There is a collective of Tumblr users who are very concerned about what would aliens would think of humans if they had the chance to interact with us. It may be a strange thing to speculate about, but it is definitely an excellent writing prompt. A handful of these curious minds have decided to write stories about alien reactions to the things that make us human. Spoiler alert: according to extraterrestrial beings, humans are pretty weird. So naturally, if there’s no other planet in the galaxy with similar climate and biodiversity, aliens are in for a huge surprise! Scroll below to read stories about probably the weirdest species on the galaxy. (Facebook cover image: Rev Stan)
Alien: “I’m sorry, what did you just say your comfortable temperature range is?”
Human: “Honestly we can tolerate anywhere from -40 to 50 Celcius, but we prefer the 0 to 30 range.”
Alien: “……. I’m sorry, did you just list temperatures below freezing?”
Human: “Yeah, but most of us prefer to throw on scarves or jackets at those temperatures it can be a bit nippy.”
Other human: “Nah mate, I knew this guy in college who refused to wear anything past his knees and elbows until it was -20 at least.”
Human: “Heh. Yeah everybody knows someone like that.”
Alien: “……. And did you also say 50 Celcius? As in, half way to boiling?”
Human: “Eugh. Yes. It sucks, we sweat everywhere, and god help you if you touch a seatbelt buckle, but yes.”
Alien: “……. We’ve got like 50 uninhabitable planets we think you might enjoy.”
Alien: “You’re telling me that you have… settlements. On islands with active volcanism?”
Human: “Well, yeah. I’m not about to tell Iceland and Hawaii how to live their lives. Actually, it’s kind of a tourist attraction.”
Alien: “What, the molten rock?”
Human: “Well, yeah! It’s not every day you see a mountain spew out liquid rocks! The best one is Yellowstone, though. All these hot springs and geysers from the supervolcano–”
Alien: “You ACTIVELY SEEK OUT ACTIVE SUPERVOLCANOES?”
Human: “S**t, man, we swim in the groundwater near them.”
Alien: “And you say the poles of your world would get as low as negative one hundred with wind chill?”
Human: “Yup, with blizzards you cant see through every other day just about.”
Alien: “Amazing! when did you manage to send drones that could survive such temperatures?”
Human: “… well, actually…”
Alien: “… what?”
Human: “…we kinda……. sent……….. people…..”
Human: “we sent-”
Alien: “no yeah I heard you I just- what? You sent… HUMANS… to a place one hundred degrees below freezing?”
Alien: “and they didn’t… die?”
Human: “Well the first few did”
Alien: “PEOPLE DIED OF THE COLD AND YOUR SOLUTION WAS TO SEND MORE PEOPLE???!?!?!?”
My new favorite Humans are Weird quote
Alien: “PEOPLE DIED OF THE COLD AND YOUR SOLUTION WAS TO SEND MORE PEOPLE?”
aka The History of Russia
aka Arctic Exploration
aka The History of Alaska
It occurs to me that as much as “humans are the scary ones” fit sometimes, if you look at it another way, humans might seem like the absurdly friendly or curious ones.
I mean, who looked at an elephant, gigantic creature thoroughly capable of killing someone if it has to, and thought “I’m gonna ride on that thing!”?
And put a human near any canine predator and there’s a strong chance of said human yelling “PUPPY!” and initiating playful interaction with it.
And what about the people who look at whales, bigger than basically everything else, and decide “I’m gonna swim with our splashy danger friends!”
Heck, for all we know, humans might run into the scariest, toughest aliens out there and say “Heck with it. I’m gonna hug ‘em.”
“I dunno. I gotta hug ‘em.”
And it’s like the first friendly interaction the species has had in forever so suddenly humanity has a bunch of big scary friends.
“Commander, we must update the code of conduct to include the humans.”
“Why? Are they more aggressive than we anticipated?”
“It seems to be the opposite Commander. Just this morning a crewman nearly lost their hand when attempting to stroke an unidentified feline on an unknown world. Their reaction to the attack was to call the creature a “mean kitty” and vow to win it over. Upon inquiry, it seems they bond so readily with creatures outside their species that they have the capacity to feel sympathy for an alien creature they have never seen before simply because it appears distressed. I hate to say this commander but we must install a rule to prevent them from endangering their own lives when interacting with the galaxy’s fauna.”
