I love reading. Always have, except for a few years, thanks to a certain series that felt the need to rehash a part of the first book, in EVERY book in the series. (I assume - I only made it part way through the third...)
ANYWAY! Aside from books, I've found a variety of freely available stories, from creepypasta to branching, community-written stuff like Humans Are Weird, which I wanted to put here. Some of them, I found in the form of images people put on Pinterest, and converted to text courtesy of Online OCR.
DISCLAIMER - I have edited it, both for spelling and grammar, and to clean up the language. I may have missed some bits though, so for those of you who are bothered by it, sorry in advance. For those of you who are bothered by its removal, I trust you understand, and can assure you that it doesn't bother me pesonally.
Eric adopts hazardous beings
The human on board your ship must constantly be checked for unauthorized items. As their direct supervisor you must constantly confiscate their contraband. Honestly you are so tired of this, but you think you've seen it all....until you discover a secret compartment under their bed. What is under their bed, and what excuse do they give to try and convince you to let them keep it?
"Shipmate Eric, We must speak!"
Xerot sighed loudly as the human crewmate turned towards it, making a strange, complicated facial expression. Despite many years working together with humans, it found it difficult to understand the human crew's varied body language.
"Sure, Captain!" The human saluted, "What's up?"
At least the crewman's voice had a frequency that indicated cheerfulness. Xerot resisted the urge to sigh again. "It's about... the smuggling of contraband..."
Again the facial expression changed. The human looked around the room, seemingly avoiding eye contact. "I'm not sure what you mean, Captain! After the killer android incident I promised not to smuggle anything aboard the ship again!"
Even remembering that incident caused the alien captain to shudder with fear. Who would have ever thought the weak and small appearing crewmate would take a fancy to the 1 meter high robot from the Tephla system?
Bad enough that the human had smuggled the assassin android aboard the ship, but it had also insisted on "adopting" it, naming it "Jerry" and dressing it up in ridiculous clothing. Eric had become so attached to it, by the time its presence was discovered aboard the ship, that Xerot had actually felt guilt at the action of separating the two! In the end, the ship's engineers had spent a full week reprogramming the robot just so that it wouldn't murder anyone on the ship. It now sat quietly in the corner of the room, its glaring red eyes focused as it knitted a sweater.
"Are you sure about that answer, Shipmate Eric?" Xerot didn't want to be harsh, but this really had to stop. Not even counting the android incident, there had been the deadly Yitni flower before that, the Gentra's orb of destruction before that, and so on...
Eric's skin tone flushed an unusual crimson shade. Xerot was familiar with this reaction. It meant the human was hiding something again.
"Eric..!" its tone was a warning.
The human threw his hands up in the air. "All right, all right... there may be... one small, insignificant thing..."
Xerot was not in the mood to argue about how "insignificant" the matter was. It lifted its third arm to rub its suddenly aching head. "Where?" It was a quiet word, but the human visibly flinched.
"U-under the bed."
Xerot ensured the safety on its weapon was off before opening the drawer under the human's bed.
An unholy shriek filled the air as a furred creature leapt out of the compartment, claws bared. Startled, Xerot drew its blaster.
"NO DON'T HURT FLUFFLER!"
Fluffier? Confused, the captain hesitated, and in the gap the human darted forward and grasped the creature tightly in his arms. Seeing it closely, Xerot couldn't help but let out a gasp.
"That's... that's a Firenk! It's one of the most deadly creatures in the universe! What are you doing with it in your room?"
The human made an awkward sound, Xerot thought it resembled a laugh reaction, but with a more nervous tone.
"Fluffier? Deadly? Of course not!" His voice became high pitched as he addressed the deadly creature trapped in his arms. "You're not deadly, you're just adorable, aren't you? Who's a good kitty? Who's the best kitty?"
The Firenk, it's long sharp claws extended, narrowed its glowing green eyes and let out a pleased rumble. Its tail, ending in a bony blade used to slice the necks of its enemies, curled around the human as it stretched contentedly.
"You have to get rid of it!" Xerot was beside itself with worry, what if the human harmed himself?
2 blue eyes and 5 green ones glared at the captain. "Get rid of Fluffier? Are you crazy? I'm its dad now! It would die without me!" After retorting, the human resumed stroking the head of the deadliest creature in the universe. "Don't worry sweetie, I won't let the captain get rid of you."
Fluffier, purring louder, curled even more tightly around the human. It then stared at Xerot as if to challenge the alien captain to even dare to try to separate them.
Xerot felt an overwhelming sense of defeat.
"But protocol..." Its voice trailed off at the sight of the pair cuddling. The alien sighed. This was turning out to be the killer robot incident all over again.
"It must have an obedience collar to prevent it from harming other crewmates."
Eric nodded happily, "Of course! We'll have to get you a name tag too, Fluffier!"
The creature seemed to understand and stretched its mouth to reveal its row upon row of sharp teeth.
"Then..." Xerot knew it would regret saying this. "The creature may stay!"
"Hooray! You're the best, Captain!" The human made the expression again. Smiling right? Well, at least the human was happy.
"But no more contraband!" It at least had to make this point, if nothing else.
Eric saluted again. "I promise!"
Xerot looked in the corner where the killer android was still knitting. A animal sized sweater with the words "Fluffier" clearly visible on the back was almost complete.
"I need a vacation:" The alien muttered, before escaping the human's room.
what if cutting your hair was an act of war?
