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sadnesslaughs t1_jbxpw4y wrote

“You expect me to believe that your tummy tum is carrying enough acid to burn through metal? You must have a stomach of iron, little human.” Gral laughed, nudging her coworker who didn’t seem as amused. In fact, her coworker’s four eyed face was whimpering, the machine confirming the human’s horrifying internal acids. “Heh, Hulax, what’s wrong? Don’t tell me you believe that little story.”

Doug sighed, the morning coffee not having kicked in yet. Even with a boost of Oxi-8 in his coffee, he just couldn’t shake that warp jump lag. He was glad this was one of the eight regions where Oxi-8 was legal or else he might have more issues than just having to explain what a stomach was.

“Have you not met a human? Wait, you know what a human is right? You used the phrase, tummy tum. That sounds humanish.”

Gral snickered, looking away from the monitor that was flashing red, showing a security alert for an illegal substance, one that could be deadly if it got near the electronics of the warp gate. She stared Doug up and down, finding her first human rather interesting. Sure, she had seen a few photos and even watched a five-minute documentary on his kind in her training course, but seeing one up close was a little odd. While she was on the clock, she couldn’t help but ask some burning human related questions.

“Where’s all that hair you lot have? Are you a sick human?”

“Hair? I have hair?” Dough tapped his head and chest, as though he was playing a strange impromptu game of head, shoulders, knees and chest hair.

“Yeah, but like the rest of it. Also, don’t you have big ears and swing from trees?”

“Are you confusing me with a chimpanzee?”

“What’s that?”

Dough wondered if the money from this delivery was even worth it at this point. Maybe he should just accept defeat and find a station that’s run by a more sophisticated set of aliens. He looked to Hulax for some sort of common sense, but he was fixated on the monitor, taking only the odd glance at Doug’s stomach before looking back at the machine.

“I think you might have gotten your information about humans a little mixed up. It’s a common mistake, happens way too often. So, how about I just try to explain a stomach to you?”

“Ok, fine. If you swing from the ceiling.” Gral said, still not noticing the difference between the documentary about chimps she had accidentally seen and the human standing before her.

“Again, not a chimp. Ok, so, humans have stomach acid to dissolve food. It’s kind of like our way of being able to digest food. Surely you have something similar?”

“We only drink meals. Food clogs up our bodies.” Hulax said, shivering as he backed away from the monitor, standing behind Gral. Worried the human’s stomach might burst and spray acid everywhere.

“Shit, this might be hard to explain, then. Um, so, you know how eating works then, correct?”

“I do…”

“Ok, so, we eat stuff, and the acid dissolves it and bang, it vanishes.”

“Where’s it go?”

“Where do you think?”

“Oh, I know. They fling it at each other. There was this human in a cage-” Gral tried to explain her facts to Hulax, only for Doug to interject.


“Let’s say I believe you. How are you not melting? That can burn through metal. How are you alive?” Hulax asked. It was a good question and unfortunately one Doug was nowhere near qualified to answer. It’s not like highly educated individuals did dangerous drop offs to planets with low council ratings.

“Something to do with stomach lining. I don’t know, I didn’t build humans. If I did, I would have gotten rid of hangovers.”

“Jump up and down. I want to see if you go boom!” Gral clapped, her three hands joining in a loud clenched smack.

“What, like a soft drink? Ugh, fine, wish I had breakfast first.” He hopped on the spot, being reminded of his lack of fitness as he huffed, struggling to complete the little inspection routine. The coffee wasn’t helping, shifting like a dark wave in his body, threatening to make him sick.

“Heh, the tummy tum didn’t go boom. Maybe he’s telling the truth.” Gral conceded. She didn’t appear that interested in whether it was illegal for him to enter, just satisfied that something fun had happened today.

“I don’t know. It’s an illegal substance. Won’t we get in trouble for letting him in? What if he spits acid? Or dissolves? I don’t want to clean that up.”

“He has tummy lining or whatever he said. I can shake him if that would help?” Gral offered, the eight-foot alien grinning at the prospect, only for Hulax to shake his head.

“No, I doubt that would solve anything. How about you show us your stomach and we can let you through?”


Hulax lifted the bottom of his shirt, showing off a squared abdomen. It was odd. Doug could see a faint lining along the edges of his abdomen, like the linings you might see on a closed fridge door, indicating it could open. His nails twisted into the side of his abdomen before he opened it.

“Just like that.”

That morning, coffee was feeling far less stable after that. Doug having to use all his professionalism to avoid making this situation worse. He tilted his gaze away, focusing on a security camera in the room’s corner.

“Humans can’t do that. Our bodies are meant to stay shut. Please, can you close it?”

Hulax did as Doug asked, closing it before tucking his shirt back into his pants. He thought over what Doug had said, before speaking.

“So, your body is technically sealed? Ok, I think I understand. You will have to fill in form 904A Section D. That form is a declaration of secured materials. It lets everyone on the station know you’re carrying dangerous substances in a sealed container. Just don’t unseal your stomach.”

“I’ll be dead if I do that, but sure. Whatever ends this nightmare.” For a person who thought he had seen it all, this was a fresh experience. That was the miracle of space travel. No matter how much one had seen, there was always a stranger thing waiting in the corner of the galaxy.

Hulax got the paperwork, returning with the document. He put on a glove before handing it over, still not trusting the human. Doug took the form and filled it in, scribbling in his messiest handwriting. With the form done, he handed it over to Gral.

“Here. Now can I please go in?”

“Sure. See you around, Tummy man.” Gral said, smacking him across the back. The smack caused Doug to stumble, nearly hitting the floor. He regained his balance and looked up to see a shaking Hulax. Hulax acting as if Gral had just cut the red wire on a ticking time bomb.

“I hope I don’t see you around.” Doug grumbled, cracking his back before he walked into the station, hoping the delivery went a little smoother than his previous interaction.


