The stories are definitely fun! I wrote another one.
Akitl was admittedly not paying terribly close attention to the pair of children chasing each other in circles around on the grass a few meters away from her. She had her communicator unit held in her main manipulator, her two central eyes focused on it, and was composing a natal-day message for her mother. The honoring of one's female parent was a long-held Klizkit tradition, though doing so specifically on natal-days was something that she had picked up from humans.
They were a good occasion, though. They weren't tied to a specific belief tradition, so no offense could be given if a child or parent had changed their belief tradition, and one had to pick a day or two out of the year's turn somehow. A natal-day was as good a day as any to pick.
She input a few more lines, her antennae held down as she struggled to find appropriate phrasing, her four secondary eyes fixed on the running children, but her attention definitely elsewhere. Her recently pupated offspring, Pthiz, had been playing with Emily, the three-year-old human girl, for several months now without any major incidents, so Akitl had stopped being quite as watchfully nervous when the pair were together. Besides, Emily's father, Steve, was right there, helping keep an eye on the two children.
Really, there wasn't that much to be worried about. Humans were bizarre creatures, shockingly reckless, with extremely strange ways of finding enjoyment, but they weren't super-klizkian, they were mere mortals, and in some ways rather fragile. Their soft epidermises were astonishingly easy to damage, to begin with. Akitl remembered the first time she'd seen Emily "skin her knee" as Steve had called it.
It had been quite alarming. She'd been certain the child was savagely injured, what with internal fluid—a bright, shocking red, even—leaking from her surface. But the girl had hardly seemed to mind. She'd gotten a brief swabbing with a sanitizing cloth that Steve had produced from the bag he carried over his shoulder at all times, and a small bandage that didn't even fully cover the leaking area placed over it, and then a "kiss better" on the injury from her father, after which she cheerfully raced off to play again as if nothing had happened.
Klizkit were far more difficult to damage externally, though of course if something did crack their exoskeletons it could be catastrophic. Steve had nodded when told this, but then startlingly noted that most human children fractured their endoskeleton at some point in their development. He himself, he said, with something almost like pride, had managed to break both arms at once in his youth.
He'd also told her, with pleased interest, that scientists of his species were studying Klizkit exoskeletons, seeking to artificially produce similar substances, as they were made of a material far stronger than the chitin found in superficially similar but much smaller animal species on their native world.
So humans were actually if anything a bit more fragile than Klizkit, which made their impulsive willingness to throw themselves into danger all the more remarkable.
With a shake of her antennae, Akitl returned her attention to the missive on the small screen in front of her. Suddenly a sharp sound, a kind of high-pitched yip with a trailing click, made all her eyes instantly snap to where the two children were playing. That hadn't been a pain sound or a danger call, but it was a sound of shocked surprise, the kind of sound that sometimes happened just before a danger call or—even worse—when something so fast and deadly had attacked that there was no time for a danger call.
With a rush of fear-pheromones suddenly thick around her, Akitl sprang to all four feet, seeing Pthiz lying on the ground, with Emily bent over him in a positively predatory posture. What had the girl done?!
Steve waded into the situation before Akitl could decide if she should, and he towed Emily off of the young Klizkit who, much to Akitl's relief, climbed to his feet with a puzzled buzzing, seemingly unharmed. Steve, though, was once again scolding Emily, and after a brief telling-off that Akitl couldn't quite hear, he gently took Pthiz by the main manipulator limb and urged him towards Akitl.
Emily, pouting again, dragged her feet as she was also towed along. Pthiz, amiable as always, just walked at Steve's side, his antennae indicating only curiosity. As they got closer Akitl heard Emily saying, "Daddy, I was only playing saber-tooth tiger. It's okay!"
Confused, Akitl got to her feet, having alarming visions of the admittedly carnivorous human child deciding to inexplicably try to predate her own offspring. "Steve? What happened?"
Steve sighed deeply and said, "Emily licked him."
Akitl blinked, her mind wrenching to a different track entirely. "As far as I know there are no compounds on the exoskeletons of Klizkit that are toxic to humans, and Pthiz is generally cleanly..."
Steve chuckled and shook his head in negation. "Oh, no, I'm not worried about her. She licks all kinds of things, most of them much dirtier than your son. No worries there. Just, well..." He gave Emily a complex look, and the child looked down at her shoes, seeming chastised by it. "She does lick all kinds of things, so I have no idea what else she might have licked today, and human mouths are dirty places to begin with."
Akitl angled her antennae to indicate confusion. "I do not think any diseases are transmissible between our species..."
"No, but bacteria can grow anywhere. I know it probably wouldn't do him any harm, what with that handy exoskeleton he has, but I don't want him getting some kind of bacterial joint rot or something. And like I said, I have no idea what else she might have licked recently."
"Oh." Akitl found herself suddenly at a loss. Bacterial joint rot was actually a thing that could happen, especially if one had been engaging in activities that might leave micro-abrasions around the joints, like say being chased and pounced on by a human child. But now she was very much at a loss about what to do next. Taking Pthiz to a doctor just for getting licked by a little girl seemed absurd.
Steve apparently correctly interpreted the baffled set of Akitl's antennae, because he began rummaging around in his bag while saying, "It's fine, I think I know what to do. Just... How are Kilzkit with the application of alcohols? Er, externally, not internally."
Akitl found herself flicking her antennae upwards in something close to laughter, contemplating the complete and total insanity of the phrase "externally, not internally" with regards to alcohols, and said, "It will do him no harm, applied externally."
"I'll just sanitize the lick, then, and all's well." Steve bared his teeth in a gesture Akitl recognized as meant to reassure and set about opening a little packet with a sanitary wipe in it.
"Thank you," said Akitl, sitting back down on the bench and pondering how in the galaxy a species that spent its developmental years licking everything even survived. Once again she found herself thinking that humans were very strange indeed.
This entry was originally posted at https://bladespark.dreamwidth.org/1529048.html.