It’s funny how science fiction universes so often treat humans as a boring, default everyman species or even the weakest and dumbest.
I want to see a sci fi universe where we’re actually considered one of the more hideous and terrifying species.
How do we know our saliva and skin oils wouldn’t be ultra-corrosive to most other sapient races? What if we actually have the strongest vocal chords and can paralyze or kill the inhabitants of other worlds just by screaming at them? What if most sentient life in the universe turns out to be vegetable-like and lives in fear of us rare “animal” races who can move so quickly and chew shit up with our teeth?
Like that old story “they’re made of meat,” only we’re scarier.
HOLY SHIT THEY EAT CAPSAICIN FOR FUN
YOU GUYS I HEARD A HUMAN ONCE ATE AN AIRPLANE.
A HUMAN CAN KEEP FIGHTING FOR HOURS EVEN AFTER YOU SHOOT IT
humans are a proud warrior race with a pantheon of bloody gods: Ram-Bo, Schwarzenegger, etc.
REMOVING A LIMB WILL NOT FATALLY INCAPACITATE HUMANS: ALWAYS DESTROY THE HEAD.
WARNING: HUMANS CAN DETECT YOU EVEN AT NIGHT BY TRACKING VIBRATIONS THROUGH THE ATMOSPHERE
WARNING: HUMANS CAN REPRODUCE AT A RATE OF 1 PER SPACEYEAR. DESTROY INFESTATIONS IMMEDIATELY
THE HUMAN MOUTH HAS OVER THIRTY OUTCROPS OF BONE AND POWERFUL JAW MUSCLES.
HUMAN BITES CAN BE FATALLY INFECTIOUS EVEN TO OTHER HUMANS
WARNING: HUMANS CAN AND WILL USE IMPROVISED WEAPONS. SEE CLASSIFIED DATA LABELED J. CHAN.
HUMANS CAN PROJECT BIOWEAPONS FROM ALMOST EVERY ORIFICE ON THEIR BODY. DO NOT INHALE
OH GOD THE HUMANS FIGURED OUT DOOR HANDLES OH GOD OH GOD
More seriously, humans do have a number of advantages even among Terrestrial life. Our endurance, shock resistance, and ability to recover from injury is absurdly high compared to almost any other animal. We often use the phrase “healthy as a horse” to connote heartiness - but compared to a human, a horse is as fragile as spun glass. There’s mounting evidence that our primitive ancestors would hunt large prey simply by following it at a walking pace, without sleep or rest, until it died of exhaustion; it’s called pursuit predation. Basically, we’re the Terminator.
(The only other animal that can sort of keep up with us? Dogs. That’s why we use them for hunting. And even then, it’s only “sort of”.)
Now extrapolate that to a galaxy in which most sapient life did not evolve from hyper-specialised pursuit predators:
- Our strength and speed is nothing to write home about, but we don’t need to overpower or outrun you. We just need to outlast you - and by any other species’ standards, we just plain don’t get tired.
- Where a simple broken leg will cause most species to go into shock and die, we can recover from virtually any injury that’s not immediately fatal. Even traumatic dismemberment isn’t necessarily a career-ending injury for a human.
- We heal from injuries with extreme rapidity, recovering in weeks from wounds that would take others months or years to heal. The results aren’t pretty - humans have hyperactive scar tissue, among our other survival-oriented traits - but they’re highly functional.
- Speaking of scarring, look at our medical science. We developed surgery centuries before developing even the most rudimentary anesthetics or life support. In extermis, humans have been known to perform surgery on themselves - and survive. Thanks to our extreme heartiness, we regard as routine medical procedures what most other species would regard as inventive forms of murder. We even perform radical surgery on ourselves for purely cosmetic reasons.
In essence, we’d be Space Orcs.
Our jaws have too many TEETH in them, so we developed a way to WELD METAL TO OUR TEETH and FORCE THE BONES IN OUR JAW to restructure over the course of years to fit them back into shape, and then we continue to wear metal in out mouths to keep them in place.
