Contact - continued from Arrival

What happens when you only have 70% percent fluency in an alien language on a potentially hostile planet?   (Continuation of ARRIVAL)

Log of Captain Bemot Muti:

  I telepathically message the crew. ‘Ensure your translators are active. The message they sent appears welcoming, though we only have a 70% estimate of accuracy. Not enough samples of the language were taken before planetfall.’   The ‘door’ we open in the top requires welding torches, since the other hatches were buried under two tons of dirt and rock. It hurts to watch my vessel be butchered.   Slowly, the crew peels the hull square back, so we don't frighten the natives.   Will they be like us? So far our race hasn’t been welcomed.   As the Captain, I show myself first. Creeping into view of the opening, I hear the staccato words. Hopefully the translation, 'Exit [—] your hands [—] and [—] [—] weapons in the ship' is enough, because they have weapons drawn. Doing my best to follow the half translated command, I don't know if I have the fortitude to keep introducing our species. But I have to for the vdram.   ‘Why are they pointing weapons at us, Tersav?’ I ask, sending a fear tinged telepathic image of the last encounter. ‘I don't know. Their emotional cues seem strange.’   "DO YOU SPEAK [EEN-GLISH]?" the translator roughly drones each word shouted at us.   'What a barbaric language!' The engineer shakes his head.   My voice rings clear to show my honesty. "Diẓdesoy we a message oh this system. Was ba truth?"   The aliens only shift positions. One screams into an amplifier, "Turn [—] [—] a circle. ”   In sync, we rotate.   To show sincerity, I put my weaker left side forward. "Speak pritvutrap us ẓduch your leaders. Offer we technology. Send to your gdo." Sweeping my hands open, then pointing to my head I hope they understand the sign for telepathy. Quickly, the crew agrees to offer a superior energy source. So I broadcast the specs to these strange people.   Their reaction? The aliens just tilt their heads or stiffen.   'Tersav, why didn't they respond? Did we offend?' I ask my copilot.   'Not all telepathy works the same way, Captain.'   This time, I push harder. The impact whooshes like a howling wind. Some of the aliens collapse as they hold their heads.   "[—] did you [—] do?" The shouting one turns the same red shade as his amplifier.   ‘Simpler words?’ my co-pilot suggests.   "Send knopshoa of technology. Share we. Not ofsil?"   The speaker’s words come in a rush. "Those men and [—] [—] not be harmed or we'll [—] your ship to [—]."   My co-pilot hisses, and out of habit emits a telepathic transmission telling them to slow down. It brings a ring of the closest beings to their knees and one of the flying vehicles falls.   ‘Tersav!’   ‘Sorry! On it, Sir!’ Sprinting toward the vehicle, he brings all four hands up.   ‘No!’ Is my immediate reaction. But I can’t choose for him.   Centering himself, he draws on the one time powers that the maker bestowed at his naming ceremony. A scream punctuates the air around us. Pops sound as a crewmate creates a shield for Tersav.   If he can pull this off perhaps we still have a chance.   Whispering a prayer, I ask that his gift not be used in vain. A rush of the soul coursing from his body brings him to his knees. A shimmer is the only outward indication of his sacrifice to save these creatures.   ‘Captain, it was an honor serving under you,’ are Tersav’s last words to me.   When the energy reaches the alien craft, the shimmer intensifies slowing it’s fall. His body pitches forward as he plows face first into the dirt. Still he holds his arms high and his beak chatters his words.   