One of the things I love most about humans is the way their voices sound completely different when they’re telling a story than when
saying anything else. It doesn’t matter what language
speaking – you can tell it’s a story.
So human babies REALLY need to be touched. Its totally critical for development. Small babies can literally die if you don’t cuddle them enough.
But imagine that the aliens are more like reptiles, in that they just sort of hatch and their parents feed them or stay around (and presumably, like, educate them, since they’re intelligent aliens), but don’t carry them around or cuddle in the same way.
So one of them gets stuck with a human baby that they’re responsible for and of course, they go ask a xenobiologist or someone ‘what do you do for a human baby, they’re all weird and squishy’.
And the scientist says: well, you have to stroke them. Like actually pick them up and stroke their skin.
Why, says the alien, what could that possibly accomplish. Does it make their skin tougher. Will they grow proper scales.
No, no, that’s just what human skin is like, you just… you have stroke them or they won’t grow right. They get a stroking-deficiency and can die.
Another humans are weird space orcs idea because I really like thinking about it. What if aliens have no idea how to hide their emotions? Like, they suck at poker because they can never keep a straight face or anything. or, on a darker note, their ship is hijacked and they can’t keep the fear out of their faces, but all the humans look cold and emotionless to them. Other aliens hating having to bargain with humans becase we can bluff and keep our emotions in check so well, but when they get frustrated it’s all over. Pirates threaten the space ship and they send the human to do negotiations, and the pirate talking is super confused because no matter what threat he makes, the human just doesn’t seem to be fazed one bit.
Someone please, feel free to add to this, I love to see what else people come up with!
It seems to always be the case that aliens have names that are “unpronounceable by the human tongue.” But, y’know, humans are actually really good mimics. We can do impressions of anything, and some of us are really good at it. What if that was a special skill of ours that was constantly surprising the aliens?
Alien talks about human like s/he’s not there, only to be shocked when its own language comes out of that strange little mouth.
Alien can’t figure out WHAT that noise onboard is, only to find human crewmate pranking it. (“As soon as he leaves, I’m gonna do the sound of a failing hover engine, okay? Just see where he looks first!”)
Alien hears a different noise and a thud, then “Sorry, I tripped.” (”But you squeaked.” “Yeah, didn’t mean to. Sounded kinda dumb.”)
Alien is alarmed to hear the sound of two Dangerous Animals coming from the containment room. Thinks the one has multiplied. Runs in, find human yowling back at it. (“It seemed lonely, so I was talking to it. Reminds me of a cat I had once.”)
The away team is threatened by a Large Animal protecting its young. Alien Captain knows what to do. Shoves the human up front and points. “Make the noises that the little ones are making. This is your time to shine.”
You know that prank where you move everything in the house two inches to the left and it’s so subtle no one notices but they keep bumping into stuff?
This is a peculiar consequence of kinesthetic awareness trumphing spacial awareness, I think. We don’t need to look at where we are going because our bodies know how to move there and don’t need to double-check. Hence why we don’t look at our feet to walk.
So imagine that aliens don’t have this to the same degree humans do. The furniture moves and they move around it and are confused as to why the human crewmates keep bumping into things.
Then one day, after all the humans ajusted to the prank, the lights go off and the aliens can’t move around.
But the humans are just navigating the spaceship by muscle memory. And that is amazing, that it is possible for them to *walk through a memory* to compensate for being temporarily blinded.
Okay, but, when we send cremated remains into space do we send an explanation with them? Because I’m just picturing some aliens cracking open a satellite and being really fucking confused.
“Human guide! Our scans indicate that this probe contains a cylinder full of ash and human bone fragments. I assume this deconstruction of form is a way for your species to travel greater distances through the stars due to your limited capacity for large spaceships and distance travel. Quite similar to the Quaxilains from the Centuri district of the galaxy, though I did not know your species had reached such advancements yet. Please instruct us in how to revive your colleague so we may interrogate him as well.”
“No, dude, whoever that was is dead. Probably some astronaut or scientist who paid to have their cremated remains shot into space once they died.”
“You told us that your species buried your dead, why did you lie to us?”
“No, I said that MY family buried our relatives. Never said the whole species did it. Sometimes we burn them, then scatter their ashes in places they loved, plant them with a tree, use them to make diamonds, shoot them into space, whatever. Lotta options.”
“I had no idea your death rituals were so…extensive.”
I finally thought of my own cute alien/human relationships thing and I wasn’t gonna post it but another one crossed my dash, so I am:
Aliens that don’t have to eat. Aliens that absorb their energy from light or heat or something and can’t go dark places or cold places or places without nutritious breathable gasses without technology to help them, but have never eaten. Aliens that are horrified that humans have to kill other beings and grind them up with their mouth parts and they don’t even use tools and oh gosh what even are teeth why do humans have exposed face bones that is TERRIFYING.
But also, aliens that eventually get to know the humans and realize most of them are usually reasonably good at not eating things that are obviously, actively sentient (though there are some disagreements on that front) and anyway they’re super friendly to creatures that can speak and they get very attached and fine, they can be friends with the humans even though they’re weird and scary. And then they’re like ‘I brought you a plant to crush in your mouth parts’ or 'I found this and it’s dead, are you hungry?’ Or 'you look dizzy do u need to eat my potted plant?’ And they are not very good at suggesting/providing food but gosh darnit they try and the humans think it’s adorable. And aliens get invited to dinner parties where there are sun lamps for them to sit under while the humans eat, because friendship, so they learn the cultural stuff around food and they can smell the interesting smells and it’s all good and pure. They don’t really understand the arguments about whose grandma makes the best food, but they nod and make positive facial expressions. It’s ok.
Just imagine an alien’s reactions to getting a tattoo. I’m picturing the conversation going something like:
“Wow human-Sandy, that is a lovely painting on your arm. How long will it last?
“Oh, it’s permanent. It’s a tattoo.”
“What’s a tattoo?”
“Well it’s kind of like painting on your skin, but we actually inject the ink into us with needles so it’s more permanent.”
“Oh. That’s… nice.” And as he walks away he’s just muttering about how humans drink poison that ruins their liver, and inject ink into themselves “for fun” and none of his crewmates believe him because no species could be THAT self destructive, not even humans!
Of course later, Sandy tells them all about it, and once again they are left completely confused by the entirety of human existence.