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DM_ME_SHORTSTACKS t1_jed42h6 wrote

The phrase "culture shock" was one I was aware of, knew the definition of, but never really comprehended just what an upheaval it would be to the senses until the day those ships started to descend from the sky. The rest of the base and I were all waiting with baited breath to see what would come of the first meeting in-person ever since contact had been established some weeks prior with this roaming, space-faring species.

When the ships came down, they seemed to falter after breaking through the clouds, hovering gray puffs parted by the spheres that descended towards the shores we'd arranged to be our meeting point. After all, if they were so derisive of what our planet held, it only made sense to give them coordinates that would deliver proof immediately.

Once they pods opened, out spilled the creatures, all but stumbling about towards the sands, working all three of their legs quickly to head towards the line where sand lead to water. Some stopped and stared, others dropped to their knees, others even further to the ground. It would be funny to see, if their reverence wasn't so...earnest. Perhaps this would help with negotiations? I couldn't say, I wasn't part of that sect.

Moments passed, and soon humans and aliens started to mingle; those of the aliens that had retained their faculties had a myriad of questions about the endless expanse of water beyond them, how such a thing could be possible on any planet, stories from their ancestry of the scarcity and beauty of the boggled my mind thinking that something I could look at through the window every day and not even register was all but a spiritual reckoning to these folk.

A rumble above our heads gave warning of what the darkened clouds were about to do. A curious traveler from beyond stood next to me, looking up in curiosity, their crimson eyes blinking a few times as they saw what was beginning to fall from the sky.

"This is...what did you humans call it?" it said, holding out a claw and watching the water droplets slink across its yellow scales and to the ground.

"Rain. We usually get it a few times a week around here." I replied. The look they gave me was the same as if someone had told me they regularly grew trees with golden fruit in their backyard, before shaking their head and looking back to the sky. "It looks like it's going to go pretty hard. We have umbrellas to cover ourselves, if you want..." I said, before being quieted by another look, this one as if I'd just told a rather subpar joke.

They simply stretched their arms up high, as if wanting to grasp the rain as it fell into their claws, something several others of their kind had begun to do around their cohorts and new human acquaintances.

"Why would I ever want to shield myself from this?"


OggyBoggy t1_jeh3sjk wrote

I find it weird that most people dont like or flat out hate when it rains. I know it can be uncomfortable if you get too wet but you will eventually find yourself under cover and be drying rapidly from body heat. I for one love the rain, feeling the tiny drops on my face as i walk home is a small blessing through a tough day


mischaracterised t1_jedlvdk wrote

As we traveled back to Earth on the passenger ship Homusenjk, named after a Thylus mythological figure, my roommate and I were snuggled under the infrared light he needed to maintain homeostatic temperatures. I couldn't wait to show him rain, after all the times he'd mocked me for talking about water, rain and snow.

"You humans sure have a strange sense of humour. Sure, your planet totally has huge bodies of water that cover most of the surface."

"As if something so scarce would just be found falling from the sky!"

"I guess when we reach your E'arth, you can show us all these fantasies in person!"

He'd always had this smug look on his albino-pink face as he said it, his fronds always jiggling in laughter. But tomorrow, he would see who has the last laugh.

/. /. /. /. /. /.

I awoke at around 7am, Galactic Greenwich Mean Time, and my roommate had paralyzed me by accident with his frond spines in his sleep.

Bless him.

I let the paralytic fade for a few minutes, before my roommate's maw yawned, showing rows of spiky teeth spiraling in his maw. He chuckled afterwards, grinning. "Sorry about that, Josh, I didn't mean to spine you."

I shrugged, the numbness slowly fading. We got up and got dressed before going to the transwarp deck for viewing my home system, in preparation for deceleration outside Neptune's orbit. The number of tourists on the Homusenjk that started showing up on the deck was impressive, as they all came to see the Blue Planet.

It took around six hours for us to decelerate to the point we could be shot towards the landing port near the York Isles, and then another six before we were put into G-sleep pods. My roommate and I shared a pod, because his skeleton needed something to attach to, so that he wouldn't turn to jelly under G-strain.

/. /. /. /. /. /.