“I see what you mean. So be it, from now on no crewman is allowed to touch unknown animals without permission from a superior officer. And send a message to supplies about acquiring one of these “puppies” so that their desire to touch furred predators can be safely sated.
Let’s be honest, the humans would ignore the hell outta that rule whenever alone.
“So I hear that you’ve just recruited a human for your ship.”
“Yes, it’s the first time that I’ve worked with these species, but they come highly recommended. Say, you’ve worked with a few, what tips can you give me? I’d hate to have some kind of cultural misunderstanding if it’s avoidable.”
“The first rule of working with humans is to never leave them unsupervised.”
“I’m serious. Don’t do it. Things. Happen.”
“But wait, I thought that I heard you highly recommended that every crew should have at least one on board?”
“Absolutely, and I stand by that. Humans are excellent innovators and are psychologically very resilient. If you have a crisis, then a human that has bonded with your crew properly can be invaluable. Treat your human well and you should get the best out of them as a crew member. Their ability to get on with almost any species is legendary.”
“But Toks, didn’t you just say…”
“The trouble is that they will potentially try to bond with anything. If you leave them unsupervised, you have no idea what kind of trouble they can get themselves into. It was sheer luck that the Fanzorians thought that it was funny that the human picked up the Crown Prince to coo at him.”
“Crown Prince Horram, Scourge of Pixia?”
“The very same. Surprisingly good sense of humor. But don’t even get me started on that one time with the Dunlip. Al-Human wanted to know if they could keep it. As a pet.”
“A Dunlip? You mean the 3-metre tall apex predators from Jowun?”
“Yup. Don’t leave your humans unsupervised.”
“I’ll uh, take that under advisement.”
“Seriously. Get a supply of safe animals for the humans to bond with or they will make their own. I mean, they will try to befriend anything they come across anyway, but without any permanent pets they can get… creative. Don’t even get me started on the time one of them taped a knife to one of our auto-cleaners and named it Stabby.
Three weeks in and when we finally caught the wretched thing, half the humans on crew tried to revolt about us “killing” Stabby by removing the knife.
“How… how did you resolve that sir?”
“Glaxcol made a toy knife out of insulation rubber and strapped that on instead. Quite a creative solution, I suppose.”
“And that sated the humans?
“They thought it was so funny they made a second one, strapped false eyes on springs to both and held mock battles. Then decided Stabby and Knifey were in love and now none of them will allow the others to stage fights between them any more.”
“So, if I supply my Humans with safe bonding pets they will behave better when on other planets? Where do I get safe bonding pets?”
“Realizing the havoc their species created with their bonding needs, Earth has been kind enough to create an intergalactic ‘pet’ shop as they call it, the order forms are on the bridge.”
“If they get a pet this should prevent any knife welding auto-cleaners?”
“You don’t sound very reassuring.”
“Well… You have to understand that some of what humans find attractive about their ‘pets’ is actually what makes them dangerous. Not all of what they consider ‘safe’ is what we would consider ‘safe’.”
“OK… I am getting a little nervous about this.”
“No, no, it’s fine, I’m just saying you should maybe keep an eye on what they order. Ask them to describe the creature before they get it. For example, the first time I had a human on board I let them order a pet without checking what it was.”
Well, when it arrived it was a 25 pound fanged and clawed feline creature called a Savannah Cat. My entire crew was terrified of it, it was agile and could easily have seriously injured someone, but the human had no fear of it. They insisted on carrying it around like a child, and they would squeeze it’s ‘beans’ as they said, forcing the creatures claws out, and then they would show people it’s deadly claws while saying, and I quote, ‘look at its adorable claws, this is what it uses to kills things, isn’t it cute?’“
“I have also heard stories from other crews that their humans ordered canines that weigh as much or more then they do, and they sleep next to the giant creature.”
“You are not making me feel better with these stories…”
More “wtf are humans, please leave the rest of us be” stuff:
Human reactions to fear!
