Every Species is fascinated by something.
Some really like studying things, the abasks for example like computers so much that some of their basic mechanical calculators literally predate their first cities.
Others are particularly skilled at governing, the emperatian for one have essentially cut the bureaucracy of the entire galactic community in half since they were officially introduced.
Then there are a few with more… exotic talents, like the multiliberi who make great miners since they literally eat rocks.
All species are different both biologically and in their fascination.
But there is a constant that serves as the basis of the galactic community, one thing that has stayed true since its very inception as a small group of traders.
All fascinations are useful.
Until the emperatian introduced us to a new species.
Many people were anxious to find out what would be their fascination, maybe they would be incredible engineers, or maybe skilled soldiers, a few even proposed they could replace some other members of the community in certain fields.
The entire emperatian presentation described how humans had developed themselves, their history, technology, culture.
In the end they described what they believed to be humanity’s great talent, its fascination.
They threw rocks.
That was it, there was no catch, it was an average species that could throw stuff very well.
“To be fair, they do throw rocks REALLY well!”
Needless to say, they didn’t get a seat on the council. In fact, as soon as the information was leaked to the public the term “human” became a synonym for uselessness. The only ones that kept contact were the emperatian and everyone assumed it was out of pity.
Then the emperatian started getting rich.
WAY too rich.
Running a significant amount of all the galactic bureaucracy always made them quite significant but now they were also dominating in mining and manufacturing. Many people were getting nervous over this imbalance of power and a few whispered about them leaving the council all together.
A meeting was called and soon everyone wanted the pencil pushers to tell them exactly what in the void was going on.
It was the humans.
No, they were not taking advantage of a desperate species in need of work or making them pay fees under the threat of conquest. They were just trading.
How were the humans so good at manufacturing and mining?
They threw rocks.
More specifically they threw very fast rocks at asteroids to break them apart and get to the juicy bits in the middle, and then they used slightly slower rocks to place cracks in other asteroids which were then hollowed out for 0-G industry.
Oh, and the damn bureaucrats had just signed a deal that made them the only ones with access to the human trade.
In less than a year the council just so happened to pass a few acts that made a lot of the bureaucracy of the union much more automated and in only five years it was decided that sadly the emperatian just weren’t a good fit for the rest of the community anymore.
Almost immediately the emperatian signed a deal of mutual defence with the humans which everyone assumed was the administrators guaranteeing human independence in return for cheap resources.
Soon the word “human” was synonymous with “weakling that can’t defend itself”, a meaning that much of the council secretly pushed for the public.
A precedent was stablished: The Human-emperatian alliance would stay on their side of the galaxy and the rest would stay on theirs.
What could go wrong?
Turns out a lot could go wrong.
The community found a new species near the border of the Alliance and in their desperation to encircle their main rivals as soon as possible the council decided that the assimilation process would be sped up a bit.
And by “a bit” they meant “as much as possible”
Turns out that what they thought were mostly primitives were actually very advanced people, they just preferred to stay on their corner and didn’t expand despite having the tech to do so.
So, obviously, the most sensible solution was to get them to change their ways.
The council ordered a million ships in a mission to “pacify” the locals and “convince” them to join.
Only 3 ships came back, all running on ghost crews just to send a message: They were at war.
The council ordered a full military fleet to stop the “savages”
By the time the council realized how much they screwed up the angry natives were sending millions upon millions of ships directly towards their territory.
The council begged the member nations to increase the amount of military support they gave but even that wasn’t enough.
All they could do was wait for the enemy to cross a small part of Allied territory which would then lead to directly to the heart of the community.
Then they waited more.
They waited for a full week and nothing, as if the entire fleet had just disappeared.
Then a message came through from the alliance.
It was footage taken from a border scanner. It showed the native fleet crossing through the system and being halted by border drone asking it to go away.
A ship fired at the drone, immediately destroying it.
Then half of the meteors in the system all light up with the light of railguns activating.
The entire council watched in awe as millions of railguns fired at the fleets, some the projectiles were as big as small islands and glowed before exploding in fusion fire, some clearly had basic FTL engines strapped to them, a few even made small black holes.
Most were just big rocks though.
The fleet was shattered, capital ships were left as mere husks of metal peppered with holes from the great bombardment of human rocks.
A simple question echoed through the minds of all the ones present: How could they destroy so much with just rocks?
As if reading the mind of the council a new message appeared:
“To be fair, we do throw rocks REALLY well!”
Republished with permission from the author, Reddit user u/Mercury_the_dealer. Image created using Stable Diffusion 2.1.