(If you enjoyed this feel free to check out my subreddit /r/Sadnesslaughs where I'll be posting more of my writing.)


hurriqueen t1_jbxyv3g wrote

Oh man, I was so worried he was going to throw up when they shook him, and validate their fears that he could "spit acid" lol

Fantastic story!


stevedorries t1_jc1mwnj wrote

Same, and Oxi-8 sounds like it would make the coffee fizzy


treesleavedents t1_jbxs2ma wrote

I think a follow-up where he "unseals" his container by farting could be amazing...


razzec_phone t1_jby6tfb wrote

See I was thinking the same thing but with vomiting instead of just farting. Like it causes a huge issue because it became unsealed and leaked acid everywhere. He then has to show them how to clean it up.


treesleavedents t1_jbynht6 wrote

Cue human household cleaners being seen as bioweapons lol


TeddyR3X t1_jbyxkg0 wrote

I mean yeah, human household cleaners can be combined to make mustard chlorine gas


Fallacy_Spotted t1_jbzpl1h wrote

Bleach and ammonia make chlorine gas. Mustard gas is different but the point still stands. Chlorine gas is nasty too.


TeddyR3X t1_jbzr2we wrote

Shit you're right 🤦‍♂️ whoops.


finallyinfinite t1_jc0kwhq wrote

Oh, that’s a scrub daddy, real nice, now she’s just pouring in some- B̶͙̈́Į̴̥̄̋T̶͖͠C̷͖̏͛Ḩ̷͇̮̎,̷̰̀͌͠ ̵̲̎͗Ȳ̷̹̈́O̴͍͔̗͊Ụ̴̰̹̈̎̾ ̶̲͓͋͗̕M̵͉̋̆͝ͅA̶̰̞̔̿D̷̢̩̦͒̌͠E̶̡͛̃͠ ̴͖̤͆̐M̷̻̰̤̿͂U̵̞̟̞̽̉̈́S̶͙͐T̶̠̣̄A̴̪͆R̸̰͉̠͗D̸̮͉͔͛ ̵̘̾̄̒Ģ̶͍̘̾A̵̛͕̐́S̶̢̙̓̇S̸̢̨̺̾S̶͍̣̟͠S̷̺͐


merc08 t1_jc00bwr wrote

Can they do mustard gas too? I knew about chlorine.


Winjin t1_jc0wn2s wrote

As the Backyard Scientist proved, the household items are enough to build homemade rocket fuel

And sadly as Beirut demonstrated, regular fertilizer is enough to make explosives


TeddyR3X t1_jc0f5w3 wrote

That I don't know, I had gotten them mixed up when I made my comment originally


Orimeia t1_jc339gf wrote

> Just don’t unseal your stomach.

Omg, that's just horrifying and incredible way. Reminds me of that one short prompt I read once about aliens classifying oxygen as a very illegal drug and seeing the human race as junkies that are high all the time.


pekka27711 t1_jcg1ncw wrote

Do you have a link to that prompt? I would love to read that


Orimeia t1_jcgh6rj wrote

Sadly I don't. i should really start to bookmark those though.


LeEpiclyUnepic t1_jc16lve wrote

I was slightly disappointed that they didn't comment on him cracking his back, but this story was great


-Reader91- t1_jc1zdja wrote

Is your doug a reference to doug eiffel from wolf 359? If so, nice reference


versenwald3 t1_jbxs3du wrote

Burt Divento sighed. Peering over at the Border Control agents, he wondered how much longer this was going to take. This was supposed to have been one of the most important diplomatic missions of his life, and he was going to be late.

"Look," he said, tapping his watch impatiently. "It's 13:43 Universal Time, and I'm supposed to meet with Scrog Boghimmer in less than twenty minutes. Shouldn't I have diplomatic immunity from all this?"

"I'm sorry, sir," one of the Dudraali replied, though Burt privately thought that she didn't sound sorry at all, not one whit. "It's routine protocol. We need to make sure you aren't bringing dangerous substances into Serenity 2.0. Normally, this wouldn't take more than five minutes, but something showed up on the body-scan."

Burt patted his pockets absentmindedly. Had he forgotten to take his keys out? Or perhaps, it was one of the screws that had been installed during his latest knee replacement? Damn security measures.

"All right," the Dudraali walked back around the scanner to where Burt was standing. Burt sensed a slight shift in her tone. Before, she'd sounded bored. Now, she sounded much more alert, and there was an edge of wariness in her tone. That couldn't be good.

"What's in your midriff area?"

"What do you mean, my midriff area?" Burt patted his gut. "The beginnings of a beer belly, I guess?" He laughed weakly at his own joke. "I'm not sure what you mean. I can take off my jacket and shirt, if you'd like, but I'm sure nobody would want to see that."

The Dudraali did not laugh. "Please do."




versenwald3 t1_jbxt43l wrote

Wriggling out of his suit, Burt's ears burned with embarrassment. There he stood, bare-chested in the middle of the Border Control central.

"Kay!" Another Dudraali ran over. "We apprehended another one of the human 'diplomats'. They've got a large pouch of highly corrosive substance, and they say that it can't be removed. I suggest we close our borders to the Human population for the time being. I do not know if their whole planet is in on it, but it appears that we have foiled an assassination plot."

Burt sighed again, the fifth time in as many minutes. His diaphragm was really getting quite the workout. The two Dudraali must be talking about Reynolds.

Unfortunately, as part of the security measures, all cell service was disabled in the Cadus X9O Border Control facility. Burt and Reynolds had split up into different lines, so that if one of them finished early, they could nip off to Scrog and let him know that they were going to be late.

The first Dudraali straightened, its single eye trained on Burt. It was hard to stare down a Dudraali, Burt reflected. You had to go cross-eyed a little bit for it to work.

"So? What do you have to say for yourself?"

Although this was his first diplomatic mission that had taken place outside of planet Earth, Burt had been selected for this mission for a reason. He considered his next few words very carefully.


versenwald3 t1_jbxwpmf wrote

"I believe we have gotten off on the wrong foot. Hello, my name is Burt. I'm the first human you've ever met, correct?" He refrained from sticking his hand out and instead opted for the customary Dudraali greeting of snorting three times.

