“Will Human Friend Frank be joining us?” Trst’ck asked as he loaded the cards into the automatic shuffler. “I find his insight into the social rules of this game invaluable.”
“I highly doubt that Second Mechanic will be joining us,” Seventh Sister said as she arranged the glasses of recreational liquid on the surface. “When I passed his work station he was still working at full speed on the report for the Central University.”
“How odd,” Trst’ck said.
“It is hardly odd for a human to procrastinate in my experience,” Ninth Cousin offered when Seventh Sister didn’t seem inclined to comment.
“As a usual habit of the species yes,” Trst’ck observed. “However Human Friend Frank is punctual to a fault. He prepares a schedule every week and updates it daily. I have never known him to procrastinate on an important project.”
“And yet I heard him typing away at his with frantic speed,” Seventh Sister replied.
“I wonder what could have caused this,” Trst’ck mused as he dealt out the cards.
“He misread the report,” Eighty-three trills stated as the flight of Winged zipped into the room carrying small bags of the exploded grain human favored for recreational activities.
The Winged fluttered around distrubing the small bags of the light weight carbohydrate complex. The Shatar accepted theirs eagerly. Their digestive tracts were well adapted to turn the dead carbohydrates into useful energy. Trst’ck found the substance edible but more entertaining than nutritious. From what he observed of the Wingeds’ behavior they agreed, except in a much more energetic way. They were pairing off with one of the lumpy grains and tossing it back and forth in the air.
“It is time to begin playing,” Trst’ck called out as he finished dealing.
The Winged gathered in a cloud for a brief conversation as they appointed three players to land and participate in this hand. They chose three mid-ranking Winged and the rest resumed chasing the ‘popped corn’ around the higher levels of the room. Seventh Sister’s dominant eye was tilted towards the cards but her antenna were flexing with thought that clearly had very little to do with the mathematical calculations the game required. However it was Ninth Cousin who finally spoke up.
“How does a sapient species misread a document?” she asked.
“He read it too fast,” one of the Winged offered from a corner of the room.
“It failed to process,” another pipped up.
“But he did read the instructions,” Ninth Cousin protested. “By all of the Home University’s calculations human’s gain the ability to read even before their secondary sexual characteristics fully manifest. How did he read simple instructions wrong?”
“He explained it to me once,” one of the Winged said. “Some humans read more by sounding the general shape of the words than by following each tracing.”
“But writing is two dimensional to human visual resolution,” she pressed. “How do you sound a two dimensional image?”
“The shape of it,” came the answer from the other side of the room.
“But shape varies with each printing,” Ninth Cousin went on.
“It is standard for official communication,” stated one of the Winged who was currently in the middle of the complicated process of tossing one of the cards to the center of the table.
“The contours along the x and y plains are fairly easy to identify,” said the next Winged to toss a card to the pile.
“So instead of taking a few microseconds longer to properly trace the marks of a writing system he has known for decades,” Ninth Cousin asked, “he simply sounded the shapes, and as a result of the inefficiency of that method he now has to do three weeks of work in the space of one night?”
“Life is a gamble,” the Winged Commander observed.
“It really needn’t be,” Seventh Sister returned.
“I think with some humans it does,” Trst’ck said. “Now as we will not be blessed with the presence of our large mammalian friend when should one of us ‘call’?”
Thank you all so much for your updoots and feedback. It gives me the will to go on. Want to see more? Think about becoming a Patreon. Tea refuses to buy itself and the more time one has to spend on a day job the less time there is for befuddled aliens.