Time: 10 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.
“Hugging Day” (Inspired by this list of silly holidays.)
Every species we knew said the Zagadins were the most caring and advanced species in the galaxy. When we finally managed to encounter them, it was with a sense of excitement. At last, we were friends with the cool species.
Cool be damned, thought the military—the Zagadins had technology, and they liked to share. For decades, other species had been able to travel faster than us, able to make ships we could only dream of. And when we asked for or demanded their technologies, they shrugged (or whatever a shrug was to their species) and said it came from the Zagadins. We could finally fleece the galaxy’s biggest hippy chumps and become king of the ant hill.
The Zagadins diplomatic arrival was all over the News Nets. They wanted to meet everyone! Secretary of state, president, secretary of the navy, senators, mayors, professors—for them, it was the more the merrier. They wouldn’t hear of restricting the event. Thousands of people came.
And the Zagadins introduced themselves with their cultural tradition—hugging. The military knew they had these hippies now. Everyone at the arrival got a hug from a Zagadin. And as promised, the Zagadins sent the government files full of technology afterwards.
But a strange thing happened. Those who had met the Zagadins didn’t care about using the technology to conquer. They just wanted to hug, and then the people they hugged became peaceful as well.
We asked other species. They shrugged some more. That’s how the Zagadins work. Their hugs transmit resequencing retroviruses that promote peacefulness. The Zagadins won’t meet a species until they work out the retroviruses necessary. Perhaps it’s a little invasive, but let’s hug it out, the aliens said.
A few hugless humans remained, and they were horrified. They fled to Io and founded a hugless colony. But they should really loosen up. Too bad they can’t hug it out.