Humans are Weird – Take One For the Team
“I really don’t think that the differences in human and Shatar biology were that different,” Second Father said as he bent his triangular head down to inspect Third Sisters’s frill.
“That internal skeleton of theirs does provide them with impressive strength,” First Grandfather reminded him, “or so I’ve heard. All that calcium tide up in their bodies for their entire live! So expensive! Will Eight Granddaughter need more zinc to cover her main veins do you think?”
“No, I think the lines are thick enough,” Second Father said, making sure to set his antenna in a firm but respectful curl.
First Grandfather was far from too interfering but Second Father had found that solid boundaries, set early prevented Grandfathers, and even some officious Uncles, from nibbling away at his duties. First Grandfather clicked in acceptance and turned his attention back to the sphere that had inspired his first inquiry. The exterior had been harvested from one of the massive, dangerous herbivores that the humans insisted were critical to their agriculture. These fragments of mammalian outer membrane had been shaped and stitched together around some kind of bark core wound round with fibers of some sap-like substance. First Father had spent more than one delightful day dissecting one of the them with the more technically leaning Sisters and Cousins.
“They call it a softball,” Second Father said to First Grandfather in an aside as he applied the final stroke of protective oil to Third Sisters’s frill.
“Curious,” First Grandfather said, probing the sphere with a finger. “It is not at all soft.”
“The Second Mother of the human hive to our north explained that it is a comparative name,” he said. “It is not nearly as hard as the standard ‘baseball’.”
“That follows,”First Grandfather agreed. “Still it seems rather unsafe.”
“I will not be letting my daughters play with the humans,” Second Father informed him. “I had my own Third Sister arrange a mimic game up under the scrub trees on the dunes. We can’t risk prolonged solar exposure anyway and the human First Sister assured me that the softballs cannot reach us so high up. Now trail along daughters!”
There was a series of happy clicks as the vines around him rustled and the mobile offspring of the hive scampered out in pairs. First and Second Sisters had carefully applied their own solar protection and sported neat applications of zinc and oils. They had had less success with Fourth Sister and First Brother and both Second Father and First Grandfather had to mind the curl of their antenna to hide their amusement. The splattered layers of zinc would be more than protective enough to prevent their fragile frills from being scored by the solar radiation and there was at least an entire bottle of oil to seal it in.
“That certainly looks sufficient,” First Grandfather said, and couldn’t quite hide the amused clicks in his voice.
Fortunately the little ones were focused on escaping the garden as fast as the could.
“Mind the sand!” Second Father warned them as they darted down the trail towards the beach.
The older Sisters curled their antenna in agreement but didn’t noticeably alter their speed or trajectory. The light of the sun shown down warmly on them and already Second Father’s antenna were tingling with the sounds of the humans who had already gathered on the shore.
“They can really absorb that much solar radiation without hurting their membranes?” First Grandfather asked.
“So they say,” Second Father Confirmed as they drew up to the wild clearing under the twisted red branches of the trees that served as their meeting place.
A solid thwack sounded from the beach were the humans were striking the balls with the hardened wooden clubs and despite being well aware that they were in the safe zone Second Father couldn’t quite resist a twitch as the yellow sphere arced up in their direction before falling to the sand with a soft thump.
“And the sand does not abrade their little feet?” First Grandfather demanded looking with clear distress in his pseudo-frill a the immature humans who were scampering around with no protective coatings on their little feet.
“I must trust that their own Fathers know what is best for them,” Second Father said, but the tight curl of his antenna confessed his own distress at the thought of the tiny human toes scraping over the fragments of shell again and again.
First Sister and Second Sister had decided that the ‘softball’ was much to heavy to toss between them so they were rolling it around on the ground. Second Father was laying out the nectar he had brought when a particular loud thwack of the club striking the ball drew his attention to the humans just as the ball drove forward directly towards the smallest human. Before he could react the sphere slammed into the small human’s chest with a resounding thunk. There was one horrible moment were everything stood still and then the child slowly collapsed backward onto the sand.
“Second Cousin!” First Sister cried out, her frill flaring with panic as she darted down the sand dune towards the humans.
“First Grandfather!” Second Father snapped out. “Stay with the little ones!”
He raced after First Sister and Second Sister who had followed her to their friend. By the time he caught up with them they were bent over the fallen Second Cousin who was writhing on the sand clutching her hands to her chest. Somehow the ball had not caved in her abdomen.
“She can’t breath!” First Sister called out, clutching his hand.
“Her Father is here now,” Second Father said soothingly, pulling First Sister back to give the human Father more room.
Strangely the human male did not look overly concerned. He dropped down to his knees beside the child and began to murmur to the small human.
“Hey Baby Girl,” the human said. “Can you get up? Just breathe, just breathe.”
“How do you expect her to breath with her lungs crushed?” Second Father burst out before he could stop himself.
First Sister who knew more than a little human gave a panicked trill and the human Father glanced up at him with an astonished look.
“Her lungs are fine!” the human said with a laugh. “She just got the wind knocked out of her!”
Just then the human child arched back and drew in a great gasp of air. Her breathing quickly went from ragged to regular and she scramble up to her knees.
“That’s it Baby Girl!” the human Father said patting the child on the back. “Walk it off now!”
The human Father glance over at the clearly distressed First Sister and Second Sister.
“Hey First Sister!” he called out. “You you escort Betty up around the dune gardens so we can keep playing down here and she’ll be safe?”
“Yes, I would like that,” First Sister said with a quick glance at Second Father for approval. “If it will help her.”
“I’m fine,” the little Second Cousin wheezed out. “I just need to walk it off.”
The three young ones staggered off together and Second Father tilted his head up at the towering form of the human. The human Father smiled down at him and rested a massive hand on his shoulder in what was supposed to be a comforting gesture.
“She’s fine Second Father,” the human said. “Really. Just had the wind knocked out of her.”
Just then another of the human’s children yelped something about the tide approaching and the human ran off to see what was the matter. Second Father stared after him, and then up the trail at the clearly recovering human child. The sound of the sphere impacting her chest replayed in his mind and he slowly shook his head and turned to reassure First Grandfather, though he wasn’t sure exactly what he was going to tell him.
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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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