You know that one post about humans being really durable compared to aliens and that one about humans being really cute to aliens?
What if they were both true at the same time. Like the aliens decide to take their human on a landing mission because they get so exited and it’s so cute but then a storm hits and they crash. And the aliens are all freaking out because they can’t be rescued without going outside to fix something but the readings say they’ll die if they do because of the storm. The leader’s all prepared to make a heroic sacrifice when the cute human just walks out the airlock to fix the thing and when they get back they’re just like “what? It’s not that bad out.”
And the aliens find out humans are made of iron on top of being adorable.
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 door 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 Ix 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 AI 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.
“FUCK! SHIT! UP! FUCK! SHIT! UP! FUCK! SHIT! UP!”
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. Fuck shit up, indeed.
So late at night I was thinking about Lance, as one does, and I wondered…how much does the group know about Lance, really?
Because I realized that all of his most personal moments were by himself or with one other person and came just before something major happened so no one really had time to reflect on it.
Does everyone know how homesick Lance is? When everyone else–particularly Keith and Pidge–were having it out about home and families, Lance had already excused himself and was having a moment with Coran. Then the castle got blown up and Lance was injured, having shielded Coran from the blast. Coran never had time to talk about any of it; he and Hunk were in a pod to the Balmera before their moment could be spoken of. Did they ever revisit it? Did the group realize or have the time to learn that Lance had saved Coran, or did they just assume he got caught up in the blast by coincidence?
Did Keith ever mention that it was Lance’s plan that got their job done or was he distracted by “could I be Galra” thoughts?
Does anyone know that the reason Lance got stuck in the airlock was because he thought he heard Coran calling for help? Keith just found him there, and we never saw Lance telling him how it had happened. Was it ever brought up again?
When he has cool moments, does the team remember? Do they think about it? Shiro and Pidge saw him take that amazing shot, but Shiro is gone now. Does Pidge ever mention it? Does she ever think about how he stepped in for her back at the Garrison? Does Hunk think about that? If they do think about it, do they assume that Lance sees it, too?
Do they understand that he’s constantly willing to put his life on the line for people he’s never even known? That even though he’s sad and lonely and wants to go home, he keeps that inside and puts on a brave face so he can keep doing his part to save the universe? Even though he also thinks he’s not really contributing that much?
Does the group grasp how selfless and brave Lance is; do they see how little he thinks of himself; do they ever see what we’ve been seeing all along or have they just been getting tiny bits and pieces of the big picture that is Lance this entire time?
-A woman’s total came out to $6.32. She handed me $5.07 and waited patiently for her change. I let her know that there was $1.25 left, to which she let me know that this was the correct amount for her to receive back. Upon getting my point across, she handed me $1.00 more. Hesitantly, I pointed out the discrepancy, at which point she took the balance out of my hand and passed me a crisp ten.
-A bouncing baby with, what I suspected to be, a full diaper, showed me his talent of fitting his entire fist inside his mouth. Already, he has accomplished more in life than I could ever dream of achieving.
-When asked how she was today, a woman replied with only silence and a single thumb raised to the sky. This fleeting moment spoke volumes more than any mere words could.
-In one of the most tragic moments I have yet to witness, a jar of salsa slid out of a man’s cart and shattered into thousands of spicy shards, spraying all over his sandal-clad feet. This was not a tragedy for his loss of mild picante pleasure, nor did the sadness lie in the hot mess left for me to clean. The deeply troubling nature of the situation stemmed entirely from the squelches that accompanied each of his steps after.
-A man asked me not to bag any of his items, as he had, instead, brought along with him a large bucket.
-A five year-old girl approached my register, got up on her toes to rest her arm along the bar, and, holding up five of her little fingers, ordered as many stickers, to go. With a flick of my wrist and a wink of my eye, I served up this order, receiving only a blank expression in return. True artistes are never appreciated in their time, but I will never give up the Craft of Flair.
-I handed a child a sticker. His mother prompted him to thank me. When he did not, his mother revoked his sticker privilege and insisted that he say his thanks. Instead, he turned to me, looked directly into my eyes, and said, “Voodoo.” I deeply wish she had just let him keep the sticker. Another curse is the last thing I need right now.
-I saw a man in his eighties walk into the airlock at the store’s entrance, perch himself upon a motorized cart, and drift swiftly to sleep. I want this man to take me under his wing and teach me, as I could never achieve such sound slumber so speedily in such a trafficked place, but I know that I can never ask him as much. That would involve waking him up, and that simply will not do.