No, I’m not talking about screaming or freezing in one spot and pissing yourself. I’m talking about the weirder, more specific-to-only-humans fear reactions.
Idk how many of you have watched people play horror video games, but a surprising amount of people start narrating what’s going on in a sing-song voice.
Imagine being an alien, walking in a horrific, dark tunnel with these weird gangly creatures, you’re all scared out of your wits and then one of them starts f**king singing.
In a dark cave. While everyone’s terrified.
“ ♫ ~We are all gonna f**king die, this is terrible and I wanna go hooooome~ ♬ ”
I’ve been reading a lot of these “humans are space orcs” posts and that got me thinking…
Imagine that you’re the only human in youre crew. Youre crew is getting attacked by pirates and they start shooting darts with a deadly substance in it. None of youre crewmembers is getting hit, but one dart hits you. The whole crew is freaking out and screaming “Oh no, our human is dying!”
But you don’t feel like you’re about to die. You feel energetic and hyperactive. You manage to blurt out “ohmygodifeelawesomewhatwasinthosedarts?!?” And one crewmember just stares at you like you lost youre mind and says “that… that was caffeine”
And then you spend the next hour running in cyrcles and screaming “WEEEEEEEEE” while your crewmembers slowly start to whish that these darts had killed you.
To paraphrase one of my favorite bits of a ‘humans are awesome’ fiction megapost: “you don’t know you’re from a Death World until you leave it.” For a ton of reasons, I really like the idea of Earth being Space Australia.
My fav trope is like, nonhuman characters not understanding human needs/customs but still being super supportive of their human companion
“look what I found while exploring this planet’s surface!” “kilrak please I’m trying to sleep” “ah yes your human circadian rhythm. *stage whispering* I am supposed to be quiet during this time in your rhythm, yes?”
“the book I purchased on ragnok V says humans require physical touch when upset. therefore, I shall engage in a ‘hug’ with you.” *supremely awkward five-armed hug ensues*
*human sneezes* “OH MY GOD SIL’EEN GET THE MEDIC OUR HUMAN IS DYING”
“this pamphlet I received recently says that humans require companions and packmates in the form of small earth creatures. you should have told me this before we departed earth, but it is no worry. we will have to stop at the next trade planet to get you one of these ‘cats’ or ‘dogs’.”
imagine the aliens really purchasing a kitten for one of their rough and world-weary scifi badass human companions and watching in helpless wonderment what ensues
“she’s been cuddling that small animal for the past fifteen minutes just going ‘kitty, kitty’. did we – did we break our human?”
a more seasoned alien puts one of their tentacles around the younger one as the rest of the team gathers to watch their human make kissy noises.
“no, kilrak,” the alien says. “we did good.”
“Human-Steve! I have heard that today is the anniversary of your hatching! According to my human culture pamphlet, it is customary to set a sugary pastry on fire while chanting your species’ growth incantation and presenting sacrifices wrapped in shiny paper. I am afraid to ask, in case this ritual is sacred and this request therefor insensitive… but may I be allowed to participate? It sounds much more fascinating than molting.”
“Human Steve, I have read about your ritual dance called ‘The Hokey Pokey,’ performed mostly at mate-bonding celebrations after the guests reach an elevated level of intoxication. But Human Steve, how do I know WHICH left foot to put in, put out, and shake all about? I do not… Human Steve, why are you laughing?”
“Human-Steve, you are… you are eating, but it is not one of your ritual fueling times. Are you dying? Is everything alright? Have you not been receiving enough sustenance? Do I need to get you better things to eat? Human-Steve, why are you trying to hide that food?”
“Human-Steve, my research has informed me of a grave oversight in your care that I, as your companion, have made! Thus, I have gathered collections of fictional human literature to read aloud at the time of your bed. Which is more to your liking: “The Care and Keeping of Cacti” or “1001 Crossword Puzzles?” Human-Steve? Human-Steve, I am serious.“
Another humans are weird/space orcs idea that came to me while trying to drink water upside down:
Humans are apex predators. We’re unbreakable and relentless and legion and lethal. Nothing gets to us- except us.