The Dudraali eyed him warily. "And I'm Blaya. I would say it's a pleasure to meet you, but you have yet to explain yourself. Please refrain from changing the subject."

"Apologies," Burt replied. "I wanted to make the point that our two species have never met before. I know very little about Dudraali biology, and, it appears that you are unaware of human digestive systems."

Blaya nodded her eyestalk, acknowledging his point. "This is true. We were given a primer on human biology when we were notified of your arrival, but we simply haven't had time to go over the manual. There is never a slow moment in Border Control."

"Well, then, if you would like me to, I would love to explain," Burt continued.

"By all means."

"In order for us to obtain energy, we need to break to consume substances that are then broken down into smaller parts," Burt explained. "Once they have been broken down, we can then reassemble them into usable functional units."

This was a vast oversimplification of some quite complicated processes, but it would do. Watching Blaya closely, Burt could see that she was following along.

"Our stomachs, located in our midriffs, are responsible for breaking down whatever we consume. As such, they need to be highly corrosive to degrade all sorts of organic matter. This would explain the presence of the acidic pouch that is showing up on the scanner. The acid never leaves that pouch, else it would be damaging to us as well." Burt decided that heartburn could be a topic for another day. He didn't want to complicate things further.

"That sounds...dangerous," Blaya replied. "But this snafu is also partly on us. I will cross-check with the manual we were given, and if this all lines up, you will be free to go."

Burt nodded graciously. For all his calm demeanor, his nerves screamed at him to hurry up. He surreptitiously glanced at his watch as Blaya ambled back to one of the cubes in the Border Control office. It was 13:56 Universal Time...

After a minor eternity, Blaya came back out. "You're all clear," she said. Turning to the other Dudraali, she nodded her eyestalk in affirmation. "You can let the other human go. And make sure the rest of the officers are briefed on this!"

13:58 Universal Time. Burt wasn't sure how long it would take for him to sprint from Border Control to Scrog Boghimmer's office, but he hoped his lungs were up to the challenge.


Grantley34 t1_jbz4g1s wrote

I was waiting for him to puke out of anxiety and cause a galactic crisis


TheClayKnight t1_jc1du8w wrote

“Tell us humans, why were you so late to this meeting?”

“Your border security detained us for having stomachs because none of them read their briefing on humans.”


Time_Significance t1_jbxnkn5 wrote

Officer: What do you mean you can't remove it?

Human: Don't you people have lessons on human ana--? Ugh! It's a part of me, okay!

Officer: Even still, we can't let you into the warp gate with that container without allowing us examine its contents.

Human: Here? Really, I'm going to miss my portal!

Officer: Yes

Human: You'll have to cut me open, in that case!

Officer: Is that a threat, human?

Human: No! I mean, my stomach is literally part of my biology. I was born with it. It's filled with acid because it turns our food into energy!

Officer: Humans are not a first-order species. You do not have the capability to turn matter into energy.

Human: Grr, that's not what I meant! The food enters the stomach and melts it down, then we use that as fuel. Please tell me you know what an engine is?

Officer: What does a machine have to do with this?

Human: Gahds flippin' fuckin'!!! The stomach is our engine! It's a biological engine and we will die if you remove it from our body!

Officer: We still can't let you through the warp gate with such acid hiding in your body, I'm afraid we'll have to confiscate it.

Human: Arrrghh!! Did you not hear anything I just said?!

Officer: Calm down, we will resolve this in an orderly manner. Our technician will be here shortly to examine you to determine the best course of action.

Human: You fucking--!!! Mmmmmm!!!! Haaaaaaa....

Technician: I'm here, what did you want to-- you're a moron, Officer.

Officer: Our scanner reported that this human was hiding a dangerous substance within his body, being found carrying it is a violation of intergalactic law.

Technician: Humans are exempt from this law, you idiot. They're a third-order species that still relies on biological functions for survival. This is Galactic Species Biology 101, everyone knows it.

Officer: So are you going to remove the substance from him or not?

Technician: Good job changing the subject. No. Here, human, some medicine to dilute your stomach acid. I'm surprised you didn't take any before going into the gate, it's a requirement for your species to be allowed in here.

Human: Sorry, I was so tired that I forgot.

Technician: Well, don't forget next time. Oh, and your warp gate's closed.

Human: WHAT?! FUCK!


StructuralEngineer16 t1_jbysyv9 wrote

This is excellent, a combination of a misunderstanding of biology and not following basic rules for your species. Well written


Gqsmooth1969 t1_jbzvwvj wrote

Nice! I had to read this out loud to my roommate and we both loved it. This deserves my upvote and poor man's award... 🏅


Ataraxidermist t1_jbxtlim wrote

Axiom, second colony.

March the twelfth, Time of Earth.


Dear doctor,

It is a delicate letter I write. We had our disagreements. Yet today, I cannot stop myself from asking for genuine pardon, and wish for nothing more than to call you a friend. Strange how a single day in the vast universe can change a perspective.

Do you remember who we were before humanity met another life in this galaxy? The memories to me are like an old series of movies that haven't aged well and fell to irrelevancy.

First contact was a more delicate matter than books had us believe. In our stories, the aliens have always understandable features, bodies we can imagine, traits we can logically put together to built a being feeding our imagination. It had to, writers were human. Lovecraft understood before all of us that the only proper way to describe an inscrutable, terrifying being, is to not describe it at all but rave at length about the broken minds of those who tried.

And then came reality. With aliens inscrutable and impossible to describe, yet leaving our feeble brains whole and unbroken. As with any event whose recounting is dependent on perspective, we were just as strange to them as they were for us.

For one, our scientists burned down years of research about the definition of life. By all means, these beings were not alive. They appeared carved out of black carbon, their varied bodies closer to an art exhibition than any practical tool. There was no wiring in these bodies, no flesh, no bark or organic matter.