-I watched a young boy walk up to my lane, brandishing a pixelated sword from Minecraft and a Peter Quill mask from Guardians of the Galaxy. He asked me if I could ring up his aforementioned “Star Wars toys”, and after a brief pause, if I had heard of that new movie about the galaxy guards. When I told him that I had, he informed me that he was, in fact, the guy from that. Naturally, I was starstruck and asked him for more details. This rare celeb sighting was sadly cut short, as Star-Lord’s dad leaned over my counter, stole my hand sanitizer, and demanded to know what exactly was with these credit card chips he kept hearing about everywhere.
-A newborn child, scarcely two months-old, rolled through my lane and, in the moments that followed, changed my life. I smiled. She giggled. I waved my hand. She waved her foot. I stuck my tongue out. She waved both her feet. This is now, and will forever be, our secret handshake.
Gather around my children and you shall hear of the most terrible, most implacable, most improbable friends ever met by our people. They came from the third planet of a tiny system, surrounded by desolate space. Not one sentient species for hundreds of lightyears, and they managed to propel themselves into space.
We watched from afar as they developed slowly. We watched as they warred among themselves, brutal and savage. We watched as they rendered regions of their planet uninhabitable to themselves, a hardy species able to adapt to even the most hostile of environments. We watched as suddenly and without warning they united under four banners, the rest falling by the wayside. We watched as they expanded into what we had begun to use as a buffer zone, to allow these humans to burn themselves out in.
But they did not burn themselves out. Despite their warring among themselves. Harsh people. Humankind is a race of warriors, do not be fooled by the eloquence of their diplomats. In their own words, “All diplomacy is a continuation of war by other means”. Their greatest artists and philosophers were born from blood and conflict. I had the privilege once to view a painting by one Pablo Picasso, entitled Guernica. It was a savage piece, with not a drop of color. It showed the horrors of war, and the irony of it all was that the painting hung in the office of one of humankind’s generals.
It was sudden, when they burst from the containment zone. When they realized they were not alone. And we, with heavy hearts, prepared to fight them bitterly and to the last. Imagine then, our surprise when humanity embraced us among the stars as long lost brothers. They were overjoyed to discover they were not alone in the darkness. Despite their brutal and warlike culture, despite their glorification of death and violence, their people do not seek out combat. An ancient general of theirs once put it thusly “Although a soldier by profession, I have never felt any sort of fondness for war, and I have never advocated it, except as a means of peace”.
For centuries humanity worked to better itself. They unified under a single Interstellar Empire, the Empire of Man, the Human Empire, however you called it. They enjoyed art and music. They became leisurely at home, exploratory in the field. Their weapons of war were long gone, beaten into plowshares as they say. Humanity was finally at peace. There was no conflict among them, a few border skirmishes for certain, and they kept a small standing military, but nothing more than that. We considered them domesticated.
At first we were surprised at their transformation, then overjoyed. We welcomed them into the fold of the cosmos, embraced them as they would embrace us. We thought we knew humanity then, that we had seen them at their best and their worst. We were wrong, so very wrong. We did not truly understand humanity until the Texar-Hakara came into the void between the stars.
Seemingly more brutal, more bloodthirsty than even the humans, they swept into our region of space like conquerors. They smashed whatever feeble resistance the Yungling managed to put up, took their planets, enslaved the survivors, and pressed on. The Junti were next, utterly destroyed. The four great races left, ourselves, the Itaxa, the Kukrama, and the Illnaa, banded together to try and stop them. In our arrogance, we did not include the humans in our pact. Too few in number, too weak in frame, too backwards in technology we thought.
The Texar-Hakara hit our borders like the great wave that sweeps life from the beach. We hardened our hearts and prepared for the worst. Seeming without pause they crushed our border defenses. They obliterated the first fleets we sent to them. The Itaxa fell to the Texar-Hakara, enslaved, killed, scattered to the corners of the galaxy. Then the humans sent us an offer, a request really. They asked to fight alongside us.
Bemused, we accepted. What else could we do? Deny them the right to fight with us for their very survival? We thought to assign them as rearguards, to ferry our people to safety after our fleets fell. We thought wrong.
Humanity swept into the stars with a fury unmatched by any other. Their fleets were not the heaviest. Their guns not the most accurate. Their soldiers however. Their sailors. Their warriors were unmatched by any others in the cosmos. I remember the first battle in which the humans fought the Texar-Hakara like it was but a single solar cycle ago. Our forces were on the brink of breaking and fleeing. Our ships were gutted ruins. Our fighters exhausted and out of missiles. Then humanity fell upon the flank of the enemy, and the full force of the Human Empire was unleashed in a single moment of utter fury. Landing craft spat across the distance in an instant, slamming into enemy hulls and disgorging humanity’s greatest weapon, their Marines. In close combat humanity is unstoppable, and so they took the vast distances of space combat out of the equation.