It’s the stupidest little things that can stop up a human.
Many aliens have theorized about this. Perhaps with no natural enemies, the species tried to threaten them with themselves in a desperate search for some kind of challenge. Maybe it’s cosmic karma for being nigh unstoppable. Maybe they had transcended so much that the nuances of life were tiny and incomprehensible to them. Maybe it’s natural selection trying to thin the herd.
Whichever the cause, it’s a strange combination of disturbing and amusing to see a human be defeated by itself. It’s a little alarming to see the most resilient and powerful species in the universe be completely shut down with things that pale in comparison to their normal challenges.
Seeing a human function almost completely fully with several broken bones… but absolutely crippled and reduced to using one arm when faced with a large hangnail.
My dad broke his leg in a snowmobile accident in such a way that the bone was sticking out of his leg. He crawled a half mile in the snow to the nearest house to ask for help. But when he stubs his toe on the coffee table every few weeks, it’ll bring him to his knees.
I recently got a double conch piercing done- two massive needles shoved through the thickest cartilage in my ear, one right after the other. I’ve got 5 other piercings. None, not even the conch, hurt as much as getting a single hair yanked out of my head.
I see people eat some of the world’s hottest foods all laced with capsaicin which can kill things, and drink alcohol that’s literally poisonous, and break pen cases with their teeth. But a too cold slush drink? Unable to talk or move, head between the knees, for about two minutes, because brain freeze. Or, better yet, sometimes we literally choke on spit. Nearly asphyxiate. Because we regularly ‘swallow down the wrong hole’.
Alien: Why did you say, last month, that your broken ribs and arm and massive blood loss was ‘fine’, but when you got a paper cut today, you cried for ten minutes and now still refuse to unwrap your wound? It is tiny in comparison to some things that you’ve faced without hesitation.
Human: Honestly it’s really stupid and I don’t really know, but I will swear up and down and until the day I die, a broken bone hurts way less than a paper cut.
Alien: But… no. It’s not worse. It… that doesn’t make sense.
Human: I know, right? But it’s true.
So there has been a bit of “what if humans were the weird ones?” going around tumblr at the moment and Earth Day got me thinking. Earth is a wonky place, the axis tilts, the orbit wobbles, and the ground spews molten rock for goodness sakes. What if what makes humans weird is just our capacity to survive? What if all the other life bearing planets are these mild, Mediterranean climates with no seasons, no tectonic plates, and no intense weather?
What if several species (including humans) land on a world and the humans are all “SCORE! Earth like world! Let’s get exploring before we get out competed!” And the planet starts offing the other aliens right and left, electric storms, hypothermia, tornadoes and the humans are just … there… counting seconds between flashes, having snowball fights, and just surviving.
“Don’t-” the human prisoner protested as the squad leader slowly approached a small group of swimming fowl in a nearby pond.
“Silence,” the leader ordered, slowly creeping towards the group. Suddenly, they pounced on one of the creatures, grabbing it in their hands as it exited the pond.
Then everything went to hell.
In an instant, the bird attacked, along with the ones around it.
The creatures moved fast, almost a blur as they pecked away at the leader, squawking loudly. The rest of the alien crew thought about helping, but were much too frightened.
The birds didn’t stop their pecking attack until the squad leader was bleeding and no longer moving.
The rest of the aliens grabbed the human and ran for their f**king lives.
“What were those?” the human was later asked.
Okay, so going off the whole space Australia thing, imagine aliens would think of ACTUAL AUSTRALIA. Humans are batshit insane, we do some crazy shit, but a decent amount of us are shocked by the mere concept of living in Australia. That place is no joke, it’s a death trap of a continent that somehow became a badass country. You don’t f**k with Australia.
Alien: what is a kangaroo?
Human: oh, it’s an animal from Australia. They hop around and the carry their kids in pouches. They may be cute, but don’t get them angry, they can kill you.
The…the human is actually WARNING them of something? The human is AFRAID?
Human: that’s just Australia for you, though. Literally, EVERYTHING on that continent can kill you, so I guess it’s not THAT off. Be careful if you ever go to Australia, though. It’s a very dangerous place.
