Tony couldn’t seep. Sometimes he managed a few hours if he was tired enough, so usually he went to the gym and worked out until he was exhausted. Tonight, though, he found the gym already occupied: Barnes, with his hair tied up, working steadily at the heavy bag. Normally Tony would make an awkward comment and leave him to it, but instead he just heads for the opposite side of the gym. After setting up at one of the far treadmills, Tony worked his way to a easy run. Barnes was laying his fists rhythmically into the bag, and the quiet thumping was sort of strangely soothing. Between the running and the thumping, Tony slipped into a near-trancelike state.
And then Barnes let out an ungodly howl, drew back his left fist, and slammed it straight through the heavy bag with a roar of, “DIE A THOUSAND BURNING DEATHS!”
Tony fell off the treadmill, scrambled to his feet, and booked it to the elevator.
holy shit you guys there was a spider on my punching bag !!! thanks to my many years of combat experience & martial arts training things are okay now
I just want to throw my hat into the ring about the Humans Are Space Orcs trope that has been going around and I’ve been enjoying immensely.
You know how a large percentage of us have a fear of spiders? Even cripplingly so, like “kill it now I’m crying and breathing into a bag” kind of fear. So what if the aliens are monitoring our transmissions before making first contact, and see, for example, a bunch of Tumblr users discussing how scary spiders are?
Put that with how badass humans generally are (seriously, we invented surgery before we invented anesthetic and consume literal poison because we like the taste), how freaked out would the aliens be to learn that there’s something we truly fear? I can see it going down like this:
Human Steve: Tell us about FTL travel and your culture, we have much to learn from each other
Alien: Yeah yeah in a minute tell me about the spider threat are we safe right now or
Even better would be if Human Steve is not one of those people who is afraid of spiders at all. Like, he has a pet tarantula and puts wild spiders outside safely when they come into his bathroom, if he bothers with them at all. And the aliens are VERY CONCERNED about the little guys and he’s like ???? They aren’t??? A threat????
But then they consult with Human Bill, and Human Bill is basically Professional Spider Hater and goes on for a weirdly long time about how spiders are the actual devil and how black widows are really dangerous and let’s not even MENTION Australia. He gets the heebee jeebies and starts twitching and itching as he begins to feel phantom bugs on his skin.
Both Human Steve and Human Bill insist that the other is the weird one.
The aliens are more concerned than ever.