Their ships belched fire and plasma. Lasers crossed the vast distances in the blink of an eye. Half the Texar-Hakaran fleet was obliterated in minutes. The other half turned to face this new enemy, only to be wracked by internal explosions as the Marines did their work. Their greatest ships turned on the rest of the fleet, a handful of humans holding the bridge against waves of enemy attackers to turn the tide of battle.
The Interstellar War came to a screeching turnaround. The advance of the Texar-Hakara halted, like it had hit an immovable wall. In many ways that is what humanity is, an immovable, implacable wall. Then, with the ferocity humanity is alone capable of, they routed the Texar-Hakara. Not from that lone battle. They pushed them out of Itaxa space, liberating the slaves. The space of the Junti and the Yungling was swept clear of invaders. Then the Texar-Hakara committed the gravest of sins in humanity’s eyes. They warped a fleet to Earth, jewel of humanity’s empire. They burned that blue and green world. They destroyed it, and the trillion people it housed.
Humanity is a forgiving race my children. Even their most terrible of wars have resulted in lasting friendships between nations. When they left millions dead and broken on the muddly fields of their world, they rebuilt the aggressors. They raised them from the mud, dusted them off, and welcomed them back into the fold. But there is one thing that humanity cannot, will not, tolerate. It is abhorrent to them my children. To strike at their home, to strike where they raise their young ones. Where they leave their mates and non combatants. To strike there is to raise the ire of the human race, truly.
Humanity raged. Their attempts at obtaining the surrender of the Texar-Hakara halted. The war turned from a righteous war of liberation to a furious and hateful war of retribution. We begged the humans to stop, to leave what few planets the Texar-Hakara had alone. Our pleas went unanswered for months, until a single human ambassador came to us. His face was cold and emotionless. He told us, in no uncertain terms, that the Texar-Hakara had doomed themselves and that any trying to aid them would suffer the same fate. Quietly we watched then, as humanity wiped the Texar-Hakara from the stars. The Texar-Hakara pleaded for mercy. They offered their unconditional surrender. They came to us and begged on bent knee for us to reign in the mad dogs we had unwittingly unleashed into the universe. Humanity had for so long repressed their warrior culture. Tried to become better. Then we had given them back into the fires of war, and humanity had awakened it’s warrior past.
The Texar-Hakara ambassadors were taken from our halls by grim human Marines and thrust out airlocks. Finally there was but one planet left, and we came to the humans, we pointed to our own losses, our own dead friends some of whom had lived for longer than humanity had been among the stars, and we begged the humans not to take the last of the Texar-Hakara’s lives.
I watched, children, I watched as the Texar-Hakara’s world burned. As humanity left but one of their planets alive, a simple backwater colony of no more than ten million. Ten million, out of the trillions. Then the leader of the human military turned to me, and with no emotion in his voice, told me that humanity accepted the unconditional surrender of the Texar-Hakara, and walked off the bridge of my ship.
My children, the lesson here is that a warrior past is never truly gone. Only buried, mayhaps even wiped from living memory. But gone? Never. Humanity showed us that.
-Lance dies to save everyone else but they don’t know he’s dead and they’re all complaining over the comms like, “ugh, Lance why can’t you ever listen, we’ve been calling you back for the past 10 min” and “you were supposed to be over here?? Can’t you do anything right” and so that’s the last things he hears
-Lance is in the healing pod again, and once again everyone is distracted when he gets out and so he wakes up to, “Lance just can’t stay out of the pods, can he?” And everyone’s laughing and so he feels like he’s failing the team bc he gets injured the most
-Lance notices that Keith is Shiro’s favorite so he thinks maybe if he learns to act more Keith-ish Shiro will like him too (and then the team figures out and tells him they like him to just be Lance and he takes it as the team believing he can be nothing more than “just Lance”)
-slowly, Lance stops flirting with Allura, but she doesn’t notice and continues to treat Lance like he’s always flirting (constant sighs as he opens his mouth and her telling him to leave him alone and such)
-someone says they’re sad, so the team comforts them. Lance opens his mouth (to say he can relate) but the team assumes it’s gonna be a joke so they tell him to shut up
-Haggar uses magic so everyone temporarily forgets Lance and also makes him invisible so he has to watch everyone ignore him
-as a prank, someone locks Lance in the airlock and he just can’t stop freaking out
-Lance getting thanked by a random alien and he just breaks into happy tears and the team is like, “????”