And this all of the aliens avoid Australia at all costs because if the f**king HUMANS are scared then it must be the most dangerous and frightening place ever.
It’s funny how science fiction universes so often treat humans as a boring, default everyman species or even the weakest and dumbest.
I want to see a sci-fi universe where we’re actually considered one of the more hideous and terrifying species.
How do we know our saliva and skin oils wouldn’t be ultra-corrosive to most other sapient races? What if we actually have the strongest vocal cords and can paralyze or kill the inhabitants of other worlds just by screaming at them? What if most sentient life in the universe turns out to be vegetable-like and lives in fear of us rare “animal” races who can move so quickly and chew shit up with our teeth?
Like that old story “they’re made of meat,” only we’re scarier.
HOLY SHIT THEY EAT CAPSAICIN FOR FUN
YOU GUYS I HEARD A HUMAN ONCE ATE AN AIRPLANE.
A HUMAN CAN KEEP FIGHTING FOR HOURS EVEN AFTER YOU SHOOT IT
humans are a proud warrior race with a pantheon of bloody gods: Ram-Bo, Schwarzenegger, etc.
REMOVING A LIMB WILL NOT FATALLY INCAPACITATE HUMANS: ALWAYS DESTROY THE HEAD.
WARNING: HUMANS CAN DETECT YOU EVEN AT NIGHT BY TRACKING VIBRATIONS THROUGH THE ATMOSPHERE
WARNING: HUMANS CAN REPRODUCE AT A RATE OF 1 PER SPACE YEAR. DESTROY INFESTATIONS IMMEDIATELY
THE HUMAN MOUTH HAS OVER THIRTY OUTCROPS OF BONE AND POWERFUL JAW MUSCLES.
HUMAN BITES CAN BE FATALLY INFECTIOUS EVEN TO OTHER HUMANS
WARNING: HUMANS CAN AND WILL USE IMPROVISED WEAPONS. SEE CLASSIFIED DATA LABELED J. CHAN.
HUMANS CAN PROJECT BIOWEAPONS FROM ALMOST EVERY ORIFICE ON THEIR BODY. DO NOT INHALE
OH GOD THE HUMANS FIGURED OUTDOOR HANDLES OH GOD OH GOD
More seriously, humans do have a number of advantages even among Terrestrial life. Our endurance, shock resistance, and ability to recover from injury is absurdly high compared to almost any other animal. We often use the phrase “healthy as a horse” to connote heartiness – but compared to a human, a horse is as fragile as spun glass. There’s mounting evidence that our primitive ancestors would hunt large prey simply by following it at a walking pace, without sleep or rest, until it died of exhaustion; it’s called pursuit predation. Basically, we’re the Terminator.
(The only other animal that can sort of keep up with us? Dogs. That’s why we use them for hunting. And even then, it’s only “sort of”.)
Now extrapolate that to a galaxy in which most sapient life did not evolve from hyper-specialised pursuit predators:
Our strength and speed is nothing to write home about, but we don’t need to overpower or outrun you. We just need to outlast you – and by any other species’ standards, we just plain don’t get tired.
Where a simple broken leg will cause most species to go into shock and die, we can recover from virtually any injury that’s not immediately fatal. Even traumatic dismemberment isn’t necessarily a career-ending injury for a human.
We heal from injuries with extreme rapidity, recovering in weeks from wounds that would take others months or years to heal. The results aren’t pretty – humans have hyperactive scar tissue, among our other survival-oriented traits – but they’re highly functional.
Speaking of scarring, look at our medical science. We developed surgery centuries before developing even the most rudimentary anesthetics or life support. In extermis, humans have been known to perform surgery on themselves – and survive. Thanks to our extreme heartiness, we regard as routine medical procedures what most other species would regard as inventive forms of murder. We even perform radical surgery on ourselves for purely cosmetic reasons.
In essence, we’d be Space Orcs.
I do hope you realize I’m going to be picking up this stuff and running with it right?