In peacetime, the ruler grows their hair long. In war, they cut it short.
A ruler with long hair is held in great esteem, for defending the peace.
The traditional declaration of war is for the ruler to send their cut-off hair to the enemy ruler. The statement carries greater weight the longer the hair: to receive long hair says that you have angered one who is slow to anger, that you have incurred a wrath not easily woken.
-Violent war-mongering leader frantically and aggressively tries to shave just a LITTLE hair off the top of their head into an envelope.
-A faraway king receives a heavy wooden crate filled with a coil of the longest hair he has ever seen.
-A despised ruler finds hundreds of pounds of cut-off ponytails at her castle entrance, each one belonging to her own people.
-A young emperor refuses to cut their hair and insists on trying to make peace with invaders.
The enemy leader steps forward, draws their blade, and cuts the emperor's hair themselves.
-Hellen cuts her hair off and throws it in Cathy's face at her son's soccer scrimmage.
Doctors Without Borders (From a Death World)
We knew about the planet called Earth for centuries before we made contact with its indigenous species, of course. We spent decades studying them from afar.
The first researchers had to fight for years to even get a grant, of course. They kept getting laughed out of the halls. A T-Class Death World that had not only produced sapient life, but a Stage Two civilization? It was a joke, obviously. It had to be a joke.
And then it wasn't. And we all stopped laughing. Instead, we got very, very nervous.
We watched as the human civilizations not only survived, but grew, and thrived, and invented things that we had never even conceived of. Terrible things, weapons of war, implements of destruction as brutal and powerful as one would imagine a death world's children to be.
In the space of less than two thousand years, they had already produced implements of mass death that would have horrified the most callous dictators in the long, dark history of the galaxy.
Already, the children of Earth were the most terrifying creatures in the galaxy. They became the stuff of horror stories, nightly warnings told to children; huge, hulking, brutish things, that hacked and slashed and stabbed and shot and burned and survived. that built monstrous metal things that rumbled across the landscape and blasted buildings to ruin.
All that preserved us was their lack of space flight. In their obsession with murdering one another, the humans had locked themselves into a rigid framework of physics that thankfully omitted the equations necessary to achieve interstellar travel.
They became our bogeymen. Locked away in their prison planet, surrounded by a cordon of non-interference, prevented from ravaging the galaxy only by their own insatiable need to kill one another. Gruesome and terrible. yes - but at least we were safe.
Or so we thought.
The cities were called Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the moment of their destruction, the humans unlocked a destructive force greater than any of us could ever have believed possible. It was at that moment that those of us who studied their technology knew their escape to be inevitable. and that no force in the universe could have hoped to stand against them.
The first human spacecraft were... exactly what we should have expected them to be. There were no elegant solar wings, no sleek, silvered hulls plying the ocean of stars. They did not soar on the stellar currents. They did not even register their existence. Humanity flew in the only way it could: on all-consuming pillars of fire, pounding space itself into submission with explosion after explosion. Their ships were crude, ugly, bulky things. huge slabs of metal welded together, built to withstand the inconceivable forces necessary to propel themselves into space through violence alone.
It was almost comical. The huge, dumb brutes simply strapped an explosive to their backs and let it throw them off of the planet.
We would have laughed if it hadn't terrified us.
Humanity, at long last, was awake.
It was a slow process. It took them nearly a hundred years to reach their nearest planetary neighbor; a hundred more to conquer the rest of their solar system. The process of refining their explosive propulsion systems - now powered by the same force that had melted their cities into glass less than a thousand years before - was slow and haphazard. But it worked. Year by year, they inched outward, conquering and subduing world after world that we had deemed unfit for habitation. They burrowed into moons, built orbital colonies around gas giants, even crafted habitats that drifted in the hearts of blazing nebulas. They never stopped. Never slowed.
The no-contact cordon was generous, and was extended by the day. As human colonies pushed farther and farther outward, we retreated. gave them the space that they wanted in a desperate attempt at... stalling for time, perhaps. Or some sort of appeasement. Or sheer, abject terror. Debates were held daily, arguing about whether or not first contact should be initiated, and how, and by whom, and with what failsafes. No agreement was ever reached.
We were comically unprepared for the humans to initiate contact themselves.
It was almost an accident. The humans had achieved another breakthrough in propulsion physics. and took an unexpected leap of several hundred light years, coming into orbit around an inhabited world. What ensued was the diplomatic equivalent of everyone staring awkwardly at one another for a few moments, and then turning around and walking slowly out of the room
The human ship leapt away after some thirty minutes without initiating any sort of formal communications, but we knew that we had been discovered, and the message of our existence was being carried back to Terra.
The situation in the senate could only be described as "absolute, incoherent panic". They had discovered us before our preparations were complete. What would they want? What demands would they make? What hope did we have against them if they chose to wage war against us and claim the galaxy for themselves? The most meager of human ships was beyond our capacity to engage militarily: even unarmed transport vessels were so thickly armored as to be functionally indestructible to our weapons.
We waited, every day, certain that we were on the brink of war. We hunkered in our homes, and stared.
Across the darkness of space, humanity stared back.
There were other instances of contact. Human ships - armed, now - entering colonized space for a few scant moments. and then leaving upon finding our meager defensive batteries pointed in their direction. They never initiated communications. We were too frightened to.
A few weeks later. the humans discovered Alphari-296.
