The recent discovery of new planets which could support life reminded me of this story I wrote a few years ago.
I firmly believed there could be other civilisations living on alternative planets, and was proud to be involved in the development programme to reach beyond the stars.
We managed to create transportation to finally investigate other universes. It was incorrect to call them ‘ships’; ships sail on water and we are not fish.
Had they returned, the first official denizens of the transporters who conquered intergalactic travel would have been heroes. I was convinced there were many others who made similar trips, but details of their explorations were never made public. My belief was that the rulers kept the disasters confidential so as not to cause disquiet.
It was not until there were successful landings on foreign planets that gradually the news came out, and bit by bit we were informed of their achievements. I well remember the first authorised announcement. At first it was just unfounded gossip passed from mouth to mouth, but the reports spread quickly amongst our society.
Finally it was officially confirmed; we had encountered our first alien species.
The speculations were rife. Would they look like us? Would we be able to communicate with them? Would they understand our culture and traditions and hierarchy?
It was difficult to get proper information and rumours abounded. Eventually much of the hearsay turned out to be founded on fact. It was true they were at least a hundred times bigger than us and their genetic makeup was totally different.
There were however many similarities. Like us, they had male and female; they procreated in the same way. They endeavoured to make a good home and bring up their young in a similar way, teaching them things learnt from parental experiences.
As an intelligent species we were willing to listen and learn. We tried to ignore the differences and look at the common aspects. Our intention was to do everything in our power to discover some way we could exist together in harmony.
It didn’t quite work out like that.
Although we had managed to reach their solar system first, the aliens had also been developing space travel and eventually they ended up as visitors to our planet. We went to greet them and show our hospitality, but with the differences in size it wasn’t an easy task.
The boffins in our culture had developed a language decoder and were eager to try it out on our guests. When the strangers arrived we put our wonderful interpreter close to their transport, and adjusted the squeaks and whistles to compose a long speech of welcome.
The leaders were at the front but everyone else jostled for position to get as close as possible. We all wanted to say we had been there on the historic occasion when we met and communicated with an alien species for the first time in our history.
With no response it appeared there was a problem with the sound levels. The official announcement informed us that as our guests were so high above us it was possible the emissions could not reach to those altitudes. We would need to increase the volume and resonance.
Our experts worked long and hard to do everything in their power to extend hospitality to the bizarre giants who were guests on our planet. We needed to be able to communicate with them, and try to get them to understand our language.
Nothing seemed to work.
Despite all the efforts of our governors and technicians days passed without success.However hard we tried they still seemed distant and remote, unwilling to reach out to us as we had reached out to them.
Then came the moment that almost annihilated our entire race.
One of our braver compatriots decided the only way to communicate was to stand up and greet them, face to face. He left the shelter of the long grass and crawled out until he was right in front of one of the aliens.
‘Ugh, Bugs, I hate Bugs,’ said the human as he stamped on our brave fellow citizen.
Horrified, others of our group rushed forward.
‘There are hundreds of them; all little black creepy-crawlies.’
That was the last thing most of us heard as the human aliens started stamping and crushing all my compatriots. I only escaped to continue the species because I was a coward and rushed back to the safety of the long grass.
From what was left of our population I was appointed leader. My first edict was to have all our inter-galactic equipment destroyed. Never again would I allow my species to get close to humans.
© Voinks October 2013