Challenge #02209-F019: An Unnatural FascinationsteemCreated with Sketch.

in fiction •  8 months ago 


Alright, so I have yet to see something about pyromaniacs in any of the posts out there and figured here was a good place to submit the idea.
Could you imagine them finding out about some humans really, really loving fire?
Like sure, they use fire and appreciate it and its many uses, but maybe there aren’t any aliens that actually love or enjoy fire?
Like there are many of us that actively play with fire or are drawn to it in some inexplicable way. Then the aliens find out and… They are even more terrified of us. -- Anon Guest

Before Humans, Galactic Society made some presumptions. They presumed, for instance, that civilisations naturally grew out of a fascination with fire. Then Humans hit the Galactic scene. Even on the edges, these weird statistical outliers of Deathworlders proved to be surprising at all angles.

The Human they had hired barely spoke GalStand Simple, but they had proved useful on multiple occasions. Including this one, where they were stranded on a wild planet and awaiting a response to their rescue beacon. They knew a shocking amount about survival in that sort of situation, and their Fafthniki shipmates had to wonder if all Humans were trained in this sort of knowledge from birth.

The truth was far weirder than that.

Human Zef was proud of themself. They'd recently hunted down some native protein that was edible more than once[1], as well as assisting in the gathering of essential nutrients that the Fafthniki needed. The result was quite the haul because the Human had woven baskets and bags out of non-edible, nontoxic native materials. They spent all their non-daylight hours at work on these kinds of projects, now that they were paying off, a certain amount of pride was self-evident.

Then there was the fire. After the care had been taken to ensure nothing toxic came from the fire, it became an obsession for Human Zef. They were constantly getting more firewood, poking at the coals, adding things to the fire and, of course, cooking things over the blaze. If there was nothing to cook, the Human's favourite occupation was spearing random, expendable objects with a stick and holding them over the flames.

It seemed almost ritualistic, save for the expression on Human Zef's face. Those involved in rituals were either serene and absorbed, or bored. This being was seemingly hypnotized and enjoying themself. It was a reminder for the Fafthniki that they were sharing companionship with a dangerous, primitive Deathworlder.

After an hour of watching, Navigator Th'fissi took the risk, speaking in broken GalStand Simple so the barbarian Human could understand. "Human Zef... why doing?"

Their only answer was a shrug. "Doing for something doing." After a moment of watching the leaf curl and blacken they added, "Human like fire. Being instinct. Being..." they fumbled for a moment. "Interesting."

By the time the Fafthniki learned that Humans broke into space by putting people on top of gigantic, controlled explosions and once proposed fission weapons as a means of propulsion... they were not shocked. It sounded right up Humanity's collective alley.

[1] A great Human philosopher once said, "All mushrooms are edible, only some of them are edible more than once."

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / vitanovski]

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