It was a border world. A new colony, on an ocean planet that was proving to be less hospitable than initially thought. Its military garrison was pitifully small to begin with. We had been trying desperately to shore it up, afraid that the humans might sense weakness and attack, but things were made complicated by the disease - the medical staff of the colonies were unable to devise a cure, or even a treatment, and what pitifully small population remained on the planet were slowly vomiting themselves to death.
When the human fleet arrived in orbit, the rest of the galaxy wrote Alphari-296 off as lost.
I was there, on the surface, when the great gray ships came screaming down from the sky. Crude, inelegant things, all jagged metal and sharp edges. barely holding together. I sat there, on the balcony of the clinic full of patients that I did not have the resources or the expertise to help, and looked up with the blank, empty, numb stare of one who is certain that they are about to die.
I remember the symbols emblazoned on the sides of each ship, glaring in the sun as the ships landed inelegantly on the spaceport landing pads that had never been designed for anything so large. It was the same symbol that was painted on the helmets of every human that strode out of the ships, carrying huge black cases, their faces obscured by dark visors. It was the first flag that humans ever carried into our worlds.
It was a crude image of a human figure, rendered in simple, straight lines, with a dot for the head. It was painted in white, over a red cross.
The first human to approach me was a female, though I did not learn this until much later - it was impossible to ascertain gender through the bulky suit and the mask. But she strode up the stairs onto the balcony, carrying that black case that was nearly the size of my entire body, and paused as I stared blankly up at her. I was vaguely aware that I was witnessing history, and quite certain that I would not live to tell of it.
Then, to my amazement, she said, in halting, uncertain words. "You are the head doctor?"
The visor cleared. The human bared its teeth at me. I learned later that this was a "grin", an expression of friendship and happiness among their species.
"We are The Doctors Without Borders," she said, speaking slowly and carefully. "We are here to help."
cybernetic ambassador for a "pacified" Earth meets with invaders
Story 215: Cultural Exchange
The human steps onto the station from her shuttle, and walks into the scanner. It flashes - no weapons. I pity her, though there's nothing I can do for her. By tomorrow she will be a slave the same as me; the Gaunvans collect ambassadors like trophies.
"Hello there! Amanda Thorn, ambassador for the Empire of Humanity. You're a Ixian, correct?" Mimicking human body language, I nod my head.
"That's correct. Ix Malasan. It is an honor to meet you."
She smiles, reminding me again that she has somehow modified herself to breathe
atmosphere suited to the Gaunvans rather than wear a respirator like myself. Other than that she appears to be a standard human, something I am led to believe is less and less common as they pursue the bizarre compulsion humans have to alter their bodies. Changing hair color, adding pigments to their skins in patterns and pictures, growing long tails or ears that mimic other species from their planet. No other known species tampers with their bodies like this."Not to be undiplomatic, she says, "but the Gaunvans enslaved your people. Why are you here?"
"We... reached a mutually beneficial agreement. We would have lost in combat and been eliminated, so we chose to preserve what we could of our culture. The Gaunvans are not naturally skilled at diplomacy, so they bring me along to assist and to show that peace can be made."
She nods. "Understood. I can respect that choice. How much freedom do you have, personally?"
Smart of her, to start planning for her future. "A fair amount. I have free reign on the ship when we are in transit. At the homeworld I have reasonably comfortable quarters."
"Have you ever met the Empress, or...?"
"Oh, no. No, while on the homeworld I am confined to my chambers - but they're quite spacious."
"Shame. Okay, plan 'A' then. Let's get this over with."
Despite my attempt at encouraging diplomacy, the Gaunvan commander starts with threats. I don't know why I bother. He looms over the human, chitinous plates almost black in the dim light. His pod of six is posted around the room, for show more than for actual security since she followed orders and came alone and unarmed. "Failure to surrender will bring the full wrath of our army upon you. Humanity will be crushed, and wiped from the universe!"
To her credit, she looks very calm. "We live in a post-scarcity society. Bloody conquest just seems silly, doesn't it?"
"It is for the glory of Gaun!"
"Well, I'm not prepared to get into a religious debate with you," she says, "since I doubt there's anything I can do to change your mind. Since you're committed to this course of action, what are you willing to offer if we surrender?"
Now he goes back on script. Maybe I am getting through to him a little? He talks about the benefits of being enslaved, mainly the protections for up to twelve designated culturally historical sites. They've been mostly good on their word on my homeworld, though they did use the area just outside of the Hahhn Memorial
as a waste dump.
She nods as she listens. There was a part of me that was worried she would argue, because the humans are somewhat childlike. They don't understand the horrors of war. Certainly they fought in the past, but the last time they had to battle was more than two of their generations ago, so these ones have all grown up coddled and soft. They play games with each other instead, silly competitions. They make art, and play pretend, and alter their bodies for fun. They don't have weapons anymore, and wouldn't know how to use them if they did.
"Well then," ambassador Thorn says, "this is about what I expected. On behalf of humanity, I would like to formally reject this offer."
Oh no. Foolish humans. The galaxy will miss your innocence. The commander makes an excited clicking noise, looking forward to combat. He reaches a blade-tipped hand towards Ambassador Thorn, but hesitates as every device in the room bleats out an alert - we've all lost communications with the outside.
Like one of the dances humans do, she gracefully pivots around while taking his hand. She ends up close to him and places her other arm against his thorax, then... oh gods. Gods, what... she's ripped his arm off. It's not possible. The commander is clearly thinking the same thing, staring in mute shock at his dripping limb.