In short, there was no conceivable ways for us to understand how they could be capable of thoughts and feelings. Yet they did. You argued they should not be considered as living beings, I felt you were a fool holding on to outdated research.

Through hard work on both sides, we translated sounds and scents, worked out gestures with no prior experience to base ourselves on. Months and years only to exchange the simplest of greetings. But ultimately, we did open communications.

Which was the start of a long and arduous process: mutual comprehension.

As I write this letter, that process is still going on, perhaps it will always go on. I hope not.

I was arrested shortly after my last travel. No crime had been uncovered, it is a tale of individuals trying to understand fellow individuals. Motes of dust trying to make sense of the universe.

"Yes," I told them, "my belly is a part of me." The devices, smooth white rocks clinging to their obsidian frames, painfully translated as best as they could.

The smell, acrid, coppery. My own device heated up to put together the finer points of a whiff my own nose will never be keen enough to translate on its own.

"But why?" they asked.

"Evolution," that word is understood fast. Half of our communications have this word as a conclusion. This should have been the end of it too.

They were scared, every time they scanned a human body and saw the fleshy mess of gas and acid that was our digestive tract, they feared for themselves. A thin sheet of frail skin was all that stood between them and a spill of toxic sludge that would corrode them beyond recognition and put them in the universally accepted state of death.

Irony would have it that these beings were hardly comestible and would likely poison us humans to death before we took a second bite.

My device whirred some more.

"Yours is different," they said. No question there, a simple observation. I like to think that it is my very earthly experience with fellow humans that made me notice the slight hint of... I shall say prudence.

"You noticed well," I replied. And they awaited some explanations.

But how could I explain it? I never liked your cynical ways my friend - can I call you friend? - but even I have to recognize that should it ever come to a scuffle, fighting beings that immune to bullets and, according to preliminary research, required a nuclear payload to - maybe - take one out, didn't spell great chances for us in case of conflict. They didn't have guns. They had inertia, and dense material. An unrelenting force, and we are no immovable object.

It is with a shake of my head that I underwent the operation. Your operation, and invention. I believe I did it only to preserve myself, should the worse come to pass. But who am I kidding? Going under the knife was already an admittance of my shaking faith, of the terrible black spot in my brain. The more I thought of them, the more I saw them as an anomaly, plain and simple. They shouldn't be. They disprove everything our science has worked for, and they do not allow us to prove anything afterwards by their mere existence. You weren't holding on to outdated data. No. You showed us the only way forward.

So I told them. I told them the fluids in my belly were meant to digest them. I told them my teeth were meant to pierce the hard rock of their body. Against aliens resistant to conventional warfare, our best bet was even more conventional warfare. Teeth and nails, who would have thought. Lovecraft didn't see that coming.

They called me mad.

I called them an anomaly.

They called me the anomaly.

I told them they scared me. Not them as individuals with thoughts, but their very existence. It called mine into question, it cast a shade over every belief I have or had, and grinds them down to meaninglessness.

And they suffered the same.

I suppose from afar, it appeared like the ravings of mad beings. Mad is the word.

This was the first galactic conflict between us and them. Me, and two of them.

And as such, it is with a true delight that I inform you that your modifications were a success. The taste is somewhat to be worked on, but I have torn and bitten and devoured them without any signs of illness of my part.

You remember me deriding your idea of a maw in the void? You presented it as a hypothesis for the far future, like the best mad scientist would. Like everyone, I mocked that Dyson sphere of teeth and stomachs and hunger as the ramblings of a man beyond saving.

I'm not so certain now. I can see how we could build such a wonder, while the aliens I just ate are still inscrutable to me. And just like you, I came to despise beings whose existence is anathema to what we comprehend of the universe.

Maybe they think the same of us. Perhaps they are afflicted by the same creeping realization that the universe will never care about our logic, our mathematics, our attempts to make sense out of it, unless we force it to. Tear the chaos apart and note down the shreds for further examination and burn the parts we can make no use of.

It's only a matter of time until this species or another decides that we are a bump in their logic that needs to be polished.

I want to see the maw in the void started and completed. I want to sail across its sea of digestive fluid, I will walk over a tooth the side of a country, raise my hands to the stars above, and know that if one of these stars doesn't follow our rule, it will be devoured.

I my dreams, I see a galaxy turning dark as the specks of light are swallowed by a god of our own creation. I see the atoms and dust composing the strange beings we meet, and for my small eyes, they are as shiny and in need of extinctions as the stars above.

We are all made of stars.

From the lowliest being to the greatest galaxy.

Lovecraft feared those who could extinguish us in a blink. Let us pay our respect to this visionary man and become this fearsome being. And as we sail through the great beyond, gorging and feasting, we shall put his fears to rest.


- Fondest regards,

Your old rival and new friend.


SnippyTheDeliveryFox OP t1_jbynb51 wrote

So much different from what I was imagining but I love it. I love the idea that the aliens weren't a threat, things were going rather well in fact, but it's human nature to be paranoid of the what if and develop ghastly countermeasures just in case. They were right to be afraid I suppose.


LowBrass159 t1_jbxxd0q wrote

This is some of the best writing I’ve seen on this sub!! Phenomenal!


Ataraxidermist t1_jby3wdy wrote

I liked the prompt, but didn't feel all too inspired myself. Goes to show you never know what the end result will be like.


MaxAmsNL t1_jc0n9aq wrote

Wow I’m stunned. I didn’t expect this from a random Reddit post.

Thank you so much for this amazing story.


TotallyNotToasted t1_jbxpyng wrote

The crackling Universal Translating Device (UTD) barked, "Freeze the movement off all appendages immediately!"

"Ughhh," I groaned in a murky mixture of exhaustion and irritation, before raising my hands up and turning around. The 'officer' behind me stared with a vague look of terror.

"What...? I passed all the previous... security checks from Io to... Cherkovin-16!" I slurred. Lightyears worth of interstellar jetlag started to weigh heavy upon me, and I was not in any mood to deal with any kafkaesque bureaucratic nonsense.

