Today’s prompt is below. Please enjoy my response.
The Fermi Paradox asks: if the universe is so big, where are all the aliens? While many plausible theories exist, your job is to come up with the wildest, most outlandish fringe theory to explain why we’ve never met an alien.
Gaius excitedly cycled through the research in his neurolink as he began to orbit the large blue and green world below. Activating stealth mode his ship slipped under detection of any of equipment that the natives below would have access to and warped light around the chassis as to appear invisible. He had prepared for a good portion of his life for this excursion and was so glad that C.I.S.I–the Council of Interplanetary Species Inclusion–had finally issued him all the correct permits for his research expedition to study the inhabitants of a planet called Earth.
Earth was something of an obsession for Gaius, one that he had collected data on and meticulously researched for decades–a measurement of time he had taken to using among certain company to show how versed he was in Earth affairs. The most advanced species among Earth that had made any significant evolution were known as humans. He found humans to be entirely fascinating, quaint and odd in both their makeup and fragility. Humans and Garians actually had a similar aesthetic make up, they were both bi-pedal and shaped close to the same. There were major differences of course. The most basic among them was that humans lived for a far shorter life span than Garians did, and they only had one heart with no backup organ to swap to in emergency situations. Even stranger humans couldn’t cycle their emotions through patterns of bio-luminescent receptors under their skin, they instead had to constantly be aware of a vast network of complex body movement and facial cues in order to understand emotional intent.
Even Gaius, who had studied these interactions intently, could not communicate fluidly in them. How inefficient this method was, and yet that the Earthlings could communicate at all with such a rudimentary system was fascinating to him. In addition they had not developed technology sufficient enough to be equipped with neuro-links from birth, something that Gaius found nearly barbaric. He often thought that Earthlings must feel so incredibly alone within their own head all the time, not being able to instantly share complex thoughts and knowledge across a vast interconnected network of beings. Though both of their species had vocal cords and mouths with which to speak, Garians found almost no need for using them. Audible cues were saved for only the most intimate of interactions, and Gaius found himself cycling a soft pink across the receptors on the back of his arms, hands, and face–the Garian equivalent of what humans called blushing–when he thought of how much he would need to communicate this way during his mission.
He cycled his neuro-link again, refreshing all of the human language from his ship’s database as he thought of this communication, even as he stood and made his way to the travel bay. Gaius cycled a bright exuberant blue, laughter for the Garians, as he thought of how close humans had unwittingly come to their mode of transport in popular media. Obviously taking a transport to the surface would be extremely inefficient, instantaneous matter transport was far more so. Of course there were no bright lights or individuals operating the equipment, one simply disappeared and reappeared in a new place instantly triangulated via a massively complex mathematical equation via their ship’s AI.
Before he triggered the transportation via his neuro-link Gaius stopped and linked to a personal device similar to an Earth mirror. His retina implants would instantly communicate to the neuro-link, which would connect to the device, and as it floated in midair in front of him he could judge his appearance. He activated another device attached to his belt and watched as a synthetic clear fluid covered the ridges across his bald head, obscured the slightly translucent skin, changed his golden pupils, and instantly muted the orange light of excitement that danced across it. Gaius watched as he became an incredibly average looking male of the human species, with brown hair and eyes and a moderate build. He had already been wearing replicated clothes taken straight out of the latest fashion magazines, and was finally ready to blend in with the humans.
These precautions, along with his permits, were necessary. Some more rudimentary species had visited Earth before without disguises, lacking the technology, approval, and the foresight to prepare before interfering. It had lead to something the Humans called the “Roswell Incident”, though that was simply the most popular debacle. A string of other sightings of flying saucers, pranks on the unsuspecting populace from the constantly annoying Trall, had set back a proper expedition to Earth by dozens of their years. The Trall thought it was hilarious, and often would kidnap and probe humans for absolutely no reason before depositing them back on Earth. Even now Earth was something of a taboo subject, most of his peers feeling they simply weren’t ready for evaluation as they viewed the Humans responses to these more inept first contacts.
With the speed of thought he activated his neuro-link and was instantly standing on a cement walkway surrounded by a verdant green field in mid-summer, in a place called Central Park. This was originally a point of contention with his superiors–if he wanted to view the largest populace of people he should have started in Asia. Gaius certainly would see all of the world over his time here, but his enthusiasm for American culture in specific had let them allow the city of New York to be his original destination.
He begin to marvel as he looked around at humans who hadn’t bothered to notice him yet, something his AI had anticipated in this relatively empty location. Under the disguise he imagined his skin was practically radiant with the orange hue of excitement, and he struggled to bring his more analytical mind to the fore. He had wanted to visit this planet for so long, fascinated by its inhabitants and their culture, insistent to the council that they were ready to join their wider galactic community.