Our jaws have too many TEETH in them, so we developed a way to WELD METAL TO OUR TEETH and FORCE THE BONES IN OUR JAW to restructure over the course of years to fit them back into shape, and then we continue to wear metal in out mouths to keep them in place.
We formed cohabitative relationships with tiny mammals and insects we keep at bay from bothering us by death, often using little analouge traps.
And by god, we will eat anything.
We use borderline toxic peppers to season our food.
We expose ourselves to potentially lethal solar radiation in the pursuit of darkening our skin.
We risk hearing loss for the opportunity to see our favorite musicians live.
We have a game where two people get into an enclosed area and hit each other until time runs out/one of them pass out
We willingly jump out of planes with only a flimsy piece of cloth to prevent us from splattering against the ground.
Our response to natural disasters is to just rebuild our buildings in the exact same places.
We climb mountains and risk freezing to death for bragging rights
We invented dogs. We took our one time predators and completely domesticated them.
On a planet full of lions, tigers and bears, we managed to advance further and faster than any other species on the planet.
Klingons and Krogan and Orcs ain’t got shit on us
can we talk about how pursuit predation is fucking terrifying
it’s one thing to face down a cheetah, which will slam into you at 60 mph and break your neck
it’s another thing to run very quickly to get away from a thing, only to have it just kind of
to have it be intelligent enough to figure out where you are by the fur and feather you’ve left behind, your footprints and piss and shit, and then you think you’ve lost it and you bed down for the night but THERE IT IS
WHEN YOU WAKE UP
and you split! again! but it keeps following you. always in the corner of your eye. until you just
we are scary motherf**kers ok
I saw a post about how humans were apex predators a little while ago, and one of the points it mentioned was that it’s cause humans have such a wide diet you don’t find in a lot of other animals. plus, we’re pretty poison resistant to things that would hurt/kill most other animals (we’re the only species that is lactose tolerant as the norm, chocolate isn’t poison to us, plus other things that surprised me and i wish i had kept the post :c)
what if most aliens have limited things they can eat? the Susutians can only eat plant matter of a specific color, or Luttans can only eat certain meats from certain types of insects on their planet. so, when they come to earth they’re all like ‘on so what do you eat?’ and they’re thrown through a loop at what choices we have! and they find out that a LOT of the food we eat on the regular is super poisonous to a majority of the known universe!
like, “oh hey, human-steve, thank you for visiting my planet. we’re about to eat the meal of the tirid sun, will you join us?”
“o yeah cool what’s the apple looking thing on that tree?”
“apple….. oh, you mean the highly poison and deadly Punnadix Fruit? those are a scourge of my peopl- WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”
“uh….. eating it? it’s delicious?”
cue an alien having a heart attack, or whatever the equivalent is. on top of all the other weird shit they’re known for, this makes then rise higher in the list of ‘creatures we are REALLY glad are on our side’.
What if humans are the only species that gets “mystery” bruises? How weird would it be to aliens that we can sustain an injury that leaves a mark lasting days or sometimes weeks but don’t remember how we got it?
I love it!
Humans are already terrifying enough, but then it gets injuries like contusions (which is deadly to several species mind you!) and it doESN’T EVEN KNOW WHY?!?!?!?
At first the interspecies council thinks it’s a joke. Yes, it has already been established that a human just plain won’t die (with very few exceptions, like decapitation) and contusions aren’t that dangerous for most species. That it’d be unsuccessful at killing a human wasn’t surprising, but that they some times don’t even know how they’ve gotten the contusion? No that has to be a joke.
It’s ruled as another myth until a member of the council travels with a ship with a few human crew-members. Trofaxiq the Elder had taken a stroll around the ship a few days into the voyage when he heard two humans talking.
“Maybe you walked into something?” The tall, highly pigmented one said, inspecting something on the slightly shorter, less pigmented one.
“Yeah, you know I’m clumsy, but the position’s weird, isn’t it?” The shorter one said, looking down at their own appendage.
“So maybe you got it in your sleep?” The tall one suggested as the short one spotted Trofaxiq the Elder and jabbed its appendage into their fellow human’s sternum. A less experienced Froentir would have mistaken it for an attack, but Trofaxiq the Elder knew enough about human behaviour to know it was called a ‘nudge’ and was socially acceptable.
