Humans are weird, Sunburn edition

Ok, so I’ve got a pretty bad sun burn right now, and my skin is peeling, and I just started thinking about how an alien would react to that. Not just the skin color changing, but also the skin peeling after hearing that humans don’t shed their skin. So, enjoy:

Bryce’s fingers brushed the back of his neck. Despite how gentle he’d tried to be, he still winced. There was a brief knock and then his door slid open. Asryll-Nox, a fairly new crew member who still unclear on human customs, entered. He froze when he saw Bryce sitting shirtless on his bunk. He averted his eyes and the spines on his back rose up sharply, a sure sign of shock and embarrassment.

“My apologies Human Bryce! I was unaware that you were in the process of—I am sorry. I will leave you.” Asryll backed out as he spoke. Bryce stood.

“No, it’s ok. I’m not busy. What did you need?” he asked. Asryll scratched the back of his neck and his spines rose even farther.

“It… was not important. I am sorry I interrupted your… skin change…ceremony… for nothing,” he mumbled. Bryce narrowed his eyes for a moment before he suddenly understood.

“Oh. Oh! Asryll, it’s a sunburn,” he laughed. Asryll did not share in his mirth. Instead, his spiked hand shot out and grabbed Bryce’s wrist, his eyes wide.

“You are injured? Why are you not in the med bay? Come, please, we must treat your burns!”

Bryce gently disentangled his hand from Asryll’s, a hint of annoyance creeping into his voice.

“It’s just a sunburn. Sure, it’s a pretty bad one, but I’ve had worse. There’s no need to go to the med bay.” He turned and picked up his shirt. Asryll noticed something and stepped close to him, reaching out to touch his back. He pulled back at the the last second, hesitant to hurt him accidentally with his rough skin.

“But… your skin! It is falling off!” The horror in his voice was evident. Bryce automatically turned to try and look at his own back before sighing in exasperation.

“I told you Asryll, it’s fine.”

Asryll’s eyes rolled back in his head as he consulted the chip embedded in his brain. After a moment he rolled his eyes forward again and glared at Bryce. His spines rattled. Angry? No, worried.

“You are lying. Unlike us, humans do not shed their skins, and they do not lose their skin and live.” His voice faltered as he said the last word. “You are dying?” he whispered. Bryce laughed.

“Search the symptoms of a sun burn Asryll. Go on.”

Asryll did. And he felt very relieved when he read the list.

“Sun burns, although painful, are not fatal,” he quoted. Asryll bared his teeth at Bryce, remembering from his Foreign Species course that, unlike for most species, it was a sign of non aggression and friendship. Smiling it was called. “Not fatal,” he repeated. Bryce smiled back.

“Nope. Not fatal.”

@space-australians @scifihumanheadcanons

About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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