So like it's pretty cool how humans figured out how to bake. Like we made edible chemistry, we like mixed all of theese reactions together to make a delicious cake. Imagine an alien seeing this for the first time.
Oh my goodness!! My first prompt! Thank you!
Hruk’ib didn’t understand why everyone was so concerned
about the humans. For the most part, they were polite and friendly, they
followed the orders of their superiors, and they didn’t hesitate when it came
to tossing protocol out the airlock in dire times. Hruk’ib respected them and
had known from Day One that these members of their crew were not just allies
So it was that when Hruk’ib smelled strange smells coming
from the food preparation bay, he wasn’t too upset; a couple of the humans -
Konani and Frederik - loved to work with food and did so regularly. Still,
curiosity drove him to enter the bay, and it was when he entered, the doors’
hydraulics hissing open and then closed, that he sensed the excess heat.
He froze where he stood, every instinct of his species
urging him to flee yet conflicting with the ingrained training of the fleet to
make sure his crewmates were safe and
away and not near fire! He couldn’t see it, there was no smoke, but he felt
it – hot enough to reduce flesh to nothing more than charred ashes.
“Oh, hey, Hruk’ib!”
Hruk’ib’s head snapped around to find the two humans
hovering around one of the many stovetops. In his peripherals, however (and it
was a miracle in the first place that he noticed at all), he spotted the most
unholy mess: white dust coating a prep table, glob-like splatters of what
looked like sticky excrement in bowls and dripping onto the tabletop, and at
least four or five of what looked like some kind of metal mesh trays on various
nearby counters. The trays bore small, round objects that appeared solid and
gave off a most enticing scent.
Then his eyes drifted back to the humans who stood
uncertainly. Konani had heavy, cloth gloves on her hands and held a long, thin
tray. Her brown eyes flicked from him to Frederik beside her and back again. “Um,
this batch has to cool but if you want a cookie, there are some fresh ones, uh,
everywhere.” She gestured with her elbow to the counters.
The humans were calm. Why were they calm in the face of
fire? They weren’t that stupid. They were determinedly foolhardy at times,
especially when ethanol was involved, but even humans got worried when fire
Hruk’ib forced himself to take a deep breath. The heat
rushed down his throat and into his lungs – no ash, no smoke, just heat. It
was a different heat, similar to when they passed too close to a star and the
very ship felt like an… an oven.
The oven was not designed to give off this much heat!
“What is it that you are doing?” he asked, trying to calm
Konani busied herself with the…cookies, leaving Frederik to
explain. “Ve are baking,” he said. “Ve asked Yensen to tveak ze oven settings
because zey vere too low for baking cookies.”
“We asked permission first,” Konani added. “Captain K’alo
said we could but only if we did it to one. We made a notice and everything so
other crew won’t accidentally set fire to their food.”
Frederik stepped out of the way and Hruk’ib spotted the
massive note tacked to the wall above the stove in question. The bright red
sign was impossible to miss and the white letters were clear in both Earth’s
English, as well as Hruk’ib’s native language of Jubri.
Hruk’ib nodded his head in the humans’ agreement signal. “Very
well. I was afraid you had set the room on fire. We usually do not encounter
this kind of heat outside of the engine cores,” he explained.
“Ah,” said Konani. “That makes sense.”
“Ve apologise for startling you, Hruk’ib,” Frederik added,
pressing his palms together.
Hruk’ib smiled at the human displaying the sign for formal apology
among his species. He lifted his left hand, palm turning inward and then upward
to accept it, and Frederik smiled in turn.
With her hands still full, Konani simply inclined her head
to him, also apologising.
“What is baking?” Hruk’ib asked.
“In a word, chemistry.” Shedding the gloves, Konani faced him fully, leaning against the counter. “It’s different from cooking because the ingredients in baking react to the heat and, if you get the recipe right, work together to create something else. It’s not like we’re roasting meat where we have to cook it to eat it safely. You can eat an unbaked cookie without much threat.”
“Alzough, zere are many people who zink you can get salmonella - zat is food poisoning - from eating ze dough because of ze raw eggs,” Frederik put in.
“Oh,” said Hruk’ib. “Then, you are conducting a chemical experiment.”
“In essence, yes. Want one?” Konani held a mesh tray out to him.
Now Hruk’ib drifted forward, purposefully ignoring the mess,
and bee-lined for the tantalising aroma wafting from these strange, dark-brown discs.