"I'd like to extend a counter-offer," she says, and flips the arm around before jamming the bladed end into his neck. The warriors around the room are fidgeting, uncertain. They haven't been told to attack, and don't want to dishonor their commander by intervening in a fight with such a small creature. She's still holding the commander's severed arm in his neck, but she rotates and heaves, lifting him off the ground with it for a moment... and then his head pops off, landing squarely on the conference table. She allows the corpse to slide to the ground, and straightens her clothes as if they aren't covered in ichor.
I don't understand.
The warriors, now with no orders at all, finally act. She smiles as they come for her, I suppose because she has done her duty to send this powerful message of resistance. She can die in peace. Or... no... She's killing them. She's smiling because this is fun for her. Though they're partly killing themselves; if there had been two of them, prepared, strategic, they might have prevailed. Watching six panicked fighters get in each other's way while trying to stop a smaller, faster, and somehow impossibly stronger foe is almost hypnotic. At least one is killed by the stab of a friendly lance due to pure confusion. It's over faster than I would have thought possible, severed limbs strewn across the room. I've got some fluids splashed across my clothing. Only one yet lives, and he is retreating. She seems to be allowing it.
She follows behind, holding a lance. The wounded and scared warrior scurries down the hallway towards his ship, looking back behind him as he goes. She's just... walking. Calm. And for some reason I'm following. The last Gaunvan reaches the airlock and the second he enters his code she throws the lance - THROWS it! - and spears him.
"Come on, we're stealing their ship." She says it like this is the most normal thing in the world.
"There are thousands more on board! Thousands! Almost all warrior caste!"
She smiles again, and keeps walking. I see errors on the screens that we pass, messages indicating communications have been lost. They can't tell anyone what is happening here. Even the communicators within the ship are on nodes rather than being wired, so the warriors at one end of the vessel won't be able to coordinate with the other end. Do they even know they've been boarded?
We enter the bridge after she kills a handful of other guards with ease. They're too shocked by her presence to act in time. Once the doors are sealed and she is working on the control systems she starts talking to me again.
"Well, you know, we do like to be prepared."
"But you... you ripped his arm off."
"Yeah, that was super satisfying." She looks at me appraisingly. "Oh, come on. Is it really that surprising? You knew we were into changing ourselves, right? Being strong enough to pop an overgrown bug's forelimb off isn't rocket science!'
"Your people are so peaceful..."
"Oh, sure, most of them. But we did that, too. Tweaked ourselves over the years to decrease aggression and some of our tribalistic tendencies, increase empathy... all stuff that can be undone if needed. Though for a good cause even the nicest of us can squish a bug or two."
"You bond with Ry'ling devourers!"
"Those are the big fuzzy guys that look like cats, yeah? Those guys are adorable! But... look, liking some things that could kill us doesn't mean we'll sit back and get enslaved. We didn't put up with it well when we enslaved each other, and we certainly aren't going to go for it now that we're... finally... on the same page about slavery being unacceptable. It was, uh, a longer time than we like to admit before the last hold-outs were convinced of that one."
I can feel the ship un-dock. We're moving. "What about all the warriors on board? They'll break through the doors eventually!"
"Not according to this control panel here. Take a look."
It says there's no atmosphere in the rest of the ship. Life signs are negative on all but two of the warriors, presumably the only ones that got to their suits in time. She disabled all the safety measures, somehow. She just killed... I check the life signs readout again to confirm the number... three thousand, six hundred, and fourteen soldiers. Wait, how is it tracking that unless...
"Are communications back up?"
"Yeah, I'm calling some friends. The military is right around the corner, so to speak."
"But Earth doesn't have a standing military."
She laughs. Not just a little bit. She's actually doubled over for a moment, unable to catch her breath. "Sweet Jeebus, you guys actually fell for that? No standing military. Have you read about us at all?"
Three ships appear seemingly out of nowhere, and one docks with the Gaunvan vessel. Once the atmosphere is restored we head to the airlock to meet them, and I'm surprised by an entire platoon of Gaunvan warriors. Speaking English.
"Okay boys, send your last goodbyes! This is in all likelihood a one way mission. Commander Thorn! It is an honor to see you again, and might I say you look exquisite drenched in the blood of your enemies!"
She bows to him, blushing, and then salutes the Gaunvans. Or... humans? Can they change themselves this drastically?
"You've got two holed up in here somewhere. Bridge is clear, have the techs bring the new brain on board."
She looks at me like she's forgotten that I'm here, and then turns back to the others. "Men, this is our new friend lx Malasan who has just been liberated from his captivity. He's going to be helping with our intel. Malasan, yeah, a new brain for the ship. Once this vessel is cleaned up and back in service with a new crew we'll be able to take it over whenever we want even if all of our boys get killed. We cooked up a really sadistic Al for it."
"But how do you know the protocols? This was your first contact with the Gaunvans, they've never lost a ship anywhere near here!"
"No? There wasn't a mining colony disaster two years ago?"
"But that was just an accident... and you weren't even involved in the war yet... and..."
The faux-Gaunvans have finished boarding. The one that was talking to them before puts a bladed claw on Ambassador - Commander - Thorn's shoulder.
"You coming with?"
"Naw. Orders said I could only come if they allow ambassadors near extremely high value targets. Malasan here says they don't, so I need to wait for my next mission back on Earth."
"It would have been nice having you with us, Thorn. Well, maybe we'll see each other again. Suicide mission or not, I think I've decided to live through it."
