it is not hard to tell the difference between a human run ship and one that is run by others, for humans love color, ships run by humans often have painted walls and images everywhere, for ships that have a 'ships human' it is often best to allow them to decorate their living spaces to avoid agitation from staring at monochrome walls all the time (humans that don't decorate generally enjoy music, writing or other creative acts) -- Anon Guest
Every species has an aesthetic, even the ones who don't have eyes. The Pteropts, for instance, prefer smooth, sound-baffling walls and keep sculptures of incredible intricacy. The Cephaloda, a water-borne species, arrange gardens of rocks, shells and coral surrounding their ocean homes. Humans... love colourful things.
There's a reason why most public spaces - excepting designated graffiti zones - are grey. It is the least offensive colour to multiple species' eyes. Well. Those who have eyes to see with. There is only one species offended by Public Property Grey, and that is, of course, Humans. These Deathworlders, whose life is often interesting in deadly ways, hate bland and inoffensive tones, especially when those tones are everywhere.
Humans are the reason that designated graffiti zones exist. They see a blank expanse of wall and feel obligated to fill it. Words, pictures, a mix of the two. Cartoons, if they can get away with it. There is not an empty wall that a Human will not attempt to improve, somehow. When Humans are forced to cohabit, it is best to use a mediator to assist in co-ordinating the group aesthetic.
Some Humans use things to decorate their personal spaces. They mark their territory with small toys, objet d'art, tchotchkes, books, and pictures. Some of those pictures aren't even of anything, they are just artworks with meaning exclusive to the Human who possesses it. Some prefer to watch their decoration, in the form of entertainments recorded across history. Their spaces, too, are decorated with shelving and the contents within are the preferred media forms.
Some... fill their spaces with sound.
Human Voen carried a box full of flat objects, all colourful of course, on board the Interrogating Squeak, bound for strange old places to see if anything interesting might be found there again. She greeted her Pyltaki crewmates with sunny cheer and found her way to her quarters. Which was when, as part of the general bonding procedure, Thyrkyk offered to help Human Voen set up her space.
Helping move in was always good for designated Human companions to bond with their Human. Most of it involved removing things from containers that were shipped separately, and helping arrange them according to the Humans directions.
In this case, it was something called the comfy chair and a stereo. The chair was old and had been repaired, reupholstered, and refurbished so much that it was almost a ship of Theseus in itself. If there was an original part inside it, it was crying because it was alone. As for the Stereo...
It looked like nothing more interesting than a group of black boxes, held together with cables and added to the ships' power network. Sure, there were knobs, dials, and switches on some, but others were just a sleek, black mystery. Thyrkyk investigated the box of flat things. They, too, looked like art. Preserved inside clear sleeves, each with words and pictures, but on both sides.
"Where and how is this displayed, Human Voen?"
"Call me Vonnie," insisted Human Voen. She gently took the large square from Thyrkyk's hands. "And this is media. Old school media from way before the Shattering." She opened one of the boxes, revealing a circular platter with a spike in it and what appeared to be some form of lever. "It's a vinyl record, and this is my record player."
The square concealed a black disk with a groove on each side. It fit neatly on the platter, which began to spin at the direction of Human Voen's flicking fingers. The lever was added to the surface. There was a pop, and a slight hiss and crackle.
Music. "Dear Prudence," sang a Human's voice. "Won't you come out to play..."
There was printed data on the square sheath. It included some dates from Human history. Past centuries. Centuries long past.
I am listening to the voice of a dead Human, Thyrkyk realised with a chill. Many dead Humans.
Human Voen noticed Thyrkyk's trepidation and gently lifted the lever, turning her machine off. "Is it distubing you? I did request sound baffling so I don't upset the neighbours..."
"I was... I was marvelling at this," said Thyrkyk honestly. "The dead can still speak. Or... sing."
"I know plenty of people who are bothered by recordings of the dead. I can stick to extant artists if that's a thing?"
Thyrkyk put the sheath back down. "It is not a thing," ze said. "I was struck by it, is all. We... usually don't keep using media more than a century old. We have found new ways, by then."
"Ah, but everything old can be new again." Human Voen swapped one black disk for one that was coloured gold. "This is one of my favourites."
This time, it was a familiar voice. "Goin' up the river... Takin' all my friends..."
Thyrkyk said, "This is one of my favourites, too."
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