Challenge #02218-F028: They Don't Do That AnymoresteemCreated with Sketch.

in fiction •  7 months ago  (edited)

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Some aliens got fed up with the humans on board. So, they set up speakers to make loud or ominous noises every time a human walked near. -- Anon Guest

Psychological warfare has been banned in the Galactic Alliance, and those who wish to bring it back are quickly educated about the Whisker Incident. It was, at least in the beginning, a study on crew incompatibility, but like most social experiments of a certain nature[1], it escalated too quickly and got out of control.

The crew of the Twitching Whisker didn't much like their ships' Humans and the Humans didn't like them. Initially, there was a period of attempted pack-bonding but, when that failed, the mood of the crew turned sour. Hostilities almost turned to fighting, but the breach of contract clauses were too strong to allow the Humans to harm the rest of the crew.

The others aboard, a diverse sample of Maunchini, decided that they would be better off if they could somehow convince the Humans to leave at the next port and never come back. Thus began their fear campaign. The Maunchini did their homework about making the Humans feel uncomfortable, cursed, or uneasy about their environments. The exact amount of lux necessary to render any environment creepy or depressing. The 'perfect' amount of background EM radiation to cause a Human to very subtly hallucinate and doubt their senses. Infrasound that impinged on Human instincts to run and hide from the monster right behind them...

It worked... and it failed.

It worked in that the Humans aboard the Twitching Whisker spent their waking hours terrified of nothing, on edge, and thinking they saw things that couldn't possibly be there. It failed in that the intended purpose - having the Humans leave at the next port - didn't happen until after the rest of the crew had died.

One important thing about Humans. They are resilient, adaptive, and almost patently unkillable. They also have their breaking points. Some Humans break by turning in on themselves. Some break by becoming dependent on others to the point of regressing to childhood. Many break... by lashing out.

In brief, the Humans aboard the Twitching Whisker killed most of their crewmates. The Maunchini died first, but only because the Humans were harder to kill. The last survivors were found holed up and protecting themselves from their surviving crewmates and the effects of the Maunchini's interference.

It's a cautionary tale. Don't mess with Humans' minds. It may backfire worse than horribly.

[1] Ill-researched and often involving a non-diverse population sample of naturally aggressive and empathetically impaired individuals, eg: most privileged young white men. See: The Stanford Prison Experiment.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / TsuneoMP]

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