Since one of the main characters of Fluctuations is a giant, intelligent feline, I thought I would showcase a little Martha today. She’s actually one of my fave characters ever; like your fave aunt and nana with an awesomely soft fur coat for cuddles rolled into one. And here is the obligatory: if you like Martha and her peeps, you can buy the ebook here and ebook/paperback here! bit.
If Martha had a single complaint about being among humans, it was that they kept room temperatures abnormally low. Being such thin-skinned creatures with no fur to moderate external forces, it seemed odd to her that they kept temperatures so low. A little consideration for others with different environmental needs would be nice.
‘Go on the cruise,’ she mimicked her eldest son with a minor grimace. ‘Get to know the humans. Have some fun before taking over the diplomatic position.’ What was I thinking?
She growled out a sigh, which made her crewman jump a little. Rolling her eyes, Martha projected to him, That wasn’t for you, youngling. I’m just a bit annoyed with myself.
The crewman jumped again at the thought projection, but otherwise maintained his composure as he replied aloud, “Your cabin is just down the hall here,” and picked up his pace. His hands continued to twitch nervously at his sides, but that was all he showed physically to indicate his agitation.
Martha snorted to herself, catching his unease without even trying. Humans didn’t seem to know how to contain their emotions or their thoughts. It had been somewhat astonishing to find out that, while they could project to and receive from her kind without any trouble at all, they were completely blind to one another mentally.
Her room was spacious and heated to a temperature that immediately relaxed her, being equivalent to that of her home. Martha smiled broadly at the crewman, who flinched at the sight of her teeth, and thought at him, This is perfect, thank you.
He nodded and stammered, “An-anything you need, please just, ah, call me,” before ducking out as quickly as he could.
Martha shook her head in amusement and walked over to the large window. Earth sat in all its blue glory just below the Moon Dock. Given the barely-there atmosphere of the satellite, it was far easier to launch cruisers from the moon than the Earth. Not to say that ships didn’t fly out from the planet all the time, but those were mostly corporate or military. Personally, Martha thought humans just liked to look at their planet before leaving it for any amount of time. Maybe it filled some kind of primitive urge, to be both among the stars and still close to home.
A pang of homesickness flashed through her, and she wished to see the green and brown shades of her much larger planet and its two moons. In her eyes, Kirilisaj’av was the most beautiful planet; though that, of course, reflected her natural bias.
Shaking off the melancholy before it could take ahold, Martha decided to go back above-decks for the launch. It was a tradition, from what she understood, for everyone to gather on-deck as the cruiser launched from the dock. Paper confetti and fireworks filled the air, even though there were no longer any people on the dock; when the shield retracted to enclose only the Connemara, it left the dock in vacuum.
Martha ignored the gasps and frantic thoughts coming from most of the people she walked by. It really was a shame that her people’s form was so close to that of a natural predator on the human home world. Martha knew that it would take time and education for humans to see the differences between the Kirilisaj’avians and the jaguars of Earth, though to Martha the many differences were obvious.
Kirilisaj’avians were much larger and broader through the shoulders and haunches than jaguars, which were sleeker and smaller. Kirilisaj’avians generally reached between one hundred to one hundred twenty kilograms, depending upon from which region they hailed. Mountain Kirilisaj’avians were heftier, at close to one hundred thirty kilograms, while oceanic Kirilisaj’avians were slighter, barely reaching one hundred kilograms.
Of course, since jaguars were practically extinct and most humans only knew of them through books and the ancient reflex of being prey, Martha overlooked their instinctive reactions with equanimity. Martha did wonder about the girl that she’d seen earlier on-deck. There’d been no sense of fear from her, just a blatant curiosity that had caught Martha’s attention. Hopefully there would be an opportunity to meet her later. It would be nice to converse with someone who didn’t think she would eat them for saying or thinking the wrong thing.
“Coming through! Coming through! Outta the way, c’mon, outta the way!”
Martha leapt aside as a robot rolled past her at a speed that was typically prohibited in a populated area. She caught sight of a gunmetal-gray body with a vaguely humanoid face and illuminated blue dots for eyes before it swerved around a corner.
Well, she thought, bemused. At least I’m not slowing down in my old age or he definitely would have run me over.
Chuckling, Martha continued on her way to the lift.