"Bold choice," she says, and kisses him next to his lower mandibles.
He nods at me, then turns back to his men. "Okay everyone, we are now officially on the job. And what is that job?" In unison, they start chanting.
For a moment I nearly feel pity for the Gaunvans. Nearly. Commander Thorn leads me off of the ship, and I start thinking about what useful information I can provide the 'harmless' humans.
Stabby the Space Roomba
On the topic of humans being the intergalactic "hold my beer" species: imagine an alien stepping onto a human starship and seeing a space roomba™ with a knife duct taped onto it, just wandering around the ship.
It doesn't have any special intelligence. It's just a normal space roomba. There are other space roombas on the ship and they don't have knives. It's just this one. Knife space roomba has full clearance to every room in the ship. Occasionally crew members will be talking and then suddenly swear and clutch their ankle. Knife space roomba putters off, leaving them to their mild stab wounds.
"What is the point?" asks the alien as another crew member casually steps over the knife- wielding robot. "Is it to test your speed and agility?"
"No it doesn't really go that fast," replies the captain.
"Does it teach you to stay ever-vigilant?"
"I mean I guess so but that's more of a side effect."
"Does it weed out the weak? Does it protect you from invaders? do repeated stabbings let your species heal more quickly in the future?"
"it doesn't stab very hard, it gets us more than it gets our enemies, and no, but that sounds cool — someone write that down."
"But then what is its purpose?"
"I don't know," the captain says, leaning down to give the space roomba an affectionate pat. "it just seemed cool"
This is the dumbest idea I've ever heard but I thought about it for five seconds and realized that if I were, say, a random communications officer onboard this ship and someone taped a knife to a roomba it would take maybe three weeks before even I was inordinately fond of Stabby. I would be proud of Stabby when I met up with my other spacefleet friends for space coffee, I would tell them about the time Stabby got the second mate in the ankle five seconds before the fleet admiral beamed on board and she swore in seven different languages in front of high command.
Also by the fourth day Stabby would be in the ship's log, he'd have little painted-on insignia, people would salute him as he went by, and someone would hook up a twitter account to tweet maniacal laughter and/or a truly terrible knock-knock joke every time he managed to nick someone.
Stabby's little charging dock would start accruing cuddly toys and commemorative holo-vids of Stabby's greatest stabs. Its insignia would start off at a fairly low rank, but soon, without anyone ever discussing it, everyone would know that Stabby got to take the rank of the highest ranking crew member it stabbed. The ceremony for Flag Admiral Stabby was beautiful. The captain gave a speech.
why am i proud of stabby this is irrational
INCIDENT LOG: 46-7-2
Desc: Covert enemy boarding attempt
Details: Six (6) members of a Mercenary/Pirate crew of little renown attempted to infiltrate ship
in order to steal equipment and/or personnel.
Prior to being detained they had remained undetected for eight (8) hours and accumulated several high value materials (see attached log), and incapacitated and restrained several crewmen (see attached log) in dock #3, with the intention of using a life boat to exfiltrate.
Just prior to their would-be escape, the boarding party encountered the ship's mascot. A cleaning unit which had been modified by crew members to mount a traditional Terran melee weapon, as well as an officer's insignia (having been jokingly given a commission by the Captain the night given a commission by the Captain the night before). Curious, one picked it up, before realising the mounted weapon had a nickel finish (highly toxic to their species) on the handle, and dropped it in a panic.
mantis-like aliens that die from shock, have inherited memories
Alien: So you're saying that human brains sometimes just... malfunction? And see threats that aren't really there?
Human: Yeah basically?
Alien: And then the human keeps living and doing things anyways???
Alien: Woahhhhhh. Woahhhhh. Humans are badass.
Aliens would probably have fundamentally different responses to trauma than humans would, like- their brains. would be so fundamentally different. at a basic chemical and structural level we'd have to relearn everything, in this scenario the alien species is REALLY BAD at continuing to function with even a slightly impaired brain, and deals with it with LOTS OF BABIES, Oh yeah great grandpa died three years back when he got really surprised and WHAT DO YOU MEAN, THAT A HUMAN GOT STABBED THROUGH THE HEAD AND CONTINUED TO LIVE I DON'T BELIEVE YOU THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE
I bet they are all pregnant all the time and when they randomly die the baby eats their way out of the corpse, they are insectoid and look a lot like praying manti and they REALLY FREAK OUT THEIR HUMAN FRIENDS THE FIRST TIME IT HAPPENS, there is a sort of generational memory that happens which is how they managed to develop tech at all being so fragile, so when the creatures get depressed or homesick or manic and die it's not like their human friends have lost them forever, except for how it sort of is
PLEASE IMAGINE THE FIRST TIME AN ALIEN HAS ONE OF THEIR HUMAN FRIENDS DIE
'so hey, that was a great funeral, cool outfits, always glad to learn more about your culture and stuff. So, when is she coming back?'
'She- she's not coming back'
'Yeah, not as Megan, but when is her replacement coming back?'
'We're- not hiring anyone new for a couple weeks???'
'no no no, you're not getting what I'm saying- I want to ask her about that book she lent me- can I keep it for another week or two, or does her new version want it back?'
The humans stare at the alien and just. slowly start to figure out what the alien is saying. The alien shuffles nervously, their six spindly legs making a skritching noise that echoes in the cold chapel. Finally, the kindest of the humans takes the alien aside and-
'hey. so. Us humans don't come back when we die. Not like you do.'