"I repeat: Do not move!" The alien officer crackled through his UTD. From behind, a heavy set of cuffs locked around my arms, sitting painfully on my wrists.

"What the...?!"

"You are under arrest for unauthorised transportation of dangerous materials, namely the transport of weak hydrochloric acid. You have the right to remain silent, and any-"

"No, no no, wait!" I stammered out. There had to be a misconception here. "Officers, please... I don't have any 'dangerous' materials, you can... check my luggage and... everything!"

As I was straining against the metallic cuffs, one of the officers slowly toddled over towards me.

"Explain this then." Prodding my stomach with a slimy (eww) tentacle, his singular eye continued to glare at me.

"Oh." Everything suddenly clicked.

Raising my head, I sighed, "That's what we humans call a 'stomach'. We use that to eat."

"You mean to tell me..."

"GROWL---" Oh no.

The security officers suddenly scrambled away from me, cowering behind the security barriers they had initially appeared from.

"Wait! Let me explain!" I shouted, suddenly realising the sobering effect of the onosecond. One eye appeared over the thick metal barricade.

"We use weak hydrochloric acids to digest food! And that was just because I was hungry, its not a bomb I swear!" I mentally slapped myself for that one. Did I really have to clarify that last part?!

"I know it sounds improbable to you, but its true! Its human anatomy!" I hopelessly yelled out. Footsteps began to echo menacingly from behind me.

Spinning around, in the hope of some form of salvation, the last thing I remembered was a thick metal baton coming down onto my head, hard. As my drool stained the fine velvet carpet, I heard the faint footsteps drift away and towards, before closing my eyes.


Horateo t1_jc156dz wrote

The security officers quickly turned off the gravity to the scanner so that the human floated helplessly in the center of the spherical room. The clear protective barrier on one side showed that one officer was still there. A flash of movement at one end of the window was the other officer rushing out of the control booth.

"What is going on" demanded Doug loudly. "Did the gravity plating malfunction? How long am I going to be stuck in here? I have an appointment!" While he couldn't do much more than flail about, his stomach was reminding him that last in flight snack was a long time ago and that weightlessness does not sit well with humans.

He heard a clicking sound as the officer moved what Doug assumed was a microphone closer. "Do not struggle, you are not going to be able to sneak your contraband through this gate. We have caught you and you will be detained for questioning once backup arrives suitably attired." The translator the officer was using was top notch, Doug had to give them that. His own mark 6 was now 4 generations old and he had been putting off upgrading until prices came back down.

"What" he exclaimed. "I have no contraband! I barely even have any luggage! What am I supposed to be smuggling?"

The speaker clicked again and this time Doug say the officer push a control before speaking. "You and I both know the hazardous material you have had implanted. You must be desperate for income to have subjected yourself to the dangers of smuggling so much acid. Just remain calm so we do not have to risk breaking the vessel inside you trying to subdue you."

Doug was feeling the mental fatigue of the hours and light-years between home and the here and now. He understood they thought he was smuggling some hazardous substance, but for the life of him could not figure out what. He was used to random security sweeps due to him being a heavy-worlder, but after a brief frisk and scan for weapons he was usually on his way.

"Seriously" he said tiredly, "what are you talking about? I have never had surgery to add or remove anything to my body. I even still have my appendix for crying-"

The exit and entrance doors to the scanner opened simultaneously, startling his already frazzled nerves. He saw light all around him and couldn't figure out what was happening. The officers that came in and surrounded him were all obviously under the effect of the gravity plating, but he was still floating helplessly. He soon realized this species must have figured out localized anti-gravity fields or something.

He felt all 4 of his extremities being grabbed all at once and he glided toward the floor. Once he gently made contact he felt gravity resume and for the first time since leaving home he estimated it may even be Earth standard.

"You are being subjected to incredibly high gravity so that you are unable to resist. If you somehow eject the vessel containing the acidic fluids it will not even make it past your own body. I suggest you willingly surrender so we do not have to risk your life trying to determine how to sedate you." Doug could not see which officer surrounding him spoke, but there was an air of authority to the voice that screamed 'in charge.'

"I surrender! Whatever it takes to clear this up and get back on my way, I have an appointment!" Doug was getting a little worried now. There are so many species that what can render one unconscious is generally lethal to others. He only had one life, and he didn't want it to end playing Russian roulette.

"That is well" said the same officer, "we will now bind you and then remove you to a containment area so this scanner can be returned to use. We have a quota to keep after all."

After a brief and somewhat embarrassingly invasive search he was bound. They used their Doug decided he was going to call it a gravity field gravity field to float him into a room. On the way in Doug noted the door frame sat in the middle of a very thick wall. He noted that there were several different materials layered in the wall.

"Is this going to take long" Doug asked, "cause this weightlessness is starting to make me nauseous."

"What is nauseous?"

"Very uncomfortable sensation that can cause humans to regurgitate our stomach contents" answered Doug. He hoped his translator had words for those concepts.

"Turn off the field" ordered the officer with the in charge attitude. "We will have to use increased gravity to restrain you in place then."

"That's fine, just no more zero gravity please" complained Doug. "I'm already jet lagged enough as it is I don't need to add being sick to it."

"Now then" stated the officer once Doug was suitably heavy. "Our scans detected the highly acidic fluid you have had put inside your torso. If you tell us how to remove it safely we can remove the high gravity and other restraints."


Horateo t1_jc156ux wrote

"That's the 10th time you people have said I'm smuggling something and it's just not true." Doug was beginning to wonder if someone somehow sedated him during his journey and put something inside him.

"Show the scans please" said the officer to seemingly empty air. After a brief pause a hologram flashed into being. At first Doug was confused until he realized his middle was slightly brighter. He squinted through his foggy brain and further realized it was his stomach.