“They’re a friend’s recipe,” Konani explained. “She made
sure I had enough cocoa powder to last me ten solar cycles, though I’m not sure
I’ll use it all.”
Hruk’ib chuckled, sensing the humour, and picked up a
cookie. It was still warm between his appendages. It was solid yet somehow
soft, almost moist… He flicked his tongue out, sampling, and was rewarded with
a burst of flavour. He took a bite. Barely hard
on the outside, it was luxuriously soft on the inside. He had never eaten one
of these things in his entire life and yet something about eating it and the
smell of it reminded him of home, of blankets and coziness and something that
was better than camaraderie: family.
Science. This rapturous product was one of science. May the humans and their ingenuity never die out.
Hruk’ib licked his fingers before turning to the two humans
who watched him with mixed expressions of humour and curiosity. “May I have
another, please?” he asked.
Konani grinned while Frederik laughed.
“Of course!” she answered while Frederik continued to
chortle. “But it is a universally acknowledged truth that a glass of cold milk
always accompanies the eating of cookies.”
Hruk’ib took the glass Frederik gave him, interchangeably
eating and drinking. Milk and cookies, together: a universally acknowledged truth,
apparently there’s a bulletin board on the tempest where your crew can leave messages for you and your shipmates but from what the people who got to play the game saw it was generally just used for teammates to complain about each other
‘Peebee, where the fuck is my scarf. I know you have it. It’s convenient that you were talking about how soft it looks yesterday at the bar and now SUDDENLY it’s gone. My sister made that for me so if it’s not back in my cabin by the time I’m back from recon I’m going to strangle you by the arm straps of your jacket.’ - V
‘Whoever told Jaal that I am some expert on human copulating behaviors better hope they never need any extensive medical care anytime soon. I just had to spend four hours of my valuable time explaining to a seven foot tall Angara how clitoral stimulation works. P.S; I know it was you Liam.’ -Dr. Lexi
‘Whoever keeps changing my name to ‘Kaitlyn’, ‘Susan’ or ‘Becky’ on my locker and the official mission statements is going to get shot directly out of the airlock.’ - Lt. Harper
‘While I know Peebee might get on everyones nerves once in a while, the next person to try to jettison her escape pod off the ship in the middle of the night is on toilet duty for a week. I’m sick of this. You’re adults, not middle schoolers.’ - Kallo
FE7 lord squad for the meme if you're still at it?
Pick a character I’ve written and I will explain the top ~three to five ideas/concepts/etc I keep in mind while writing that character that I believe are essential to accurately depicting them.
Gosh it’s been so long since I’ve written any of them. I’ll try not to ramble…
THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP. She was completely isolated for so long after the Lorca were killed, and though I know she goes back at the end of the game unless she marries Eliwood or Hector, I seriously doubt she returns alone. Rath and Kent both go with her in their endings. (Do she and Florina get an ending? I can’t remember but you CAN’T tell me Florina wouldn’t go with Lyn.) Anyway, Lyn’s friends are like family to her and she’s always eager to make new ones. They are such a huge part of her character motivations.
She’s from a different race and culture. After Marquess Araphen making some racist comment about Sacaeans at the beginning of the game, that whole thing is like…never brought up again, even though it’s something Lyn will have to deal with her entire life. I want her cultural and ethnic differences to be brought up more. And exploring her mixed heritage and balancing the two halves and oh gosh. I think it’s so important to her character. I don’t think this happened enough in my old writing for her.
Kindhearted. I feel like this part of Lyn is often overlooked because it’s so easy to latch onto her fierceness and her hot temper and just jump on that train like “YASS GURL YAAASS”, but she really can be quite soft. Nils barely even had to bat his eyelashes to make her abandon her own quest and help him save Ninian. She’s an extremely thoughtful person.
@julystorms used to ask me “how do u write such a good hector” and I told her the same thing every time: remove the filter.
Remove the filter. Hector is unfettered by manners and decorum. He talks first and thinks later. Honestly when I write Hector I just write down the first thing that comes to mind, as bluntly as I can. It made me realize that in our daily lives, there is always a split-second of thinking over how you say something before you say it. He doesn’t do that.
Responsibility. Hector never gets respect for this! He’s always brash, hotheaded, reckless, dumb ol’ hector. This guy finds out his brother’s death was hidden from him and that he’ll have to take a throne he’s not prepared for the second he gets home from war, in addition to taking up an axe that guarantees he’ll die in battle (and since they’re in a war, he’s probably thinking SOON). So what does he do? He grieves alone and keeps Uther’s death a secret so as to not add any burdens to Eliwood, he swears himself privately to Uther’s spirit on the Ostian throne to do the best job he can do, and then he comes home and takes the job with zero complaints. He doesn’t hesitate about Armads. He doesn’t hesitate about anything. He just does what needs to be done. Maybe he’s not the best man for the job, but damn, he tries with everything he has. Credit where credit is due.
