“So, is this going to be a formal disciplinary hearing?” Shiftstotheside asked as he examined the information on his datapad.
“No,” Second Sister said as she carefully placed the holorecorder down on the table. “For the first string the Central University has not qualified the human tolerance for distraction when operating heavy equipment, for the second string the human in question has a flawless safety record when it comes to impact accidents.”
She shuffled the papers on her desk and her frill tightened in annoyance.
“The desire to learn and improve oneself is not an impulse that I am prepared to punish,” she clicked softly in her Mother language.
Shiftstotheside hummed in agreement and reached out an appendage to finish the thought string, metaphorically speaking.
“But that must be balanced against physical safety,” he pointed out.
“Added to that the human seems to accept a massive reduction in data retention when utilizing this study method,” Second Sister went on, accepting the assistance without so much as flicking her antenna.
“Really?” Shiftstotheside asked, his interest suddenly stirred afresh.
Second Sister let the antenna nearest him curl in a graceful movement of confirmation as she selected on paper from the pile she held and placed it where his slightly damp examination appendages could hover over it without touching the materiel. Shifstotheside considered the data retention tests and gave soft buzz of confusion.
“This is well below the human average for having listened to the same material for as many times as it says he did,” Shiftstotheside observed.
“Yes,” Second Sister agreed. “Which is hardly surprising considering that the majority of the human’s attention was, and should have been, focused on piloting a ground transport through a dangerous mountain pass.”
“Pardon,” the Undulate raised an appendage and Second Sister couldn’t help the amused flutter of her frill watching her old friend clearly practicing human politeness gestures.
The newest members of the galactic community had already added more than one gesture to the collective awareness but this one seemed both more useful and more universal that the others. Most species had at least one limb or extremity that could be raised in parallel with their main mass. Shiftstotheside had bee a bit slow to adapt but he was trying his best to keep up with his younger collages.
“I am still a little adrift about the geography of this base,” he said. “Here near the university the land is near uniformly flat. Though I am aware of the hazard markers for the terrain outside of the main settlement, I have never really been able to sound their meaning.”
Second Sister clicked in understanding. The movement of the college of hydrocultrual psychology to the Class Five hazard world had been controversial to say the least, but the human’s pledge to maintain a branch in the college had been determined enough of a mitigating factor to offset the many disadvantages, not the least of which was that the only sufficient sources of minerals for both nutrition and research purposes were well within the worst of the hazard zones, necessitating the construction of actual physical roads.
“The hazards are a series of cliffs in the tectonically raised sections of the road,” Second Sister explained.
Shiftstotheside gave an encouraging hum and Second Sister felt her proboscis flick out in amusement. Her explanation so far had clearly been less than satisfactory.
“The waves here are very large and powerful,” she went on. “They have eroded the side of the mountain the road goes over to the point where it is nearly a ninety degree angle from the surface the road is on to the rocks below.”
“A fall from such a place would be both likely and bad,” Shiftstotheside said with the firmness that most species expressed when they were processing something that was entirely out of their perception profile.
“Indeed,” Second Sister replied. “At the speed that the humans prefer to pilot the transports, combined with their reaction times it becomes a fairly dangerous proposition.”
“And the human is deliberately distracting himself with learning complex subjects during the time he is supposed to be focused on this dangerous piloting assignment,” Shiftstotheside summarized, shifting back to the main string of the conversation.
“Yes,” Second Sister said as her frill drooped in frustration.
The sound of the double beat of the human’s walking pattern approached and Second Sister exchanged a meaningful glance with Shiftstotheside’s primary sensory appendage as the human in question strolled in.
“Yo Sister!” the human male greeted them with a cheerful revelation of teeth. “You wanted to talk to me?”
“That I did,” Second Sister said. “It is about the safety measures you are taking for your current transport duties-”
“Really?” the human’s binocular eyes visibly focused on her. “I’m pretty sure I’m following all the rules.”
“You are,” she agreed. “However I have some questions about your listening material as we have no rules about that.”
“Yet,” Shiftstotheside pointed out in a private gesture the human wouldn’t be able to see.
“My long haul playlist?” the human asked, his face relaxing into a smile. “Oh that’s cool. Boredom is way more dangerous than keeping my brain sharp with podcasts. You can look it up in the psych database. If that’s it!”
The human waved goodbye and strolled out of the room humming a soft tune.
Second Sister considered recalling him to finish the meeting, but she supposed she should look up the relevant data first.
R - 8 and R-7!
We only need 9 more reviews to break 100 reviews on Amazon! There will be an open to all book draw when we reach that goal!
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Hey! The books are moving well on Amazon and now have 93 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.