Notes the Passing Changes carefully observed the angle of the sunbeams that warmed the leaf-litter of his main mass. As soon as the angle passed thirty degrees from the horizon the larger motile species would be released from their duties in the College research outpost. He would have to have recalled at least forty percent of his working tendrils before that time if he wanted to avoid both disturbing them with his efforts and losing a percentage of his tendrils to crush or tear damage.
He calculated the amount of iron rich leaves he had pulled over the north quarter of the orchard. That process was going slower than he had anticipated. The iron rich leaves from the native trees had the exact mass the Shatar expedition had calculated, however Notes the Passing Changes had grossly overestimated how fast he could move them with his tendrils.
The decayed general biomass he was gathering for his winter’s dormancy was coming along much faster. The leaves and sticks skittered over the surface of the detritus layer quickly, however he was losing a significant portion to wind.
With a half satisfied sigh Notes the Passing Changes shifted his attention to making sure the walking paths for the ground based sapients were clear of derbies and began shifting tendrils together to from his socialization mass. As was the trend of things since his spore forms had landed on this planet he found himself eager to interact with the lumber humans, the skittering Shatar, and the undulating Undulates. He appreciated the many and diverse tree plants the other species had gifted him with. Those rare moments when a human would pause and mulch with him were delightful in ways he had never experienced before. However he also found himself regretting the quiet seasons he had lived on the planet alone before the others had arrived. He had had so much time to arrange every element of his well known, albeit simplistic, systems and then to ponder over all the changes he observed. Now, he hadn’t time to finish one alteration before a human was suggesting, or inadvertently causing another. Their constant habit of adding nitrogen to the system without though or reason was particularly aggravating.
“Still, this is the price one pays for sapient company,” Notes the Passing Changes stated as he practiced using his vocal tendrils.
The steady double beat of approaching humans vibrated through the ground and Notes the Passing Changes arranged his biomass into a pleasant expression. Shiny green leaves for eyes. A movable opening for a mouth. He flexed the cable like tendrils he formed for gripping and lifting in the rudimentary arms he was able to form. He wasn’t really as skilled as his progenitors on his last world had been. He had faint memories of a line relative who had been able to make a very realistic Shatar form out of sticks and had even managed to match their pheromones. However he found that the humans local to this planet appreciated his “mulch monster” form as they called it. Though there was some debate among the local population if there was anything actually pleasant about his appearance, or if the local children having grown up with it were simply desensitized to any horror.
“Hey Notes!” an eager voice called out. “Are the apples ready?”
Notes the Passing Changes carefully rotated his body and waved one of his “arms” at the two approaching humans.
Sandy and Pat were a young pair of the local population who, according to their seniors, had just initiated the primary human courtship ritual. The frequently came to wander and mulch in his main orchard and Notes the Passing Changes had grown quite fond of them both.
“Yes,” he confirmed, lifting the corners of his “mouth” in a smile. “There is one tree on the south side of the orchard near the storage shed that has many human ripe apples.”
“How is your early windfall collection going?” Pat asked as they passed his main body with a nod.
“Quite well,” Notes the Passing Changes said, sending his voice to follow them as he slowly shifted his main mass. “I am distributing the sugars to the Shatar beanpod vines.”
“That should give them a good start on next year,” Sandy observed.
“Hopefully by using the excess fruit sugars I will be able to harvest the beanpods next year,” Notes the Passing Changes said as he sent his voice along with them.
He intended to follow along with his main mass however Fifth Botanist came trotting down a path chittering frantically about the zinc content of the nursery gardens. The head horticultural expert from University was striding along in the north quadrant and Notes the Passing Changes was fairly sure he had missed something important about drainage in the north fields once the surface water froze over. A scamper of human children were frolicking dangerously close to a nest of tender saplings. Notes the Passing Changes weighed his priorities. His decision made he hunkered his main mass down and sent the majority of his attention over to frolic with the children. The horticultural expert seemed to need to talk, and Fifth Botanist only needed his voice to guide him to the proper herb beds.
By the time he had exhausted the children with leaf piles, far away from the tender saplings, Fifth Botanist had gathered his herbs and the horticultural expert had wandered out of his hearing. Several dozen more beings had arrived of course but none of them appeared to need more than a fraction of his attention and he happily pulled his tendrils back to his main biomass and began the steady shuffle to the south where Pat and Sandy appeared to be rearranging the contents of the storage shed rather than mulching contentedly as he had expected. Notes the Passing Changes felt his curiosity quicken as he drew near.
Sandy had apparently left the orchard, from the vibrations in the ground at no slow pace, and Pat was dropping heavy things in the dense leaf-litter around the tree with the ripest apples. Notes the Passing Changes was aware of what Pat was doing. There were the crates used to ship large quantities of undamaged apples. There was the old ladder. However it wasn’t until Pat was actively climbing the pile of equipment that Notes the Passing Changes felt a qualm of uneasy. He didn’t know much about structural integrity. He was far from being the physics expert his line relative of the Shatar shape was, but he was fairly certain that the loose leaf litter was not a stable base for any structure.
Therefore he was hardly surprised when, just as Pat reached the levels of the middling branches, the whole structure toppled over. Pat fell into the leaf mulch with a yelp, the majority of the human’s mass disappearing under the soft mass. Notes the Passing Changes finally made his way up the to legs and arms sticking out of the detritus and considered the situation. His tendrils under the leaves told him that Pat was breathing evenly and Pat’s heart-rate was gradually slowing down to its normal pace. Pat’s hormone profile tasted of triumph and adrenaline with faint and dissipating traces of panic.
Notes the Passing Changes heaved his mass up, and extended a poking stick from his arm. He arranged his face leaves into a concerned expression and gently prodded Pat’s center of mass with the stick.
“Sandy said I wouldn’t be able to get it!” Pat burst out in a rush.
“What did Sandy say you would not be able to get?” Notes the Passing Changes asked.
There was a rustle in the leaves as Pat punched a hand up out of the leaf-mulch. Hormones flushed with pride and triumph, the human displayed the particularly human ripe apple to Notes the Passing Changes face.
“And where is Sandy?” Notes the Passing Changes asked.
“Sandy went to get the tall picking ladder,” Pat explained. “I can’t wait to show this when Sandy gets back!”
“I see,” Notes the Passing Changes said. “Do you require assistance altering your position?”
There was a long moment as Pat’s pheromones began to be touched with pain signals.
“Nah,” Pat finally said. “I’ll just mulch here till Sandy gets back.”
Please go and leave a new rating and review on my 2nd book!
Barnes & Noble
Google Play Books
Kobo By Rakuten
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
Hey! The books are moving well on Amazon and now have 180 reviews and ratings! If you bought the book and enjoyed it, it would really help me out if you leave a quick star rating on Amazon. A review would be great but just stars would be a huge boost *****!
QUICK NOTE: RE: everyone who asked. The book is avaliable in Amazon regions US-UK-DE-FR-ES-IT-NL-JP-BR-CA-MX-AU-IN. HOWEVER The above link only takes you to the US Amazon site. The one indicated by the .com ending. If it says "not avaliable in your country" that just means that you need to click over to your Amazon region.
Of course if you want a signed first edition you can email me at the email on my website and I can ship you a signed Author copy of the first edition for the same price as the crowdfunding campaign $35 domestic and $60 overseas. I'll do that until I run out of extra books.