The Newcomers [Short Sci-Fi Story]

They were new. We didn’t know much about them. They came from an unexplored arm of the galaxy. They came in ships that were so primitive, we couldn’t help but laugh. Thin aluminum hulls, no energy shields, radio-based detection, and communication gear. Their sublight drives were mostly chemical rockets. They relied on so much ancient technology it was a miracle they left their home system, let alone made it to an entirely different arm of the galaxy.

We gave them a gift to welcome them to the galaxy. A few basic quality-of-life improvements for their ships. They even graciously submitted to an inspection of their FTL drive to see what of the five known methods they used.

That should have been our warning. That should have been the biggest red flag about these new bipeds. They kept environmental suits on the entire time they visited during First Contact, gold faceplates kept down obscuring their features. It was very prudent and wise of them to self-quarantine on their first-ever contact. We hoped they would stay wise and prudent in all things.

What we didn’t expect happened only fifty standard solar cycles after First Contact with the Newcomers. They arrived again in much better starships. 3D Printed they called it. They somehow looked like machines AND organic, a combination of so many things. Redundancies heaped upon redundancies, plasma shields, EM shields, and even exotic defense weapons we had honestly never encountered before. It was all reverse-engineered from the simple technology we gifted them. They had taken the simplest of things, like a subspace communicator, and made the most unexpected technologies from them, including medical technology we are still studying and learning.

We also found out that they armed ALL of their ships. From merchant freighters to science ships to asteroid crackers. We didn’t see their warships until the Catar decided to “liberate” some of the Newcomer’s territory. Their ships were all over weaponized crew lockers with oversized drives bolted on. They used fleet carriers, screening Frigates, missile ships… everything and anything they could weaponize, they did. Even their medical ships were a kind of weapon that they used on the Catar war packs. The Catar expected a standard war of attrition. They didn’t expect small teams of stealthy chaos bringers behind their lines. They didn’t expect infrastructure sabotage. Nor the tactics the newcomers called “decapitation strikes” where a Pack Leader was the only casualty.

The thing that lost the Catar the war the fastest, though? The Newcomers weaponized compassion. War wounded were brought aboard their hospital ships, treated with the best medical technology, and even given entire replacement limbs if needed. The Catar wounded soldiers were rehabilitated right alongside the Newcomers wounded. That’s when the Catar found out the Newcomers were hyper-social apex predators like them, and that they too pack bonded easily.

Catar war wounded were returned to their people as soon as they were healed enough for travel. It was unheard of for any war species to engage in such mercy. Catar scholars asked why their “enemy” was so kind while at the same time being avatars of war itself. The answer Newcomers gave was… shocking. They gave the entire galaxy a peek at their pre-stellar history. There wasn’t a single solar cycle that wasn’t absolutely dripping with the blood of their own kind.

They were Death Worlders. Their home planet was a blue jewel Class 4 Death World. Evolution Gone Bonkers. They came from a world with Apex Predators that dominated entire biomes. We found out why every ship was armed to warship levels of any other species.

They were afraid.

The Newcomers were afraid of finding something out there worse than themselves. So they were on a perpetual war footing. Even in their most peaceful explorations. They spoke of “bugs” with acid for blood, of shape-shifting predators, of entire dimensions devoted to macabre and incentive methods of torture. They weren’t just terrified of finding these mythical monsters in space, they were terrified we might find them first. So the Newcomers always prepare, always explore, always invent as if all of existence depended on it. They didn’t want to lose their new friends.

The Catar have been their closest trade partners ever since the Border War at Alpha Centauri. Newcomers have started spreading to every culture, every planet, bypassing borders simply by being wanted. We are being taken over by the friendliest of Occupations ever experienced in known galactic history. We want them with us, and they are all too happy to oblige.

They are the friendliest, craziest monsters you’ll ever meet. The Humans from the Sol system.

Republished with permission from the author, Reddit user u/BlackHatGamerOzzy173. Image created using Stable Diffusion

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