Protectiveness/Worth in Service: Nobody thinks super highly of Hector, Hector included. What he’s good at is smashing things and loving his friends, and that’s about it, as far as he’s ever been told – but he works with it. He’s both quick to love and then fiercely protective of his loved ones (he’s polishing the metaphorical shotgun on the metaphorical porch before Roy and Lilina are even born, which makes me laugh every time). His recklessness is, I would venture, in some part calculated. If he can throw himself into the line of fire to prevent someone else from being hurt, he’ll do it. As far as he sees it, that’s what he’s there for.
Gentle but firm. I remember him always getting a lot of flack about the former (oh, god forbid, a gentle man with emotions in the hero role, we don’t need any of those), and pretty much no recognition of the latter, but Eliwood can be pretty severe when necessary. He calls Hector on his bullshit, he doesn’t accept sass from his enemies, and though he hates killing so much that he literally makes himself sick over it, he keeps doing it. Gentleness does not immediately equal some weakness of character or wishy-washy quality. When there’s a line that needs to be drawn, Eliwood draws it, clearly and without hesitation.
Pure-hearted. Obviously all three of the golden trio are good people, and Eliwood arguably is no better or more meritorious than Hector and Lyn. But they have bitternesses and have already encountered a lot of awful things about the world that helped them to develop a healthy distrust of humankind, and – perhaps because of Eliwood’s sheltered upbringing – he just doesn’t get it. Even though he goes through a lot, he seriously can’t wrap his head around the horrible things that people are capable of doing, and seems continuously surprised by it. In my opinion it’s a flaw in his leadership as much as it is a mark of his kindness. He’s naive and doesn’t learn lessons about people quickly.
Gallant. He’s a Prince Charming type and he can be pretty forward! I think he’s aware of it, too. He’s cute and good-mannered and has a lot of both practical and noble skills (swordfighting, horse-riding) and did well in his studies. He’s humble but not bashful, and he’s not opposed to a little bit of limelight if he saves the day.
@lovelylangst, I saw your idea that Voltron is hit by a spell by Haggar that makes them all revert to their original languages and I loved it so much I made a fic out of it.
I don’t know if you like your ideas being written out, so if you don’t, tell me and I’ll take it down.
Also, I kinda changed the idea a bit, so basically Pidge is perceptive and Allura is an oblivious bastard.
I don’t usually write ff alright.
Word count - 2000+
Pidge stumbled out of her lion, her bayard clasped to her chest, wheezing. Her voicebox felt like it had been clapped in hot iron, and black lightning sparked painfully from her armour where Haggar’s spell had struck Voltron. It had lanced all the way through the metal, and Pidge had heard Hunk whimper in pain.
Keith was sliding down Red’s leg. Some of his armour was shattered - no doubt from the hit - and his helmet was off. Sweat stuck to his forehead. His violet eyes were wide, and full of fear. He didn’t seem to want to look at her.
Hunk and Lance were nowhere to be seen - hiding out still in their lions, probably, like a mouse from a cat’s claws. Shiro eased himself out of his lion’s mouth. His helmet was off, too, but he looked unhurt. Voltron hadn’t won - but they’d escaped. For now, they were safe.
“Shiro! Pidge!” Allura came sprinting up to the hangar, her silvery hair flying behind her - she hadn’t bothered to tie it up. Coran was running behind her. “Lance!”
“He’s… He’s still in his lion, Coran,” stammered Pidge. “Oh, God, that was a hit… I feel all weak.”
“It must have been the komar,” deduced Coran, his hands a flurry at the scanner. “That spell Haggar devised. Do you feel like you’re going to pass out? Are you hurt?”
Pidge shook her head, shakily. “No,” she muttered. “I’m f-fine. Just shaken.”
“Keith? Shiro?” asked Allura. Her eyes were wide. “Are you hurt?”
Keith shook his head. Shiro opened his mouth to say something, but Keith, swift as a whip, stuck his hand over Shiro’s jaw. Shiro glared at him, and pulled his arm away.
There was something different about Keith’s voice.
It seemed more accented, sounding a little like Shiro’s when he mumbled to himself in Japanese. Keith didn’t seem eager to say much. He had deactivated his bayard, and was staring at it like he’d lost purpose. Pidge felt a rush of fear, down to her toes. Something was different, and if Keith was acting on it, then something was not only different, it was wrong.