'what? No, but you clearly talk about reincarnation, and-'
'Those are just stories, Six. When humans die, we're gone. We don't come back.'
The alien laughs 'No, see, cuz that would mean that-that would mean. That Megan- Megan is-' The alien cuts off the hissing noise that is their equivalent of a sob. 'I have to go'
The alien spends a week in their spaceship, the only place they can send communication to their Mother. When they come back, their carapace is a glistening new shade of red, and they've ended up as a different gender. When the lab adviser asks them how they are feeling about Megan
'Megan? Oh, yes, my previous version was very fond of Megan' The alien cocks their head, like a particularly thoughtful bird. 'I suppose that I regret her loss. She was a valuable member of the team'
The lab adviser lets this be - they are aliens after all. But later, when lab hours are done, the adviser notices Six double and triple-checking all the lab equipment, especially - well. The accident that took Megan will never happen again.
The book is never returned.
Now imagine the flip side: Sevan finds out his human friend is due to have a baby in six months. Six months! He asks, and finds that no, there's no way to delay a human birth. In six months, a new version of his friend will emerge. Will they still like space operas? What about visiting that smoothie place in quadrant 6? Will they even still want to be friends?
His friend asks him to be visit the baby, after it's born. Of course, of course he will. It's the least he can do. There's always that vulnerable phase after birth when you haven't got the hang of the new motor controls, and everyone needs a helping palp for the first few months.
The night he hears that the new baby has been born, he wails quietly and recites the qualities of his friend that he will miss the most.
Three days later, he gathers his resolve and knocks on the hatch of his friend's place. Strangely, the access panel hasn't been lowered - rude. He'll make sure that's one of the first things changed. His friends partner opens the door and lets him in and there - there is his friend,looking tired but well, a miniature copy of herself held in her arms. Imagine his joy when he finds out that not only will he get to spend longer with his current friend, but there will be another friend to get to know!
Excellent bug stories
I am crying over space bugs don't touch me
good good bugs ;n;
hobbyist painter becomes a galactic celebrity
You love observing the galaxy and have always had a special interest in planet K-95z. You often spend your nights looking through your telescope, fantasizing about life there and painting what you see. You just saved up enough money to buy the newest Tesla Spaceship Convertible 2300 and decide to travel to the planet. Upon arrival you see a statue that looks remarkably like you, with the inscription 'the human who loves us from beyond the stars.'
You're surprised, to say the least. You try to find locals so that they can explain to you the reason why there is a statue of someone who looks like you. One of them says that there is a team of astronomers of the planet who look at what happens on other planets.
One night, the astronomer in charge of studying Earth pointed their telescope at your country and zoomed the farthest they could. They saw you, in your room, staring back, then drawing the beautiful landscapes of their country. Of course, they explain, telescopes on Earth aren't powerful nor precise enough yet for you to do the same and see planet K-95z inhabitants' in detail, but here they have that kind of technology. The alien astronomer took pictures with their telescope. You learn that not only there is a telescope. You learn that not only there is a statue in your honor, but there is an art exhibit of pictures of your paintings, and you're right in time for the opening.
You are nervous, at best, terrified, at worst. You're standing in the crowd, near the alien art critics and art lovers who came to the gallery. A giant picture of that landscape you painted last year is the masterpiece of the showcase.
"We have the honor and the luck to have with us tonight, the one and only human artist who painted this work" says the curator. "And now, a few words from the artist themselves, if you may join me."
People look at you, astonished. If you would have known, you would have put on better clothes before leaving Earth in your spaceship.
"Thank you." you say. "I remember staring at the stars when I was a child, and then I discovered the planets through my telescope. And of all the planets, K-95z was the most beautiful to me. So beautiful that I enjoyed painting the landscapes, the planet from afar, the things I imagined were on it."
The crowd claps enthusiastically. You feel gifted. After the opening, you ask the curator "How come the timing was so perfect?"
"We saw you coming in your spaceship, we knew you would land today. Our people like you. We don't understand why you like our planet so much, but we appreciate it. There were also some other foreigners in the crowd. They asked if you could paint their planet too, I have invitations for you. They want you to come over to their planet for artist's residencies." The curator hands you a few letters. You can't read all the languages, but someone kindly translated them.
You stay for two more days more interesting than ever, and come back to your spaceship full of new images to paint in mind. You never thought you would become an intergalactic painter, but it seems that your next destination is planet P-673b for the next week. A patron is interested in your terrestrial technique and would like to buy a piece of work representing their land.
Before leaving, the curator insisted on walking you to your Convertible 2300. They said right before you leave, "It is nice that you see the beauty that lies away, but don't forget the beauty of your own planet. We see that Earth is sick. Please try to save it while you can. We would miss both your friendship and the beauty of your homeworld."
You leave the planet K-95z, meditating about it. But for now, you're traveling through the stars. Your dreams, your life and your journey are just getting started.
the power of unity
Okay, I frickin' adore the Earth Is Space Australia business, so here's my two cents. Someone did a great post about laughter as a fear response and how freaky that would be to aliens.
There's another thing we do when we're about to go into battle and we're scared out of our minds.
So Alien Steve is minding his own business as the new guy on the Starship Incandescent. It's a mixed ship, about half human, a quarter Silesian, and the rest a grab bag of species, but he hasn't had any major problems so far. Then the pirates show up and shoot out their FTL drives so they can't escape, and they're outnumbered ten to one, and he calculates their odds of survival at very low. The comm link is still active, so they can hear the pirates laughing as they get ready to tear the Incandescent open and vent them all into vacuum. At least the end will be quick.
