Exploratory Ranger Chch’ch paused as he removed the final layer of his body armor and slowly rotated his head to stare at the glowing polygon that rose in a squat tower over their housing spires in the deep darkness of the surrounding forest. He centered it in his primary focus angled his body curiously as he took in the shadows that played over the wall. A table. The angular lines were clearly the shadow cast by one of the massive tables the human used. The lesser lines of shadow wold be the chair the human perched on. The rounded shapes bent between them would be the human.
“Sterilization bay is ready for cephal-plates,” Ranger Tstk’tk clicked, holding his paws out for the carapace.
Chch’ch handed it over to be put in the sterilization pod but didn’t turn his main attention away from the human. The massive mammal was occasionally moving. Subtle shifting of his gripping appendages suggested he was manipulating something with his spindly, hairless paws, but the shadows didn’t hold enough form data to make it clear what he was doing exactly.
“Ranger Tstk’tk,” Chch’ch said slowly. “I was under the impression that Ranger Boitumelo would be leading our efforts to breach the northern wall tomorrow.”
“That’s what the assignment web’s said for the past week,” the older ranger agreed as he began stacking leg plates into the scrubbers.
He carefully placed the curved plates on the separators and closed the lid with a satisfied set to his chelicerae. The scrubbers hummed to life as the stripped the clinging biomatter of the armor. The older ranger rotated to look at Chch’ch and his balding chelicerae twitched in irritation.
“Got another question?” the older Ranger asked, almost respectfully.
“I was also under the impression that humans required eight hours of sleep to function safely,” Chch’ch observed, feeling his hairs bristle in irritation.
The older ranger’s chelicerae rotated in a distinctly irritated gesture and he turned to putting the paw booties on their radiation racks.
“Ranger Tstk’tk?” Chch’ch pressed, turning his primary eyes on him.
“That,” the older ranger said as he expertly stretched the booty over the mount, “was not a question.”
“Shouldn’t the human be asleep?” Chch’ch asked, making sure to emphasize the intonation.
The old ranger shrugged several shoulders and waved a paw dismissively before returning to his work. With a huff from his main lung Chch’ch shook out his legs and trotted to the edge of the sanitation platform. To be fair it wasn’t Ranger Tstk’tk’s business to tend to the sleep habits of the newer rangers. No, that duty fell to the ranking Ranger regardless of age or experience, and a seasoned exploratory ranger had rank over pretty much everyone.
Chch’ch took the ladder to the skybridge that attached to the peak of the glowing human habitat. The cool night wind, scented with every trace of an alien forest brushed lazily over his legs and abdomen. After spending the majority of the evening in the armor it felt heavenly if a bit chilly this far above the ground. He reached the door set into the peak of the human’s structure and entered the warm still air by the central light with a sigh. He pulled his legs up in his best, officer of rank position and prepared to click out a greeting. Only to deflate as Ranger Boitumelo leapt up from his table and bolted out the human sized door the the structure, leaving them flapping in the breeze.
“Of course,” Chch’ch clicked, rubbing his face in annoyance.
He decided to enter the habitat rather than attempt chasing after the human. Experience told him the human was either rushing to the facilities to excrete waste, or would be tearing around the inside of the perimeter fence to burn excess energy. Chch’ch stared down at there the human had been sitting at the table and saw the Ranger’s personal tablet open and lit with lines of rigid human text. Curious, Chch’ch descended from the entrance down the wall and came to rest on the table. The metadata visible at the margin of the tablet suggested this was a fictional story. Chch’ch had just parsed out the words for ‘tree’ and ‘planet’ when the air in the structure whirled like a cyclone as the human burst in, face alight with some wild delight and eyes roving the room, unfocused but seeming to search.
“Ranger Boitumelo!” Chch’ch snapped out.
The human gave a start, and his gaze snapped to focus on Chch’ch.
“Hey’ya!” the human burst out,, took a deep breath, visibly centered himself, and flashed his internal mandible protuberance in a gesture of delight.
“Ranger Chch’ch,” Boitumelo managed the more formal greeting. “What can I do for you?”
“Assure me that you will be functional when you escort Beta Squad into unexplored territory when the suns rise,” Chch’ch stated, deciding to get to the point.
The human blinked at him for much longer than the merely polite six second pause demanded before glancing down at his data pad with a rueful grin.
“That late is it?” the human asked. “Yeah, I’ll be fine tomorrow boss. I’m young and my body can take it.”
“Why must your body, ‘take it’”? Chch’ch demanded still feeling a bit testy.
The human’s grin widened and he pointed at the data pad.
“New book from home,” he explained. “Came in the last data transmission. My kid sister sent it . I was just going to read one chapter before bed, but you know-”
The human waved one of his massive appendages as if he really did expect Chch’ch to ‘know’.
“I expect you to be honest about your status tomorrow morning Ranger,” Chch’ch finally said.
“Will do boss!” the human stated as he turned off the datapad and started shucking his thermal armor. “And don’t worry! I’ll be bright eyed and bushy tailed!”
Chch’ch turned to climb back up the wall and leave the way he came. This humans was supposed to be fully neurologically developed. He idly wondered if disrupting your sleep cycle for a new book was culturally acceptable in this human’s swarm, or if he had been sent a trouble maker. However the dawn would tell and he had a hammock to sink into.
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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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