The Ghost That Need Not be
I sat down at the bar near my house. I was sick of working and glad to be close
to being able to retire for good soon. I finally had the money saved up to support
myself for the rest of my life comfortably. As I ordered my drink I couldn' t help
but listen to some of the conversations taking place around me; here a pair of
Man fighter pilots discussing their latest exploits, there a small group of
complaining about their day in the asteroid mines. The one that caught my
attention, however, was the gaggle of Puritans discussing an old legend, the
besides, I heard they could take on almost any other species in single combat
and come out on top," the first said.
I think you' re making things up." said the second, "How could such a fragile
looking species stand up to anything without any natural arms or armor?"
Finally the third chimed in, "They could do it because they were much better at
thinking during a fight than all but the most genius military minds, and their
meant that they had to evolve to be able to take injuries that
would kill many other species."
If they could do that, why did they decided they needed to disappear," the
My drink arrived and decided to take the time enlighten these youngsters as I
had nothing better to do. "Gentlemen," I said as I approached their table, "1
couldn' t help but overhear your conversation and I think I may have a thing or
two to add to your understanding."
What would you know old man," the first Tulisan sneered, baring his teeth in a
show of aggression.
Well," I replied without acknowledging his hostility, "I served with them aboard
a few of their ships and was aboard the scout cruiser that was tasked with
searching for them."
This seemed to catch the Puritans' interest and they quickly shuffled around to
make room for another chair at their table. Taking the invitation, I grabbed one
from an unoccupied table and had a seat.
Now, what do you know of the Humans," asked the third Tulisan.
I began my story.
The humans were discovered shortly after they had learned to build FTL drives.
They were a perplexing people, they had evolved on a planet that outwardly
didn' t make seem like it could support intelligent life. The environment wasincredibly hostile and the climate differences between areas were drastic. They
had managed to not only survive but also thrive on a planet that did its level best
to wipe them out at every turn.
They appeared as bipeds with five fingers on each hand, two eyes one mouth,
and a height somewhat above average. They had an endoskeleton made of
calcium that, if broken, could heal in only a couple months. Their dense planet
gave them a strength that was far beyond what their appearance would suggest
and their endurance was unmatched by anything on and off their planet. They
had a somewhat strange perception of beauty as many of them would inject ink
under their skin, place metal through pieces of skin, dye their hair, and many
other strange ideas simply for the sake of appearance. The other strange thing
about them was their ; they simply couldn' t believe that they could do
something right. This was disconcerting to many species but it was very quickly
overlooked as we learned about them.
The team that made contact was given full access to the Human' s histories and
data. They were shocked at how violent their past claimed to be. The discovery
team discounted the Human' s history as the beings they encountered welcomed
them with open arms and without a second thought. A species this friendly could
not be as violent as their history claimed.
As the humans began to integrate into society, the first thing we learned about
them was their ability to survive and heal. Rumors soon spread of a human living
for months stranded on a planet after a crash when most other species would
have simply laid down and died. Stories of humans surviving major organ
damage and broken bones began to circulate as well. Most who had seen
humans in the flesh believed these stories to be exaggeration and hyperbole, but
if one took the time to follow up on the stories, they proved to be true more
often then not. All you had to do was find the survivors the humans had helped
in their adventures.
The second thing we learned of humanity was its willingness to help, 'empathy'
as the humans called it. They were perfectly willing to offer aid to any species
that requested it. A human ship appearing after a disaster was soon understood
to be an omen of survival and hope. The humans would gladly and willingly give
assistance with no expectation of payment and no with no political interests.
They would give medical aid, rescue, food, shelter, and anything else a disaster
survivor may have needed, simply because they had been asked. When they had
finished helping to rebuild the humans would leave to a shower of thanks and
praise, but all they could think about on these occasions was to wonder why they
couldn' t have done more, why they couldn' t have saved just a few more lives.The final thing that the galaxy learned about humans was their ability to fight
and win. When the Hypoxia's declared war on the , no one believed it
when the humans promised to intervene on behalf of the . How could the
species so adept at aid and that had falsified a history of violence stop the might
of the empire? The humans answered this question quickly and
decisively. They revealed that they had built a fleet of warships and had not been
idle in their military training. While the humans entire fleet could not hope to
match the navy in size, they quickly demonstrated that numbers did not
necessarily equate to victory. In space, their tactics left the Hypoxia's disoriented
and paranoid with lightning fast hit and run attacks. On the ground, their
physical advantages came to the forefront, their ground units were far smaller
but more independent and creative than the Hypoxia's. Again the humans left
them confused with similar tactics. The Hypoxia's could not hope to match the
humans, despite their numbers and the war was won in only a few years. It was
then that the galaxy realized that the humans had not counterfeited their history,
they were trying to atone for it.
The image that cemented the status of the Humans as a truly legendary race was
captured by a news crew on one of the planets the Hypoxia's had invaded early in
the war before they had learned the true abilities of the humans. It showed a
human soldier standing between a platoon of soldiers and a little
girl, a civilian simply trying to return home. The human in that image
died in a hail of weapons fire and the civilian later made it home safely. The war
ended with a return to the previous borders. The Humans helped the
rebuild and again left nothing but praise in their wake. The Humans, however,
couldn' t see the good they had done, all they saw was the destruction and death
that the war had caused. To the galaxy, the Humans were a symbol of all that
was good in the universe, a sign of hope to those in danger and the defenders of
the weak. The Humans failed to see this, they only regretted that they couldn' t
do more to help those in need and they regretted that they could not move
beyond their history.
