While I love Humans as Space Orcs, can we get some exploration of this theory, that humanity's 'hat' in the galaxy full of Planet of Hats that is Star Trek is that we're Doc Brown? Please note the reason Scotty's Chief Engineer of the Enterprise, as well as the Vulcan Science Academy's interactions. (Also this might explain why the multispecies Federation ships in TOS-era seem to be crewed in an almost entirely monospecies manner, what with that all-Vulcan ship in one episode, and Spock and very few others on the mostly-human Enterprise). -- RecklessPrudence
Word association in the Federation tells a lot about expectations. 'Klingon' leads to 'warrior'. 'Cardassian' to 'soldier'. 'Vulcan' to 'scientist'.
Speak the word 'human' and most Federation members will say, 'insanity'. Except the humans of course, who will reply 'being'.
Some have been sent into Federation vessels to determine what their secret is. The earliest known investigator was Lieutenant-Commander Spock, deemed a doubtful source by many because humanity rubbed off on him.
Cardassians and Bajorans alike attempted to study Chief Miles O'Brien as he worked on Deep Space Nine. Results were inconclusive.
But it was when human engineers found themselves on other Federation vessels, that their deadly genius shone through. There, with entire crews watching them, the humans came up with nearly suicidal genius. And it was always when faced with what seemed to be an insurmountable problem.
And it was on one such ship that the human introduced her Vulcan crewmates to a peculiarly human philosophy.
"The fart of the ferret," she said, as if that explained her sudden fit of inspiration. "There was a particular breed of ferret, back on earth. It developed a defense against constricting snakes? And just as it was about to pass out from being strangled, it'd let loose this vile-smelling muck that would make the snake let go and save the critter's life. It's inspired desperation, see? Do or die?"
"Lieutenant," said the Captain. "There was a high likelihood that your actions would have resulted in 'do and die."
The human gave one of their trademark half-shrugs. "Better half a chance than none at all, right?"
It was entirely illogical, of course, but the horrifying thing about it was that it always worked.