“While there are toxic minerals present in this water you will find that the concentrations are far too low to-”
The pleasant droning of Dropssuddenly’s voice was the perfect background to their day of relaxation in the surging surf of the campus beaches. Flipsover listened with a few trailing appendages as he happily sifted the majority of his appendages through the rough silica substrate while the surf pushed and tugged at his center of gravity. Thick, all but inedible algae leafs slapped against his side and tiny crustations swarmed around him.
The thick atmosphere filtered the lights above to pulsating blues and violets laced through with faint greens. The silica rich sand caught that like and reflected, refracted, and radiated back wave upon wave of soothing, healing light. The Marine Biology College domes rose behind them, gleaming with their exterior solar collectors. Around these spread the dense grasslands of the largest island on the planet. Swimming through this riot of glittering colors were the towering forms of the humans, for once revealing the majority of their outer membranes. Their glowing stripes were faded in the brilliance of the solar day of course but the warmth of the atmosphere filtered sunlight gave the subdued stripes a healthful look that Flipsover had never observed before.
“This has already been on of the most informative and delightful rest days I have spent! Flipsover couldn’t help touching onto the elder Undulate who hardly seemed like he would disagree.
However Dropssuddenly had noted a creature in the water that illustrated the point he was making about mineral balance quite nicely and began to eagerly chase it for demonstration purposes. The little thing, barely an appendage-width from leading to lagging end, moved quite well and apparently did not want to be captured by either of them. They took off after their goal at first with vigor, then with speed, then with the steady endurance Dropssuddenly tried to teach in all of his field classes. By the time Flipsover had maneuvered his smaller mass to catch the wriggling creature that seemed to be all lacy and fragile membranes they were much further down the beach than they had been.
The curves of the sand and grasslands hid the College buildings but recreating humans still moved along and spread out over the beach. Flipsover thoughtfully left at least one appendage to attend to what Dropssuddenly was saying about the creature while he watched a pair of clusters of humans seemingly flinging themselves and their limbs into the air at random while some sort of drone flew around smashing into their clenched ‘fists’ or open ‘hands’. It took Flipsover all of a wave pulse to completely lose interest in what Dropssuddenly was saying and it took Dropssuddenly another several wave-pulses to realize he had lost his student.
“As impossible as it seems,” Dropssuddenly said with a very amused set to his appendages. “That drone has no antigrav feature in it.”
“How can that be?” Flipsover demanded, idly noting that Dropssuddenly had released the creature back into the water. “It has no flight surfaces at all! Or even gripping surfaces for a human with their stubby gripping appendage. It is nothing but a sphere on the exterior!”
“And it is noting but a well engineered sphere in the interior as well,” Dropssuddenly replied coming up to him and placing a restraining appendage on him when Flipsover would have moved forward for a better view. “Note how dry the sand is here, and note how disturbed it is. This is their designated play surface and if you shuffle a bit here-”
Dropssuddenly demonstrated a quick shuffle with his primary gripping appendages that revealed a long warning tape that had gotten buried in the sand.
“Here, aid me in shifting the sand to make this visible again. A barefooted human is no real danger to us of course but it is never pleasant to be stepped on,” the older Undulate went on.
As soon as they started resetting the warning tape a few humans who had been observing the writhing humans rose from their reclining positions and came to help with resetting the tape.
“How does the drone stay up with no flight surfaces and no antigrav?” Flipsover asked once they had found a good work rhythm.
“It is simply a synthetic envelope shaped into a sphere,” Dropssudenly explained. “The game goes like this. One human rests the sphere in the ‘palm’ of their ‘hand’ and lets gravity hold it there.”
Dropssuddenly paused to let that information soak in and Flipsover gave a flick of understanding. Their ‘palms’ were a large enough gripping surface he supposed.
“Then the human strikes the sphere into a downward opening parabola with his other hand,” Dropssuddenly went on and again Flipsover gave the flick of understanding.
“On the other side of the net the opposing team of humans moves into position to prevent the sphere from striking the sand. They may only use their cranial surfaces or their gripped appendages to give it enough momentum in the appropriate direction, angle, and velocity so that the sphere returns to the humans on the other side. They repeat this until the system fails and the sphere touches the sand.”
Flipsover was sure, certain that he had heard every tone the mentor had sounded and seen every gesture the mentor had used. Still the game he described made no sense.
“The humans are using the spatial reasoning and binocular vision to track the sphere,” Dropssuddenly explained in slow patient tones, “like we were doing to catch that sea slug.”
Flipsover felt himself tremble in awe as the concept slowly soaked in.
“But the slug is so slow and deliberate naturally,” Flipsover said in a cautious tone, “and it was floating in water. The sphere the humans are using is being accelerated by gravity through gas…”
He realized with a tremble of excitement that what he had taken for random writhing was in fact no such thing.
“The humans are deliberately moving like that?” Flipsover demanded.
“That they are,” Dropssuddenly replied with a gentle pat, “that they are! And these humans have hardly any competitive feeling in them. They only do this for pleasure. Wait until you see Human Friend Sledgehammer Sally lead her pod! You will not be able to track the motion of the sphere without special equipment it moves so fast.”
Please go and leave a new rating and review on my 2nd book!
Barnes & Noble
Google Play Books
Kobo By Rakuten
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 180 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.