We formed cohabitative relationships with tiny mammals and insects we keep at bay from bothering us by death, often using little analouge traps.
And by god, we will eat anything.
- We use borderline toxic peppers to season our food.
- We expose ourselves to potentially lethal solar radiation in the pursuit of darkening our skin.
- We risk hearing loss for the opportunity to see our favorite musicians live.
- We have a game where two people get into an enclosed area and hit each other until time runs out/one of them pass out
- We willingly jump out of planes with only a flimsy piece of cloth to prevent us from splattering against the ground.
- Our response to natural disasters is to just rebuild our buildings in the exact same places.
- We climb mountains and risk freezing to death for bragging rights
- We invented dogs. We took our one time predators and completely domesticated them.
- On a planet full of lions, tigers and bears, we managed to advance further and faster than any other species on the planet.
Klingons and Krogan and Orcs ain’t got shit on us
We drink ethanol (in concentrations high enough to be used as an effective as microbicide or a solvent!) for the express purpose of achieving blood toxicity and disrupting normal brain function… AS A RECREATIONAL ACTIVITY!
On the same subject, we also deliberately incinerate assorted substances and then inhale the particulate-heavy smoke and vapor resulting for the same effect. EVEN IN THE FACE OF SAID SUBSTANCES BEING CARCINOGENIC, BECAUSE WE JUST DON’T GIVE A FUCK.
Humans do not have biological castes. Kill their commander and another will take its place. Soldiers left alone on a planet will start farming and manufacturing to survive. Farmers and manufacturers will take up arms and kill you if pressed. Just because two humans look different doesn’t mean they cannot do each other’s jobs.
Breeding does not kill them. A single human can mate dozens or hundreds of times in a lifetime. They often do so as recreation. Xenobiology team six believes they do not have a mating season but this is too strange to be true.
Their appendages are not designed for hitting, so they developed special training to make them very good at hitting anyhow.
The proteins making up their bodies are toxic and cause prion disease. Do not touch anything humans have touched. Do not consume earth foods. Fire does not adequately remove this contamination.
Humans perceive sixteen times the colors we do. Do not hide in bushes or vines from humans. They can distinguish your pelt from the foliage with ease.
We tried venting waste gas into the tunnels to kill the humans when they attacked. Turns out they breathe it.
Everything on their planet came from a single biological strain. They developed comprehensive genetics BEFORE they developed space travel.
They lack radio receptors and cannot be brought into compliance with right-thought simply by broadcasting to them. Even after we learned how to translate it into sound-waves one of their hatchlings drove the Great Authority mad by responding to every demand with a single question: “Why?”
#an individual human being is actually a microbiome in its own right—you are dealing with a legion each time you approach them #they carry pathological agents inside their deep tissues and this is advantageous to their health #one of the most widespread and resilient viruses on their planet is treated as mildly hazardous—even though it causes #massive disruption to the body’s homeostasis #(their young offspring endure multiple rhinovirus infections EACH YEAR yet they seem unperturbed by this) #they have developed such long lifespans that now their primary threat is their own body’s degeneration #humanity has literally figured out how to survive so long that their body gives out under them #and they are not satisfied with that #stupid willful vengeful survivalists who treat mortality like a challenge
I am speechless
Hey, internutter… I think I now finally understand why in your fiction, Humans are classified as a Deathworld species compared to races from other planets…
…we’ve earned the right.
Actually, this post (and variations of it) that cemented humans as highly dangerous fucks way, way back in an Instant called _We’re mostly harmless, I swear!_ sometime late in 2013. That, and a prompt about not knowing you evolved on a Death World until some other creatures point this out, kind’a made my literary history.
I always had it that humans were considered insane [eg: front page news in my neck of the woods today: a horse trainer died] the whole Deathworlder thing just added texture.