"I was told that snack I ate was simply condensed flavored vegetable matter. If there was something harmful in it I had no idea!" Doug immediately started thinking about everything he ate and drank while on board the last ship. "Wait, you aren't one of those species harmed by water, are you?"

"We are not" answered the officer. "Stop evading the question. How do we remove it?"

"Remove what" exclaimed Doug exasperated. "I haven't eaten or drank anything since leaving home that could even be remotely harmful!"

The officer sighed. He fiddled with a control and the hologram changed to a stomach. "This container inside you has an insanely large volume of acidic fluid that could kill everyone on this station if aerosolized."

It finally struck Doug what was happening here. The realization served to calm his nerves some and he chuckled.

"Do you find that amusing?" The officer pounded the floor in anger.

"No, sorry, I just figured out what is going on. That is a naturally occurring organ in almost all creatures on my home planet. We ingest solids, then that organ secretes an acid to dissolve it so the nutrients can be absorbed by our cells. It would be impossible to remove it without causing my death."

The officer froze aghast. There was a moment of total stillness and silence.

"That has got to be the singular most inventive thing a smuggler has ever come up with to try to get out of being apprehended." The officer stated with an amazed tone.

"I swear to you it's no lie. Go look up the species Human in your data-net link." Doug now knew he just needed to educate these beings then he'd be on his way.

After being left alone for an uncomfortably long period of time the door swung open and the increased gravity shut off.

"We apologize for the confusion and time" said the same officer. "We had to come up with a whole new classification for your species. We appreciate that you didn't just get up and walk away now that we know that high gravity restraint was useless against you."

"Hey, don't worry about it" replied Doug magnanimously. "Just get me on my way, and I'll be happy." Doug was already happily thinking of the sleep he was about to get on the next ship.


mja1993 t1_jc0puj1 wrote

The air seemed to crackle with tension as the Intergalactic Security officers approached the human. His haggard face, decked out in a few days' worths of stubble, betrayed his state of exhaustion, while his eyes glinted with a mix of fear and desperation. The officers had been tipped off about a human attempting to smuggle a mysterious container of caustic liquid past the warp gate, and here he was -- standing awkwardly in front of them with his suspicious cargo in hand.

The lead officer stepped closer and spoke in a slow, menacing tone. "What do you have there, citizen?" His voice echoed eerily through the near-empty spaceport as he gestured at the container.

The human gulped nervously and looked from side to side before stammering out an explanation. "It-- It's not what it looks like! I was just trying to get home after a long trip and my… my stomach was feeling kind of empty, so…" He trailed off, realizing the gravity of the situation too late.

The officers exchanged dubious glances. "Your stomach?" one said slowly. "What is this 'stomach' you speak of?"

The human blinked in surprise, realizing he'd made a mistake. "Ah, right. Um… well, you see, a stomach is what humans have inside their bodies to… uh, digest food and--"

The officer's face twisted in confusion. "What are 'bodies' and 'food'?" he interrupted.

The human sighed in exasperation and ran a hand through his unkempt hair. He was beginning to understand why these officers were so suspicious of him -- he was speaking an entirely different language! He quickly tried to explain the concept of living organisms and eating to the increasingly baffled officers, but it was no use -- they simply couldn't comprehend.

After several minutes of confusion, the officers eventually realized that the human wasn't attempting to smuggle anything after all. He'd simply been trying to get some much-needed nourishment after a long journey through space. With a few embarrassed apologies, they left him alone to buy his food and head home.

As the human watched their retreating figures, he couldn't help but shake his head in bemusement at the situation he'd just found himself in. He'd come so close to getting arrested for something he hadn't even done!

Still, one thing was certain: from now on, he'd never take for granted the simple act of eating ever again.


underthepungamtree t1_jc1b1dp wrote

I just knew I shoulda stuck with Mars. These other goddamn planets got about as much interspecies awareness as them early humans. I'd bet ten right now that not one of the paunchy officers lining the Venus gate like a bunch of guard dogs read the interspecies manual. Limestone-loving little shits.

"Its a stomach.", I tell them. They think my stomach is a security violation, dear lord.

It is about as much use as dear ol' Dobby the Doberman back at home, with his ultra-friendly disposition and hug-me eyes. Dobby would help out any robbers himself if they bought him those expensive treats. Makes a whole lotta sense now, considering Lana imported him from Venus. Looks like their people ain't much better than their dogs.

"You tellin' me that you carry around a bag of acid to digest food?", the big guy says. He's green and impressively ugly. Impressively stupid, too, it seems.

"I don't carry it around. Its a part of my body. Evolution, yes?"

The part of my mind that is not occupied with cursing every microscopic aspect of Venus(a very, very small one. About the size of the average Venusian brain, I am sure.) is torturing me with visions of the craters I had booked, cloudy blankets and gorgeous views. If Venus does one thing right, it is hospitality.

I try not to think about how I learnt that. Thinking about Lana never leads up to anything good, Luckily, I have loads of practice not thinking about her.

"Oh, sure. A bag of dangerous acids is a part of your body. One hundo percent sensible. Exactly the sort of thing evolution would go around supportin'", its the lean guy asking for a punch this time, with an expression I decipher as snooty on his slimy little face.

Idly, I wonder if Venus is so good at hospitality because all the big brains went into tourism. Not even the average Venusian could be this mind-numbingly stupid.

"The acids aren't exactly open to the elements, all right? And I'm sorry humans are too tough for your delicate little Venus-bred sensibilities, but we gotta eat a couple more things than Venus limestones."

Their piggy little eyes narrow. Venusians are surprisingly sensitive about limestones. Well, good riddance. I am surprisingly sensitive to perfectly ordinary parts of my body being banned from the airport.

"What's wrong with the limestones?"

"Its not about the goddamn limestones."

"Its always about limestones.", this time it is a wide girl in the back, prissy ears perked up. SHe looks young, as Venusians go.

"Not this time. Right now, its about the fact that I booked a perfectly good crater for the night, I've got light years of jet lag, and I'm about ready to punch everyone here in their fat, ugly faces.", I said. Or, well, I thought. The words never did breathe the carbon dioxide of Venus's atmosphere.

