Never Trust a Human [Short Sci-Fi Story]

Never trust a human.

A simple but effective rule. And one I have strived to live by every time I have to deal with one of those damned monkeys.

I am ashamed to admit it, but it was we Koorang that were responsible for making first contact with the humans and introducing them to the galaxy at large. Ever since the Great Diaspora we have roamed the stars searching for new goods to trade, new markets to corner and new customers to sucker please. And what better market than a mineral rich system eager for access to the stars beyond?

Anyone would have done the same in our place. For the paltry cost of sharing our FTL technology, the humans were more than willing to make us their sole trading partners. A deal we could not possibly refuse. They were practically there already anyway, a generation or two at most away from working it out themselves.

And what a stir they created when they first arrived on the galactic scene. From novel technologies to new medicines, bizarre fashions and a vast wealth of entertainment, they seemingly had something for everyone. Gods, you still can’t visit a bookstore or see a movie without the latest human crap being pushed front and centre to this very day.

I was a freelance trader when we made first contact with the humans, buying goods in one sector and selling in another, always chasing that big pay day. So of course when the human craze swept the galaxy, I set a course for the human system with a hold full of knickknacks from the Tau Cetiens and anti-tumour drugs from the Episilonians. Total junk, but the humans didn’t know that. In fact, they went nuts for the stuff. Especially the drugs. Something about curing some kind of common cell mutation disease. The primates didn’t even have nanites yet! But it meant I made a tidy profit and left with a hold full of human goods.

And something extra – a human crewmember.

Now, I’ve had crew from all over the galaxy. Techno-organics from the Sphere, cephalopods from Camelopardalis and even a Veganite during a stint in the fringes! I’m the furthest thing from a xenophobe as you could get, but this fellow was down-right weird. It claimed to be an engineer of some sort but its solution to everything always seemed to boil down to hitting something with something else. Percussive maintenance, it called the process. Utterly barbaric, though I had to admit it did seem to work.

It also had some of the weirdest habits of any sentient I have ever had the displeasure of spending time with. The most annoying? It called itself “a hugger”. Meaning it seemed determined to drape its gangly arms over every other sentient aboard every chance it had. In fact, it seemed to crave this physical interaction and became quite withdrawn when asked to restrain itself, promising to do so glumly. At least until it appeared to completely forget its promise and went right back to “hugging”.

It had then insisted on using our limited water supply for its daily cleaning ritual. And not just a simple wiping or moistening like you might expect from a Lorret or a Soruuc, but a full body immersion in water, complete with cleaning chemicals to strip the dirt and oils from its body. No wonder it was constantly losing skin cells if it was scrubbing itself so often. It was “only a short shower” it had claimed.

Perhaps the most shocking though was when it came to feeding. As an omnivore species I had assumed it would have no issue with the hydro-kelp that is standard fare on all Koorang vessels, but what I had not expected was that it would insist it be boiled or fried or otherwise prepared before eating, citing that raw the plant would upset its digestive system and making comparisons to some kind of local fauna farmed for food. And the amount it could eat! It insisted it was a “light eater” but I swear I have seen beasts ten times its size that ate less.

Even just talking to the creature was infuriating. It was as if it simply could not string a sentence together without contradicting itself or outright lying. You’d ask it how it was faring and it would reply “Nah, yeah, you know how it is, Chief. Stick me in an engine room and I’m like a pig in shit.”. What does that even mean?! Or the time it was asked if had completed its assigned task and it had replied “Well I ain’t here to f**k spiders, am I?”. My translator just about imploded trying to resolve that one.

I quickly learned not to trust anything the creature said at face value and settled for doing my best to avoid it as much as possible. Not an easy task on a ship the size of mine at the time.

Despite all this, we had settled into a comfortable routine and were approximately half way to our destination when the disaster struck. Noodlians, out of the Ra’mun nebula. They had managed to sneak up on us and took our drives out before we even knew they were there. I knew right away we were doomed. Today, Noodlians are largely peaceful beings, but back in the day they were ruthless pirates and slavers. A scourge on the galaxy. And so it was that I was leading a prayer to the Gods for mercy on the bridge for my small crew, all of us huddled together when I felt the ship shudder as their ship clamped on to mine. We were about to be boarded.

“Chief!” suddenly came the call over my communication unit. It was then that I realised the human was missing from our huddle and I felt my heart sink. As strange and annoying as it had been, no being deserved to be alone when faced with death or enslavement.

“Chief, fire up the engines!” the human shouted over the communications unit. Poor creature, I remember thinking. It didn’t know we were crippled by their opening shots.

“The engines are offline, human Jessica,” I informed it. “Please join us on the bridge for prayer, all will be over soon if we do not resist.”

“No time for group hugs! I’ve re-routed the ‘lectrics, Chief, we should have just enough for a skip to the nearest ‘servo!” the human had responded, shouting over the terrifying sounds of blaster fire over the comm.

Pulling myself free from the fearful grip of my crew, I checked the skip drive console. By the Gods, the human was right! I had thought. But I quickly felt my elation die as I recalled the Noodlian ship was clamp tight to us. A skip now would tear us in half.

“It’s too late, human Jessica,” I said over the comm. “We have been coupled to their vessel and they are boarding us already.”

“Don’t worry about the party crashers, Chief,” the human replied laughing. It was actually laughing! “I’ve convinced them to head home early.”

Checking the onboard scanners, I was shocked to confirm the human’s words. In fact, only the bridge reported any life forms present. Both the boarders and the human were missing.

“Human Jessica,” I called, hearing the strangled sound in my own voice. “Please state your location!”

“Just giving our new friends a parting gift,” the human had responded and I swear I could hear Noodlian screams in the background. The ship shuddered again then and I realised we were no longer connected to the pirate vessel.

“Get the crew to safety!” demanded the human and this time I was certain I could hear screams.

“I will not leave while a member of my crew is not on board!” I trumpeted my refusal, my throat sacs convulsing with fear and determination.

“F**k! That one was built like a right brick shit house!” came the human’s confusing response, then, “Bloody punch it already, Chief, I’m coming aboard for a group hug right now!”

Praying to the Gods under my breath, I didn’t give myself time to question the human as I activated the skip drive and felt reality smear around me. The sensation only lasted a few heartbeats before ending with a bone jarring shake that tossed me to the floor, alarms informing me our engines had suffered complete failure. Pulling myself back to my feet, I frantically checked our location. The human had done it! We were orbiting a small red dwarf, drifting slowly towards a local shipyard.

I activated my communicator unit to inform the human we were safe but there was no response. My heart rose into my throat sacs. Checking the scanners confirmed my fears. The human had never made it back onboard. She hadn’t even tried to. Once again she had lied to me. Angrily I wiped away the tears prickling my eyes and contacted the shipyard to request aid.

Never trust a human.

A simple but effective rule.

Republished with permission from the author, Reddit user u/Kasern. Image created with the Nightcafe AI.

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