X is for Xeno-everything, a story for the Giraffe Call

All of my X prompts were to people for whom I had already written all of their allotted prompts, so I mushed them all together; have something strange for free.

When the Introductory Team went to a new planet, they made sure to bring samples of their culture with them.

There were three reasons for this.

The first was the human habit of hospitality and guest-gifts; if you were going to drop in on someone unannounced, it was polite to bring a present of some sort.

The second was to test for xenophobia. A new culture’s response to common human artifacts would tell the Team a lot about the culture: did they fear the new? Did they step back from common, everyday objects?

The third reason was very related to the first and second, and was what the Introductory Team was all about, in the end.

When they landed on Cunnel Six, the Team brought three of their best xenolinguists, their xenobiologists, and their xenoempaths. They also brought their gift bag of common items – a xylophone, a box of xocolatl, knitting needles and yarn, bread, and so on – and their gift-giver.

Matthiew Ornan had done this now on seven planets. He bowed carefully to the first representative from the Xantusia people, and then, even more carefully, imitated their greeting as best as his human body could.

The Xantusia – an approximation of the words they used for themselves – looked to human eyes like large bipedal lizards; their greeting involved clasping their hand-like appendages together tightly and then turning their back on the person they were greeting. They made clicking sounds – the xenolinguist told Matthiew they were approval, and his own empathy agreed – when he did a similar gesture.

“We bring you gifts.” He paused while the xenolinguist translated. “Things from our home, as tokens of our good-will.”

He watched the Xantusia as it picked up the box of gifts, its claws tinkling over the xylophone. Early studies of their broadcasts had shown that the Xantusia had a similar instrument.

“Xinpahzian.” It tinked its claws against it. “Lii-eer.”

Matthiew needed no interpretation to recognize kin.

He bowed again, hiding a smile. If the Xantusia could be made to recognize them as kin, than the rest of his job would be so much easier.

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