We were startled by our uniqueness. The first Explorer craft took the time to catalog everything they encountered, well aware that it would be scratching the surface of the biosphere’s they encountered. Their samples, akin to descending on Luxembourg and taking that small nation as the representative sample of Earth, were recorded, preserved, ferried to and fro and studied by hundreds of pairs of eyes.
The end result was as startling as it was true. We were alone in the Universe.
Yes, the Universe teemed with life, some of it intelligent, some of it far in advance of what Human Unity was capable of, but none of it was humanoid. In fact the only humanoids we encountered were those who had come from Earth. Rare were the encounters with other Explorers, even rarer still the remnants of lost colonies which had made their passage via slow boat to nearby stars.
Exobiologists are very excited when another garden world is discovered. They marvel for years about the coincidences of concurrent evolution, whether there is really a best shape or an ideal mould for sentient life. Gone from the discussion are the religious fanatics who insisted that God made Man in his own image. As we became to redefine “life” and what was meant by “man”, so we came to redefine “god”.
The Ajinabi are therefore our worst nightmare. Human Unity finds itself faced with an interstellar society more alien than anything we have encountered. The name Ajinabi was coined by Researcher Adrah Nia.
A creature which has been born on a different planet, which has never seen the light of Sol and did not come from it’s third satellite is truly alien. We have witnessed the hive-like overminds of Rist, the dire warnings from the Tombworlds, the Able, the inscrutable machine intelligences of the Ant Hill and the vast, cool intellects of the Traders. None gave us pause. We understood them as best we could and our expectations were therefore prepared for culture shocks that, in hindsight, never came. We expected aliens and we were not disappointed. Our encounter with the Ajinabi was as profoundly upsetting to our culture as Cortez first visit to the Aztecs.
The Ajinabi are a humanoid race, unlike humans, but chillingly similar. They have two arms, two legs, they are bilaterally symmetrical, possess two eyes, a horizontal mouth, have two distinct genders, reproduce sexually and for the most part could be mistaken for an Earth human without autopsy. We have not yet managed to contact the Ajinabi with any meaningful success. It seems they are a xenophobic aggressive race, bent on conquest and possessing armaments and craft far in advance of anything Human Unity has offered. Two Explorer craft are listed as missing due to Ajinabi encounters and any information we have is based entirely on reports, conjecture and consulting the Kumbu repository.
Any contact with Ajinabi is assumed to be hostile and Explorer craft are advised to retreat immediately.