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Contact Failed (Short Sci-Fi story)

Thanks for reading, guys. Feel free to critique, as I know it’s probably shit. Critique helps me become less shit!

[Diary excerpt forwarded via transmission to Khozkezhe homeworld: dated 13.13.64.2: recovered from derelict Khozkezhe transport vessel Kjun mainframe date 27.14.69.2: damaged, mostly corrupted: translation completed to the best of our ability: untranslatable items noted with brackets: some grammar and sentence structure edited to read more like English, but more editing required: to be forwarded to the Andromedean National Archives: courtesy of salvage ship E. S. C. Budapest]

Humans.
Don’t get me fucking started on Humans. Trust me, it’s nothing like we expected. I remember our long talks in our youth, sitting in the (Vershily Nov), staring up at the stars. (Ish Kael) [Name, perhaps?] , I often think back to those times and curse our naivety. We expected them to be so like us, aliens. But they were not.
I was there, in the labour fleet, when we first came across an unknown vessel. We were so scared, yet so excited. First contact! After all these (vsheni) [years?]. We tried to indicate our welcoming nature by unleashing the green fire of peace. That was a mistake. Their culture viewed such an act as a show of aggression. To think! I still don’t understand how these beings could misunderstand something as simple as the colour of peace and life. Everyone knows that the colour green, the colour shared by (zhaznoz) and (zhexhi) [unknown, our lead linguist guesses it could mean flora and fauna] is a symbol of nothing other than love. Apparently these savages are unaware of the concept.
(Hazhaz) [Anyway?], they immediately raised their shields. This act of distrust offended us greatly, and to indicate this, we did the same, paired with the purple hue of warning. We did not raise our warning to red because our (Harek) [Captain or Admiral] hoped for peace. We believed this to calm them down, however the Humans made no attempt to contact us through (zhadhrahez) [we believe this to be their form of communication, a signal transmitted through a device we are yet to understand – it involves more colour than sound]. After many tense hours of silence, we began to wonder if they communicated in a different way. Our scientists aboard the (Zhan Zhun Hkal) [A ship title] had considered this, and made the risky move of lowering their shields in welcome, but the others, including the (Kjun) remained at purple alert. It appeared to work, as the Humans sent out a small vessel, which docked with the (Zhan Zhun Hkal) several hours later.
What boarded that vessel shocked us all. We witnessed the event through the (haradrahl) [I believe this is a visual network similar to our HV’s]. The creatures which stepped onto our ships wore armour of dazzling white, the colour of hatred. We were blinded by the hate. Many of us turned and ran, refusing to watch the rest of the broadcast. Small children hid behind their (xhan)’s (heffn) [I am unsure of what this means – it was proposed that xhan meant “mother”, or an equivalent, while heffn meant “legs”]. While we cowered, they appeared to be unfazed by the devastation they had wrought. They refused to change colour and instead began roaring at us in a strange tongue. It was so loud. As we later discovered, that was how they spoke. That horrific noise was their language. After a long time, we managed to communicate the problem with the Humans and they did their best to lower their volume, though even at a whisper, their tongue was harsh and guttural. There was no love in their language. I admit, I was terrified. But I continued to watch from my cabin, eager to discover if they were friend or foe.
It was difficult to make our feelings known while they wore the armour of hate, clouding their true form and therefore hiding their emotions. We demanded they remove their armour, yet they refused time and time again. Much later, after translations had finally arrived, we discovered that they feared that our air mixture, which had a much higher level of (fx) [Carbon Dioxide] than they were used to, may affect them. They also had fears about disease. The common people and negotiators were sceptical of this – what kind of strange creature does not breathe (fx)? We suspected it was a ruse in order to retain the upper hand, to keep their motives shielded by their hate-armour. Our scientists argued that it was plausible, though unlikely. The humans, resigned to the lack of communication, retired to their ship to analyse data and translate our language – or so they claimed in our translations. We believe they may have been plotting something more sinister, as they had refused to show us their emotions and motives. It was not until our next meeting several days later that we understood why, though the revelation was just as shocking as if they had attacked us.

While most of the fleet retreated to safe (ghan) [space, or territory], the (Kjun) remained as it was one of the few vessels in our flotilla which had weapons, and while we felt the need to continue first contact meetings, we felt that they could not be trusted. We eagerly awaited reinforcements from the (Ggaghn) [navy or military, literally “space/territory defence”]. However, they were several days away. Upon the return of their Humans, this time on board the (Kjun), was a surprise. We discovered it was because these strange creatures breathed (Gx) [oxygen]! How disgusting! They breathe our waste gases in obscene quantities, so much so that in order for them to remove their hate armour, we needed to strip of our (gthenx) [a transparent clothing worn by all Khozkezhe] and gather in the dozens to provide enough for four of them to survive in our vessel. The whole ship reeked of it. It was a thoroughly unpleasant experience, though it excited the Humans as apparently they have had problems with pollution on their planets in the past. They argued that the presence of our people on their colonies in large numbers would provide a “natural” solution to this problem – though I find it hard to believe that any of our people would willingly choose to spend any time on a world overrun with (Gx).