“Kīsu, sore o yame nasai -”
Shiro clamped a hand over his mouth.
Pidge glanced at him, curiously. “Shiro?”
Shiro’s eyes had gone terrified. His cheeks were pale as chalk.
“Shiro?!” Allura sounded scared, her hands tugging at her hair in apprehension. “What’s happened? What was that?”
“Japanese,” Pidge said, exchanging a look with Keith. “Shiro, are you okay? You look -”
She wanted to say like death, but she felt like it might be considered a bit too rude and out of place, seeing as they had just nearly died anyway. Shiro looked like he was going to throw up. Keith, standing beside Shiro, put his arm on Shiro’s shoulder, and led him away without a word.
“What’s going on?” spluttered Coran. He was tapping at the blue lion’s leg with his communicator. “The lions are running, but Hunk’s been knocked out and Lance just won’t leave his! What’s wrong?”
“I think,” said Pidge slowly, “that something is different.”
Slav came running in, just as the blue lion’s jaw opened. The noodle alien paused, his eyes round.
“Oh, so you survived,” he said. “The probability of that was highly unlikely. Are you sure you’re alive?”
“Yes, Slav,” muttered Pidge. “Go do something else now.”
Slav didn’t move. He twisted a whisker like tendril around his mouth with his top pair of arms, like the way Coran did.
Footsteps tapped behind her, and Pidge looked back.
Lance limped towards them, taking off his shattered helmet. One eye was bruised and puffy. His knee trembled under his body weight.
“Lance!” Pidge ran up to him, but before she reached him, he collapsed, smudging blood on the floor. Allura gasped, and ran to join Pidge beside him.
Lance’s body was battered with bruises. His eyes were closed, one swollen with blood and purple. His armour was a mess, but at least he was breathing.
“Is he okay?” Allura whispered.
“I think so,” Pidge confirmed. She took off her glasses and pressed the lens to Lance’s bruise to test the severity. While she did that, Coran helped a very dazed Hunk out of his lion. He looked confused, but unhurt. Better than Lance and Shiro, at least.
“Why was Shiro speaking Japanese?” Allura asked, in an offhand voice. Pidge looked up.
“Native language,” she shrugged. “People tend to switch to their native language when they’re shocked.”
“Really?” Allura sounded interested. “What’s yours?”
Allura sighed. “English, right?”
“Yeah,” Pidge admitted, looking a little guilty.
“How’s Lance?” Pidge asked.
Coran was standing by the healing pod, twisting his moustache. He started when Pidge spoke.
“Pidge! Oh, you scared me!” He wiped his forehead. “He’s alright. He wasn’t badly injured. An hour more, and he should be raring to go!”
Coran eyed her.
“How is Shiro?”
Pidge sighed. “Still in shock. Babbling to Keith in Japanese. Clear to God Keith doesn’t understand a word of it.”
“Oh, really?” Coran looked interested. “Had Keith spoken yet?”
“No…” Pidge suddenly realised where Coran was coming from, and a jolt of horror shook her. “No, Coran. That doesn’t happen to us. Besides, neither Keith nor Lance have spoken, and they have English as their first language.”
“Not Keith,” said Coran. “His family - ignoring the Galra side - come from Korea. They moved to Texas before he was born.”
“Fine, Lance then.”
Coran glanced at her, before saying, in a controlled voice:
“Druid magic is capable of many things, Pidge.”
“It’s different, certainly.”
“So, you’re saying…” Allura tapped her nails on the table. Around her, sat Pidge, Coran, and Slav.
“Yes, princess,” said Coran, not needing the question to be finished. “Earthlings have many languages. It’s totally possible.”
“That’s true,” admitted Slav. He fiddled with his fingers, his beaklike mouth quivering.
“Admittedly,” Allura said, “you could be right. But then why is Lance not speaking? He speaks English, doesn’t he?”
“Yes, princess,” said Pidge. “That, I don’t get. He’s biracial, Cuban-American… Maybe he speaks Spanish.”
Allura snorted. “Trying to get attention, more like.”
“Hey!” Pidge retorted. “Lance isn’t like that! Don’t go like that! When he’s breaking like that, it’s dangerous!”
“Pidge, he’s like that every day!” Allura complained. She looked away from Pidge’s angry face into Coran’s concerned one. “So, I chase down Lance, and then we wait for the magic to wear off?”
“If it wears off.”
Pidge glared at Slav. “You know, for someone who’s always complaining about the odds, your pessimism doesn’t exactly help.”
