Challenge #02312-F122: Made it Home AlivesteemCreated with Sketch.

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Rules for Fighting Humans:
Rule Number 1: Don't fight Humans.
Rule Number 2: DON'T FIGHT HUMANS !!!!!
Rule Number 3: IF you fight Humans, aim for the Brain!
Rule Numb......: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phineas_Gage ....................... FUUUUUUUUUUUCK -- Anon Guest

Humans are Deathworlders. Some think they are unstoppable. Many think they are monsters. Rumours fly about their unkillable aspect. News like Phineas Gage gets around. They have all kinds of procedures surrounding what to do if one spots a Human.

Step one: Retreat. If possible, retreat expeditiously.
Step two: If retreat is cut off, hide.
Corollary: Humans are very perceptive and may find you anyway.
Addendum: Humans are tireless and can track you down if you run.
Step three: Loud noises and sudden movements can startle a Human long enough for you to engineer an escape.
Corollary: They can also startle a Human into attacking. Do not give Humans enough time to react beyond getting out of your way.
Addendum: Humans have a grip capable of crushing aluminium containers. Havenworlders are advised to be especially cautious when exercising this step.

All of this good, sound advice was written by the survivors. Those who had managed to escape Humans and lived to tell about what happened to those who hadn't. It had worked for many, who added to the extant files. All of it went flying out of Yekys' head the instant ze realised that there was a Human in the same facility.

Obviously, there had to be life. Someone had to keep the machinery running... Yekys just never expected them to be... well... Deathworlders.

This Human didn't match the surviving footage. For a start, they weren't encapsulated head to toe in space-rated armour. They're not wearing a livesuit... Yekys thought. Then the impossibility of a Human ever needing a livesuit temporarily fused hir brain.

The good news was that the Human wasn't reaching for a weapon. The bad news was that Yekys didn't have one either.

Humans could use anything as a weapon. They had phenomenal skill at picking up literally anything and using it against anything else.

The good news was the Human wasn't making any moves. Yekys didn't know whether to maintain eye contact or avoid it. The rules? What did the rules say? Ze couldn't remember even the first one of them.

Yekys took a careful step back the way ze had come. "Stay calm," ze said, more to hirself than anyone else. "Just stay calm. Nobody is attacking. Stay... calm..."

"Shdaaayyy... Kaum," said the Human.

It almost startled the life out of hir to learn that Humans were alarmingly good mimics. Right down to copying the body language Yekys was using. They were twice Yekys' height. Easily four times hir weight, but they were doing everything to copy Yekys' own frightened, flight-ready stance.

"Shdayy... kaum?"

Yekys ran. There were no thundering Human footfalls. Just a distant, wordless noise. A descending note without any meaning to hir.

There were Humans here. Yekys set hir ship to get as far towards safety as possible as fast as possible whilst adding notes of the encounter on hir maps and logs. Sending as soon as they were done, just in case...

Just in case they came for Yekys' blood. Just in case they were offended. Just in case this meant war.

Humans excelled at war...

No Humans followed hir. Not out of the conglomeration of old vessels, asteroids, and scrap. Not out of the debris belt. Not out of the solar system, and certainly not down the wormhole. Yekys counted hirself extremely lucky that this ended in hir life remaining with hir.

For decades afterwards, encounters with Humans would include the mangled attempts of the Deathworlders saying, "Stay calm," in GalStand... Humans could pass on memories.

"I'm telling you, I saw a real life flakkin' alien," said Tyn.

"Crap. Footage or it didn't happen."

"For reals, Don. It was in the dead zone we're tryin'a get online. Large as life."

"And it was thiiiis big," Don made an exaggerated motion with their hands.

"No. You ass. It was about three and a half feet tall--"

"With grey skin and really big, black eyes...."

"It was red. And I couldn't see the eyes 'cause of the visor."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Tell me what it said." Dan finished off their tin of carbonated beverage and crushed it before tossing it towards the recycling chute.

"I didn't get all of it, but I heard something repeated a bunch. It sounded like, Shday kaum. I'll never forget it. When I said it back, I think I hit a nerve."

"Sure you aren't saying 'flakk you'?"

"...no?"

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / Wampa]

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