There was one human who always pack bonded with others the same way: laying on the floor and talking, softly singing, and telling stories. -- Anon Guest
Some habits are hard to shake. For Human Steve, it was bonding with the ships' babies. Not every cogniscent species has the same lifespan as a Human. Some have very brief lives, indeed. After twenty years with assorted short-term ships, it was hir habit to go directly to the nursery and play with the little ones. Lying on the floor to be less intimidating. Speaking in a soft, singsong voice so they could get used to hir. Telling stories because babies loved them and would soon love Human Steve.
Then ze got an assignment with a long-span ship, and the habit, so ingrained, became a quirk. Instants after introduction, Human Steve lay down to play and took twenty minutes to realise... there were no babies.
It was impolite to mention it now, so Human Steve just made it part of hir bonding ritual. Besides, everyone had fun after a few moments and it always helped to get in touch with one's inner child. Some even recognised that the willingness to be silly was a powerful thing with a Human on board.
It was actually a pretty good tactic. Human Steve could quickly assess which crewmates were going to go along with hir shenanigans and which would have to be convinced... and which would have to be carried from whatever the scene happened to be.
Ship after ship, Human Steve used the tactic to get to know hir new pack of aliens. Ze stayed in touch with kiddy media, just in case. Even became a fan of more than a few. Sure, ze knew ze was strange, but it generally got written off as Human Insanity. After a good while, it was just... background noise.
Ah. The Human is being strange. Typical Human... lol.
It was getting back into a group of fellow Humans that was the trouble. Steve almost got down, but remembered in time that other Humans didn't bond that way. Interestingly, though, hir reputation preceded hir.
Everyone else in the room got down on the floor. After a minute, they chorused, "Play with us, Steve!"
They all laughed. It was good to be weird.
[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / halfpoint]
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