Guidance released by the Queen-Protectorate of the Orbital Station Sun Catcher
Humans are no longer permitted to enter the Sun Catcher effective immediately. Any humans attempting to gain access should be turned away and asked to return to their vessel for the duration of their stay. Identification cards will identify the species by name, but a physical description is available in this document.
Humans are a bipedal, hairless, soft-skinned species measuring between one and two meters in height. They have two graspers with five fingers each. They exhibit bilateral symmetry around the vertical centerline of their body. If you are unsure whether or not an individual is a human, you are to turn them away until such a time as they can present valid identification.
Glory to the Queen.
“Humans are not allowed on the Sun Catcher,” The guard waved the strange, hairless creature away from the door.
“What?” They said, “you can’t be serious.”
“It’s a new policy from the queen. Just enacted the last cycle. I’m very sorry for the inconvenience.”
“Do I get to know why I’m not allowed?”
The guard considered them for a moment. They stomped their back feet, then their front ones. The human was less than half his height, with a flat, stubby face and soft graspers. He was beginning to wonder if the directive had named the correct species. “After the slaughter of the Canteron war fleet, the queen decreed that as a cautionary measure, no humans would be permitted on Lattalin ships and planets.”
“Oh,” The human bared their teeth in a ferocious snarl. “I see. You’re worried about me leading a violent revolution? You got something nasty behind those doors? Or something I would kill for?”
The guard stuttered and grunted in confusion. “No,” He said, “it’s purely cautionary. A lot of fragile life-forms come to the Suncatcher.”
“Mai!” Someone called across the loading bay, loudly enough that even the udomach laborers turned to look.
To their horror, the guard saw five more humans approaching.
“Yo!” The human before them, Mai, called out. “This guy says we can’t get in.”
“By decree of the queen—” the Guard started, but Mai cut them off.
“Apparently we’re too dangerous to be allowed on their precious space station,” Mai said.
The rest of the humans increased their pace. The guard’s chemical defenses were starting to kick on, and they had begun to “shuffled their back feet.
“What? No!” One said.
“Does this have something to do with those assholes who destroyed the Canteron? You know we had nothing to do with that, right? We were lightyears away from there when it happened!”
“Yeah, don’t lump us in with those pirates.”
“You’ve got no reason to keep us out.”
The guard backed up a step. “I have no control over the policy of the kingdom, but I have been instructed—”
“Yeah, but you don’t really think that’s a good thing, right? We’re all civilized people, right? Do we seem violent to you.”
The guard wished that they had another person to back them up by the door. “No,” They said, thinking, “Yes! You are!”
“Then there’s no problem, right?”
Mai leaned in and looped one of their upper limbs around the guard’s grasper in a manner that made their fur stand up straight. “You seem like a reasonable guy. We can come to some kind of arrangement, can’t we?”
The guard mumbled a curse in their native language.
“You let us sneak through, we don’t make a mess, and we don’t escalate about the ban. Sound good?”
“Perfect, see you in a few hours, pal.” And, with the rest of the humans striding behind, making harsh breathy barking noises, they broke away into the Sun Catcher’s upper deck.
The guard stood in the doorway, trying to shake off their terror. It had been many years since they had experienced so much terror, and so effortlessly conjured by beings half of their size. They stood, shaking, for several minutes, until the next group of travelers approached, and they were forced to resume their duties with fear-smell leaking out of the pores under their front legs.
The next three hours passed peacefully for the guard at the gate to the Sun Catcher. Well, as peacefully as they could when they were worried about their job security and the band of possibly-violent strangers they had permitted to enter the space station. Then, to their absolute horror, another human approached the gate.
They handed their identification over to the guard, who looked at it for only a moment before saying, with a tremble in their voice, “Humans are not allowed on the Sun Catcher.”
The human blinked at them, “Is this because of those people who destroyed the Canteron?”
“Yes,” The guard said.
