A Warped Tales Entry …
The PonPons as you probably already know are considered to be one of the most beautiful humanoid species in the known universe. It is said that when the crew of the Orion made first contact with the PonPons the captain and crew who first set eyes on them were speechless. It took the prodding of a nonplussed ensign to snap them out of their worship like trance. The PonPons who were just as excited to meet a new species suggested that they meet right away. The captain of the Orion readily agreed and offered his ship for the event. The Orion being a Command Ship was set up for just such an event with an elegant “first contact” portal bay with all the accouterments necessary to put on a good face. Everyone on board the Orion had seen the video of the PonPons and they tried to beg, steal, borrow, coerce, or otherwise get themselves added to the list of “dignitaries” who would greet the PonPons in person. The occasion was carefully planned and arraigned to the last detail. The tables were set with all the best food and drink a Command Ship could conjure up. The anticipation was palatable when the moment finally arrived.
In hindsight there is something to be said for regulations, especially those concerning first contact situations. In addition to standard PICO (Protocol In Case Of) there is a separate and very large manual for dealing with first contact and just about everything is spelled out in detail. But the one detail that seemed to be forgotten in the case of the Pon Pons was human nature. The stunning beauty of the PonPons seemed to have the entire crew under a spell. As the moment of their arrival neared, the portal bay was filled to capacity as everyone waited in anticipation with a certain smugness in that they all would be the first to lay eyes on this new and beautiful alien.
As the PonPon’s shuttle docked and the PonPon ambassador and his entourage entered through the airlock there was an audible reaction from all those present. It was as if each person had caught their breath and held it. The captain and the first officer stepped forward with their hands out to greet them. Everyone present was smiling and as a group they all inched forward a little trying to get closer to the incredible beauty that was now only feet away.
When the first wave hit you have to admit that command trained their officers well because only a few of those in the front row reacted. But when the PonPons moved closer to the captain and first officer to greet them there was no stopping the onslaught.
It was something so simple that even the protocol sensors didn’t pick it up and with all the excitement I doubt anyone would have taken a notice of the scan if it had. But it was this one thing that created one of the most memorable first contacts in all of human history.
The odor, it was the smell, the beautiful PonPons stank. It wasn’t BO or some residual gas from their planet’s atmosphere, they were rank awful stinking rotten, eye watering horrors. The captain and first officer were the first to fall. The sounds they made at they reacted to the stench was guttural and almost primeval. Those in the back thought the PonPons were attacking the command staff and started to raise the alarm but it was only seconds before the rank stench reached them and everyone else in the room.
Then the nausea started as if on cue and everyone began to vomit. But not the kind of vomiting you normally think of, but the kind where your stomach seems to be trying to exit your body. Everyone, no matter how hard they tried to resist were now on their hands and knees retching without control. The PonPons through all this stood silently watching and it was what they did next that helped create a whole new chapter in the first contact manual.
The PonPons ambassador gestured to his entourage and with an almost practiced flair pulled aside the front of his robe. Each in his party did the same and you could see what appeared to be an opening in their chests. The ambassador again gestured and together they all kneeled close to the captain and first officer who were still retching on the floor. Then with raised hands they started to imitate the sounds they heard coming from the humans. The opening in their chests, like some sort of mouth opened up and out spilled large black and green globs that when they hit the floor seemed to continue to move and undulate on their own and rolled towards the captain and first officer leaving a trail of grey slime in their path. If the odor coming from the PonPons was vile then what emanated from the slime covered globs on the floor was horror personified.
This scene would have probably lasted for a lot longer if it wasn’t for an ensign with a head cold who wasn’t able to smell full the horror show and activated the emergency protocol that lowered the blast shield thereby separating the PonPons from the crew. Unfortunately she also opened the portal bay door and allowed the stench to travel through several corridors creating an all new set of victims.
Even after the air cleaners started scrubbing the atmosphere the smell was still lingering. I actually got to meet the ensign who activated the emergency protocol and she told me that hasn’t had a head cold since.
But the final chapter was not written until the clean up crew (in class one containment suits) started to clean up the “vomit” the PonPons had left behind. They started to vacuum the mess but had trouble because it was very viscous so they started to do it the old fashion way and scoop it up into containment bags. That’s when they noticed that the black and green globs were moving and trying to avoid them!
It was then discovered that the black and green globs were in fact the PonPons! The stinking writhing mass on the floor was the sentient and dominant part of their symbiotic relationship. The pretty things everyone had fallen in love with were some sort of vessel the PonPons had grown from one of the lower life forms on their planet. Quick thinking on the part of the clean up crew averted an incident so that the PonPons ambassador and his staff did not get tossed out like so much garbage.
But the PonPons actually took it pretty well and once you got past the stink they are actually quite pleasant. The only thing is, it took forever to convince them that what the captain and his staff had vomited on the floor was not in charge and that they had to interact with the “ugly bipeds” as they referred to humans.