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Posted on August 5th, 2022 by Rike Herschel

Tulgana IV, year 2368

“Oh pfft, you’re so silly I just love you.” There was an abrupt pause, followed by an eyebrow raise from the Vulcan, then Rike stammering red-faced. “I- I ahh- I didn’t mean like that. Eheh. You- you know what I mean, right?”

Torin tilted his head, then crossed his arms. “I do not. You will have to elaborate.”

“I- I- Well. I Uhh- obviously I’m ace so, not like that that y’know? And we are just friends so-” Rike chuckled nervously, fiddling with her skirt. “I mean- you’re great and you freaking live here with me now, obviously. If I didn’t think you were great, I wouldn’t have let you in here in the first place.”

Torin decided to sit at the kitchen table, thinking this show was amusing. All humans are fascinating in one way or another, but this one was particularly unique. He kept his eyebrow raised as he listened to the normally bubbly and vivacious human slowly melt into an awkward mess. Her face is much more red than normal… the increased blood flow is a stress response of sorts.

After stammering a blend of gibberish from different languages, Rike clutched her skirt and pulled it up, further stammering as she ran away, “I- uhhh- oh no. Excuse me. Scheiße. I am going to puke.”

“Please do be careful.” Torin pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. He pulled a nearby notebook closer to him, writing down his observations of Rike’s curious behavior. This was something he was going to have to research later on. What was it about humans that made it hard for them to verbally express themselves correctly on occasions? Is this just a Rike quirk? Hmm… perhaps calling her mother would provide some insight.

As far as Torin was concerned, Rike didn’t have a need to express awkward behavior, as he had understood the initial phrase to mean friendship love. The Vulcan was familiar with and had read Aristotle’s best-known work on ethics, Nicomachean Ethics, which had also covered philia. Hmm… perhaps the vagueness of Federation Standard in this instance caused Rike to overreact over a potential misunderstanding. Yes- that must be it. That’s the only logical explanation for this peculiar behavior.

Torin decided that a decent amount of time had passed and made his way over to the bathroom. He knocked twice on the door, “Rike, are you alright?”

“I’m fine. Totally fine!” Rike swung the door open and aloofly leaned against the doorframe. “Are you aight bro?” She then finger-gunned at Torin, who once again raised an eyebrow.

“I am in peak physical health, yes.” Bro? What in the name of Surak? “Are you sure you are alright? Your mental state seems to be suboptimal. You do know that I am not your… bro. That would be disturbing if it were true.”

Rike nodded as though she understood the Vulcan’s curt response. “Yeah, yeah. It’s just a saying. Slang. It’s uhh. Umm.” She looks down at the ground, muttering in German to herself. After finally putting together a definition, she looks up at Torin. “Bro. Noun. A comrade or friend, usually a male.” She blinked twice, waiting for a response.

“That does make more sense now. Thank you for the definition.” He tilted his head, staring down at Rike. “I am curious. Why do humans like to use such a large quantity of non-literal sayings?”

Rike was not expecting such a question and crossed her arms, reflecting Torin’s stance. She thought for a moment, eyes glancing at a wall, before looking back up at Torin. “I’m not actually sure. That is a good question, though. You know what, that’s something that I will have to look up. That will be a learning opportunity for both of us. How about that?”

Satisfied, the Vulcan gave Rike a nod. “That… would be nice to do.”

“Alrightie then, what are you waiting for? Get your PADD out!”

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