Since you have blessed us with all your lovely writings of the many wondrous worlds you have created while juggling life, kids and painful weather phenomenon I would like to give you something to enjoy reading instead of writing about. Although it's not mine to give, please enjoy it.
Thank you! -- Amberfox
[AN: the text in this link is way too long to transcribe, so please read it in a new tab or something. I'll just get on with the tale]
The Irish dreamed of Little People, the fair folk, and the Gentry. The Danes imagined Nisse, the Household spirits who lived in between spaces and occasionally made things vanish. Mary Norton conjured the Borrowers, who lived in small spaces and only took small things that may never be missed.
Many cultures have come up with smaller people who live in our unused or unseen spaces. You can imagine Humanity's collective shock when they discovered the truth. It was Humans who were the small folk. Even the tallest of Humans would have trouble reaching the average alien's knee, should they stand on the same surface together. Life is a peril at that scale, and only the bravest and the most nimble went out into space with the others.
Those who went, adapted well. They took up residence in the spaces between. They took advantage of the neglected things. Many rode on alien shoulders, some with the invention of a form of saddle, others by clinging to whatever there was to grab. Some peoples made sure there was accommodations. Runways, stairs, ladders added into the architecture. Humans, in return, provided new meaning to miniaturisation.
As a species, we're obsessed with small things, so taking electronics and other technologies to interesting extremes was second nature to us. By the time we took to the stars, we were pushing the very limits of what electrons could do, and were looking seriously at taming photons instead.
It became very good luck to have Humans in your ship or station, their presence always greeted with offerings of food, kind words, or the delivery of things known to be useful to Humans. With them around, the ship was always in tip-top shape. Nothing ever went wrong.
Which, of course, lead to some nefarious folk attempting to force Humans into their vessels or stations. Abducting them, stealing them from their colonial worlds or their homeworld. In one case, they filled the entire ship with a somnolence-inducing gas and tore the ship apart to get every last Human on board.
This one went worse than the others.
Once the Humans recovered their senses and realised what had happened, they went out of their collective way to create mayhem, chaos, and disorder. Some went small, by deliberately misplacing, then replacing small but important objects. Some... well. Humans have a saying, Go big or go home.
This time, it was, Go big AND go home.
The food printers started printing glitched fare, then started printing the opposite of what the crewperson ordered. Repair units went haywire and almost injured the people trying to use them. Infants woke in the night, crewpeople woke with minor injuries. Basic self-care articles went missing. Clothing sprouted holes, when they didn't go missing. Insidious chemicals, known to be dangerous, started invading the overall atmosphere. Always at vents where the most crewpeople were likely to be.
The Humans never showed themselves on that ship. The most a crewperson could hope for was to detect a scurrying of little feet as a warning that something bad was about to go down.
Humans had also had centuries to practice being destructive little shits.
When they found the raiders, about the only thing working reliably was the distress signal, and the one the Humans had made for themselves, calling for their original ship/home to come find them. The perpetrators were arrested and charged for the damages they caused, and the Humans returned to their rightful place.
That incident was the origin of the saying, When you deserve Humans, you get them. Which was more warning than it should have been.
[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / konradbak]
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