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Ataraxidermist t1_j8sqkhu wrote

"Friendship is magic. The saying came from a... peculiar show, I must admit, but the words do embody our ethos well."

Ener, human envoy and diplomat, spoke to beings who were all around him. Floating mist, it is how Ener's mind made them appear to him. Other humans felt them like a gust of wind, or an ethereal set of interconnected neurons.

It's one of the reasons they laughed at us. We still fought with bullets and mean words on the internet, while they had discarded their flesh. Mind had overcome matter, thoughts shaped reality while we suffered it. They had no need for the internet, as their thoughts could be transmitted far and wide with a larger emotional depth than mere words could.

Had they invaded Earth, there's not a thing humans could have done to resist a nearly instantaneous extinction event.

"Obviously," Ener added, "my words may sound both crude and treacherous, considering the hungry payload our ships have in store in your orbit."

Ener was surrounded by an angry, murderous mist. The mist happened to be surrounded by ships containing horrors the mist knew to be far, far worse than the construct of flesh and bone before them.

"But let me assure you, our intentions are nothing but pacific."

Of course they were. Never had Ener been more honest than in this very moment.

When humanity was ignored, they still studied the few mysterious interactions they had with these beings. They learned what little they could. When another, lesser species felt an odd sense of kinship as they felt just as weak, Ener extended a hand to strengthen them both in a hostile universe. They shook appendage, and a friendship was born.

"Understand this," Ener's tongue passed over his lips, "friendship is what makes us strong."

Humanity communicated with their new friend, opened ambassies, invited them over, welcomed them with open arms, buried some of theirs on Earth. Then, they dug the bodies up and studied them. Each word, each gesture, it's effect in space, analysed and dissected. The best parts of society, copied and reused at home.

"Friendship is so much more efficient than warfare."

When the lesser species asked for some clear boundaries, humanity feigned shock and sadness. When they pushed for boundaries harder, humanity revealed it's true colors.

As driven befrienders.

What good day it had been, when Ener knocked at their door and told them that friendship was non-negociable. But as he was a strong believer in free will, he gave them a choice: be friends, or face total obliteration.

Today, nobody spoke of the lesser species. They were part of humanity, integrated, their history absorbed and digested.

"Hence why I insist how important it is for me that you understand my point."

That on the other hand, was utter bullshit. Ener only wanted them to comply, them understanding was irrelevant to his grand design.

In time and in discretion, humanity found a way to touch these beings, make them feel and see death the ways humans did.

"Friendship made us."

Indeed. Friendship had made them absorb the old, forgotten species. Friendship had made them copy their societal strong points, friendship had made them develop creatures made of violence, kill them, and contain their death cries in a frozen capsule, ready to be opened on case friendship was refused today.

Friendship had made humans erase their boundaries, kill dissent, forced Earth to smile forever like Ener did right now. Friendship had made good mood mandatory.

"Friendship is why we reached the stars instead of burning down on our planet."

Of course, older generations would say this is anything but friendship. But the generation nearly killed humanity with global warming and had been erased in turn, as such they couldn't be right because they weren't there to be right and nobody remembered them.

"I ask again. Will we be friends?"

A promise of an end, the fog knew. Worse than the unreal beasts in the capsules, there was the beast of humanity, always hungry, always smiling, a smile lined with sharp teeth, the bits of previous pray still clinging to it. The beast didn't linge at you. It awaited with open mouth for you to step inside to be devoured.

But if the fog didn't, humanity would make sure to do much, much worse than a single extinction event.

Slowly, the fog coalesced into a hand.

Ener shook it, ecstatic.

"You will see. Friendship is magic."