“Well, that’s a bit of an overreaction. I’ve been on the Sun Catcher twice before and nothing bad happened.”
“I don’t write the regulations, sir.”
“Yeah, I know. Don’t worry. Thanks for being nice about it.” The human began to turn away.
The guard watched them go, shocked, but the human turned back after a few steps.
“How long does the order last for?” They asked, and then said, “Nope, don’t answer that. What’s that look about?”
“You have all your fur puffed up like a pomeranian. What’s that about? Are we all about to die?”
“No, I assure you that—”
“No,” The human said, “you’re afraid of me! That’s what it is.”
The guard really wished they had a weapon. If they were forced to let this human through as well, they would surely lose their job.
“You can’t seriously be scared because of those idiots attacking the Canteron. Humans are generally relaxed, you know. Unless you attack us.”
“I didn’t attack anyone,” The guard protested.
“Yeah, no kidding. You’re not exactly equipt to, no offense. What’s got you so on edge then?”
The guard stomped their back feet.
“I’ve got nothing else to do but hang out with you.” The human said, “so you might as well spill it.”
“A group of humans forced their way through the gate a few hours ago,” The guard said, “I couldn’t stop them.”
“Yeah, well, you’re the only one here. You can’t be blamed for not having backup.”
“What do you mean?”
“You should have another guard on the gate if you want to actually be safe,” The human said. “Two people your size, and just about any humans will stand down.”
“Sure,” The human said. “Tell you what, I’ll hang around, and when those humans come back through, I’ll show you why Kurt and I make the big bucks working security.”
“There’s another human with you?” The guard asked.
“He’s somewhere around here. I’ll be right back.” The human wandered off, and the guard was left shaking while they disappeared back into the docks.
A few minutes later, the human returned, accompanied by a second, larger human. Kurt was almost as tall as the guard, and he carried himself calmly. The smaller human scrambled up on a stack of boxes beside the door and pulled out a small bound book. They opened it and began to read. Kurt nodded to the guard.
“Jane said you had some trouble with a group of humans,” He said.
“Uh…” The guard trailed off.
“Hey, dude, new species, new challenges. Do you mind if we show you the ropes?”
“No,” The guard said.
“Cool, so what criteria are we looking at?”
The little human, Jane, looked up from their book. “Is your boss hiring, cause Kurt and I are at the end of our contract, and we could use an excuse to hang around.”
“I don’t think—” The guard interrupted themselves as a group of Udomach approached the gate. They checked this IDs, and then let them through.
“You just let them go through carrying whatever they want?” Kurt asked.
“I know them,” The guard explained, “they pass through a lot. Why, how do you do it?”
“I’ll show you,” Kurt said, stepping into the gate as another group approached. “IDs please,” he said.
The group shuffled around and produced their metal IDs, which the human inspected. “Are you carrying any weapons with you today?”
“Any goods you’re intending to sell?”
“Yes, we have some gemstones we plan to sell wholesale.”
Kurt looked to the guard, who nodded that that was allowed.
“Okay. Have a nice visit.” He handed their cards back.
“You see what Kurt did?” Jane asked, “stand in the center of the arch, take control, ask a couple probing questions. Tells you a lot about what’s going on.”
“This isn’t a high-security checkpoint.” The guard was bemused by their antics, and warming up to them.
“Doesn’t have to be,” Jane jumped from the top of the stack and took up a position next to the guard. “It’s good to be in practice.”
The guard jumped as a familiar high-pitched bark sounded from the Sun Catcher, and they saw the group of humans who had forced their way past this morning making their way back into the docks. They breezed past without glancing at the guard, but they looked Kurt and Jane up and down and gave a nod as they passed, which neither of them returned.
After they had passed, Jane turned to the guard. “Are you going to be here again tomorrow, or will it be someone else?”
“I’ll be here,” The guard said.
“Then so will we,” Jane said, “it’s not like we have anywhere better to be.”
Kurt just shrugged.
