What if, to some aliens, the human race were their version of actual Orcs. As in; Mythical evil monsters that are virtually indestructible, can travel any terrain, near impossible to kill and, when in a large group, destroy/devour everything in their wake? -- Amberfox
[AN: I don't hold that any particular species is evil per se. They merely have oppositional goals to everyone else]
Humans are basically unkillable. They can withstand temperatures both hotter and colder than proper species. They can eat poison, and often do so for fun. They have consumed the bodies of their own dead. They have tests of strength on the anniversary of their births that involve saving their food from controlled fires. They play with fire! They laugh in the face of destruction, and even find it entertaining. Violence comes so naturally to them that it is even in their entertainments for their young.
The leading cause of death for Humans is other Humans. Therefore, if there are two within sight of each other, it was reasonable to use the distraction to escape. This was good reasoning and Thagaash endorsed it. However, there was only one route of escape and it was between the deadly hazardous Deathworlders. The next best course of action was to stay as sheltered as possible and hope that these two would kill each other. Or, at the very least, that one would kill the other and leave itself incapacitated enough to allow Thagaash to escape.
Thagaash tried not to think, They can follow you for lengthy periods, slowly catching up. They will follow any trace of a trail. They can follow animals to death... They could follow me to death. Instead, ze tried to think, I am not important. I'm just a piece of debris. Look, I'm not even moving. Could they see things that were very still? He knew he should never make direct eye contact or look directly at them.
They were shouting at each other and making aggressive gestures. Good. Thagaash kept his vision trained on a nearby chink in the floor plating and only watched through the peripheral awareness of their movement. They were circling each other as they barked their alien words. Posturing, no doubt, to display who was the stronger. Then one lunged and scooped up the other, wheeling them around as they both continued their barking calls. It was terrifying how long the battle lasted. Minutes of grappling and barking.
Then... oddly, the one lifting the other put their opponent down. Their mutual volume decreased, as did the notes of aggression. Was this actually a mating display? Thagaash couldn't read their new postures as easily, now that hostilities had ceased. They were still baring their teeth at each other, still making their sounds, but.... It wasn't hostile?
In a few more moments, they were walking off together, each holding the other across their upper torsos.
Thagaash waited until their voices dropped to a more comfortable volume and took his chance, dashing past the corridor they went down and running as fast as he could for his little scouter vessel. As soon as he was safely away, this part of his astral map would be marked with a warning for all travellers. Here, there be Humans.
"There they go," cooed Yaz. "Scuttle, scuttle, scuttle."
"Off to the wild black yonder," murmured Dav. "Whaddaya say? Give 'em half an hour and then we take this bucket apart for all we can find? Split the haul?"
"Might as well take an hour and smoko," breezed Yaz. "Takes us that long to catch up. So. How are the kids?"
"Aw mate. My little Tilli is gonna be an astrophysicist. Get this, right? They had peeled a tub of hard-frozen ice-cream and strung it up, and they were aiming a laser at it."
"Homemade comet? Aw, that's a classic. Ten times better than baking soda volcanoes..."
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