Fraternizing with the neighbor species led to a bit of a mix-up, and an unfortunate reaction that ended with a face (and mouth) full of this alien substance.

  • Consistency is like a thick mucous mixed with clay or flour. Something between very thick mud and slime.
  • Smells awful
  • Removal is difficult, dry hair and fur are easier to clean, while exposed skin is more difficult, wet surfaces (hair, fur, inside mouth) are nigh impossible to remove.
  • Left alone, the substance will degrade in 24 hours to a non-problematic state.

Unfortunately for our MC, a busy day lies ahead with little consideration for her mistake that morning.

While a solution would be desirable, it would have to be quick, as she's already spent enough time cleaning her fur.


  1. Writing supplies are in short supply, and only a few of the attendees can (or are willing) to read anything written.
  2. It's a busy day, and gestures are unlikely to be noticed. (Her closest friends will see them but no one else will.)


  1. Can only smell this substance
  2. Substance has coated tongue, making it heavier (albeit, certainly not unusable)
  3. Substance has concentrated at back of throat, and can trigger choking/coughing fits due to excessive motion (especially bending over)
  4. Substance is not inherently inflammatory, although repeated choking fits can cause inflammation
  5. Speech is impeded because of substance

She knows two languages, Common (English) and Old Dialect (A combination of squeaks, chips, and whistles relying on pitch, tone and combinations to relay her point).

Thankfully, most everyone around her understands both these languages, but she'll need to communicate in Common for at least a few individuals.

So, What sounds can (or can't) she make, given the circumstances?

Alternately, are there any forms of communication or treatments that she's overlooking?

It's only 24 hours, but things will go horribly awry if she can't communicate effectively.

Bonus love to anyone explaining or using anything other than the alien alphabet I saw while researching phonetics for this.

Edit: I failed to bring up that MC is capable of breathing otherwise normally. (Thanks y'all for bringing that up, I completely forgot that)

  • Severe exertion (excessive exercise and bending down) can dislodge the substance (causing a fit until it moves back into place or medical attention is needed)
  • She is capable of breathing and drinking water (small sips) safely.

(ty y'all)

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ By your description, breathing is a greater issue than speaking. $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Aug 8, 2018 at 9:13
  • $\begingroup$ If throat is blocked, but pharynx is not (not sure how its possible though), full spectrum of nasal sounds is available, similar to a person with taped mouth. If pharynx is blocked, then breathing is not possible. Disclaimer - this is human anatomy, your heroine is apparently not human. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Aug 8, 2018 at 17:33
  • $\begingroup$ She has fur? That is not human. $\endgroup$
    – Vincent
    Aug 8, 2018 at 22:06
  • $\begingroup$ Would I still be looking at these same issues for a partial blockage? $\endgroup$
    – user40385
    Aug 8, 2018 at 23:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Alexander I thought of the taped idea but wondered if there would be any difference if she still had control of her lips. Or if I'm looking at a partial blockage, would she just end up with a sore/inflamed throat (otherwise full range but hoarse and hypernasal) $\endgroup$
    – user40385
    Aug 9, 2018 at 0:30

4 Answers 4


The point with speech is that vocal chords create the sound, and your mouth and toungue "shape" it into recognisable letters. Maybe look into what sounds mute people can make depending on the exact cause of their disability.

Have you ever played an air instrument? They put these cylinders in the "sound" opening to effectively mute or change the colour of the sound. Humans aren't musical instruments though, but if the vocal chords can move freely, the thing in their throat will effectively just change the colour of the sound. Like, when you're sick, your voice often sounds a bit deeper and/or quieter.

Also, think about whether this substance damages the mucous tissue in the throat, that could make their voice raspy or grated.

Or maybe, if they can't speak at all, they can make that sound that usually rude people make before they passionately spit on the sidewalk, that "gathering mucus in the back of my throat" sound. Or snorting (since it's done through the nose).

Some clicking object could be used to attract attention, or maybe they could use a text-to-speech device (if your world has one).

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the info and metaphor! I'll definitely look into it, and I actually remembered that instruments might be lying around somewhere, which in and of themselves would make a great tool! Also clicker, idk where it is yet but she will find one, due to you :) $\endgroup$
    – user40385
    Aug 11, 2018 at 8:33

Puking. The sound you make is puking. Take a toothbrush and push on throat end of your tongue. If you are not a master of ignoring gagging reflex (see it's even called reflex) you will start making puking noises and if you won't stop you will puke.
Puking is body reaction to push anything you have between your teeth and stomach out through mouth.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Though a fun factoid for you: the gag reflex isn’t actually a reflex, it’s a psychological thing typically learnt shortly after weaning (hence why babies don’t really care when they vomit). $\endgroup$
    – Joe Bloggs
    Aug 8, 2018 at 12:35

Clapping sounds can be made with hands assuming the MC has hands, snapping of fingers can also make sounds.

If the species have lips one could whistle.

If the substance only paralyze the MC's vocal band (se Separantrix comment about breathing) one could if available, use a vocal vibrator to stimmulate the speach while talking.

  • $\begingroup$ I love the idea of clapping and snapping, which didn't come to mind for some silly reason! Just wanted to say that I adore this answer, despite not "choosing" it! $\endgroup$
    – user40385
    Aug 11, 2018 at 8:29

Would armpit farts be usable? Other options include silent forms of communication, like blinking Morse Code. If she could find someone who understands ASL (Sign Language), she could potentially use that. All three of these you'd have to know ahead of time, though (especially Morse Code and ASL).

If any of her friends understand her, then she could use them to speak for her.


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