Challenge #02003-E179: Sibling Ribaldry

in fiction •  10 months ago


How would aliens react to human-human relationships? Particularly close ones (best friends, romantic partners) where affection is mainly shown through quips and teasing? -- Anon Guest

Humans are pack animals. When enlisting Humans on to your vessel, one may consider the benefits of recruiting Humans who are already deeply bonded with each other. -- Galactic Advice Manual, The Care and Maintenance of Humans.

Humans accustomed to space tended to have monosyllabic names. Many were pronounceable by most Galactics. Such was the case of Bob and Dar. They were used to a great many things, including the obvious question when the two of them turned up to enter a new vessel.

"Have Humans discovered cloning?" the curious alien would ask. They knew they had hired brothers, that much was true. What they didn't always understand was that they had hired identical twin brothers. And the brothers' reactions depended entirely on how much the alien rated on their personal Newbie Score.

This lost little lamb of a confused and confounded Saurian was going to get the kid gloves. "Do you understand what twins are?" asked Dar.

"Tiny infants," said the Saurian. Their name-patch declared them as Roix. "Double-yolker produces small and frail young. They do not often survive."

"We're mammals, so it's a little easier to have two babies at once," said Bob. "And not all twins are identical twins like us."

"You got lucky," Dar joked. "You can have half-off on ID photos."

"That is not how it works," said Roix. "Besides, there are subtle differences we must record."

The twins exchanged looks. This was looking like an entire ship's worth of lost little lambs. They wouldn't be relaxed around them for at least two months.

Two months later.

The Aquilopsids were now used to human peculiarities and had ceased being incredibly nervous and painfully curious around their twinned Ships' Humans. Quite a few of them could tell Bob and Dar apart on sight. Therefore, the humans fell to their more... casual habits whilst on duty.

High-fiving each other in passing was accustomed. Now they began slapping each other's butts on the follow-through. The hardy perennial argument regarding the oldest versus the youngest began to appear. And so did the insults.

"Hey Poopfinger!"

"Yeah, Snotgobbler?"

"How many beta twins does it take to change a lightbulb?"

"Why are you asking a question only you can answer?"

They were loaded with in-jokes, which meant that though the Aquilopsids understood the words, they did not understand them in those combinations. Confusion soon followed.

"Human..." Exli paused to check indicators. "Bob. Why are you hostile, now? We had understood that you were pack-bonded? Is there healing possible for this rift?"

"We're... not... hostile," said Bob. "This is a family thing. We can insult each other and get away with it because it comes from a place of love."

"A place of... love..." echoed Exli. "I do not understand."

They tried to explain. They even took turns. Friendly ribbing and the occasional joking taunt were foreign concepts to the Aquilops. And all the human memes in known space couldn't help them out.

Powers help them, the Aquilops referred to them as reference material.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / MrKornFlakes]

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