"So, have you dissected the specimen yet?"
"The laser cuts through the layer of skin but beyond that... Nothing."
"You're joking, right?"
"Nope. Tried it on all the settings, too. Even got the tech people to make sure the laser was working properly."
"Lasers don't cut through them?"
"It's weird. Their's something in the body past the layer of skin that just... Diffuses the laser. Might as well just shine a light on them."
"What about a powerful laser, though?"
"You mean, from a weapon? That kind of a laser?"
"Are you nuts? With a surgical laser, it's so low-powered that it merely diffuses. We hypothesize that a powerful enough laser would actually, well, bounce off of them."
"Yes, like a ball, bounce off of them. Deflection. Like a shield."
"Do you know this for a fact? That these... Whatever they're called, that they can deflect lasers?"
"We've run it through the computer simulation. I mean, we're not savages. We have ethical standards."
"OK. Fine. They deflect lasers. Why not just open them up manually? With a scalpel?"
"Same thing. After the layer of skin, the scalpel melts."
"Yes, melts. The scalpel touches their tendons, muscles, whatever & the scalpel's edge just starts sizzling like crazy. I've never seen anything like it."
"Have you tried dura-steel? Bino-plastic? Molu-plex?"
"Everything. Anything. It's all the same. We tried pumping the region with Goralin gas before cutting. We tried temperature fluctuations while cutting. UV intensity blasts before cutting. Nothing. Physical entry is impossible."
"Now you're exaggerating."
"Look, of course if an asteroid lands on the thing, it'll crush it dead. Duh. Blast it into outer space & it'll suffocate. It's not invulnerable. We just can't disect it in a civilized, scientific manner."
"Do you know what's causing this invulnerability of theirs?"
"We're working on it. We have a few theories."
"It's still a little too early to say but... We think that they have acid for blood."
"Acid for blood. That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard."
"Well, you wanted to know."
"Just how do they manage to have acid for blood?"
"Your guess is as good as mine. Environmental evolution is everyone's good first guess."
"They evolved to have acid for blood."
"Look, what do you want? We just discovered them, OK? We're still trying to decode their language."
"How long does it possibly take to decode the language of a species that's only been sentient for a few thousand years?"
"They're tribal. They're not like us. For every tribe they've got who knows how many languages in that one tribe. Different meanings for the same word. Different contexts for the same word or phrase. They even make up languages that they don't even use... On purpose!"
"Codes? They encode their own transmissions to one another?"
"They have to. They had to know we were coming. Or maybe they were invaded before & this is a reactionary measure to avoid being invaded again."
"They're paranoid, too. Great. That's really going to sell in the report. We've discovered a paranoid, tribal, invulnerable species that talks in code & has acid for blood."
"That's not the worst of it."
"Acid covers their planet."
"Now you're full of it."
"I'm not joking. Remember I said that it may be evolutionary? Their planet is covered in acid. They have acid pools that stretch for hundreds of cubic hlonis. Their entire ecosystem depends on acid. They even have daily ceremonies where they... Well, bathe in acid."
"Bathe in acid."
"We have pictures to prove it! They drink it, they bathe in it, they even swim in it! It's the strangest thing!"
"Have you taken a look around this place for yourself?"
"Are you kidding? I'm not going out there! Two from the last scouting party were killed when they were walking towards a dwelling of theirs. A sprayer-like thing popped out of the ground & started spraying acid all over the place! It fried them on the spot!"
"They use acid to defend themselves?"
"They use acid for everything! If you deprive them of acid, they die!"
"I can't believe our dumb luck! The first species we discover in who-knows-how-long & we can't enslave them because they're primitive, paranoid, walking acid dispensers!"
"I say we don't even bother mentioning this place back at base."
"You're right. They'd never believe us. Out of curiosity, what do they call this acid of theirs? Obviously, they must hold it in high regard if it's so engrained into their culture."
"We figured that part out. They call it 'water.'"
"You said it."
"OK, let's ditch the specimens & get out of this place. The sooner the better."
"Shouldn't we put them back where we found them?"
"Are you crazy? With our luck, they're probably waiting to ambush us there with their 'water'! Just dump them any old place. I'll start erasing the records to show that this solar system doesn't even exist."
"Right. What use does an acid-based species have in our civilized society anyway?"