What if, to some aliens, the human race were their version of actual Orcs. As in; Mythical evil monsters that are virtually indestructible, can travel any terran, near impossible to kill and, when in a large group, destroy/devour everything in their wake?
"I won't talk even if you torture me."
"Then talk or we'll execute the hostage."
"If I don't talk you'll execute unarmed civilian, including woman and children ?"
"That's the first time you're dealing with Humans, right ?"
"New Eden Space Station Security Service, I'm listening."
"HELP ! WE NEED HELP !"
"Please keep calm. What is happening, Sir ?"
"We tried to rob Habitat 39 and there is a angry human inside ! We locked ourselves inside a locker, and the human is waiting for us outside !"
People need to stop mixing "knowledge" and "intelligence". It's true that a magician can, will and have read and learn more books than the average person, and a barbarian might not know all the rule to live with more civilised person, but it's only knowledge.
Intelligence is knowing that even with all your knowledge, you might not be the more suited person for the task at hand. For example, dealing with a tribal spirit without getting the party slaughtered. Here, the barbarian who know this spirit have more chance to success than the magician who only saw it in books.
"I've known nothing but struggle and heartbreak... and yet I fought to survive, certain it would all be worth it in the end and my prayers would be rewarded... And now I learn THIS? I discover that, from your point of view, my entire life, from the moment I was born until the day I die... well, died... that every day of it is... er, was... just a bit of idle entertainment?!"
"Well... though that's a terribly dark way to put it... you're not wrong."