You know, I really love all those ‘Earth is Space Australia’ ideas and humans as the super tough, super unflappable space badasses who can smile in the face of any danger and who will pet absolutely anything that mostly isn’t toxic and sits still long enough. I adore them. However, sometimes I do wonder … do aliens have phobias?
Because I can’t help thinking that somewhere in this future universe there’s the one human who went to space because spaceships are relatively sterile environments and therefore in space there are less bugs*. And then one day a guest comes onto the ship and their multilegged pet comes slithering out from under their fashionable collar and suddenly from the back of the shuttle bay there’s this high-pitched, hysterical screaming. And the alien crew turn around and there is their human, their badass, amazingly tough human, the one who managed to survive with half her leg torn off that one time long enough to make it back to medbay, the one who bluffed space pirates for a full half-cycle without so much as a quiver, the one who had to be forcibly restrained from petting the nine-foot slavering hregallar on Threlanix because apparently they were 'adorable babies’ … that human, their human, is suddenly clinging to the ceiling in blatant defiance of the ship’s artificial gravity and wailing her head off in absolute terror over a pathetic little xhilitin. The tiny, stupidly harmless insects that about sixteen species keep as pets because their jewelled carapaces are lovely and decorative and they’re so dumb and harmless that they’ll cheerfully sit on your hat as an ornament from here until infinity.
So the mildly shellshocked aliens try and calm their human down and they get her to medbay and they’re asking 'are the xhilitin on Earth dangerous?’, which, probably, apparently everything on Earth is deadly, but none of it has ever terrified their human before, and their absolutely mortified human is going 'no, well yes, some of them are, that’s not the point, it doesn’t matter if they’re dangerous or not, I just don’t fucking like them, okay, please never let one aboard ship again, i will love you forever and fight off a hundred pirates for you if you just keep the creepy leggy little fuckers the hell away from me, i’m so fucking serious right now, i am begging you’.
And she is absolutely deadly serious, and it makes no sense whatsoever, but suddenly the entire crew are 100% for never, ever letting xhilitin aboard the ship again. Because, well. She would fight off a hundred pirates for them, she has fought off a hundred pirates for them, she’s dragged herself back with half her leg torn off that one time after saving Lehm and Ehletol from the nine-foot slavering beasties she still thinks are adorable. There is no rational reason in the universe for her to be afraid of xhilitin, but it doesn’t matter, because she is, and that means this ship is suddenly a no-insect zone from now until forever.
Because hey, okay, humans are tough, humans are insane, humans come from Space Australia, but sometimes humans come with a couple of odd little quirks, sometimes they’re randomly terrified of ridiculously harmless things, and that’s okay. That’s okay. That just means that sometimes aliens get a chance to look out for their humans in return.
* please allow me my comforting illusions and do not inform me of how unsterile and full of bugs spaceships really are, okay, this is future sci-fi land where spaceships are clean and free of creepy crawlies and nobody needs to have nightmares