The humans spent some time after the war continuing as they had, giving aid
and arbitration. This time there was an undercurrent of sadness, the Humans
behaved the same they always had but they seemed to regret having to be
violent once again. Eventually, it happened, the Human government made the
decision that Humanity would exit the galactic stage. They purged any and all
genetic records of Humans, removed every reference to the coordinates of their
homeworld, and they vanished. Barely 200 years after they had entered the
galactic conscious they tried to leave it. The message they left cited the
destruction, death, and their inability to save more lives as the reasons for their
departure; and the galaxy wept.I was the second officer aboard one of the cruisers assigned to search their
former colonies for clues. All we found was empty buildings that appeared as if
no one had ever lived there in the first place. They left without a trace and
without a shred of information as to what they intended or where they had gone.
In their , humanity refused to see what they had done and just how
many lives they had touched. Eventually, the galaxy moved on, we learned to do
what the Humans had done on instinct, to provide aid, to help others as selflessly
as they had. We have improved but so many still demand compensation for help
and those who don' t are very few and very far between."
I finished speaking and I looked around. A crowd had gathered around our table
to hear me speak. The first Tulisan eventually spoke up, "did the humans destroy
themselves, or simply go into a superimposed exile," he asked.
It' s impossible to tell, but we can only hope that they may one day return, they
have so much to give if they could only look past their ," I replied.
As I took a look at the gathered audience, I noticed a blackground figure slipping
out the door. It had five fingers on its tattooed hand, and I couldn' t help but
smile and hope, if youjust a little.Swimming Pools
The first Hie' i ambassador to Earth died by the poolside. It was a colossal
bummer in what had so far been a beautiful and productive day
And even then, the island still looked like a small piece of Eden, with all the
celebrities casually sipping their libres and mojitos, enjoying the Caribbean sun
as it scorched their shoulders.
Alas, they kept doing so, while a team of paramedics flocked to the rapidly
corroding hunk of flesh that had been Elo' , the bubbly Elo' , grandmaster of
the elder art of gossip, Elo' owner of a very grim sense of humor, now Elo’
Hiis the decomposing diplomat.
The phone in his pocket rang, and Vasily knew he was going to have a field day.
Whose idea was it after all to assign him here?
doctors already here - No, nothing to do - Dead - Those here, haven' t
given formal - . They said safe from all earth pathogen - Will do sir"
He stashed his phone in the front left pocket. A quick instruction. Discretely, one
of the doctors assigned to the blob formerly known as started saving a few
extra samples. No doubt the Americans and Chinese were doing the same. It was
only good manners after all.
No attempts were even made to hush the whole affair, Streisand apart, of course
you could threaten the press, but there were just so many socialites and
with their smartphones out, who' d tell them to stop snapping selfies with the
corpse? The most they' d do was ask to tone down on the dog filter, out of respect
That was an interesting week to be human, for sure. Everyone had a theory for
what happened. Well, Alex Jones had several, but they all involved frogs, the
deep state and vitamin supplements. The Daily Mail had an even more salacious
cover than usual next morning, presenting the ambassador covered in pancakes.
Never mind that being totally unfit from a structural standpoint, rumor has it, it
took a little while to explain the innuendo to the Hermaphroditus's Hie' i, who
found it grotesque, albeit amusing. Not bad, given the situation.
Still, all good shitposting must come to an end, and as the week ended, Human
and Hie' I scientists, came to a conclusion. Obviously it still took a few weeks to
verify, write reports, make sure no one of notice was able to be held accountable
for the events and create catchy animations to present to the unwashed masses.
Thankfully, as the UNSC was informed, and sacrificial lambs were
part of the common cultural heritage of both species. Maybe they could talk to
UNESCO to put it on the list after the whole thing was over.It was a cold, brisk morning in New York when the announcement was made.
Obviously the diplomatic staff had moved on several weeks ago into more
pressing issues for mankind' s first contact with the more civilized universe, such
as plutonium, proselytizing and pet passports, but rituals such as these were
always a needed step for closure.
Thing is, the reason was so, so simple. Elo' , a curious fella, when offered a
taste of scotch could do but sip. Being much too strong for his taste, he
proceeded to do the proper thing for a gentleman and bent over to drink from
the communal pool. Given the Hie’ i immunization protocol before arriving, he
was totally nonplussed about it. Sadly, like a human wouldn' t expect a pool full of
cyanide, they hadn' t accounted that humans would sanitize and keep water
disinfected with a compound whose use nearly every species considers a war
crime. Fluorine ingestion by the unfortunate diplomat resulted in a fast acting
version of prion disease, as reductive reactions misformed an exponentially
growing number of protein analogs inside his body. Whilst the report was of a
tragic accident, it ended on a note of hope, with the resilience of human biology
holding great potential to prevent such happenstances in the future.
In the meanwhile, A’ we Dab, interim ambassador to Earth, assured the
first packet of knowledge provided to humans would include a safe,
alternative to what he described as one of galaxy' s most feared brocades. The
human diplomats looked at each other apprehensively, totally, absolutely not
thinking in the slightest about the worldwide protocols ordered on
compounds such as Sarin and , really. Those things didn' t exist.
It is to be noted that what came to be known on Wikipedia as the Poolside Affair
ended with the show trial on The Hague of three pool boys and a batwoman,
released on bail after a few months of expert deliberation. After that, integration
proceeded swimmingly, with the humans slowly finding a spot in a larger galaxy.
After a few happy little accidents.
Nevertheless, anthropologists still discuss to this day the worldwide cult status a
certain Kendrick Lamar single obtained in the aftermath.