Still he had a job to do, and the implications to this race he was so interested in were so numerous that he forced himself to steady his mind and recall the rules that his betters at C.I.S.I. had gone over extensively. He was to integrate into their society as fluidly as possible while also minimizing his outward contact with them. Obviously he must be disguised, all of his technology must be as well, and he could not influence their society at all. All of his findings of the expedition would be recorded on the replicated human device known as a cell phone, though his version was drastically superior to anything they had on Earth as it still connected directly to his neural interface. That report would then be compiled and submitted to the council, and they would decide if any further outreach would be offered to the fledgling society.
“Hey bud, get out of the damn way! Why you just standin’ there?” a gruff New Yorker stated as he shoulder checked him during what appeared to be an afternoon jog. Gaius just stared after him, his mind reeling at this first abrupt contact as he struggled to find the words in his neuro-link to communicate. By the time he had found the proper words the individual had stopped looking back at him and continued on his jog.
“Friggin’ weirdo.” the human muttered to himself further down the path, though Gaius’ superior hearing still picked it up. His neurolink let him know that this was not the most positive of interactions, but purely speaking he HAD been in the human’s way, standing on what his quick double check of the vernacular described as a sidewalk. Still, he had met a human! One of his two hearts raced as what had previously just been videos, static information, and a myriad of biological data to him had turned into a real living organism before his eyes.
Gaius rifled through his database trying to find the correct facial pattern that he had seen earlier in his research. After the few seconds it took to process this information he did the most basic of human interactions–he smiled.
Later that evening Gaius found himself sitting on the edge of a bed, in a construct called a hotel, his disguise temporarily discarded for comfort after he had scanned for any sort of device that could record him. His evening had been incredibly eventful already, and he began his first report without speaking aloud, his thoughts instantly catalogued via his neuro-link along with tagged video files recorded earlier through his retinas.
Report #427XB12: Standard Earth Day 1, Mid Solar Sequence 15–Referred to locally as Summer.
My initial transport has gone successfully and I find myself in New York, a city in the country of the United States of America. Though my first contact with humans was less than amiable, I find no fault with the individual himself. They were apparently exercising–a way that the species apparently reduces fat mass and maintains muscle–and I interrupted him in this ritual. I do not envy the humans in this regard, how terrible it must be to worry about caloric intake or to not process one’s own waste in order to fuel the retaining or building of musculature!
I do however envy the humans for the delight of their sustenance!
After synthesizing and transporting Earth’s money from my ship I first sought out one of, what is apparently, the planet’s most wonderful resource. According to their social media platforms–a grasping attempt from the human’s to connect in a primitive way–there is a cuisine called pizza that is “totes awesome”.
Our perfectly formatted caloric slurry is of course completely efficient, allowing us all that we need to sustain ourselves, but it lacks in any distraction that flavor might cause. As you can imagine I had to ready my body for Earthen food with a host of supplements to build up a tolerance to it over the course of months, but all of that could never have prepared me for what I experienced today.
After finding a local establishment called Mario’s I exchanged currency–still a strange notion that I struggle with–for a slice of this pizza. I have access to the entirety of languages across every species we have encountered, and yet I can’t quite tell you the strange and beautiful experience that flowered in my mouth. Much like us the humans have taste buds of course, but we have long grown intellectually past the need to use them. I suddenly find this a terrible waste–as we witness the beautiful natural beauty of our world and the wonders of space, so too do these humans get to experience this pizza.
As a note to myself I will have to practice chewing and swallowing more in private in the future. I had of course watched plenty of instructional vids on this and had read about the procedure, but apparently the way I performed it was less than adequate. One of the smaller humans, a child by their vocabulary, said “Ew Mommy, what is wrong with that man?” while another older male told me to “Chew with your mouth closed, ya’ weirdo”
Apparently smiling widely and chewing is considered rude and strange in this culture. I shall endeavor to improve.
While I could have easily stayed on the ship I traded more currency in order to stay in this hotel. Each trip back and forth from the ship increases the unlikely chance of being discovered, and I really want to live like one of the natives. The caretaker did treat me strangely, I mistook some of the currency and must have given him far too much, because he thought I was also “lookin’ for special company”. I posited he was talking about conversation with himself, which I was obviously quite ready to agree to in my need for observation, but he blanched when I asked him to accompany me to my room and quickly exited.
I’m going to meditate now and process this food, though the strange heaviness of the pizza internally seems like it’ll take much longer than usual to do. I suppose I’ll have to more deeply meditate, mimicking the human’s sleep as much as anything else. No wonder they have to go nearly unconscious for such long periods of time.
I shall sign off now, but I find my initial interactions satisfactory. Based on pizza alone I feel that humanity’s inclusion into our culture could be promising. Please look forward to further reports.
Gaius transferred the report via his neuro-link to his ship’s AI, who would then in turn condense the data and transfer it to his home world. As he began meditation he glowed a warm amber color of contentment. He was excited about first contact, and was positive that the humans would prove able to join the galactic community.
He was also excited for the vast amount of new experiences tomorrow could bring. After all, he planned on trying a product in the morning made from native wildlife named pigs.
Gaius had read good things about bacon.