Forty-fifth Click fluttered into the general recreation area, utterly exhausted and glanced around for a friendly perch. The majority of the humans were still just staggering into the room themselves and their bodies were radiating waves of heat. Even if they were in the mood for a companionable snuggle getting too close to them before they cooled down would no doubt smother him.
Forty-fifth Click idly hovered in the air, rotating his awareness around the massive space. Of course he could always just flutter up to one of the cooling perches by the vents. More than a few of his wing were already hanging limp with wings extended, letting the ambient flow of air from the room steel away the heat of the day gathered in their joints. The retaliative solitude of that just didn’t appeal to him somehow.
An odd crunching sound made his ears twitch and he glanced over to the cold fireplace surrounded by human couches. Sargent Holt was sitting with one leg propped up, the extremity of the trunk-like limb swathed in bandages. Forty-fifth Click gave a happy chirp and glided down to the human. He took a deep breath and forced his voice down into the booming tones necessary to communicate with most mature humans.
“Sargent Holt!” He called out. “Would you care for a companion?”
The human glanced around in confusion for a moment and Forty-fifth Click waited impatiently for the massive mammal’s attention to shift. The regulation books were very, very clear about not landing on a human without their awareness. Eventually Sargent Holt located him and flashed his teeth in a grin.
“Sure!” the human said. “And which little cactus-biter are you?”
“I am Forty-fifth Click,” he replied, feeling more than a touch offended.
Not nearly offended enough to pass up a perch on the cool shoulder of the stationary human’s uniform. Forty-fifth Click dug his talons into the sturdy material of the uniform’s shoulder with a contented sigh and fluffed his fur out in preparation for a good groom. It was rather annoying that human teeth and talons were so useless for mutual grooming. Forty-fifth Click had seen human talons that tapered to useful points, extending long past the blunt tips of their digits, but he eyes Sargent Holt’s rough, short talons with a regretful sigh.
Sargent Holt turned his attention back to the main screen, which was displaying some Shatar program. A First Grandfather was overseeing a competition of some sort related to getting a vine species to produce the most cover in a low light environment. It was mildly interesting to Forty-fifth Click but Sargent Holt seemed fascinated from the way his bifocal eyes locked onto the screen. Forty-fifth Click was more interested in what Sargent Holt was doing with his hands. The massive appendages were resting beside Holt’s main mass, a perfectly reasonable distance away given the ambient heat even in the recreation area. That aspect made perfect sense. Then, at some indefinable signal his larger, dominant hand would rise at an impossibly slow rate and creep towards a large bowl that was sitting beside the human. Meanwhile the human’s eyes remained fixed on the competition on the screen. The hand would brush the side of the bowl, correct vectors at the touch, and then angle into the bowl to painfully slowly grasp a small number of detonated grain kernels in the very tips of the fingers. With the same slow movements Sargent Holt would raise the kernels to his mouth and insert them into the gaping cavity. Then his jaw would compress, causing the crunching sound that had first attracted Forty-fifth Click’s attention.
It was fascinating. Forty-fifth Click never took his eyes or ears off the behavior even as he fluffed his fur, picked the grit out from under his talons, and carefully transferred oils from his fur to his dry wings. Sometime around when his wings were about half done Forty-fifth Click noted a change in the pattern. There was a time break between kernel collection and Sargent Holt seemed to be prodding at his teeth with his thick tongue by the way his cheeks bulged. This continued across several kernel collection cycles and Forty-fifth Click watched with growing fascination as the humans expression grew more concerned. Eventually the human ceased collecting new kernels and thrust a finger, not the longest one, into his mouth as if attempting to find something.
Finished with his own groom Forty-fifth Click focused on the human.
“Are you in distress Sargent Holt?” he asked.
“Nah,” the human muttered, not taking his eyes off the screen, even as his finger probed at his teeth. “Not really, just got a bee’s wing stuck in my teeth and can’t get it out.”
“I will assist!” Forty-fifth Click asserted, feeling a thermal of benevolence.
The human didn’t respond. They were rather slow when resting, Forty-fifth Click mused as he darted up to Sargent Holt’s chin and stuck his head into the cavernous mouth. All thirty-two of the pillar like teeth were even spaced and the tongue pressed down to give him room. Although Sargent Holt was making an odd noise from the fleshy folds as the back of his throat Forty-fifth Click ignored it. He spotted the trapped kernel element, a thin, translucent membrane that had slipped between the human’s gums and his tooth Forty-fifth Click winced in sympathy. That had to be uncomfortable. He slipped a winghook in beside his head and quickly removed the amber membrane. He popped out of the human’s mouth and held it up triumphantly.
To his shock Sargent Holt jerked his head back and swatted him away from his face. Forty-fifth Click took to the are and watched with confusion as the human pawed at his extended tongue while cursing fluently. Unease settled with the dampness that had collected on Forty-fifth Click’s horns from the human’s mouth. Sargent Holt stopped pawing at his tongue and glared up at Forty-fifth Click.
“What the flying-” the human visible cut himself off. “What was that?”
Forty-fifth Click held up the small amber membrane.
“I was helping you groom,” he said.
He tried to keep the offense out of his voice. The human glared at him for a long moment and Forty-fifth Click forced himself to remain silent. Humans didn’t need quite as much time to collect themselves as the Trisk did, but when surprised, as Holt clearly was, they did prefer to be left quiet to think.
“So you climbed into my mouth?” Sargent Holt finely demanded.
“That is where the grooming need was,” Forty-fifth Click sated, and he couldn’t quite keep a defensive bite out of his voice.
What was the human’s problem?
Sargent Holt heaved a huge sigh and rubbed his hand over his face.
“Stay out of my mouth,” he said. “That’s a hard rule, got it?”
“I understand that it is a rule,” Forty-fifth Click said with cautious slowness.
The human sighed and waved him back down to his shoulder.
“I didn’t hurt you when I batted you off my face?” he asked in a tired tone.
“No, you did not,” Forty-fifth Click replied as he retook his place.
The human returned his attention to the screen and grunted in reply. Forty-fifth Click perched and began cleaning his sensory horns as he pondered who would most likely have an explanation for this behavior.
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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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