Okay, so like how when sheep/kids baaa at you and you baaa back and they all baaa again?? How would aliens react is if a human on their mission started making the creatures noise back at them until they all doing it.
The mission was fairly simple in Grutona’s mind: follow the tracks of certain creatures and use environmental clues to discern aspects of the creature’s lifestyle and needs. The group had been following the large, octagonal shaped prints of a swutonaton for the past several standard hours, and up to this point, they still hadn’t actually encountered the beast.
Good. Grutona was not keen on being eaten alive today, which would surely be the result of disturbing the beast. Protocol on the mission was to leave should contact be breached with any species that was not fully documented.
However, there was one member of the team that made Grutona worry. Maria seemed to take things like Protocol as more of a… guideline. Already today Maria had disregarded rules about eating wild tree fruit claiming “they have these on my planet, don’t worry!” Grutona did worry. Especially when Maria added: “Besides, they’re delicious.” Grutona knew what type of treefruit Maria was eating, and xhe was skeptical of the claim. These deadly fruits humans called “lemons” were HIGHLY acidic and sour. On xer home world, a fruit like that would be used by deadly criminals as a poison.
Needless to say, having a human on the crew had been an eye-opening, mind-boggling experience. Grutona was learning more about universal cultures on this mission than ever before, that was for certain.
It was a few more minutes of walking along the path, Grutona taking note of the way the plant life was smashed down to the side of the path of the tracks as if the swutonaton had stopped for a time and rested.
“Ah, so it appears swutonaton are a restful breed, and likely a predator species as evident by their choice location being one leaving them so vulnerable.” Kerip, another member of the team, said this clinically, xis eyes dilating further as his species was wont to do in order to get a magnified look at things. As he was examining he spoke to his partner, Bepin who recorded xis observations on a datapad.
There was a noise further down the trail, strangely like a yawn. Grutona looked over cautiously. Maria was gone. Grutona frowned and made toward the sound hoping it was just Maria doing some sort of human thing xhe was unfamiliar with and not the beast hiding in the plant life beyond planning an attack on the mission crew.
But when had luck ever been on Grutona’s side?
As xhe rounded the bend in the trail xhe was met with the horrifying sight. Xhe would have screamed if it were a characteristic of xer race. Instead, xhe stood there in shock.
Maria stood in front of the creature they were tracking all right. The only thing was, the team was entirely wrong about what they thought they were following here. They had assumed the animal was very large, at least nine or ten times the actual size of the creatures in front of them now. And creatures they were. There were at least fifteen of these creatures and they were all piled atop one another, drooling heavily, spiked tails and trunks laying anywhere.
“I’d definitely call this a dog-pile.” Maria chuckled, completely unconcerned at the reality that basically everything they had assumed about these creatures was wrong. Maria turned to look at Grutona, eyes gleaming in mischief. “Guess we were wrong about the elephant-sized animal with forty pig-sized feet, huh?” Grutona said nothing, still reeling. They needed to leave, Protocol demanded it, and they needed to go soon before more of the creatures woke up as one was doing now.
“Hey, look! They’re starting to wake up! They’re so cute!” Maria took another step closer to them, making cooing noises as Grutona watched in horror as more of the swutonatons started to rouse. Footsteps behind xer alerted xer to the rest of the team arriving to the scene finally.
There was a moment of stunned silence before an exasperated sound came from Bepin and Kerip started mumbling in astonishments about all the things they had wrongly ascertained.
“We should leave,” a voice of reason finally called from the back of the group: Teriwald, the ranked officer from the ship who had been tasked with “protecting the scientists” on the expedition.
Grutona found xer voice again, finally. “You’re–”
There was a sudden, loud sound from the pile of creatures “Meeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrm.”
“Okay, that was the greatest thing I’ve ever heard,” Maria was watching the herd of swutonaton with complete adoration in her gaze. Grutona had been warned to be wary of humans when they assumed a look like this one. There was no telling what kind of things they might do next.
Whatever Grutona had expected, it was not what Maria did next. Maybe xhe thought she would have started running in circles around the group or walk over and touch one, but xhe certainly did not predict that Maria would raise her arms in imitation of a swutonaton trunk and repeat the noise back at them in perfect imitation. “Meeeeeeeerrrrrm!”
“What are you doing, we need to go!” Teriwald reminded in an increasingly demanding tone.
“Calm down, Waldo, we’re fi–” Maria was cut off by several cries of the swutonaton calling back at her.
“Oh, this is too good!” More of the swutonaton had stirred now, and they were climbing off of each other and standing in a herd before Maria who laughed and made the noise again.
“MEEEEEEEEERRRRRM!!!” The entire herd of seventeen (Grutona had counted in xer moments of horror earlier) swutonaton were now calling back at Maria’s prompting.
Nobody on the team said anything as they all watched in rapt attention Maria and the herd of swutonaton yell at each other for the next ten standard minutes.
Humans, Grutona concluded, still half horrified, are weird.