You know how sometimes we make meme and social media references in real life?
The aliens certainly didn’t.
The captain had no idea what to expect from his decision to bring a second human aboard the ship. His only guidance in the matter had been the rather unhelpful suggestion to acquire one already pack-bonded with Human-Megan. Unfortunately, given human nature, this could apply to any number of humans, and attempting to ask Human-Megan herself for an organized list of them all proved useless. (He had been immediately accused of being a “stalker”.)
However, he did eventually become aware of a certain human who had been a “sister from another mister” for most of Human-Megan’s life. Upon inquiring about this new human, he was met with enthusiastic approval, mostly in the form of the repeated, painfully high-pitched word “yes”.
And so Human-Lynn was brought aboard.
At first, the crew were presented with nothing they were unfamiliar with. There had been a temporary scare upon first viewing Human-Lynn, due to the vibrant and multicolored crop of hair she bore. However, Human-Lynn had quickly ended their confusion by explaining the concept of hair dye, which, although it had left a few crewmembers nauseous, was understandable for human standards.
In addition, Human-Lynn was considerably less emotional, or so it seemed. Upon encountering disagreements with the crew, she would begin laying down insults in an almost offhand manner, and nothing seemed to cause her to be visibly furious. However, Human-Megan had assured them that she was simply “sassy” and “sarcastic” in nature, and that when she began to insult them in such a calm manner, she was indeed furious (although it was difficult to imagine that a being could be simultaneously calm and furious).
But then came the strange, and often illogical, conversations that often ensued between Human-Lynn and Human-Megan.
For instance, there was their first passage through a nebula since Human-Lynn’s arrival. Human-Megan, although she had borne witness to nebulae before, looked on in wonder almost identical to Human-Lynn’s. Both were seemingly rendered immobile, mouths slightly agape.
“Yeah,” Human-Megan affirmed.
“What’s the…how does this even…” After a moment of failed articulation, Human-Lynn let out a deep sigh. “Science side of Tumblr?”
“Space dust do the glow-glow,” Human-Megan responded almost seamlessly.
“Thank you, science side of Tumblr.”
Several more occurrences of seemingly cryptic conversations where yet to come. Occasionally, the two would make eye contact and mutter “same” for seemingly no reason at all, and once during the first meal rotation Human-Lynn had stood and bellowed, “AND HIS NAME IS JOHN CENA!” much to the surprise and momentary panic of her fellow crewmembers.
At last, a member of the cultural research department approached the two during their third meal rotation and inquired about the nature of their seemingly meaningless conversations. It was his duty, after all, to collect data regarding new species, especially in regards to behavior.
He was met with general laughter, a sound still rather jarring to hear without appropriate warning.
“Holy…crap,” Human-Lynn breathed, wiping a tear from her eye as she shook with laughter. “An alien…wants to know…about memes. I never thought I’d see the day.”
“Yeah,” Human-Megan affirmed. “They’re like…I don’t know…references to popular culture on Earth? They’re usually pretty stupid, and either considered hilarious or grounds to murder someone because they’re that stupid.”
“Grounds to…murder someone?!”
“Not literally, dude. We’ve discussed this. Not literally.”
“There’s a lot of memes,” Human-Lynn continued in her friend’s place. “Spongebob is a few…oh, there’s the dog in the burning house. You know, the ‘this is fine’ meme?”
“Yeah, and Moon-Moon, and 'you shall not pass’–”
“Screw you, I hate John Cena–”
“These are not the droids you’re looking for, that one’s a classic–”
“And then there’s some that aren’t really memes, they’re more like Tumblr legends. Like the science side of Tumblr, and John Green, and Superwholock. But Lynn and I like to use those in real life because we’re weird.”
The researcher nodded, a gesture he had it adopted from the humans he studied, although the concepts they were referring to were far beyond his understanding. Perhaps this was one of those cases where you had to simply let humans be humans, regardless of how strange it was.
“I believe I have heard of these…memes,” he mused after a moment. “So…what is Rickrolling?”
Immediately the grins dropped from the humans’ faces.
“We don’t talk about Rickrolling,” hissed Human-Megan. “We never–EVER–discuss–Rickrolling.”