Humanity’s Niche [Short Sci-Fi Story]

Editor’s note: This one is really funny, geeks, and the videos that go along with it makes the story even better!


Humans made it to the wider galaxy, finally. The Milky Way was congested with myriad species. Humanity struggled to carve out a niche for themselves. Coming below the technological curve didn’t make things any easier.

Per Jansson, the beleaguered human ambassador was drowning his sorrows in a rowdy bar at the edge of the ambassadorial district.

A quarrel broke loose near him about which race had the most difficult sports race. The Rrit claimed their race was the most difficult since one of their three legs was tied up and couldn’t be used.

The Lmai representative let out a wet laugh and pushed the Rrit of their barstool. “We race riding a Lsko and those run twice as fast as us!”

The others seemed to agree. Per was just drunk enough to forget he was actually an introvert and piped in: “Twice as fast as you? Pft!”

The Lmai stood up to his full ‘three times that of Per’s height, walked up to him, and poked Per’s forehead. “What would you know of fast riding? And do you even know how hard it is to sit on a Lsko?”

To save himself from great bodily harm Per quickly whipped out his tablet and found a short video of South African ostrich racing where men tried to get their animal to run even faster than 70 km per hour [43 mph].

“Not bad!”, replied the Lmai and sat back down, dragging poor Per to his table as well.

A tall and slim AraA looked at the peasants with disdain. “Our games require brain power instead of the ability to hold on for dear life.”

The Lmai turned to look at Per expectantly. “Well…we have a game of chess…” Then he remembered Chess boxing. “We alternate between a game of strategy and bouts of boxing. Look here!”, and showed another video.

Somehow Per had managed to get some respect from both Lmai and AraA. “You sure have some impressive sport, little human.”, came an oily voice by the bar. It was a sneaky Kärmesh. “Next you tell us you have competitive sitting!”

“Actually”, started Per, “we do.” The AraA commented: ” I can’t see how that would test your mettle at all.” Even his supportive Lmai friend looked skeptical at that. “Fine, see for yourself. This is called Sport-hocking. You do tricks or combos with flipping, spinning, and even sliding a plastic bar stool. Then you calmly sit on it, not showing how badly you just hurt yourself.”

“Competitive carrying?”, chirped a small avian Tltntti. “Sure, I have a photo here of Finnish Wife Carrying where you run an obstacle course carrying your wife, and the winner gets the wife’s weight in beer. The prize got an approving reception from many in the bar.

“Ball games?”, asked the AraA, now fully invested in the competition of competitive sports. Per was flipping through everything from football and soccer to tennis and golf in his mind, rejecting them all as games the aliens probably had versions of their own. Then he remembered Sepak Takraw from Southeast Asia.

“We have this game that mixes ball games played by hand and those played with a foot with martial arts”, he boasted. It looks like this.”, he said sending the video to the big screen in the bar. Appreciative murmurs came from half the bar.

“And Bossaball, volleyball on trampolines.”, Per enthused.

“Oh, oh, fireball soccer, Sepak Bola Api, where a coconut ball is soaked in kerosine and the players in spices before lighting the ball on fire for a game of barefoot soccer.” Per sent the video to the big screen.

“Why soak the players in spices? Are they eaten afterward?”, asked the Tltntti confused.

“I think it is a part of the ‘flame invulnerability rituals’ before the game. No eating the contestants”, answered Per.

“There’s Tazer Ball. You just tazer your opponents to get the ball and carry it to the opponent’s goal”, continued Per. The entire bar was now listening and watching the photo evidence of humanity’s craziness.

“Swamp Soccer and Snow Soccer”, rattled Per on in the complete silence the bar had probably never experienced before. Per looked around, a little scared. Instead, all the others looked a tad scared of him, humble Per Jansson. Better keep going he thought to himself.

“We have Bo-taoshi (棒倒し), a combat sport from Japan. Two teams of 150 players, divided into two, try to bring down the other team’s pole. Defenders position themselves around and on the pole. At the sound of gunfire – ’cause why not, I guess – the offensive team throws themselves at them.”

The bar full of aliens watched the bout in silence. The three-legged Rrit commented quietly: “they don’t have any armor!” Even old buddy Lmai seemed shocked. “You…you do this for…fun?”

“Well yes, we do”, answered Per, starting to enjoy himself.

From the far corner a loud whisper was heard saying: “No, I said cancel the invasion! For the love of the Empress do not try to invade Earth! They are crazy! There’s no way we can win against people who throw themselves into all these insane sports to try to quell their violent tendencies. Burning balls, electric shocks, pain tolerance I’ve never seen…they can almost fly without any wings and twist their bodies…just turn back the invasion fleet and tomorrow I go sign an alliance with them! I’m going to have nightmares for months!”

In for a penny, in for a pound, Per thought and introduced Kancho, most popular among Japanese children. “Players make a finger gun with both hands clasped together and proceed to try to jam their index fingers into the butt of the unsuspecting victim while exclaiming ‘kan-cho!’.”

“They teach their children sneak attacks to humiliate the enemy!”, someone exclaimed from the other side of the bar. Many aliens were seen frantically writing messages on their communication tools.

“Then we have Gurning where the player pulling the ugliest, weirdest-looking face while having their head between a horse collar wins.”, explained Per, trying to keep a poker face himself.

There were whispers saying “demons” and “shapeshifters” before the bar seemed to get evacuated from all patrons. Lmai was backing away from Per saying “We’re friends, right, human? No need to gurn me, right? I’ll…I’ll come to see you tomorrow at your office to sign a friendship and allegiance agreement! Any terms you think are right!”, before turning and running away.

The next morning Per had a headache, his tongue felt like sandpaper and his eyes were bloodshot. He couldn’t remember last night at all. He was late, but it wasn’t like he had to hurry to his empty office. He had to figure out something to make humanity stand out from the rest.

He had a brief recollection of drinking at a sports bar last night but didn’t seem to remember more. Well, it was probably nothing too important.

When he got to the office building there was a large crowd on the floor where he and dozens of other small species had their offices. Per thought, he wouldn’t get into his office before lunch.

But as soon as someone noticed him a path opened up for him, all the way to his office. Per was more than a little spooked by this but tried to walk confidently. Of course, that meant he tripped on his own two feet but managed to prevent a face-first dive to the floor. So he just kept walking like nothing happened.

“See, he’s mocking us with his dexterity!”, someone whispered. Per turned to look who said that and zeroed in on a thin AraA with his annoyed gaze. “How did he know it was me?”, whispered the scared brainiac.

To Per’s dismay not only he signed 137 peace treaties that day but also 6 deals to broadcast human sports events to the wider galaxy. He didn’t know how had he done that but who cared with these results?

Republished with permission from the author, Street-Accountant796. Image created using Stable Diffusion.

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