“Private Smith, Private Smith!” Fifty-Third Click shirked out between clicks of delighted amusement and he darted out of the afternoon sun and into the cool shade of the largest storage shed on the base. “Private Larson just fell into the south pond! Don’t worry. It’s not the one we get our food water out of! It’s the smaller one down below! Private Larson was carrying the big hamper just full of your soft white undergarments! The special ones the officers use with the word stitching in them! He slipped on the mud of the trail and because he was more concerned with keeping the undergarments from falling out of the hamper than keeping himself out of the spring he over balanced and just stumbled right into the really deep part! He was squelching and thrashing but by the Royal Family he kept that hamper level and clear of the mud! At least, he did, until the deep hole got him and he just sunk right down! Then the hamper hit the water and rocked a bit, and I guess that’s when Private Larson remembered that the hampers are waterproof and seal the top on contact with water to protect the contents because that was when he started swearing! So he pushed-”
“Fifty-Third Click!” Private Smith said in a firm but amused tone. “You’re chattering way too high for me to make sense of! All I got outta that was that you’re going on about Lars.”
The human set down the compound joint he had been cleaning with a micorfiber cloth and shoved his water stained hat up off of his forehead, revealing a swath of the saline rich water beads that humans extruded when they were heat stressed. Fifty-Third Click immediately swelled out his diaphragm to sound out the ridiculously low range vocalizations humans required, but he hesitated to speak as most of his attention was focused on where he could land on the human that was not slightly damp. He finally decided that a standard shoulder perch would be best even if it did get his feet a bit wet.
“Private Larson fell in the south pond!” Fifty-Third Click explained, low and slow for the human’s ears. “He-”
Once more his tale was interrupted, this time as the human leap to his feet with a shout of dismay, dislodging Fifty-Third Click’’s ginger footing. Fifty-Third Click took to the air and easily darted ahead of the human into his line of sight.
“Why didn’t you tell me that first thing?” Private Smith demanded as his massive trunks of legs slowly accelerated around the various containers scattered on the ground, gradually dragging his swaying center of mass towards the closest exit point large enough for a human.
“I did tell you that the very first thing!” Fifty-Third Click exclaimed. “It’s unfortunate you had to get up so fast just now because there is so much more to the story and it takes so much of your attention to walk safely, but after Private Larson had gotten-”
At that moment Private Smith’s face contorted so horribly that Fifty-Third Click completely changed the tack of his speech.
“What is wrong with you face Private Smith?” Fifty-Third Click demanded, feeling proud that he remembered to keep his voice low so the human could hear him clearly. “It’s all contorted and your eyes are contracting. Why are you putting up your hand as if to block a blow? There is nothing falling from above us. Oh! You are blocking out the sun light! That’s right your eyes don’t adjust to light changes as quickly as ours! Let me just angle down to get a better look at that round muscle contracting. Ha! All your muscular movements are so-”
The hot afternoon air was suddenly ripped apart as Private Smith’s body gave one great spasm and ejected a blast of air from his flaring nostrils. Fifty-Third Click had just enough time to see, and identify the projectile wave of moisture particles that shot out at him before they peppered into this entire body. His delicate nostril frills were first struck by, then coated by the viscous droplets. The stiff guard hairs that protected his inner ears bent and pulled as they preformed their function. Of course his eyelids automatically shut, his lips closed, and his inner nostrils irised shut before the first droplet struck, but there was no protection for his four exposed sensory horns. They felt the clammy orbs strike one at a time even after they were coated. He could swear that he felt the humans microfauna crawling over them. He was now blind, half deaf, scentless, and near flailing.
The force of the wind alone blew him back several wing lengths before his wings automatically rebalanced him. He suddenly sensed something solid beneath his feet and gladly grabbed onto what could only be a human hand. He was aware that Private Smith was speaking very quickly for a human but couldn’t quite make out what was being said. No doubt the well trained Ranger was going to take him to a cleansing bath-
Sudden horror struck Fifty-Third Click.
“Dust!” he shrieked out, peeling open his coated lips. “Dust! Not water! Whatever you do don’t put me in the human eyewash station! Oh, First Wing you are going to turn the water shower on me!”
With another stab of horror he realized he wasn’t speaking low enough for the human to hear. However before he could begin to struggle there was a rush and the clammy feeling on his horns turned to a caked dusty feeling and with a surge of relief Fifty-Third Click realized that Private Smith had remembered to use the sterile dust pack instead of the human rated water. For a moment Fifty-Third Click was simply focused on getting the clammy feeling off of his sensory horns. With a start he realized that there were two new sore spots on his head when his winghooks brushed over them. Scabs! What a time to realize his next set was coming in!
That thought was interrupted when the hand he was sitting in suddenly flipped over and shook as if trying to dislodge him. He panicked and dug his claws into the tough human flesh. He felt on claw actually pierce Private Smith’s skin and with another, different tack of panic as his sensitive leg fur detected the flow of a far more viscous liquid than sweat. He let go and felt his claw pull out of the skin. He toppled side first into a pile of dust on a soft, cloth surface. He sent an apologetic chirp up to the friend he had mentally slandered. Of course Private Smith wouldn’t have just dumped him blind and half deaf on the ground Fifty-Third Click reasoned, now that he could reason as the blessed dust absorbed the liquid and peeled the bacteria he knew was there off of him.
As he calmed down he started to wonder where exactly he was. He pried one eye open to see the weave of the cloth humans made their low grade personal solar radiation shields from. Clearly Private Smith had dumped him and the emergency dust into his, hat, he believed the humans called it, in order to make Fifty-Third Click a nice dust bath. The hat was mostly closed at the top and was swinging with the soothing rhythm of a human running. The bright, afternoon sun peaked through the water-drop shape gap that the cloth left and his own comfort rapidly returning Fifty-Third Click felt a flap of unease for Private Smith’s exposed scalp. Private Smith’s fur shield was thinning recently after all. The swaying stopped and two human human voices began speaking. Realizing that the second voice was Private Larson, and that his eyes were reasonably clear now, Fifty-Third Click stuck his head out of the improvised dust bath and grinned over at the bedraggled human. It was rather nice to be able to enjoy the chaos of watching a friend fall in the water without serious consequences. Private Larson looked down at him with a rueful grin.
“So you flew off to get me help?” Private Larson asked. “That was cricket of you.”
“Nope!” Fifty-Third Click cheerfully replied. “I ran off to laugh at you with Private Smith! It was clear you were safe.”
“Then why didn’t you tell him I didn’t need-” Private Larson squinted at Fifty-Third Click’s dust caked head. “What happened to you?”
“He!” Fifty-Third Click jabbed an accusing winghook up at Private Smith, “sneezed on me!”
“Stepped out into the sun too fast,” Private Smith explained when Private Larson directed his eyes up at the other human. “Blinded me and gave me a sun sneeze.”
“So for future reaction tacks I should avoid the sneeze zone when a human is moving quickly from shade to sun,” Fifty-Third said, exposing as many teeth as he could. “That would have been handy to know about ten minutes ago!”
“Sorry little buddy,” Private Smith said, but his mouth was twitching in a poor attempt to hide a smile.
Fifty-Third Click huffed and ducked back into his dust bath. He would feel bad about Private Smith solar radiation exposure later. Right now he had human microfauna to clean out of his fur.
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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
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