After the normal exchange of greetings and pleasantries, Trofaxiq the Elder eventually asked the humans what they had been discussing. The tall one, Fatima, said the short one, Lucía had gotten a bruise, but couldn’t remember how. Unsure what a bruise was, Trofaxiq the Elder asked, but quickly came to wish they hadn’t as they saw the large contusion on the humans appendage.
Less than one rotation later, the human guide had been updated, and a suggestion had been made to add a classification so they could mark humans down as more dangerous than the previous “extremely dangerous, do not approach in the wild”
The only problem was how useful humans could be to expeditions. In the end, the suggestion wasn’t passed, to the worry of many council members.
So I’ve read a few humans are weird posts and it got me thinking, what if humans are the only species to evolve to use fire. Like, most intelligent species will instinctively flee in panic the moment they catch sight of an open flame, yet show a human infant a fire and if they don’t know better, they will try to grab it.
Humans will burn everything. Most of us won’t eat anything unless it has been “Cooked” first. (A human word meaning to heat food until it has begun to denature but not yet started to carbonize.)
Start a small fire and instead of fleeing, humans will gather around it and start socializing.
We get intoxicated by setting specific plants on fire and inhaling the smoke, often with the burning embers mere inches from our sensitive face.
We use it to clear land for agriculture and hunting. We use it to punish criminals. We even use it for purely aesthetic purposes. (Think fireworks.)
Heck, we we discovered hydrocarbons, the first thing we did was burn them. In fact, humans were burning so much hydrocarbons they were literally altering the atmosphere of their planet.
Heck, humans have died because they literally did not have enough materials to burn.
Now imagine hostile aliens want to invade earth. They don’t use fire except for carefully controlled and heavily guarded industrial purposes. They also don’t know much about earth other than it is definitely inhabited and the people haven’t developed intergalactic travel.
They’re expecting to face primitive forces armed with the local equivalent of clubs and bows. What they get is, to them, a strange anachronistic jumble of expected primative technologies and highly advanced technologies that they definitely shouldn’t have.
They’re not expecting guns. (Projectile weapons that consist of a narrow tube with projectile and a chemical propellent stuffed into one end. Instead of an electromagnetic pulse, the propellant is ignited and the expanding gases shoot the projectile out of the tube.)
They’re not expecting powered vehicles. Instead of electric motors, humans have what they call the internal combustion engine. (A motor that works by sucking flammable gas into an enclosed chamber, igniting the gas under pressure, and using the resulting force from the detonation to move a piston. Because of that, humans have heavy machinery, self-propelled vehicles, and powered air-craft before they even really understood bio electricity.
They’re not expecting bombs, or incendiary weapons. (It was also how it was discovered that their bio-polymer armor, while excellent against projectiles, can actually burn at surprisingly low temperatures.
They’re not even expecting smelted metal. Steel to them is a high tech material that can only be produced under specialized conditions of extreme heat, and requires very specialized facilities to produce. They are shocked to discover that humans have been smelting copper before they developed writing.
And they are definitely not expecting nuclear weapons. (Which are basically “bombs” that instead of using combustable chemicals use an uncontrolled nuclear fission reaction. They are also aghast to discover that not only was this apparently the first thing we thought to do when we discovered fission, but that competing human faction have “how many of these weapons stockpiled!?”
After retreating in disgrace, the task force sent to monitor the plant is horrified to report that humans are rapidly expanding into space. They aren’t using gravitic lifters or electromagnetic mass drivers. They are apparently simply loading equipment and personnel into special “missiles” and using a shit ton of highly combustable fuel to simply launch themselves into space
Imagine the first time aliens see a human “zone out” while working. The human is just completely unresponsive for a short while and the aliens have no idea what’s happening.
Marnie had been working for a long time. She never took breaks for anything, and knowing how busy she was, the rest of the crew just left her to it. Eventually, they realized that she hasn’t been seen outside of her office for a few Earth days, so Kaogj finally decided to confront her about it.
