Abinmo had just finished his final probing of his human subject. The machinery of the Human Analysis 5000™️ (New Millennium Edition) sighed as the various pneumatic tubes relieved their pressure and pulled out the ends of each probe from every opening larger than a space quarter of the human’s flesh. A simple bag and tag operation, nothing too fancy. But over all of the humans he had picked up over the Earth decades this one seemed to be the easiest to work with. The human, he called himself Dave, had been so gung-ho about being abducted that he went along with practically everything Abinmo had thrown at him, including the Dream Sequencer that probed the inner workings of each human’s minds and usually left them with the side effect of horrible nightmares and hallucinations for years to come that the humans had begun to call “sleep paralysis.” Which honestly, sounded horrible, not the nightmares but the sleeping. Out of all of the millions of species in the galaxy, only those on Earth had the maladaption of going unconscious for a third of their planet’s rotational period. Abinmo shivered at the thought of losing consciousness and hallucinating for hours on end, only to regain consciousness and carry on like nothing strange happened. Earthlings were weird. At least their sleep patterns made it easy to capture and release.
“Analysis complete,” Abinmo said in English, the language of Earth that David spoke.
“Whoo, that was something,” David said. Unlike other humans he had studied in the past David didn’t look the least bit traumatized from the probing, Abinmo wondered if he had misremembered the body language charts. He did a quick double take, pulling up a chart to see what expression matched David’s. Sure enough, there was no expression of terror or discomfort on David’s face, the closest expression Abinmo found in the charts that matched his subject was that of relaxation or relief. An expression that Abinmo had little familiarity with. “So what’s next?” David asked.
Abinmo had picked David up from a less populated region of a nation called America, a classic capture and release area on Earth. David lived in one of those flimsy box shaped buildings called trailers, which were also a classic amongst his fellow researchers, mostly due to their structures being weak enough to penetrate with their transporter. There had been talks about going more urban with future capture and release projects, but given the human’s high level of aggression, there was push back to keep it rural, even though Abinmo had gotten rather bored of the whole rural America samples. He wanted something more, the spark he had felt seventy Earth decades ago when he had first joined the project had long faded away leaving him to just another monotonous tasks within the cog of of the universal machine of academia.
“We must send you home, David.” Abinmo said in a flat voice. Of course all of his human vocal imitations had always been flat, unlike most of his colleagues he just could never get the inflictions down to sound like them. One of the many ways Abinmo had become an embarrassment to the program.
“Home, I can’t go home! I ain’t got shit there, David said,” his expression now changing to that of disgust. “You aren’t gonna erase my memories either too? Please let me keep this, I need this.” If Abinmo had the mental capacity to read a human’s expression and feel empathy he probably would, but since their spices had evolved so differently (excrements and odors had become the primary body language of his kind) he felt nothing towards David. “Just keep as like your pet or something, please? I got too many problems on Earth, compared to what you just did just living down there is hell.”
“Come with me,” Abinmo said leaving the room. “The transporter is set to wipe your memories of your time here on the moment of departure.” David followed, sulking, and making sure to not trip on any sort or excrement that Abinmo’s body left on the path. Humans were so weird about that. Abinmo knew it was a cultural thing, but to his species to not slather one self in another other’s discarded slime from their soft slithering bodies was a sign of respect. For some reason the humans’ instincts to dodge the slime had always bothered him.
They arrived in the transporter bay, Abinmo used his middle appendage to point to where David were to go next. It was petty, he knew, to use a middle appendage in such a manner, especially since none of the humans realized just how insulting that gesture was to another of his kind, but he had developed a habit of it after so many decades of the humans not embracing his slime. Nobody embraced his slime in decades, not even of his own kind. And that’s when David tumbled.
The human tripped and fell face first into the last part of Abinmo’s slime trail. David struggled to stand up. The way his small bony body wobbled and trembled in the puddle of Abinmo’s excrement as he got to his feet amused Abinmo. When David finally got to his feet, arms outstretched and trembling, Abinmo almost felt a sense of gratitude. Before him a human for his first time in seven decades wore the translucent gold flaked mucus of Abinmo. It didn’t look half bad on a human either. Abinmo felt bad about sending David home, but David still grumbling walked over to the transporter, keeping his center of mass above the flats of his feet as he struggled to maintain his balance to the transporter. Once he got his footing on the small circular platform it lit up.
“Please don’t send me home, please,” David said. His face displayed the oh so familiar look of trauma that Abinmo had seen on so many humans before, and for the first time ever, Abinmo felt sorry for a human.
“That’s the rules,” Abinmo said slithering to the console. He began fiddling with the transporter controls. Levers and knobs covered in a bright white excrement proofing, electronics had been a tricky thing for his spices to get right. He made sure to double check the locations to make sure to send David back home to his bed. He wasn’t going to send him five miles down the street with no clothes on, a mistake Abinmo had made once before three decades ago and never lived it down. Then an idea struck him. He began mindlessly moving the levers and knobs with his many limbs, pretending to look occupied to his captive. Excrement began coating the protective layer, seeping between the gaps and into the electronics themselves when the lights on the panel began to fade. When the lights were nothing more than little dark dimples upon the surface Abinmo hit the transport button, the machine whirled and then died. David stood at the transporter, still covered in Abinmo’s shimmering goo, his eyes wide.
“Wh-what happened?” David asked.
“Huh, it looks like we’re having technical difficulties,” Abinmo said.
“Does this mean I can stay?”
“For now,” Abinmo’s pours shot out damp air to show his friendly side. He hadn’t done that gesture in forever and never to a human.
“Well that’s just unfortunate,” David said with a hint of a smile.
“Very,” Abinmo said. “How about you stay for a little while?”
“I would like that very much,” David said stepping off the platform, watching his step. “Do you have a towel by any chance?”
“My spices has no such concept,” Abinmo answered.
“Well that’s just a shame.”
“Yes, quite a shame, quite a shame,” Abinmo wobbled his appendages in agreement.
“So what now?”
“Now we become friends,” Abinmo began slithering to the door, “here follow me.”
David did as he said following right behind him. For the first time in decades, Abinmo enjoyed his work.
Abinmo & David was originally submitted to this prompt. Thank you for reading!