They removed the suits, to reveal a further insult. They wore yet more colours underneath, hiding their hue and emotions more. It took some persuading to finally strip them to a respectable level of nudity, though they refused to remove their final garments which hid their sexual organs – one group of their species, which they identified as “females” had secondary organs which they kept hidden, on their upper abdomen – we believe these females to be the equivalent of our (xha). They tried to explain their purpose to us, but we could not grasp the concept. I was allowed access at this point, and I admit it was because of our talks, (Ish Kael), that I agreed. I viewed these things up close – and they were not pretty. They were huge, at least twice as tall as the tallest (khozkehze) I have ever seen. Additionally, they often had a strange growth on their bodies, which they called “hair” – it was disgusting. Their mandibles and (fhnen) [Arms? Legs? Appendages?] numbered few and apparently they did not require trimming, nor were they able to regrow if damaged. We figured this for weakness at first, a possible advantage, until we realised how durable the Human body was. Apparently these creatures can survive a number of environments, as well as much more force than any of us. One human demonstrated by literally (gtek) [according to our records, negotiator Ryan Paulson punched negotiator Yumi Takeshi on the arm playfully, this appears to be the event they are describing] the other, with a force that would kill most of us. The receiving human let out a (Gzx-gron) [we now believe the literal translation to be “water-curdling”, in our case, “blood-curdling”] noise that it called “laughing” – a show of mirth! Some of us were so terrified, they left the room and replacements had to be sent. Soon, only the hardiest remained. I was among them.

By far, the most offensive thing about these humans was their skin. It remained a consistent colour throughout the entire negotiation. One colour, with the occasional deepening in red among the paler ones - their skin was so white, the colour of hate seeped from their very skin! Two of the Humans had darker skin; one was a brown colour, and this one appeared to be the most docile. I liked him the most, though he still scared me. The final one was almost as dark as space, which scared us because we had never witnessed something of that hue and we had not placed a meaning for it other than “outer space”. It was strange meeting something of a colour which we had not prescribed an emotion or motive for. It certainly shook our understanding. The fact that their colour remained constant revealed to us two possibilities, each as terrifying as the other. In one case, they were able to hide their true motives and feelings from us, which meant they could lie to us! Such a thing would be disastrous and we could never trust a being of such deceptive quality. On the other hand, as their people claim, they simply cannot change colour and are therefore only able to communicate through audio and body language, with heavy emphasis on the audio. This made no sense to me, and to be honest, it seems more likely that they fall into the first case and are simply lying to us.
Lying! These creatures are capable of the ultimate evil. Upon this discovery, our negotiations came to a close for the day. We needed to contemplate any further meetings with a creature of such a nature. Many of us did not (yahn) [we believe this to be their equivalent of sleep] well that (Tihr) [A designator of time, probably similar to our concept of “night”, though there is no “night” in space, so perhaps it simply means a specific time required for recuperation].

The next meeting revealed further horrors. One of the humans, one we had not seen before, who claimed to be their “captain”, began an activity called “eating” in our presence. Most of us evacuated immediately in terror – it was consuming another being! By opening its face orifice, and closing it rapidly, using foul clubs known as “teeth”, the human devoured another being that was apparently alive at some point. We could not reconcile at this point, despite their best efforts to lie to us about requiring this action in order to survive. They do not (dengohnfx) [at first we believed this to mean “consume the air”, however we believe it is closer to our understanding of the term “photosynthesize”, lending credit to Dr. Odenbe’s theory that these people are in fact highly evolved plant life] like we do, but rather consume other living beings for energy.

In a few short days, we discovered that there are monsters in the universe. Monsters that can hide their feelings from us, even outright lie to us. Monsters that consume those that was once alive for nourishment. Monsters that scream and growl at us at obscene volumes. (Ish Kael), don’t speak to me of humans any longer. As soon as the (Ggaghn) arrived, we immediately fled the system. They did not attempt to pursue us thankfully. That area of space has now been declared a red danger zone. We cannot risk going there again. We cannot risk them discovering our (ghan). If they do, it will be the end of us.

[This has shed some light on the failed Khozkezhe first contact negotiations 23 years ago. We have not seen, nor heard from these people since. It is likely that they can detect us from some distance away and flee in our wake. A pity. It appears they completely misunderstand us. I wonder what we could have learned from them. Forward this message on to Dr Odenbe, as I believe he will find it incredibly interesting. I believe it will give his latest textbook on the matter an edge over his competitors. Just make sure he credits me! Thank you and I hope you are well. Regards, Captain Natasha Ariel.]

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