"You know that one post about humans being really durable compared to aliens and that one about humans being really cute to aliens?
What if they were both true at the same time. Like the aliens decide to take their human on a landing mission because they get so excited and it’s so cute but then a storm hits and they crash. And the aliens are all freaking out because they can’t be rescued without going outside to fix something but the readings say they’ll die if they do because of the storm. The leader’s all prepared to make a heroic sacrifice when the cute human just walks out the airlock to fix the thing and when they get back they’re just like “what? It’s not that bad out.”
And the aliens find out humans are made of iron on top of being adorable." -- Anon Guest
I expected a lot of things being a Companion with the Skizn't. And yes, I know I'm pronouncing that wrong. I can't get the buzz right. There's a whole lot of tolerance for pronunciation as long as all parties can understand what the other meant.
And that's just part of the reason why I let the crew of the Wat's Buzzin' call me "Fluffy". One, is the fact that their mandibles can't wrap comfortably around Atticus. And the second, which was the least thing I expected, these bugs thought I was cute.
If you're going to be companion to the Skizn't... you have to be cool with chitinous appendages touching you all the time.
Apparently, hair is cute. Hairy things are cute. And I'm the sort of guy who could step back into the stone age and only worry about sunburn. So there's me, the original gorilla in the mist... getting as much of my fur as possible personally groomed by scritchy-scratchy Skizn't.
That sort of thing can take a lot of getting used to. And it was four weeks before I realised that they were cooing baby talk at me in their language. And by then? It was just too late.
There was a crossing point when they remembered that I'm a Deathworlder. We landed on this planet for improvised drydock repairs. Micrometeors are a bitch. Not everyone has got their Hungry Caterpillar yet. Folks like the Skizn't don't quite trust it.
Anyway. The ship had landed, and there was sideways sleet outside. Stiff winds. And my little scratchy friends were getting nervous about how much time was passing with this deadly storm. Deadly to them, mind. They were watching the temperature like hawks, and more than a few were clinging to me for comfort.
I let them borrow my Big Ted and changed for the weather. Warm, waterproof clothes, and a pair of goggles because alien chemicals. The hardest part of this job, that day, was sneaking out with the tool box.
I remember that I'd made it to the damage and was just starting on the exterior damage when my comms went nuts. Do not try to picture five hundred bugs screaming down the comms that I was going to die if I didn't come back right now.
"Guys, I spent three years in Minnesota. Driving snowploughs. I've got this."
I had to turn their volume down just so I could concentrate on repairs. I kept up a constant singsong of, "It's okay... it's okay... the human is fine..." and sentiments like it, lots of "I'll just"s and "and then"s. And some of, "Watch my bio-monitors. I'm fine..." thrown in for good measure.
There were so many of them lining the windows when I came back in. Plastered against the airlock. Taking shifts while I was doing de-contamination, watching and tapping the perspex to make sure I was responding normally.
And the entire crew kind'a swarmed when the doc let me loose into the ship, again. It was such a babble of Skizn't, that it all sounded like cicadas fighting with finches.
I got groomed by every crewmember, that day.
"It wasn't that bad, out there, really," I insisted. "You guys have never seen a hurricane off the coast of greenland... I didn't even have to watch my footing."
They were just so stunned that I did that... it blew their insect minds. And it just added to the rumours about my kind. Sorry about that.