Humans Are Weird
It is well established among all sentient species that Humans are Weird. Exceptional Humans, however, make the regular humans seem almost tame in comparison.
Yatrov was to show the newest crew member- another Human- “the ropes”, as Human Jenny phrased it.
Upon arriving, however, the newest Human barely spared xir even a glance, which was odd, seeing how Humans prize interaction above all else. Shrugging it off, xe delicately held out a clawed hand to engage in the Human positive-meeting greeting, a “hand-shake” it was aptly named. “I am known as Yatrov, in Human Common tongue. I am sorry to say that I was unable to read your file report, and am thus left without your name. What is it you wish to be called?” Yatrov was genuinely sorry; the ship was in dire need of repairs, and this Human was coming to help.
Instead of taking the proffered hand, the human’s brown eyes stared into xi’s own violet. “I am Giovanni. And you are approximately 7 minutes late. I do not fault you for your tardiness, your job is a busy one, so your apologies are void. I do not need to see the entirety of this ship, I only require the engine room. Take me there and I will begin repairs immediately. Social niceties and other such meaningless things can be done at a later date, if done they must be at all.”
Yatrov felt somewhat slighted; xe’s species did not greet with touch, but it was seen as an insult- a social misdemeanor- to deny the shaking of hands. Attributing it to the Human having been under circumstances that made him “cranky” and to the fact that the Human was excited to work- humans forgot norms when excited, xe had found- Yatrov continued to try to create a pack-bond with this Human, “I have heard many great things about you.”
“Truly?” The Human considered this for a moment, head tilting, “I am merely faster than most, mentally. A marathoner or racer is not spoken of in as high-esteem as those with quick mental facilities are, are they?” The Human was speaking out loud, xe found this practice odd and ignored it. “What exactly have you heard?” The Human tapped their legs with their fingers, adopting a rhythm unknown to xir, and hummed.
Arrogance or curiosity? “Admittedly, not much has been told. I know that you have several thesis papers, have repaired and improved upon numerous ships, and that you were good enough that our captain was surprised that you even bothered to consider joining our crew.”
“Huh.” And that was that. Giovanni did not speak after that, made no effort to communicate. Giovanni did not try to obtain physical contact. Giovanni remained aloof with even Human crewmates long after he had joined. He also remained fidgety, seemingly unable to keep still, unless it was to engage in a staring contest with the resident cat- to keep the Humans from adopting a weird, deadly creature- or to continue his single-minded work with machinery.
Three weeks after he had joined, the ship was attacked. Vernians boarded the ship, using their many appendages to apprehend multiple members of The Highlight- the ship- at once. No one knew where Giovanni was, and no one would have been surprised if he had left to save his own hide.
Which was precisely why everyone, who were all bound and trying to negotiate with what was essentially pirates, was surprised when Giovanni came around the corner, a knocked out Vernian held under gun point.
Guns pointed at him, Vernians shifted to attack him. “What you need to know: firstly, I have hacked into your language processors. All Vernae will sound like gibberish.” He paused, then grinned ferally. “Try”, he dared.
“Kir-ah?!” They did, and did not seem pleased with the results.
“Back! Restore!” the voices of Vernians screeched, their language translators on the fritz.
“Secondly,” he paused, “I will shoot your friend if you do not release my own.” When an uproar of shouting started again, he blandly stated, “Blank point will be quite messy, won’t it?” He hummed, as though in thought, though his eyes trailed after every movement the Vernians made.
A smaller one, likely emotionally closer to the Vernian Giovanni was holding captive, pounced.
ZZZZZT-PA! The Vernian howled, two of its 11 “arms” gone. “My threat is not idle.”
The room quieted, members of the Highlighter slowly being released.
“Thirdly.” His lips pursed, his nose tilted, sneer deadly, “Run, and pray that I never see you again!” He shot a wall, and they scattered, leaving the crew of The Highlighter mostly unscathed.
It was hours later, after the chaos was settled and the ship fixed up again, that Yatrov approached Giovanni.
“Why did you save us?”
Giovanni scrunched his thick eyebrows together, “Why ever would I not?”
“You make no attempt to communicate with us.” Yatrov insisted, trying to discover the reason Giovanni would do something without some sort of gain.
“Oh, that.” He dismissively waved his hand, his face again lax and bored. “I do not see the point in wasting words. I enjoy the presence of the crew, and- while I see no point in engaging in it- their idle chatter is amusing to listen to.” He raised an eyebrow, “Why do you ask?”
“The crew operated under the belief that you disliked us.” Yatrov felt a small bit of shame; clearly, Yatrov had been wrong to assume that all Humans were so similar.
“I-” He looked hurt, eyes filling with water- tears, they were called, and Yatrov knew that this was not a good sign. His lips twitched, his words near whispered, “Did you not consider me a friend? I thought we were.” He had begun nervously threading his fingers, humming lightly.
“I thought you disliked me.” Yatrov’s admission only increased xir’s guilt, and the slight tremors of the Humans smaller body.
“I made you and the others a new computer.” Giovanni’s eyes searched Yatrov’s one, and again found no solace. A computer did not equate to friendship. “I *made* you and the others a new computer.” The emphasis hit Yatrov. Why would one handmake something if the person receiving it did not matter to them.
“I am sorry.” Yatrov paused, xe had seen it in a Human film once, maybe…? “Can we start over?” A small nod eased Yatrov’s mind and reaffirmed xir’s decision. “I am the one known as Yatrov, and I enjoy reading: fiction, typically.” Xe did not hold out his hand, but stared Giovanni right in the eye.
The smirk on Giovanni’s face told xir that the actions- or lack there of- was not missed. “I am known as Giovanni.” He held out his hand, looking smug and slightly proud of remembering this, as their hands clasped, he said, “I enjoy sandwhiches, science, and conversations on how realistic or achievable a work of fiction can be. It will be a pleasure to work with you.”
Humans were odd, but exceptional Humans lived by a very different set of rules. Intelligence changed their perceptions. Yatrov knew, from personal experience, that they were still Human, still fantastic and horrifying, at their core. Yatrov put down the book xe was reading, looking up to watch Giovanni’s animated expressions as he ranted about machinery. Yes, truly, Humans are Weird.
(Please excuse any grammar/spelling mistakes, my hand has been cramping up lately and it is hard to write at the moment. And I should not be writing sci-fi, because it is NOT my forte, but I had a plot-bunny and felt the need to attempt it. This is basically a shortened version of what I wanted to write, skipping over much of what I actually wanted to put down. Feel free to take the general idea and write something better XD )