Look at me now, Lana. Never let it be said I couldn't control my temper. Anger issues, she used to say. Hell of a woman. She would have gotten through here in a second , though, serpent-tongued snake as she was.

"Look.", I tell the guards tiredly. "I cant exactly detach my stomach because you dont like it."

"Yes you can.", Miss Its-always-about-limestones is back with her crap. "I've got a limestone for that."

A new wave of exhaustion crashes over me.

"Do you.", I ask, "Do tell."

She pulls out of the considerable layers of scales lining her frame a limestone-long and thin and green. Its kinda pretty, really, relative to the average limestone. Not that that's high praise, because most limestones shared with their planetary neighbors this trait of astonishing ugliness.

Huh. I hadn't expected her to actually have the thing on her. Venusians were usually all talk when it came to limestones. The thing doesn't look very trustworthy, anyway.

"You're supposed to eat it." she adds helpfully.

I take the limestone. This is exactly why I disapprove of these one-jun peddlers on the street. The thing could be poisoned for God's sake.

"Yes, Doge, eat.", says the punchable lean guard.

"Its Doug."

"Earth names are so hard to remember.", fat dude complains.

Funny, that, considering the average Venusian name sounded like a keyboard smash. I'd give you an example if I could remember one. khnenfjoweurngkd sounds like it would exist somewhere, so lets go with that.

"Anyway.", I tell them, exercising reasonable safety precautions which clearly only exist on earth, "I'm not going to eat that. It could be poisoned for all I know. It could shrink me to the size of a thimble."

Rumor has it that happened to a Martian once. Cunning creatures, these Venusians.

"It's green, human. Its perfectly safe. Now eat, or leave.", fat dude is competing hard to get first place in my black list. Do Venusians get awards for being inconvenient pain-in-the-necks?

I eat the limestone. That little piece of A-level decision making was conducted by the part of my brain still dreaming of cloudy bedsheets , and blows right up in my face thirty seconds later. A small, hard piece of something makes itself comfortable at the junction of my throat and palette with no warning at all.

I lean over and spit out. A very small, very stomach shaped thing drops out. It sets up all the alarms the Venusians had just switched off again.

I am getting a very bad feeling in places where my stomach ought to be. It feels like something should be churning, but the organ up to doing it is currently resting innocently on the concrete, about the size of my pinky.

"What the hell.", I say flatly. God, this day is just getting better and better.

Venus version of the devil picks up my stomach before I can digest everything that just happened. Digest. Huh. Thats funny. Maybe I am in shock.

She tucks into her purse my stomach. My brain is breaking a little bit and I think it would be really nice to not have to think right now. I wonder if she would have any limestones for that.

"You can have this back when you come back out. You'll be just fine if you dont eat anything, dont worry. Do drop in, won't you?"

The guards have their filthy Venusian hands on me, pushing me through the gate. A dollop of self preservation kicks in, and I turn. I'll need my stomach back someday, after all.

"I don't know where your house is!"

"Oh, darlin'. I don't do houses."

The Venusian smiles, wide and pretty, and suddenly she is about as Venusian as I am. She winks, trademark Lana wink, the same one she gave me in three hundred first-motels-from-the-planet's-centre, the ones she always took. The ones I used to take with her.

I remember why I stopped.

My world falls through.


DangKilla t1_jc1ux01 wrote

“Look, I’m tired. From my timeline, we digest our foods. We don’t use holon lasers to reduce them to sub holons.”

“Ah, I see. Let me scan you with our light spectrometer.”

“Do you mean an X-Ray machine?”

“Essentially, yes. And it has confirmed you digest your food in acid. Tremendous. Off you go.”

“Okay, well then, thank you”

“He said, thank you, Xæ… shall we kill hîm?“

“7ªшя the bitch”

I was a puddle only seconds later, forced to rescale in to a super holon human form over the course of a billion years, which you can imagine put a slight damper on things.


M1chaelLanz t1_jckhlur wrote

Sgt. Handar was speeding toward a colossal metallic ring in the middle of the void. To the average intergalactic citizen, it would have appeared to be another waste of tax credits. The warp ring cost billions to make and only went to a galaxy with one inhabited planet. They were the newest addition to the Intergalactic Federation of United Planets and the council wanted them to feel welcome, thus gifting them a faster way to travel to core worlds. 

As Sgt. Handar got closer, he noticed the problem was much bigger than dispatch relayed. There was a single man fighter ship smashed into one of the security stations. Debris floated around the crash site and there were already two security officers on scene shooting at a fleeing human in a grungy green spacesuit. The human ran along a catwalk and leaped over a barrier to hide.

"What in the Gazorbo are they doing?" Sgt. Handar said, reaching for his radio. "IFPD officer to security at Warp Station Earth, what is your status?"

"We have one human male resisting arrest. Requesting backup," one security officer responded.

Sgt. Handar pulled down the scanner screen in front of his face. He could see his blue skin and ruby red eyes reflecting back at him for a moment before the scanner turned on and locked onto the human. The readout came back:

Name: Connor Wilkins

Sex: Male   Origin: Earth

Weapons: None

Contraband: Acidic content found

Previous Contact: None

"Strange…" Sgt. Handar paused for a moment to ponder why a smuggler didn't have any weapons before chiming in on the radio again. "Hold your fire. He's unarmed. Be advised, suspect has acidic content on his person."

The laser blasts stopped flashing over the human's head and the security officers on the ground rushed his position. Sgt. Handar didn't sit back and enjoy the show, donning his helmet and clicking a button on his seat for the front glass to open up. His fighter had slowed down, but still approached the catwalk at running speed before stopping abruptly at the railing, flinging Sgt. Handar out into the void.

