Galactic Federation Survey
Civilization on Planet OGC 458-03 (“Earth”)
Submitted by: Knarf, Survey Anthropologist 2nd Class
Customs and Rituals – Part IV
[Background: For those who haven’t read the introductory paper on this pre-starfaring civilization, a quick word: This world has a very high number of plant and animal species, of which the group known as “humans” have risen to the top of the ladder. As has occurred elsewhere, evolution of sentient species on Earth has favored the an upright laterally symmetrical form with two limbs used for locomotion and two other limbs used for manipulation of tools as well as non-verbal communications. The humans communicate primarily via sound produced by forcing air through an orifice, while altering the sounds using muscles within the oral cavity. Facial expressions and hand movements are also used. Other sensory organs are eyes, which perceive higher frequencies (light) and ears, which perceive lower frequencies (sound)….]
This observer was asked by our lead scientists to join a group of humans in observation of a rather peculiar and emotional contest between a person who seemed to be playing the part of an aggressive animal, and a group of people who kept beating back the aggressor using indigenous techniques for generating an incredible amount of noise. This ritual (I assume it was merely a ritual as no blood was shed except as noted below) took place in an interior amphitheater with spectators sitting in formation around the spectacle.
The ceremony began with the aggressor appearing in front of the brave soldiers who were defending the audience. The assailant began barking and gesticulating wildly with both arms, which stimulated the defenders to rise to the defense by using various tools and devices to produce a range of cacophonous noise that truly assaults the ears.
Though there are times when the attack dog was pretty quiet and fairly still in his body movements (during which time many of the defenders stopped to rest while others softened their din considerably to more tolerable frequencies and sound levels), there were times when this warrior was so animated that I feared that he’d fall off the small platform on which he was standing. So jerky were his movements that the mop of hair atop his head was swirling as if attacked by a high wind. His eyes were wide and he was showing his teeth in a most hostile and belligerent manner, all the while shouting and snarling at the defenders (though, I must admit, it was difficult to hear him due to the dissonance from the defenders), which egged them to ever-greater heights of hubbub and din.
Let me briefly describe the tools of torture used by the guardians: There were two who were hammering different round and bowl-shaped devices, others who were apparently blowing into an assortment of tubes similar to our plumbing and sanitary appliances, and a large group was sawing away on hollow wooden chests of various sizes ranging from some as tall as the soldiers down to some as small as personal suitcase. Somehow the noise produced by this latter group was generated by sawing a stick across some wires, which were constantly being massaged by the stewards using their manipulative digits. The very sound will make the hairs on your neck stand on end.
Eventually after about an hour, the attacker signaled defeat by lowering his arms and gesturing submissively to the guardian force, indicating that the guardians had overcome the evil beast attacking their community. When the beast turned toward the onlookers, they apparently thought that he was about to attack them as they immediately began their own tumult by banging their hands together and stamping their feet on the floor, while others produced a shrill whistling noise from their mouths. This resulting raucous sound so unnerved the attacker that he immediately bowed in submission. Still the spectators continued their noise, and only after the scrappy attacker returned several times to demonstrate his submission did the commotion finally die down.