And Human Steve starts chanting. It makes no sense. Human incantations are for birth anniversaries, or aquatic grooming rituals, or for the ancient rite of passage known as "ka-ra-oke". This is not a time of celebration. It is a time of preparing for imminent and ugly death by gravity cannon. But every human on the bridge starts chanting, too.
The pirates aren't laughing anymore. Human Steve wraps his fingers around the main gunnery controls, and the crew descends as one into battle.
Teradecads later, his students will beg him for the story of how the Incandescent destroyed the Tyn'x Syndicate. To this day he credits their victory to the invocation of the great human battle god Queen.
I love and hate the fact that I knew exactly what song this was just from the way it's written here
i love the idea of alien steve researching human mythology trying to figure out WHICH battle queen their crew has been secretly worshipping all this time. Athena? Oya? The Morrigan? Sekhmet? Pele? are they all one goddess?
finally they give up and just ask Human Steve.
Human Steve grins a slow grin (which is always a bit scary) and says, "i'll give you a hint. she's dynamite with a laser beam."
robots discover sentient meat on Earth
TERRY BISSON, science fiction writer of the UNIVERSE
I'm honored that this often shows up on the Internet. Here's the correct version, as published in Omni, 1990.
THEY'RE MADE OUT OF MEAT
"They're made out of meat."
"Meat. They're made out of meat."
"There's no doubt about it. We picked up several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, and probed them all the way through. They're completely meat."
"That's impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars?"
"They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don't come from them. The signals come from machines."
"So who made the machines? That's who we want to contact."
"They made the machines. That's what I'm trying to tell you. Meat made the machines."
"That's ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You're asking me to believe in sentient meat."
"I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. These creatures are the only sentient race in that sector and they're made out of meat."
"Maybe they're like the orfolei. You know, a carbon-based intelligence that goes through a meat stage."
"Nope. They're born meat and they die meat. We studied them for several of their life spans, which didn't take long. Do you have any idea what's the life span of meat?"
"Spare me. Okay, maybe they're only part meat. You know, like the weddilei. A meat head with an electron plasma brain inside."
"Nope. We thought of that, since they do have meat heads, like the weddilei. But I told you, we probed them. They're meat all the way through."
"Oh, there's a brain all right. It's just that the brain is made out of meat! That's what I've been trying to tell you."
"So ... what does the thinking?"
"You're not understanding, are you? You're refusing to deal with what I'm telling you. The brain does the thinking. The meat."
"Thinking meat: You're asking me to believe in thinking meat!"
"Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you beginning to get the picture or do I have to start all over?"
"Omigod. You're serious then. They're made out of meat."
"Thank you. Finally. Yes. They are indeed made out of meat. And they've been trying to get in touch with us for almost a hundred of their years."
"Omigod. So what does this meat have in mind?"
"First it wants to talk to us. Then I imagine it wants to explore the Universe, contact other sentiences, swap ideas and information. The usual."
"We're supposed to talk to meat."
"That's the idea. That's the message they're sending out by radio. 'Hello. Anyone out there. Anybody home.' That sort of thing."
"They actually do talk, then. They use words, ideas, concepts?"
"Oh, yes. Except they do it with meat."
"I thought you just told me they used radio."
"They do, but what do you think is ON the radio? Meat sounds. You know how when you slap or flap meat, it makes a noise? They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat."
"Omigod. Singing meat. This is altogether too much. So what do you advise?"
"Officially or unofficially?"
"Officially, we are required to contact, welcome and log in any and all sentient races or multibeings in this quadrant of the Universe, without prejudice, fear or favor. Unofficially, I advise that we erase the records and forget the whole thing."
"I was hoping you would say that."
"It seems harsh, but there is a limit. Do we really want to make contact with meat?"
'I agree one hundred percent. What's there to say? 'Hello, meat. How's it going?' But will this work? How many planets are we dealing with here?"
"Just one. They can travel to other planets in special meat containers, but they can't live on them. And being meat, they can only travel through C space. Which limits them to the speed of light and makes the possibility of their ever making contact pretty slim. Infinitesimal, in fact."
"So we just pretend there's no one home in the Universe."
"Cruel. But you said it yourself, who wants to meet meat? And the ones who have been aboard our vessels, the ones you probed? You're sure they won't remember?"
"They'll be considered crackpots if they do. We went into their heads and smoothed out their meat so that we're just a dream to them."
"A dream to meat! How strangely appropriate, that we should be meat's dream."
"And we marked the entire sector unoccupied."
"Good. Agreed, officially and unofficially. Case closed. Any others? Anyone interesting on that side of the galaxy?"
"Yes, a rather shy but sweet hydrogen core cluster intelligence in a class nine star in G445 zone. Was in contact two galactic rotations ago, wants to be friendly again."
"They always come around."
"And why not? Imagine how unbearably, how unutterably cold the Universe would be if one were all alone ..."
Passengers movie alternate plot
Someone else on tumblr pointed out that PASSENGERS might have been a more meaningful movie if it was about just THE ONE person dealing with being alone on the ship for the rest of their life. And if, to cope, they go through and make it a point to learn everything they can about all of the other people on the ship. And I just keep thinking about this idea. There are 4999 other people on that ship and what if the protagonist spent the remainder of their life (and they do live their full life) learning about each of them.