To my dismay, the vessel still plummets, all be it more slowly. Tersav’s last transmission? ‘Master I commit myself fully to saving these beings. Use up my essence.’   His arms fall. His body is still.   I’d not asked him to perform the prit, just give a solution. Loss rends us all, as a flurry of memories of Tersav from the crew fill my mind.   A group of the beings rush to the safely deposited vehicle. “They’re alive, [—]!” is broadcast on their transmission frequencies.   “Offer we friendship! If were we here to sreya, your gdokni planet would have been knobaoy.”   One of them ambles forward in that strange upright gait with his many fingered hands raised. Does he mean to insult or greet? “You crash [—] our planet, offering friendship and technology, attack [—] men, and [—]. [—] you say you come in peace?”   “Attacked not. Is not communication smalnon with yours? Was not dlip.” Why can’t I communicate with them via images? A picture would clarify everything.   “How can we [—] you’re speaking the truth? You could be [ly-ing].”   My foot stomps the ground. “Understand not this word [ly-ing]. Saved your people. Died did my friend. Spoke we our gdolṣe. Is what your gdolṣe?”   The alien nods. “I assume you mean [pur-pose], [—] is [—] our people. I am Joshua Reynolds. You may speak your [pur-pose] and share your technology with me. [—] I will bring it to my [country’s] leaders.”   Pointing both hands to my center, I try again. “Am Bemot Muti.” Then I indicate our vessel. “Am Rostoyaʂ Opshula-Muti. Is what this word [coun-tree]? Translate did not.”   Joshua Reynold’s eyebrows raise. “Welcome, Bemot Muti. This planet, Earth, is divided up into smaller [—]. Does that translate?”   What a strange greeting. At least the automated translator is improving from the considerable amount of communication it scans. “Does not. Speak from gdo your race?” I point to emphasize the meaning. “Den-se not with many words. Diff-i-cult.”   The alien nods . “I can [—].”   “Yes?”   It takes a deep breath. “I will ask if my people are [—].”   Placing my hands together with fingers facing forward indicating peace, I offer, “Wait will we inside our ship. Communicate well when, share we technology. Is svitse?”   Sweeping a hand horizontally through his perception, he asks, “Is this all your [—]? My leaders want to [—]. Stay where we can see you. Waiting to share, is [—].”   That startles me. It’s being greedy? There is only so much we can give until we know there will be peace. “Want you bayudach more?” My arms sweep across each other and I growl. “No.”   Will going against its wishes cause war? I hope not. “Yibe elnem ship for food. Did not offer you.”   “My people can bring food and drink.”   Thank the Master for this first touch of hospitality. Perhaps these aliens aren’t complete barbarians. “Scan will we before zniml.” I point to my wrist tools.   It holds up a black box. A threat? So, I step back pushing my hands forward. The alien’s eyebrows lift again. He points to it. “Communication.”   “Yes.”   Joshua Reynolds points to each crew member muttering something that must be counting, saying to the primitive device, “We need food for [—] and find me a [telepath].”   “[Te-le-path]?”   Constant eye contact from this being is jarring, but it points to its head. “A [telepath] is a person [—] speaks with this. [—] we wait. Food [—] [—] here soon.”   “Give our thanks. Establish peace when, may see our ship Joshua Reynolds.”   The upturn of the alien’s mouth and release of tension must be good. “Thank you.”   “Sit you on the ground?”   The alien clicks the black box again, “Add [—].” To me, it says, “We’ll sit on [—] soon.”    