“Human-Marnie,” xe said, “You have been absent from the rest of the ship for quite some time. Could you take a break from your work and rejoin us?”
Marnie didn’t respond. She hadn’t even acknowledged Kaogj’s presence. Kaogj took a deep breath and tried once more, “Human-Marnie, I understand your work may be important. If I recall correctly you can’t stay here and neglect your needs like this. Please come join us.”
Again, Marnie didn’t respond. The door to Marnie’s office slowly creaked open. Vincent, the other human shipmate, shuffled in quietly. Kaogj looked at him worriedly.
“Human-Vincent, what is happening with Human-Marnie? She is not acknowledging me. Is she ill?” Xe asked, voice hushed.
“No, no, she’s fine! She’s not sick. She’s just in the zone right now, that’s all.” Vincent breathed, smiling warmly. Kaogj looked even more concerned at this.
“The zone? What does that mean? Will Human-Marnie survive?!”
Vincent chuckled to himself. It was so funny to see the aliens encounter these things that humans deal with so commonly.
“Yes, Marnie will survive! Being ‘in the zone’ is another way of saying that someone is super focused on what they are doing, so they block out everything else. Some of us, like Marnie, can’t hear things in that state. I’ll show you.” Vincent leaned over Marnie’s work bench and waved his hand above the documents she was writing on. She looked up, then stood up and stretched.
“Hey Vinnie! What’s up?” She said cheerfully.
“Sorry to bother you, but Kaogj thought you were dying or something because you’ve been working in here for so long and you wouldn’t respond. The crew wants you to join us for a meal.”
“My apologies! I get so absorbed in my work, time just slips past me. I’ll gladly join you guys, I’m starving!”
Kaogj looked down at his tablet and quickly wrote ‘Investigate Zoning Out’. This odd state is definitely going to need some research.
I keep thinking about, and about species exploiting niches, and it occurs that humans would probably been seen as excellent candidates for the galactic equivalent of search and rescue.
we’re tough as nails, have endurance for days, actively enjoy a huge range of temperatures and environmental conditions and bond with anything and can empathize to the extent we see faces on inanimate objects.
more than one lost and desperate alien has heard a bunch of humans yahooing it up down a cliff-face and felt the sweet rush of relief 🙂
Alien sees a human crying and is like “why is there water coming from your ocular portals?” and the human is like “it’s because i’m sad, it’s how my body makes me feel better” so the alien is like well that’s weird but okay
same alien walks into a room where humans are laughing and sees one crying. alien gets angry and wants to know why everyone’s laughing while this person is crying because it learned at some point that laughing means you’re happy and the crying person is like “oh sorry no, I’m crying because I’m laughing so much” and the alien is ???? “you’re so happy that you’re sad?” and the humans are like well…..crying doesn’t always mean sad……and the alien gives up on trying to understand humans
Terrans are known for being some of the bravest if not stupidly adventurous species, they always go on about their thirst for knowledge and their speeches and monologue about it puts anyone in the mood to explore they make u feel their emotions with their word almost like a spell that projects it in my crew there was an over ecstatic female that was in shock to hear that I really didn’t like being in the exploration crew after being assigned to it I asked her “ What’s so important about this half the planets we find are un inhabitable” she replied with “ How can you not love it what if there is a chance to find sentient life other like us and bring them the joy of this knowledge” another crew member joined in “yeah what is it with terrans and knowledge?” “What is life with out knowing, what is the point of living in ignorance there is so much not discovered so much to learn from maybe it’s just us terrans but learning is like breathing we can’t live with out it back then when earth was still just humans the original terrens they found each other they sailed frontiers explored to know everything about the planet they traveled to the moon to see what else is there what is beyond the horizon and now I like my ancestors before me explore because I can and want to I want to find more learn more bring to my people so they can benefit from it. Us terrans only live so long but record everything what would life be if all we did was eat sleep and die Nothing and we know space is vast and maybe endless but it’s my job to explore Space The Final Frontier” her speech had everyone on the ship with starry eyes looking for more when I asked her about it how did she come up with that speech she just said “it just comes from my heart”.