Pidge fought the urge to throw Slav out the airlock.
“Princess, your idea of ‘chasing down Lance’ doesn’t seem to work in my mind,” Coran fretted. “He’s earned some rest.”
“Which he has now had!”
“Y'know, Princess,” Pidge said, trying to relieve some tension, “maybe I should just go get Lance.”
“No,” said Allura, standing up, and brushing her hair behind her in a determined fashion. “He won’t take it seriously if you deliver it. I will.”
And before anyone could say anything, Allura left, shutting the door behind her.
Her fingers stung underneath the icy feel of the doorframe. The sky-blue light swept over the stooped figure hiding in the corner. Cloaked in an olive jacket.
“Lance?” Allura stepped cautiously forward, before gasping, and taking a few hesitant steps back.
Lance was crying.
The blue paladin sat hunched, her forehead on his knees and his tan hands wrapped over his face. Tears glittered on his hands like liquid diamond, rasping unintelligible words to the floor.
“Lance!” Allura said, for the third time, but now her voice filled with panic. She didn’t know why - Lance had always irritated her, even after he had stopped his stupid flirting game - but the Lance in front of her looked like the last kind of person to flirt with a princess. What she could see of the gleam of his blue eyes he was raw with sadness.
“Oh, my god,” Allura whispered. Lance didn’t look up - had he even heard her?
She heard footsteps behind her, and saw Pidge and Keith. Both of them looked stricken. Keith had his hands over his mouth as he hurried to Lance’s side. His eyes gleamed, and he looked horrified.
Pidge stood, her hands on her bayard. She looked angrily triumphant, accusing eyes on Allura, hissing, “I told you! I swear to god I warned you!”
“I - I…” Allura didn’t have the words. She bit her lip, shaken.
Keith was whispering words in Korean, his hands in Lance’s, trying to make him look at him, wiping at Lance’s tears with the hem of his cropped jacket. Allura caught a few words off the side.
“Ulji mal-ajuseyo. Jagiya, ulji ma.” He kissed Lance’s tear-streaked cheek and wrapped his arms around him.
Allura froze. Only speaking one language. Keith’s words were worthless when Lance didn’t know what they meant.
Lance’s eyes glowed a sharp, water blue through the darkness, fixed intently on Allura. He looked more angry than sad now. Suddenly, Allura felt a chill in her blood that had nothing to do with the cold castle.
“No tienes idea,” he spat. “¿Por qué me subestimas? Quiero que mires más allá de tus propias esperanzas por una vez.”
Only one language.
She had never been more wrong about someone.
Pidge had gasped a little at Lance’s words, but Keith didn’t move. He kissed Lance, on the lips this time. Tears shuddered down his face.
Allura took off running, not wanting to see anyone. She knew Lance’s tears came from more than just pain, of not having anyone understand him. The way he looked at her… It was her fault. All her fault.
When she reached her own room, she cried almost as much as she had seen Lance doing.
Pidge sat at Lance’s side.
She hadn’t known something for sure. Guesses weren’t good enough. She cursed herself.
Not knowing something certainly - that was different. Pidge didn’t like different things.
“Where is he?”
Pidge looked wary about telling Allura… Anything… About Lance’s position. He looked pretty broken from their encounter from yesterday.
“In his room,” Pidge said eventually. “Keith is with him.”
Allura nodded mutely.
“This is your fault, you know,” she said accusingly.
Allura sighed. “I know. I’ve never been more wrong about something.”
Pidge turned her head to the blueprints on her lap, and didn’t say anything.
“I was wrong,” Allura repeated. “I didn’t listen to you. Not to Keith when he said that Lance needed more recognition. He nearly died for Coran… God, if Coran had died..” Her eyes drifted off into space, but she made them stoic and rigid again.
“I don’t know a thing about Lance,” said Allura. “I didn’t pay enough attention to him - not even so I knew he loved Keith and Keith loved him back, not so I knew he cried like that… I was wrong. You were right. He didn’t speak because he couldn’t. But when Keith and the others didn’t try, I didn’t care, and Lance could easily have been unable to speak as much as the others. But no, I was stupid. I thought he was flunking. I was wrong. You were right, he was bilingual. Spanish is his main language. Worst of all, he couldn’t tell me… But would I have listened?”
Pidge didn’t stop Allura, idly listening to her words whilst tapping on the electronics.
“I was wrong,” she repeated. “You were right. It’s always you who’s right.”
Pidge blinked. Then she smiled, cocky.
“Me, always right?” she asked. “Yeah, that’s not different. That’s not different at all.”