Oct 28, 2021 10:52 AM
au yeerks meet stork
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There's a lot to worry about, of course - the andalites could declare war any day and are probably up to something already - but this mission is for science and diplomacy. Ideally. As long as that seems like a safe set of priorities.

They find an inhabited planet. The oceans are made of water; the animals are carbon-based and use DNA and keep their brains in single locations. At least one species is definitely intelligent and probably infestable. The atmosphere is probably safe for gedds. There are no radio transmissions to intercept.

Which is odd, because there are robots. Those are almost definitely robots and not just weird-looking animals.

There's no sign that these people are spacefaring and maybe that doesn't have to precede z-space-based communications, or maybe they control the robots exclusively by getting up close and pressing buttons, but whatever is going on with their technology is definitely new and unexpected. They puzzle over that one while they confirm the risk of xenonotic infection is acceptably low.

Then they find a nice out-of-the-way place where they can land a shuttle, cloaked, and wait for one of those bipeds to come nearby.

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Here's a biped! The biped is collecting kindling.

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And here is a gedd and a yeerk, armed and obviously carrying tools and pouches of alien make. They're trying not to be visibly threatening. They wait till there's a tree between the cloaked shuttle and the biped and get out then, when it's slightly less obvious that they were invisible.

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The biped is very startled! They drop all their kindling and back up a bit without trying to pick it up.

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That is not far enough to even begin to be concerning. The yeerk and gedd back up two steps.

They're totally willing to take this person by force. But that's plan B.

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The human is kind of frozen, staring at them, looking at all the anatomical differences between the gedd and all the other organisms he has ever seen.

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That's very understandable of that human. It does slightly lower their estimate of the human's intelligence but they're not making high-confidence predictions about that yet anyway.

They start moving, very slowly, to take something off their belt. Not the watertight metal canister. Not yet. Just a handheld computer that they can use to show the human videos.

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The human watches this warily. Glances over their shoulder, maybe assessing escape routes.

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Well, it will suck if the human tries to run.

But here is a video, which they can see if they stay put. It shows an alien planet, but recognizably a planet with water oceans and white clouds and a couple of continents, and zooms out to show the solar system, and keeps zooming, smoothly, until the entire galaxy is in view. Then it zooms back in on a different spot, shows a slightly lower-quality render of a new solar system, and zooms in on this exact planet as seen from orbit a couple days ago.

The screen is one of the newer ones; it's made for nahara and gedd eyes, and happens mostly by chance to work fine for humans.

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The human is fairly transfixed but does not obviously recognize their own planet from space.

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That's fine. They have another one. This one is animated - more obviously animated, that is - and shows a couple of groups of stylized  nahara trading stylized fish with each other and mingling, and a couple of groups of gedds trading things too stylized and alien to parse with each other. The gedds and nahara in the video keep moving awkwardly toward each other and backing away, until they put - objects - to each other's heads and then they seem to be able to communicate better, or at least they're depicted trading with each other.

The objects in question are shown in more detail than most things in the video. They look like the watertight metal canister on the belt this gedd is wearing.

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Whether the visitors can interpret human facial expressions or not, the human looks real puzzled, but isn't running for the hills yet.

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And they touch the metal canister and wait to see if the human seems at all supportive of the implied plan. If not they can show more videos, but maybe they'll have gotten somewhere already?

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The human looks at the canister. He looks at his kindling. He looks over his shoulder. He looks at the canister again.

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Well, that suggests the human understood the video. It's not yet clear if the human is going to be cooperative, though, and that looks like it might be the behavior of someone in the middle of making a decision. They wait a little longer to see how that resolves.

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The human makes some sort of human gesture with his human hand and then turns to go.

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Hm. Hard to tell if that's screw-you-I'm-done or wait-here-I'll-bring-the-government. Hard to be sure whether they want the latter, and whether they can avoid it if they don't. This would be a much easier call if they could have just eavesdropped on some local radio.

They try following slowly for a few steps just to see what kind of reaction that gets.

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The human looks back when he hears footsteps, and makes the gesture again.

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They stop. They'll wait here, at least for a while; that person was at least sort of communicative and maybe trying to cooperate and they're only risking two people and a gedd if the thing that happens next is an ambush. Probably. The shuttle is still hidden nearby.

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The human comes back 20 minutes later with another human. They are talking to each other in human a language that is probably not called "human".

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That's... possibly the government, probably not an ambush, and almost definitely resolvable in a way that gets them at least the local language without making the galactic community angry. ...Angrier.

They greet the humans in Galard. Gedds are terrible at pronouncing it, but these people's civilization shows no evidence of spaceflight so it's probably just as comprehensible to them.

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The new human makes an attempt to pronounce it back!

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Looks like they at least want to seem cooperative.

Perhaps the new human would like to see the videos from before.

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The new human is delighted by the videos and approaches closer for a better look!

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Their enthusiasm is convenient for winning them over and their lack of wariness might be convenient for kidnapping them if that comes up which it might not.

Same strategy as before: show the videos, touch the container, hope for something they can later spin to the galaxy at large as having at least looked like consent...

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The human approaches for a closer look at the container.

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