They took an interest in their hobbies so that they could have some sort of connection to them.
As their sanity flexed in an effort to cope, they could have had these really involved imaginary conversations with the crew about their interests. And by the end of their natural life they will have known everything they could have ever known about these other 4999 people.
AND THEN THE REST OF THEM WAKE UP. And they have some 90 odd years of security footage of this one crew member talking to each of them in turn. And it goes far beyond 'I have figured out how to cook that one dish you were struggling with' or 'I have read THE SILMARILLION at your suggestion and I have thoughts about it:
They actually start making connections between all of the crew.
Like 'You like bugs! You should totally talk to Cindy! She's an entomologist!' Or 'Did you know that you and Said's grandfathers were both in the same infantry?' Or 'You and Jamie are both avid bee keepers and I think you need to meet: Or 'I know you're really struggling with this, but Aneesha said she went the exact same thing and I think talking to her can help:
And because all of these crew members are watching the videos that have been individually addressed to them (Because why not? They're colonizing. There's not a lot yet available by way of entertainment) they sort of start talking to each other at the Protagonist's suggestion. And within a year they are THE MOST unified interconnected colony of any of the colonies because this one crew member broke the ice for them a lifetime ago.
Several of them are engaged.
Two are about to have children named after the Protagonist.
AND BECAUSE EVERYONE KNOWS EVERYONE NOW they notice when one week a crew member isn't out and about and no one can get in touch with them. So finally somebody goes to check and they find them huddled in a ball and mourning.
Because Protagonist is dead.
And the other people are like: 'Yes. We know. This is literally the first thing we knew about them.'
But Mourner is like: 'You don't understand. I got to the end.'
And then everyone realizes that the mourner has basically been BURNING through all of the videos Protagonist has addressed to them and got to the last one they made to them before they died. And Protagonist left a final message for each of them.
Suddenly everyone's having a real frank conversation with themselves about how fast they're going through their videos and if they're prepared to keep going at that rate and get to the end, or if they should put it off indefinitely.
Suddenly everyone's having a real frank conversation with themselves about how fast they're going through their videos and if they're prepared to keep going at that rate and get to the end, or if they should put it off indefinitely.
And one by one, in time, each of them realizes they can't put it off. Not only are they invested in the end, but they care enough about Protagonist to really acknowledge their death.
Each crew member does this at their own pace. It becomes a rite of passage of sorts. And Protagonist is given some sort of proper memorial so the colonists all have a place to go when their time comes to grieve.
BUT BEFORE EVERYONE GETS TO THE END, someone has started noticing how Protagonist treated the robots on the ship over the years. And surprise, surprise, Protagonist named all the robots too and treated them like individuals depending on their quirks. So now someone has finally solved the mystery of why droid 808 insists on being called 'Bob,' and why 239 knows ASL, and why the auxiliary robots are so salty about nobody ever being able to tell them apart.
Not only that, but security logs shows that the robots were about 19% more efficient when Protagonist was alive than they are now. And THE VERY SECOND the rest of the crew starts observing the same habits Protagonist used in treating these robots ALL OF THAT EFFICIENCY COMES RIGHT BACK.
Because they missed Protagonist too.
And things settle. Everyone thinks they've reached the end of Protagonist's surprises.
THEN THEY ARE FINALLY ABLE TO START TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN THEMSELVES AND THE OTHER COLONIES.
And a visiting party shows up. The visitors are surprised to see HOW WELL everyone on this colony is getting along, because, wow, people are civil where they come from but DANG.
And one of these visiting members is really excited to see their sibling.
And 'Oh, that's so nice! Who is it?' And then the visiting member says a name every single person on this colony knows. The colonists have to tell them what happened to their sibling, Protagonist.
But they also HAVE to tell the sibling what knowing Protagonist MEANT to them. And what Protagonist knowing THEM, meant to them.
And it's sad.
The colony pretty much wholesale adopts Protagonist's sibling as a part of their family because they don't know what else they can do to fill that void. But just in case, they give the Protagonist's sibling THE ENTIRETY of Protagonist's security footage. Because there is 90 years of it and that way they can carry their sibling with them for the rest of their life even if only in video.
And then the colonists think:
'This. This was the end of Protagonist's story. And this was a good a proper way to observe it.'
AND THEN ONE DAY A SHIP SHOWS UP THAT IS NOT LIKE ANY SHIP THE COLONISTS HAVE EVER SEEN.
And the people driving it aren't human. They speak English and passable French. They can chicken scratch Urdu, Mandarin, and Swahili.
Everyone is stunned and wants to know 'why...?' and 'how...?'
And the aliens are just, like, 'Oh. Protagonist. We ran into them while you were in space. They told us you'd be settling here and asked that we check up on you whenever we were rolling by this quadrant next'
'They were really nice. Taught us English. Gave us the files on a couple of your other popular languages as well just to be safe. How's the colonizing going anyway?'
And everyone thinks back to THAT ONE MONTH of security footage where Protagonist was NIGH IMPOSSIBLE to find. And when they finally did come back to their normal routine they were really quiet and thoughtful for about a week before really getting back to themselves.
The linguists all suddenly remember that IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THAT REALLY WEIRD MONTH, Protagonist had a new coded language saved to their personal affects and was very insistent that they LEARN IT. 'FOR REASONS.'
And very quietly, the entire colony makes peace with the fact that Protagonist established a very successful first contact while they were all asleep.