Flash Fiction: Earth to Earth

Interplanetary Alliance Historical Record 6778

Excerpt from a Common Tongue log kept by the Queen of Ktkkh

When the ones from the stars arrived, we made a bad first impression. In our defence, we had never seen creatures with so much meat on the outside before, so naturally we hunted them. Our six legs are fast and strong, but they are good runners and often outlasted us on their two meaty ones. We confess that their flesh is delicious, however we would certainly never mention that to any of their faces.

Their physiology is very strange. Each of the four limbs ends in five digits, with opposable thumbs on the upper limbs. Hair comes out of the tops of their heads, and from a few other places, although this varies from body to body. Shading of flesh varies as well, and their eyes are a bit disgusting. We find them fascinating.

When we eventually got around to communicating with them, we discovered that they are intelligent and complex creatures, and we brought them before us, so we could see them with our clearest eyes.

They entered our hall and bowed to us. We found their lack of synchrony in movement incredibly disconcerting, but were pleased to see that our peoples shared certain gestures. Their strange small eyes grew round with surprise when they saw us, seated on our throne, surrounded by our drones. We make an impressive sight. We had never met another sentient race before their arrival, and were surprised to discover that while they were speaking to us–we could clearly discern their chemical and electrical signals–they did not understand us. Later we discovered that their sensory organs–olfactory, auditory, etc.–were inferior to ours and unable to discern the signals we use to command and receive information. This lead to many miscommunications at the start. These creatures called humans like to deceive themselves.

We had to find other ways of communicating with them, so we learned some of their language. Our teachers tell us we do rather well with Common Tongue, but we don’t wish to brag. We think we still have a bit of an accent.

“Why do you move so strangely?” we asked our teachers one day.

“How do you mean?” one teacher-mouth replied.

“You move as if your mind is not one,” we said firmly.

The teacher-mouth stared. After a long while, they replied:

“Our minds are not one.”

*

In that moment while our mind grappled with this concept, our drones apparently ceased all movement. The humans working with them at the time reported this back to us, their accounts scattered and piecemeal. We pity them. How slowly humans must have developed, unable to instantly access the experiences and memories contained in each body.

And yet, they reached our planet before we reached them.

Our ships are ready now, and we are preparing to return with the humans to Earth on a diplomatic tour. It feels so strange for us to say that in Common, as “Earth” is what we call our world in our own tongue.

 

 

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