“All non-classified data is to be placed on the shared drive,” Forty-five Trills burst out. “That is clearly stipulated in the regulations!”
“How?” Demanded Ghas’trk, waving his primary manipulation appendages in frustration, “did you not think this needed to be classified?”
“I assumed this was already common knowledge among humans,” Forty-five Trills defended himself.
Ghas’trk let his appendages drop down and rubbed his eyes in frustration. His rearmost motile appendages rubbed together and he grimly felt the remaining numbness.
Forty-five Trills noticed the motion and drew his wings together in a sympathetic wince.
“Is the flame damage healing well?” He asked.
“As well as can be expected,” Ghas’trk stated. “Now, when did you first start compiling this,” he hesitated as he mulled over the proper descriptors, “this list.”
“It was soon after the first humans entered this sector,” Forty-five Trills explained. “I was stationed on the observation platform that had been shared with the Shatar once. So it was the only base built to specs that could house a human. The rest were far too small. However we had a mega-mite infestation on the base at the time.”
“Sweet Mother Flight,” Ghas’trk hissed. “Not the piercing kind?”
“Shedding no,” Forty-five Trills replied with a shudder. “Just the daubing kind. But they were perhaps three times the size, so all around an uncomfortable experience. When you come across something that is nearly your mass that looks so very much like the tales of a demon one hears of in pup’s stories.”
He fluffed and smoothed his fur with a huff.
“Well we assumed that a predatory species of the human’s mass would not be so concerned with their presence,” he continued.
“And it was the only base there,” Ghas’trk acknowledged.
“And it was the only base there,” Forty-five Trills confirmed. “We warned them. We did warn them. I can only assume that the human in question failed to absorb the briefing entirely, because it came out after the incident investigation that he had not seen one of the ‘bleeding horrific giant buggers’ before.”
“But from your description the mega-mites were a fraction of a hundredth of a human’s mass,” Ghas’trk replied.
“Indeed,” Forty-five Trills replied. “In times since then I have seen humans dispatch the same species with a mere flick of their hands. But apparently they have a preferred size for mites, and anything that dares to grow larger must be, ‘killed with fire’.”
“And so that is what the human on the base did?” Ghas’trk asked.
“Yes,” Forty-five Trills said with a sigh.
He ran his winghook over his sensory horns and stared glumly at the list Ghas’trk was displaying on the pad.
“He found the main nest and improvised an incendiary device out of a pressurized can of cleaning solvent and the ignition factors of some outdated mining equipment,” Forty-five Trills went on.
“Didn’t his screaming alert you before the fact?” Ghas’trk demanded. “Human lungs are…powerful to say the least.”
“I might remind you I had never experienced human behavior before this,” Forty-five Trills replied. “Even if I had this particular human wasn’t prone to screaming. We had no warning before the fire suppressant systems informed us of his tampering with them. Well we followed the indicators and found him singed and satisfied.”
“What did he say?” Ghas’trk asked with a feeling of macabre interest.
“Everything’s fine now,” Forty-five Trills replied. “Anyway, I had to write up the report for that incident so I had that copy in my records. When it became clear that this wasn’t a random encounter due to prolonged exposure to space, but a standard reaction to unknown threats I decided to keep the list. Most entries are from my official reports, some are from incidences I observed personally, and some are purely second-wing telling.”
“And what was the purpose of this list?” Ghas’trk asked.
“Safety!” Forty-five Trills nearly shrieked out, flailing his wings wide. “I wanted every officer in charge of a human to be aware that given an immediate threat, an approaching threat, or an insufficiency of threats a humans first response is to set something on fire! I wanted them to be able to react to that!”
Forty-five Trills lunged across the table and gripped Ghas’trk’s head in his winghooks. Ghas’trk stiffened but didn’t panic. They had worked together for too long for him to really fear the irritating Winged.
“How was I supposed to know?” Forty-five Trills demanded. “How was I supposed to know that a list made for warning purposes would be taken as a –“
His voice broke out of Ghas’trk’s hearing range and the Trisk winced back for a moment.
“Control yourself Forty-five Trills,” Ghas’trk said firmly. “What did you say the list was taken as?”
Forty-five Trills dropped back to his seat and gave a groan.
“The humans took it for a challenge,” he finally said weakly. “They print it out and check off the explosive, incendiary, and electric devices as they find ways to improvise them with the materials on hand.”
“And that is why I was caught in that blast in the storage bay?” Ghas’trk asked.
“Human Green had found a new type of cleaning solvent,” Forty-five Trills replied.
“This is all very interesting,” Ghas’trk said, “and informative, however the device that involved myself was not described in your list.”
“I did mention the part where the humans improvise,” Forty-five Trills pointed out.
“That you did,” Ghas’trk said. “And now the list is out there and growing.”
“Well they survived long enough to achieve space flight,” Forty-five Trills pointed out. “They can’t be too careless with explosions, can they?”