“Other than the near universal desire to keep useful items ordered and readily available, no I do not know of any particular human proclivity for storage compartments,” Ninth Sister said.
The Winged commander sighed and ran his winghooks over his sensory horns. Ninth Sister felt his feet grip her shoulders as he shifted.
“Perhaps you should come observe the phenomena for yourself,” he suggested.
“You can predict this behavior?” Ninth Sister asked.
“Under certain conditions yes,” he replied. “The human in question is currently in her quarterly review and will demonstrate the behavior quite nicely if the patter holds. We should be able to observe it from that round table by the cafe.”
Ninth Sister took the hint and strolled over to the table. The server, a respectably sized human who only came to her antenna tips came out to take their order and retreated back into the establishment. The Winged commander flitted up to the crossbeams that supported the solar shade and hung with his beady little eyes pointed at the door to the administration office. The server brought out a chilled nectar for Ninth Sister and a dish of protein crystals for the Winged commander. He flitted down to the table to snatch one up and held it between his needle like teeth as they waited. Ninth Sister dipped her siphon into the refreshing drink and watched with mild interest as the protein crystal began to form a red froth around the Winged’s teeth. The forth crept out and covered his lips before his tongue flicked out and began licking it.
“You know the human’s consider this habit one of the most terrifying,” she observed.
“One of the main reasons they call us Hellbats,” he gurgled back at her.
Her antenna flexed down to wipe her mandibles in disgust and she barely managed to contain the reaction. Fortunately the Winged seemed not to understand the gesture and kept happily licking the froth off of his lips. He had finished the first crystal and started on a second when the door of the administration room irised open.
A single human stalked out. It was one of the newer resident professors. A midsized female with light golden coloration and the pigment-less eyes the humans called blue. Ninth Sister tilted her head curiously at the woman. She was clenching a notebook tightly in one hand. She came just far enough out of the administration room for the door to cycle shut and then her chest expanded in that peculiar mammalian behavior. The fleshly lids blinked over her eyes several times and then she abruptly turned and strode along the wall of the building complex.
“Now you will see,” the Winged commander said with a smug note in his voice. “There she goes.”
“And you say she was simply engaging in her quarterly assessment?” Ninth Sister asked.
“I am sure of it,” the Winged said. “As a commander I have access to the schedule. There!”
“That is in fact the supply storage facility,” Ninth Sister said as the human opened the door and stepped in. “Perhaps she simply needs to get supplies?”
“After every quarterly assessment?” the Winged demanded. “And she never leaves with anything she didn’t take in there with-”
“Silence!” Ninth Sister suddenly snapped, her frill flaring and her antenna perking up.
In an instant Ninth Sister was on her feet and bolting across the green space towards the storage compartment. The Winged commander took off after her and managed to grab onto her kilt.
“What got in your horns?” he demanded.
“Can’t you hear that?” she hissed.
“Hear what?” the Winged commander asked.
“It must be too low for you to register,” Ninth Sister said.
Her long loping stride had taken them to the door of the storage area and Ninth Sister yanked the door open and called out.
“Human-” Ninth Sister stopped and glanced down at the Winged commander with a feeling of consternation as she realized she didn’t know the human’s name.
“Professor Nowak,” the Winged commander supplied helpfully.
Professor Nowak was crouched on the floor of the storage space. She had snapped her head around when Ninth Sister opened the door and was staring at them with her eyes so wide that the whites were clearly visible all the way around her irises. Her notebook was clenched between her teeth and the rear claw of a low scream was tapering off.
“Would you like to come join us Professor Nowak?” Ninth Sister asked .
Professor Nowak disengaged her jaw with visible effort of the muscles along her neck and fell back on her padded hips. She stared quietly at them for a moment before closing her eyes, tossing her head back, and bursting out into laughter.
“Ay, did I make you worried Freinds?” she asked.
“I will admit to some concern when I heard you screaming,” Ninth Sister admitted.
“A little help up?” the human asked, holding up her hand.
Ninth Sister reached out a hand and braced her rear legs to pull. The Winged commander flitted over and made a show of pulling up on the human’s thumb. The human laughed and stood with Ninth Sister’s help.
“A joker you are,” Professor Nowak said. “I suppose you want an explanation for why I’m hiding in a storage locker screaming my lungs out ay?”
“I for one would appreciate it,” Ninth Sister said.
“Well thanks for coming to check on me,” the human said. “But it’s nothing serious. I had my quarterly today you know?”
“I am aware,” Ninth Sister said.
“Well I get,” the human squinted as they stepped out into the natural light, “overly anxious about it. So I deal with it by over prepping. Keeps me focused like.”
“That sounds reasonable,” Ninth Sister agreed.
“But I always over prepare,” Professor Nowak went on. “So I come out and I have all that extra nervous energy built up and nowhere to spend it productively. So I just find a nice quiet place and scream the rest of it off. Perfectly normal ay?”
She flashed her teeth at them and then turned to jog off towards the research offices.
“Is it?” the Winged commander asked.
“Is it what?” Ninth Sister asked.
“Perfectly normal to find a human curled up in the corner screaming,” he clarified.
“I do not know,” she replied.
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.