It was raining as we were taken out of G-sleep when the pod opened. The droplets fell from the sky in increasing frequency, as my roommate just gaped. The look of shocked amazement was worth it alone; but then he broke down and started weeping his vinegar tears.

I smiled at him, and offered my hand. "If you think this is wild, wait until you see snow."

He took it like it was a life raft.


Master-Tanis t1_jeepcvt wrote

Sophia’s voice was scathing, even over the recording.

I watched her her turn to face me slowly, as if almost unable to pull her gaze away from the endless expanse of blue beneath us.

“Is that what I sounded like?”

Her eyes were wide and I was surprised to see tears in them. Crying was something her people tended to reserve for very specific, or intense, moments. The expenditure of one’s bodily reserves of water was not something done lightly.

She was crying now, tears streaming down her face as she buried her head in my chest. I pulled her close, patting her back.

“It’s okay.” I said. “I forgive you. It must have sounded too good to be true.”

I had planned on teasing her a little about her lack of faith, not making her cry. In hindsight I should have realized how raw her emotions would be so soon after the loss of her home. It was a mistake I would have to be careful not to repeat in the following days.

We stood like that for a long moment, my home planet growing larger outside the viewport, before she finally dried her eyes and turned to stare out the window.

“You have an ocean.” She said, her voices filled with awe.

“Technically we have five.” I said. “And then there’s the lakes.”

Her ears shot up and she turned towards me, her eyes searching my face for some sign that this was a prank.

“In fact my home state is known as the land of a thousand lakes.” I said.

“A thousand…?”

I could almost see the smoke rising from her ears as she, the most imaginative Veril I knew, tried and failed to picture it.

“Eleven thousand to be specific.” I said. “But that doesn’t roll of the tongue as easily.”

She turned to stare out the window again, her body swaying. I caught her just before she struck her head on the glass, and winced as her claws dig into my arm.

I looked down to see her staring up at me with a hungry expression.

“We are going to visit all of them.” She said. “And then the oceans, and then whatever else this world has to offer.”

I smiled down at her.

“That may take a while.”


Glass-Sign-9066 t1_jefynaf wrote

Bring her to east Wisconsin to see lake Winnebago on your way to lake Michigan and the other great lakes...


Master-Tanis t1_jeg22xw wrote

Brings her to pond:

S: This must one of your lakes.

OC: Nope. Pond.

Brings her to small forest stream

S: Ahh yes a River.

OC: No this is a stream.

Brings her to Lake Michigan

S: Ocean?

OC: Wrong again!


stealth13000 t1_jeguiwr wrote

Love it, but the Minnesotan in me needs to let you know that it's "The land of ten-thousand lakes"


Master-Tanis t1_jegwpw6 wrote

The Michigander in me wants you to know those are rookie numbers and you need to bump them up.


Alcoraiden t1_jeg1b3b wrote

It has been two hours, and Akarashk is still lying on his back like a dead thing.

"I told you."

He doesn't reply. His grayish lids have peeled back from all four eyes, both the scaled outer shells and both nictitating membranes keeping their precious water inside. I've never seen him so stunned, barely breathing, as if the slightest flinch would wake him from the dream. The only motion I can see is his unsheathed tongue flicking at the droplets rolling into his leathery mouth.

Well, I'm used to it, and I'm wet. I wrap my arms around myself and shiver. He hasn't even checked in with the orbiting mothership, though I'm sure whatever cameras they have to watch him have the whole crew gawking and laughing in that huff-huff-huff sound I've heard so much of on the way to Earth. Or, maybe they're all shocked, too. The readings on their computers were flailing wildly about how much water Earth contained, and half of them had cracked up at how silly it seemed. The other half was trying to repair the sensor array all the way here.

There were no repairs needed, as it turned out. "Akarashk," I say with a barely restrained laugh, and I poke him with my foot. "You can get up now. I've been reading books in Khri for so long that my head is spinning, and I'm cold, and my eyes hurt from looking at my arm-comp screen." The screen is tiny, and Khri is a tough language to wrap my substantially softer mouth around, but really I just want to get some dry underwear on and show this reptilian creature what a lake is.

