of us. I doubt he observed the area in any detail at all.”
“Very odd,” the clerk agreed. “You are clear. Welcome back to the space station. Remember that the gravity fluctuates between the general areas and the human’s training areas.”
Shiftssubtly gave the clerk a grateful pat as he swam away into the base. The whole trip had been odd, enjoyable, what with the friendly conversation and the generally pleasant temperatures, but Shiftssubtly had to admit that he was no wisee about the ultimate purpose of a road-trip than before he had gone on one.
"Humans are Weird: I Have the Data"
Why do humans insist on domesticating apex predators? Why are they so delighted by retractable claws? #HFY #HumansAreWeird #HumansAreSpaceOrcs #EarthIsADeathWorld #EarthIsSpaceAustralia
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Hey! The books are moving well on Amazon and now have 105 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 *****!
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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 $50 overseas. I'll do that until I run out of extra books.