2 hours + a meal and sit later:

A small alien is lead by a much larger one holding the small one’s hand and a metallic weapon. These creatures are so slender and tall compared to our stalky heavy-G bodies. It was hard to step out of the ship with out flinging oneself into the atmosphere.   Joshua Reynolds kneels to the small one’s height. “Hi [Au-ror-ah], I’m Josh.”   Joshua Reynolds says, “This is Bemot Muti. The one who needs [—], because he says he speaks from his [—]. Will you [—] us?”   The small fuzzy-topped head bobs as the creature’s wide eyes scan me. Then it’s mouth squishes closed. Reaching out a small hand it steps haltingly forward. It must have agreed. Is it afraid because I look different? At least we’re the same height. So I don’t frighten it, I mirror its hand held out gesture.   When our hands meet I don’t feel the familiar open mind of my people, but one tightly closed. The creature shakes. Afraid? To start the communication, I put a neutral image to the front of my mind—the last nebula we investigated. Giving a gentle nudge, I wait for the small one to accept. With a tentative reach, it tastes the offering for safety. Then, the mental channel closes tight.   “Aurora can you tell us [—] is [—]?” Joshua Reynolds asks, putting a hand on it’s shoulder. “Did it [—] you?” The little creature jumps like a wild animal, breaking the contact with both of us. Fists clenching, it shouts, “Don’t [—] me!” It’s arms wrap around itself. “St…stars. Something [—].”   Joshua Reynolds puts his hands up, then kneels again. “Thank you for telling us what you saw.”   “Au-ror-ah?” I stand, patting the seat hoping the invitation gesture is familiar. When it joins me I hold out my hand again, an offering. Upon contact, I ask , ‘What is wrong?’ I can only hope our minds function enough alike that the thoughts translate for it. Despite the alien pulling back, I leave my hand up to show I’m open to communication.   Water falls from Au-ror-ah’s eyes, its chin juts forward. When its hand slaps onto mine, the channel opens wide and images of intense violence, betrayal and fear rush in. Two of my hands cover my eyes, but it doesn’t block out the pain of this small person—this little girl. The crew mirrors my action from the ship wide telepathic link. ‘By the Master, I swear to you none of that will happen again.’ The crew adds agreement and a burning anger at the one who harmed this innocent one. Her arms fly around my neck and I return the gesture. ‘Help me help you, Aurora. I need your words.’   Her body heaves and more water flows from her face, but she speaks my thoughts between breaths. “Joshua Reynolds…you brought us a br…broken one. Her powers awoke after abuse.”   The mediator sucks in a breath. Her thoughts flow in informing me Joshua is the name I should use and is a ‘he’. Multiple genders. Interesting.   He sits with us—a good omen. “Sorry for scaring you, Aurora.” To me he says, “Are you sure? Do we need to get another telepath?”   Her voice squeaks, as her fist curls stopping just shy of his face. “Joshua, why would you not believe her?! Telepathy is a mind open—full trust. I’m amazed she allowed this contact. What is the punishment for hurting another? This is more important than the needs of my people right now.” My crew, may the Master bless them, all shout agreement.   Her young mind processes relief as Joshua nods. “Aurora, who hurt you?”   She shakes as the images flow. So, I speak the strange syllables of words that crush my soul. “Her pa-rents.”   Joshua closes his eyes. “I’m so sorry, little one. I’ll report this.” He lifts the black box again.   ‘They won’t take me back, will they?’ She goes rigid as she pushes the thought.   Another man kneels, removing his helmet. He has multi-pointed symbols on his collar. “You’re safe, Aurora.” To Joshua he directs, “Tell them, if they don’t legally pursue those worthless piles of excrement, I will hunt them down myself. They’ll prefer the law.”   Joshua’s eyes go wide before relaying the message.   With the girl’s help I speak the unfamiliar words slowly. “She wants to stay with my crew. We will take responsibility for her.”   “Is that what you want, Aurora?” the two men start to ask at the same time, until Joshua’s voice peters off.   Nodding into my shoulder, she croaks, “Yeah.”   The one with the helmet says, “I’m General Hickmann. You won’t have to go back. Until there are better arrangements, my guards and I will stay here with you.”     Within the week the parents are prosecuted. All the crew testifies, despite protests from some of the humans telling us to go home. The General brings in doctors who examined Aurora, verifying her abuse.   How could someone so small endure so much?   Still shook up, Aurora hovers near my crew. But with rest, she’s excited to start her role as the youngest ambassador on the planet.   Detailing the engine, I send the words for the schematics we have on the screen and she uses simple words. Though, she grasps concepts quickly. The scientists have trouble taking turns asking questions.   “Are you saying this power supply could provide energy for a whole city?” the one called Dr. Nils asks.   Aurora and I answer in unison, “It does on our home planet.” Such affection for my people endears her to the whole crew.   After the presentation and gift of a reactor from our ship, we’re allowed to meet with the country’s leaders. Mixed reaction greets our request. But after a heated vote, our people are allowed to settle the farthest gas giant if needed. But the council suggests we investigate Kepler 62e, after our people arrive.   In the end, we choose the Kepler planet, 1,200 light-years away with it’s primitive lifeforms. It’s new name will be Rolezn. When Aurora becomes an adult, a hypergate is constructed from the remains of our ship and Earth’s much advanced technology. Joining the mission to move OUR people from the dying planet—she becomes the first human to set foot on a planet outside her solar system.   If we hadn’t crashed on Earth, it would have been easy to consider this complicated and volatile people as enemies. But because of Aurora Brown, Joshua Reynolds, and General Hickmann we know there truly were friends awaiting us on Earth, just as the message from NASA suggested.   —This ends the Earth log of Bemot Muti and Aurora Brown

View From the Den

View From the Den    Subscribe for Full Access     Follow on Twitter or Tumblr     Liminal Chronicles     Hacks and Help


Articles under Contact - continued from Arrival



Cover image: by NASA

Comments

Please Login in order to comment!
Powered by World Anvil