A little while back, SinderElf decided to play with the clickbait title generator and came up with a list of Fantasy article titles. I wrote “Why You Should Give Up Sex and Devote Your Life to The Elder Gods” and had far too much fun doing it, so when he did the same for Sci-Fi, I absolutely had to give it a go.
So, you’ve met an alien lifeform! Congratulations! You’re now humanities representative to an extraterrestrial life form, our ambassador to the stars!
Which means if you screw it up, you could precipitate an intergalactic war. So, no pressure.
Here are some simple rules to follow when befriending an alien so you don’t accidentally cause an intergalactic war that would inevitably result in the extinction of humanity.
Don’t Grab Appendages.
In some parts of the world, greetings are accomplished by shaking hands. Do not do this. It’s reasonable to believe that any alien visitors would have biology that would be, well, alien to us. That means you do not know what the presented appendage is used for. Is that actually a hand? A sensory organ? A symbiotic organism? Genitals? You don’t know. While reaching out and randomly stroking an alien’s junk could make them more favorably disposed towards humanity, it would give them the impression we’re all massive, massive perverts.
I mean, they’d be right, but we don’t want to announce that on first contact. We should probably shoot for swapping science and technology before we swap bodily fluids. Also, we should probably learn to communicate so we can gain consent before molesting intergalactic visitors. Do not get is branded as a planet of gropey assholes again, Kevin.
Even if that appendage is not used for sex or pleasure, please don’t just reach out and grab it. We do not know the alien’s customs – you could be causing a horrible offense or signaling that you are signing a death pact for your entire species, or just being way too touchy-feely. You might be tempted to go with the second most well-known greeting and bow, but that could easily signal that you want to submit to be the alien’s slave. Do not establish us as a planet wanting to be enslaved.
Instead, go with a universally acknowledged greeting and stick your finger up your nose while maintaining five minutes of unbroken eye contact without moving. That will signal your peaceful intentions and put the alien at ease.
Do not speak loudly and slowly.
In a phenomenon known to scientists as the American Tourist Effect, humans find a language they don’t know to be more easily understood if you repeat it while yelling and overexaggerating every word. Ignore anyone who tells you this is rude; they are just jealous of your superior communication skills. Shouting English words is sure to enable better comprehension.
At least, among humans.
Aliens operate on a different wavelength. They don’t speak Shouty English, unlike the entire human race. They speak Klingon. All of them. It’s the lingua franca of intergalactic communication, and Gene Roddenberry attempted to teach it to us. Unfortunately, his attempt to teach us how to communicate with aliens got buried under a science fiction show, and thus has been lost to humanity. Well, except for the portion of humanity willing to wear space onesies, but real talk: if a Trekkie is responsible for first contact, we’re probably screwed anyway.
Assuming you don’t have a handy Klingon to English dictionary, communicate with aliens through wild gestures. Ignore the fact that their completely different physiology would make that no more sensible to them than your attempts to shout English – they’re sure to understand, and not interpret your dramatic flailing as a hostile act by an aggressive lunatic.
File “making aliens think we are aggressive lunatics” under “letting aliens know we’re a race of perverts” under things we don’t want them to find out right away.
Do not lick the aliens
Look, I get the temptation. I do. You discover something new, and your first instinct is to lick it. It’s very human of you – after all, when babies are new and discovering things for themselves for the first time and the whole world is alien to them, they lick everything they can.
So, when encountering an alien race, your first instinct is going to be to stick out your tongue, walk up to it, and slobber all over that sentient species’ face.
Fight that urge. Fight it with every ounce of your being.
For starters, you can’t be sure if the alien is carrying any kind of extraterrestrial disease. Bacteria – or rather, single-celled organisms that multiply by splitting in two – are probably pretty universal for carbon-based life forms, and odds are good that even with incompatible biochemistry there’s something in your body they can use for food to multiply. If they can, you absolutely do not want their waste products building up in your system. Your immune system freaking out would be bad enough!
Second, and I know this may be shocking to you, but it is very unlikely aliens will take kindly to us sticking our tongues all over their face skin. In some quadrants of the galaxy, that is considered somewhat rude.
Aliens are weird, aren’t they?
And that’s it – that’s all you need to know. Follow these simple rules, and you’re certain to avoid starting a war of the worlds and are one step closer to some sweet, hot, alien action.
Just wait till the third or fourth encounter, okay?
Enjoy? Check out more of my writing by either getting a free book or picking up a copy of Weird Theology. No one licks an alien in either book. But there’s still sequels to come! And if you want more genre-focused clickbait from me, let me know in the comments below!