“Yes,” Third Flap said, slicking back the fur between his sensory horns, “we are quite pleased with how well the humans have integrated into our base.”
“There has been no issues with the necessary exclusion?” Prince Trill asked.
The two of them were flapping around the main pillars of the base, enjoying the afternoon thermals and Third Flap had decided to give the visiting monarch an impromptu tour of the colony’s facilities. The scraggly things that mimicked trees were nothing to inspire the same awe as the deep forests back home, but the sturdy buildings carved into the arid landscape had its own sort of beauty.
“Not the slightest,” Third Flap said with a contented smile. “First of all the humans understand on a very visceral level that they are far too large to fit into the old, pre-contact infrastructure second we have been making every effort to involve them virtually. There is a virtual tour available for their three-dimensional imaging system that not only allows them to explore every section of the base one of us can reach, but integrates the live security feeds where that is practicable.”
Third Flap paused in his description and gave a chuckle.
“It has even come in practical on some very unexpected levels,” he said. “A class five vial of hazardous material was misplaced and the humans used the virtual system to help us find it.”
“Ah yes,” Prince Trill said with a slow nod, “I read that report. The system they developed using the cleaning drones was quite innovative. I meant to ask you for a personal telling of the story.”
“I would be more than pleased to!” Third Flap agreed. “The humor alone makes it worth the telling.”
“A colony threatening virus was almost lost,” Prince Trill observed in a dry tone, “and you mention the humor first?”
“Almost!” Third Flap announced with a cheerful chitter of his teeth. “Wonderful word that. Well, as the humans say-”
From the massive window they were passing came an agonized groan that vibrated them to their horntips and Third Flap, paused waiting for the sound to cease before finishing.
“-no one bled, no one died, time to move on!”
He was several flaps past the window before he realized that Prince Trill had darted to the frame and was scratching at the control panel. Third Flap circled around and landed beside the visiting prince. He wondered how loudly it was permissible to clear your throat at royalty not currently in the canopy.
“Prince Trill,” Third Flap inquired. “Why are you using your override codes to open a random office window?”
“Are you deaf?” Prince Trill demanded, shooting him a frantic look.
“I am not,” Third Flap said slowly, trying to project calm without seeming condesending.
“Didn’t you hear that scream?” Prince Trill demanded as the window slowly began to glide open.
Third Flap wrinkled his nose in confusion.
“I heard a groan,” he said.
The prince gaped at him a moment in confusion before shaking his head and gesturing into the office building.
“We need to find out who made that!” he insisted.
“Why?” Third Flap asked.
The prince only glared at him and took off into the room before the window seemed half wide enough. Third Flap sighed and hopped the humans in side had a decent sense of humor. He hopped up and followed the monarch. The artificially cool air of the office stung his sensory horns a bit as he paused to trigger the closing setting on the window. Humans, especially ones struggling with data processing at the end of a long day did not like their micro environments messed with.
Third Flap found a very confused Prince Trill perched on the frame of the overhead lights. The royal was glancing around, presumably looking for the source of what he termed the scream. Third Flap landed beside him and lifted a wing to point at a younger, female human working furiously away at one of the mapping stations. Prince Trill glanced at him in perplexity but followed the gesture with his eyes.
“That is the human who made the sound,” Third Flap explained. “She is one of our best botanists. Sadly she ships out at the end of the season. She is finalizing her mapping efforts now.”
“How do you know that it was her?” Prince Trill asked, “and shouldn’t we offer aid?”
“I am fairly certain,” Third Flap said, “because that was a mapping software groan and she is the only one using mapping software.”
“Excuse me?” Prince Trill asked, gaping at him now.
Third Flap sighed and shrugged.
“I have been managing the base for these humans for nearly ten local years,” he said. “Over that time you learn the basic categories of human sounds of suffering. The sound you heard was some error, either on the human’s part or the machine’s, that resulted in the loss of a significant quantity of work mapping data.”
“You can tell that,” Prince Trill demanded, “just from the sound?”
Third Flap shrugged again.
“You could confirm if you like,” he said gesturing at the human, “but as there is every likely-hood she will be ashamed of a personal error-”
“No, no,” Prince Trill assured him. “I can she that she is the most agitated of the humans present, just-”
He glanced at Third Flap with something of awe and something of pitying horror in his expression.
“That is an impressive skill you have there.”
“Humans tied to data processing machines are somewhat predictable,” he replied with a shrug.
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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 165 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.