Wing Commander Tenth Trill had had quite enough by the time they reached the designate rest point. He refused to call it a camp, the same way he simply refused to recognize the wingspread of twisted and gnarled plants that surrounded it as trees. The one structure the Corps had erected was a simple containment unit but to allow biological waste degrade without compromising the local environment. Tenth Trill aimed for that and landed on the roof with a sigh. Around him stretched the burning green sky and rolling amber emptyness.
His wing landed around him. The Wing Commander of Grey Wing Gave the all is well signal from the second largest plant and the Wing Commander of Thermal Wing did the same from the largest. Tenth Trill cast a grim look over the rolling land around them. Despite them not being trees the plants that had decided the location of the not-a-camp were indeed the largest specimens of the species available. Probably the result of the vein of water that came very close to the surface. The rest of the land was covered in sparste plants so short that even a Winged would have trouble hiding in them. Between the plants was rusty red volcanic soil, a testament to some unthinkable geopolitical upheaval that would have made the whole planet unlivable for generations. Even now the wind picked up particles of the volcanic dust and flung them against his horns.
“That’s an ick,” grumbled a tired voice to his side.
Tenth Trill considered scolding the youngster for the unprofessional human slang, but he followed the disgusted and apathetic gaze and his gaze landed on a giant fuzzy body clinging to the side of the structure. The insectoid creature was banded with blue and green and one faceted eye seemed to stare into Tenth Trill with phlegmatic defiance as a fleshy pink tube-like tongue flicked out and touched the side of the waste unit. Now that he was looking the side of the unit was covered in the starting, licking creatures. It was, as the fluffy young Winged had observed, ‘an ick’.
“What is that idiot doing?” Demanded Wing Commander Thirteen Clicks fluttering up, towing an aura of exhaustion.
“You really need to be more specific-” Tenth Trill said.
Then he saw the human, his massive mammalian heat signature causing the air around him to ripple as he slowly fell his way across the volcanic landscape.
“He saw something,” offered the communications officer absently as he sorted through his gear.
“He was headed for the waste disposal door and then his head turned and he frowned.”
“I think he said a curse word,” offered a rather dejected voice, “but I couldn’t hear it.”
“Isn’t he as exhausted as we are?” someone asked.
“He has to haul around all that mass.”
“Just thinking about it makes my joints ache.”
The muttering conversation continued around them and Tenth Trill shrugged at Thirteen Clicks. They would respond if the idiot collapsed. For now his absurd behavior was providing a welcome distraction for the tired wings. They soon had the water purifiers set up and were happily grooming the volcanic dust out of each others fur, and still the human kept growing smaller in the distance. They all preferred to set up their hammocks around the edges of the human’s tent at night and so were waiting for him. However there was plenty of time before nightfall so Tenth Trill wasn’t particularly worried until he could no longer see the human in the distance. He was uneasily considering coming the human when the slowly lumbering form came back into view. He heard the majority of the wing give a relieved breath and the conversation resumed cheerfully.
When the human finally made it back to camp he was sweating profusely but looked satisfied. He was immediately surrounded by the now rested wing who demanded an explanation for his deviation. He shoved his hand into one massive pocket and fished around.
“I saw something,” he said, “something shiny that shouldn’t of been there.”
He pulled out what Tenth Trill recognized after some scrutiny as the reflective protective cover of a juice storage container. It would had been a hammock for a Winged but it barely filled the human’s hand.
“How far out was it?” someone demanded.
“Bout a click,” the human said with a shrug, “maybe two.”
“You walked two, or perhaps four, clicks over volcanic ground because you saw something shiny,” Tenth Trill said, his horns starting to tingle a bit at the thought.
“It’s wilderness,” the human said with a shrug, “not supposed to be shiny things out there. Now scuse me. I gotta use the little Ranger’s room.”
With that the human entered the waste degradation room. The wing started chattering over the event again and Tenth Trill stared out over the empty amber surroundings and wondered, not for the first time, what he had hooked his claw into when he accepted this assignment.
Science Fantasy Adventure Story
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Audio Narration and Animation - https://youtu.be/wi0keygUBzc
Humans are Weird Books - https://www.amazon.com/stores/author/B00WQ0MDD4/allbooks?ingress=0&visitId=3974e835-72b1-447d-8da0-a11f0b13024d&store_ref=ap_rdr&ref_=ap_rdr