His timing was so impeccable, he didn't hit his head on the opening glass and activated his grav-boots just as he cleared the railing. There was a slight stumble, but didn't break his stride as he walked to the security officers. Both wore white uniforms and based on their lemon shaped helmets, he pegged them for Ninlins. Ninlins were not known for their restraint and it is reflected in their treatment of their suspect. One security officer was tazing Connor in the back with his baton, while he kneeled on his shoulder. Neither noticed the suspect clawing at his helmet.

Sgt. Handar acted immediately, ripping a strip of orange roll adhesive on his belt. "Move aside! Can't you see he has a helmet breach?"

The security officer with the baton stopped shocking the man and backed away, indifferent about what happened next. The other moved aside so Sgt. Handar could apply the adhesive over the helmet. The suspect stopped resisting and took deep labored breaths after narrowly escaping certain death. Connor looked up at him with fear that more punishment was in store for him. 

"Mr. Wilkins, I am Sgt. Handar with the IFPD. Can you tell me why you were running from security?"

"They were shooting at me."

"Before that, sir."

"I'm telling you. It was unprovoked. I crashed my ship into the warp and once I was able to get out, they tried to kill me."

Sgt. Handar offered him a hand up. "You don't see how crashing into a tower makes you look like the aggressor here?"

"I said it was an accident. My ship wasn't slowing down fast enough."

"Don't believe him. He tried to kill us," the security officer with the baton said. 

"I am telling you, I didn't."

Sgt. Handar wanted to believe Connor, but it wouldn't be the first time a smuggler had a smooth tongue and a convincing story. He needed to dig deeper to uncover the truth. 

"Alright, Mr. Wilkins. Can you tell me why you came to the warp station today?"

"I was going to visit my niece who is working on Fremlin. She was going to give me a new ship that didn't act up all the time."

"What were you going to give her in return?"

"I was going to give her my fighter…but now…" Connor looked over his shoulder at the heap of junk still embedded into the station.

"Did you have any other business on Fremlin?"

"Nope. Just family. Why do you ask?"

"Just trying to figure out why you are trying to smuggle acid through the warp," Sgt. Handar said, waiting for Connor's expression to change. It was a gotcha moment for him, but not for the human.

"Acid? I don't have any acid."

"Stop trying to lie. My scan picked up a caustic substance on you."

Connor patted down his gear and gave him a twirl. "I don't have any acid on me. Where would it be?"

"Inside you. We get space mules all the time in other sectors."

Connor put his hands up, realizing what the scan picked up. "Woah woah woah. Wait. Do you mean stomach acid?"

"Is that where you put it? In your stomach?"

"No. Stomach acid is normal in humans. We all have it."

Sgt. Handar pulled out his handcuffs. "Turn around, Mr. Wilkins. You are under arrest."

"For what?"

"Smuggling acid and lying to a police officer. If you are going to be out in the void, you need to follow our laws."

"I'm not smuggling acid. Every human has it to digest solid food."

"Now I have officially heard everything. Next you're going to tell me you eat solid food."

"Um…Sergeant?" one of the security officers said timidly. 

Sgt. Handar turned to him. "Yes?"

"They actually do eat solid food. A small flightless bird is a delicacy down there. I think they call them chickens."

The other security officer slapped his compatriot on the back of the helmet. "No you dumb dumb, they are called penguins. Humans eat them by the tons."

Sgt. Handar looked back at the human who just nodded along. His lack of knowledge on humans was showing. That's what I get for not studying the local inhabitants before deployment.

Before he could place the cuffs on Connor, dispatch chimed in.

"Dispatch to Unit 177. Station three received a distress signal of ship malfunction before crashing into station two. Video has been verified and sent to your helmet. What is your status?"

Sgt. Handar saw the footage show up on his helmet along with flight data. There was a malfunction on the boosters. It was a miracle the ship slowed down at all, let alone caused no casualties. Connor was telling the truth. He sighed in defeat, realizing the best charge against Connor would never stand up in court. 

"It is 10-2. Will update after I wrap up here," he responded and then addressed the human. "You are free to go, Mr. Wilkins. You will need to file a claim of accident with the station officers here. Do you have anyone to come and pick you up?"

"You are just letting him go? After what he did!" both security officers said in unison.

"Station three confirmed it was an accident. He hasn't committed any crimes, seeing as stomach acid, I assume, is exempt from the controlled substance transport statute given their biology."

The security officers didn't argue and escorted Connor back to the station. Sgt. Handar took a moment to absorb the picturesque disaster before him. Debris floated above the three, obscuring the damaged station with a new addition smashed into it. He chuckled to himself and shook his head.

"At least I'm not the cleanup crew."



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as_a_fake t1_jbyfhqt wrote

Technical correction that doesn't detract from the prompt:

Caustic = basic substance (PH>7)

Stomach acid is acidic (PH<7)


caustic_kiwi t1_jc0xfb1 wrote

The dictionary definitions that pop up at the top of google don't seem to specify whether it's an acid or a base, just that it can chemically corrode.


dschoni t1_jbxy2v1 wrote

I hate to say this but light-year is a distance, not a unit of time.


PM_ME_SMALL__TIDDIES t1_jby88hu wrote

And thats exactly the point of jetlag.

If you are in the US your body is used to sun raising at x and setting at y.

Then you go to somwhere in asia, and it becomes x-8 and y-8. And you get confused.

The guys body would be used to earth conditions, and now is somewhere way further and disoriented.


Aozora404 t1_jbzpj95 wrote

Counterpoint, you don’t say miles of jet lag


LeonardoDeQuirm t1_jc05zex wrote

You usually don't, but if I read the phrase "3,000 miles of jetlag", I would have a pretty good idea what they implied.


dschoni t1_jc2a1gy wrote

Interstellar travel does not automatically imply any difference of sunrise and sundown. Actually it doesn't even imply any sunrise or sundown at all, or given length of day to be anything close to what it is on earth. I'm just saying, light-year is a unit of distance and all fellow humans I know measure Jetlag in units of time as in "I'm still x hours behind".


drislands t1_jby41qt wrote

Have you ever been a trainer in a rock gym, by chance?