They sleep dry and get wet to clean themselves. They flaunt their sexual dimorphism every chance they get and deny it! They forget that though 90% of their communication is verbal the nonverbal part lets a student of humanoids read them like a book! They took the Local Bubble by storm, made it in a big way and screwed up many times in big ways too, even when more experienced and cosmopolitan species tried to warn them.
You can always tell a human but your can’t tell him much. Learn that.
Also, I like them, dizzy, oversexed, dolphin-ape-hybrids that they are.
The Slugs are another matter. They scare me. They refuse to communicate although eating sentient brains does send a message. But using the Question against them is dangerous.
But they scare the Fleet. They scare everyone. The Fleet officers kept a small group of victims of the Question alive just to use their query as a weapon. The Slugs were identified as sharing a type of mind link to others of their kind in close proximity. Giving one the Question would give it to all of them -most likely. Their lack of communication with other races would prevent the Question from making its way back to friendly species -most likely.
The Question scares me worse than the Slugs. The Slugs I can understand. They want to eat me. They don’t give a politician’s promise for other sentients. The Question as far as my people could determine is a sentient toxic meme. It wants to spread. It wants to infest every thinking platform it can. It looks for ways to spread itself. It makes the Slugs look adorable.
Nok, Tivk and I took a shuttle bring the Question to our ship from Thule Base. It was a few sheets of paper in a binder. The station personnel had taken the writings of one patient using a crewman with induced dyslexia. The writings were scanned by a non-networked computer and translated into an obscure system of pictographs used by an extinct race. The printing was in a volatile ink that would decompose in few hours leaving no trace. My app was going to turn those pictographs into Sluggese. then all our padlets, cyber tools, anything that the Question might bum a ride from would be fed into our reactor.
Actually Tivk said that would be very foolish. You do not introduce heavy elements to a H3 reaction. We’d melt them in a forge thingy in one of the workshops.
I performed the translation and was glad I couldn’t speak a couple languages for once. The message was downloaded into three Slugs we had slain and reanimated using human cybernetics. I wonder what the Doctor was thinking when he had to do that? Did his Hippocratic Oath win out or his oath of loyalty? His body language was conflicted and impossible to read. The dead not dead slugs were left where their living brethren would find them.
I did my part to the best of my ability. My fear doesn’t matter.
My people breed via large clutches of eggs. They’re a bitch to lay. Our young hatch and grow up in the wild, barely sentient and many do not make it. It’s our way. The Chief says the humans have something similar called public education. We are derided for not caring for these young until they develop legs and can leave the water. But I care about my young and all of my people’s young. We can’t tell who anyone’s kids are after all. I do not want Slug ships on my world blotting out the sun and feeding on them. It’s happened before.
You eat a few towelettes, speak in a high squeaky voice, change gender, give yourself a silly name like Mukh, and they dismiss you as a comic relief alien. I know 34 languages. I also know when to play the fool.
The humans run the Fleet for all intents and purposes and they are frequently wrong headed but they can be tweaked and nudged to do the right thing, even by a fool. It’s not their fault. They are young and headstrong and they do more than their share of the dying for our collective. Just because they breed like mad doesn’t make their lives any less precious. They have risen above crises time and again and they just don’t admit defeat while they are breathing.
They are very similar to my species’ young. I hope they survive to grow their legs. Like I said I have a problem distinguishing young.
This will work or it will not. Some may call it vengeance, some may call it valor.