The next morning, as much as there was such a thing on a space station lit by perpetual light, the guard arrived to find the two humans already waiting for them. they appeared to be terrorizing the guard they were relieving; a small, timid creature with huge ears.
“What’s your name, by the way,” Jane asked after the last guard had scurried away.
“Can I call you Kiki?” Jane asked immediately.
“If you want to.”
They stood there and talked about the Sun Catcher’s visitor rules, the precautions that were taken against smuggling and crime, and the guard’s compensation for their position. Eventually, and to all three of their annoyance, the group of humans returned.
Kiki stepped up to the door, and said, “Identification, please.”
“Hey, pal,” The human leader said, “how are you? You remember us?”
“I do,” They replied, “and I hope you remember too that humans are, for the time being, not allowed on the Sun Catcher.”
“Come on, that’s a load of shit and you know it. We’ve done nothing wrong.” The human looked around at Kurt, leaning against the inside of the arch, and Jane, sitting on top of the boxes. “I’m sure these two agree.”
“I’m sorry, but I don’t make the rules, and I will get in trouble if I let you in. I have to ask you to remain in the docks.”
“Sorry, but we’re going through, and there isn’t—”
Kurt had stepped up beside the guard, “You heard them.”
“Excuse me?” Somehow, the human made the words sound like a threat.
“You heard them,” Kurt repeated. “Rules are rules, and to make everyone feel safe on the Sun Catcher, we’re going to need you to stay in the docks.”
“You should be on our side!” One of the others exclaimed. “Do you think they’re treating us fair?”
“No, but stomping all over the rules isn’t going to help them see our good side. Now, please, return to your ship.”
The largest human in the group stepped forward, so close to Kurt that their faces were only an inch apart.
Jane stuck two of their fingers in their mouth and whistled, high and shrill and so loud that everyone in a hundred meter radius looked over at the gate. “Hey!” They said, “Big, dumb, and ugly. Back away from my partner before I jump off the box and kick you in the face.”
For a long moment, it seemed like the angry humans were going to start fighting, but then the leader of the group stepped back. They spat a blob of mucus onto the ground in front of Kurt, and turned away. The rest of the humans turned and followed them back to the ship, growling discontentedly at each other as they went.
Kurt rolled his joints and took a step back. “Thanks, Jane,” He said.
“You’re welcome.” Jane shuffled back on the boxes.
“How did you do that?” Kiki asked, almost at a shout.
“Oh, it’s easy. So long as they think we’re serious, they’ll behave,” Jane pulled their book back out.
Kiki looked to Kurt, who smirked, “Come here,” he said, “let me tell you a little something about human psychology. We always find a way to get what we want.”
Guidance released by the Queen-Protectorate of the Orbital Station Sun Catcher
Effective immediately, guard rotations on incoming ships and ports are to double in number. At no time should less than two guards be stationed at any entry point from the Sun Catcher. This is explicitly to guard against infiltration and abuse tactics employed by the species “humans” who have forced their way through the gates several times. Guards are to carry short, unspiked batons in secured holsters to deter physical threats, and are encouraged to call attention to themselves and any criminals if they are attempting to force their way through the gate.
Additional lessons for security personnel are available concerning the psychology and behaviors of highly aggressive pack-predators and how to defuse situations. Those who find themselves facing such as situation are encouraged to reach out to their supervisors and ask for assistance while the incident is in progress.
As of the date of this guidance, any humans entering the Sun Catcher must identify themselves and be issued a temporary day pass equipt with a tracking device so they can be found at any time. They must also be searched for any weapons or dangerous materials they might be carrying. Human submitting to these terms will be allowed entry to the orbital station and all its public amenities.
Finally, the Queen-Protectorate welcomes two new security staff to the Sun Catcher. Kurt, Human, and Jane, Human, have joined the Sun Catcher security detail. As such, they are permitted onto the main deck and security quarters of the ship. Please welcome them warmly.
Glory to the Queen.