His upper eyes roll to look at me, and they glisten in a strange way I have never seen before. Usually, those inner membranes keep them dull and lifeless, but now they look like flowers emerging into spring. The silvery, iridescent sheen ripples in the clouded light.

"This is," and he says a word it takes a moment for me to translate as paradise. "If only it were not so inhabited. We are much too late."

"Yeah, if you guys uncloak yourselves, you'll cause worldwide chaos. But hey, you want to see Lake Michigan? It's one of the biggest lakes on this landmass." I try to speak slowly -- my Khri accent is horrible -- but he clearly gets the message: lots of water. All those sparkling eyes light up even further.

"Yes!" he says with a hurried, informal flap of his tongue. "Show me! Now!"

"Well, it's about a kilometer walk that way." I jerk my thumb off to my right, through the woods.

"Now!" He scrambles to his clawed feet and launches into a full sprint. I laugh and run behind, yelling for him to put up his human hologram before something silly happens.


He completely ignores me and leaps into the lake at maximum velocity, which for a Khrithes is a brisk human jog. Two half-drunk men fishing from a nearby boat give him a double-take, at which point I take a deep breath, whip off my shirt, and jump in after.

It takes a while to convince the two guys that Akarashk is wearing a costume, but I manage. In the end, they putter away while he scoops up armfuls of lake water as if he can hoard it all and carry it home. They'll probably tell others a crazy guy in a lizard suit went swimming, and people will pshaw at them and ignore them, so...good enough? I scan the area for any more boats as he plays like a kid at a water park.

"It's really cold."

"Look!" Completely ignoring me, he turns and splashes water over his head, looking for all the world like a toddler.

"Okay, look. You can't just go running in front of humans like this. Here." I bend down and fuss with his arm-comp, until it projects a hologram around him. Now he looks short but at least human. "You're still swimming in your clothes, but...good enough."

"This is Lake Michigan?"

"Yep. Really, it's nothing special here on Earth, except that it's big." I slop back onto shore and huddle up against the rain. "We have a whole ton of water all over. And yeah, those blue patches when you showed up? That's water, too. Except they're salty, because erosion filters a whole ton of salt into them. We can't drink them without purifying them."

Halfway through that explanation, he clearly stopped listening, as he has sat down in the lake until it reached his skinny shoulders. His scales are puffy and waterlogged, but he doesn't seem to care, leaning back and closing his eyes and spreading out his arms, his teeth all bared in glee and his tongue tasting the sky as if he has died and gone to heaven.


Nomyad777 t1_jeh11vm wrote

"You humans sure have a strange sense of humor. Sure, your planet totally has huge bodies of water that cover most of the surface. As if something so scarce would just be found falling from the sky. I guess when we reach your home world tomorrow you can show us all these fantasies in person!" One of the first exchange students in the first wave of cultural exchanges said.

I laughed. "We're exiting FTL in a couple minutes, you'll see it then."

There was a pop as the ship broke enough laws of physics for inertia to momentarily stop applying, then the blast shutters on the observation deck raised.

Below was Earth, blue and green with touches of white where mountains pierced the clouds. I watched the mouths of the aliens fall open as North America came into view, with what looked like a Category 3 hurricane over the Atlantic Ocean.

"So... much... water... How did your planet have so much?" One asked.

I smiled, thinking of all of my memories playing in lakes and oceans, riding boats and looking at the rain. "Gravity exoskeletons, people; we're going to dock to the Space Elevator shortly. Then, you'll see."


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Riona12 t1_jediuyp wrote

isn't there a blob of water bigger than the milky way floating around?


Aphrontic_Alchemist t1_jedt7jh wrote

Yes, but it’s in the form of water vapor. Worse, it’s around a quasar, not really the best place to collect water.


theletterQfivetimes t1_jega50s wrote

Pretty sure water is the most common molecule in the universe by a long shot too. Well, besides hydrogen gas.


MorganWick t1_jegcm89 wrote

And yet look at how difficult it is for us to get hydrogen.

Then again, it's difficult for us to isolate hydrogen because most of it on earth is bound up in water molecules...


MorganWick t1_jefo0k7 wrote

...surely this person would know how dependent humans are on water and could figure out that they must have come from a world where water either is abundant or was at some point?