Uri's report began with a deep sigh:
We've noticed a rudimentary sign language, mostly facial expressions, sometimes enhanced by hand and arm motions.
Hunter Rogue has gone into the tunnels every day for a week. She comes back with various items she's taken from the rooms along the ventilation system. Whatever she brings back, she takes immediately to Big Feet. She keeps nothing back for herself.
Most items are accepted by Big Feet -- tasted, and shared.
Some items have been refused by the leader: body powder, a jumpsuit, and -- God knows where Hunter found it -- a flashlight.
Hunter takes the refused items back into the tunnel. They've been detected by the ship's scanners. Hunter leaves them in a pile three meters in from the colonists' air vent.
Hunter has allowed herself to be seen by the ship's crew. They have been briefed on responsible reactions to our little marauder. We don't believe she presents a danger, but Dr. Arton continues to cite incidences of aggression by captured or cornered females in the past.
The troop -- strike that. The colonists show approval of Hunter's return by the slapping/clapping sounds.
Our nightly, subliminal linguistic lessons have yet to prove fruitful. The Laughing Humans of Bicanthra III still only laugh.
Good smell! Flowers, mating smell. Good smell.
Hunter watched from an air vent as a naked female sprayed perfume across her breasts, down her thighs, and behind her knees.
Hunter sniffs. Good smell. White Female sat on the edge of the 'bed'. Hunter knows many words now. Bed is for resting.
White Female slowly steps into other skin called 'clothing'. Hunter see many females put on clothing. It still confused her.
White Female picks up small branch and rubs hair with it. She looks at herself in big dead-eye. Other White Female (same-but-dead) looks back. White Female is not frightened by same-but-dead female. She rubs her cheeks and smiles.
Hunter crawled into the room as soon as White Female left. Hunter finds the clear stone with smell inside. She shakes it, presses it, squeezes it. No smell.
Hunter angry. Throws down clear stone on floor. It breaks and smell comes to her.
On hands and knees, she puts her nose into the perfume. It makes her sneeze.
She touches, tastes, spits out the liquid. Then she rubs the perfume all over her breasts, down her stomach to her thighs, and behind her knees.
Hunter stands and faces same-but-dead-Hunter in 'mirror'. It still frightens her a little. The skin underneath the smears of perfume gleams a speckled white. She smiles in mirror.
The small branch smells nice. Hunter rubs her hair with it, but her locks get tangled in the bristles and Hunter finally leaves it hanging from her hair.
She looks 'stupid'. Stupid was new word god tells her last dark.
Hunter goes to cave wall, presses stone, and smiles at her accomplishment as the closet door slides open. Many colors! Grass color is good. Hunter pulls out the green suit and grabs two more as an after thought.
Hunter must not look stupid. First New wears clothes and looks not stupid.
First New can teach Hunter.
Hunter can teach Bigfeet.
Hunter peeks out of tunnel into her troop's cave. Everyone claps and laughs.
First New is there. She is 'humming'. God is there. He is trying to teach Notoes to wave. They all watch Hunter as she climbs out of tunnel.
Her perfume strikes the troop. They clap and laugh. They rub her breasts and smell her knees.
Darkarm likes smell. Hunter watches Darkarm when Bigfeet isn't looking.
Hunter plops the three outfits in front of Bigfeet, hoping she'll refuse them again.
Hunter held her breath as Bigfeet touches the bright grass and sky clothes. Hunter knows Bigfeet likes clothes, but they frighten her, too. They are like dead things.
Bigfeet curls her lip and turns away.
Quickly, Hunter picks up the green and the blue outfits and runs to First New. She thrusts them at her, scared that Bigfeet might stop her.
First New is startled. She looks up questioningly at Hunter.
Hunter sits. Putting her feet into the leggings, she taps First New's legs and then her own.
The troop quiets as they watch.
Hunter pulled the outfit over her legs and tapped First New's legs again, this time rubbing the closing seam.
A growl rippled through the expectant hush.
Hunter glared at First New, hoping she'd stand up. If she challenged Bigfeet, Hunter could learn so many things. But First New was afraid. Her nostrils flared. She looked from Bigfeet to Hunter and back again.
Hunter crawled across the floor, displaying her full submission to Bigfeet. She held the blue suit in her hand. When she reached Bigfeet, she kept her eyes to the ground and pushed the suit into Bigfeet's lap. She then crawled backwards to First New, keeping her face down.
Hunter took a keep breath. She was dead, but she was still afraid. Bigfeet did not refuse the outfit. Bigfeet was fingering the material. She watched Hunter closely.
Hunter stood, her back to Bigfeet. First New stood, too.
Hunter slapped her left breast, then paused. Clamping her lips tightly, Hunter slapped her breasts again, then hit the back of her hand against First New's small breast.
© Evelyn Rainey
Available for publication.