TITLE: First Contact?
By Clyde Blakely
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<i>Something must have happened with the artificial intelligence scouting probes the command center sent out earlier. None of the beings here resemble the pictures relayed back. The buildings seem familiar and the verbal communication is understandable yet…</i>
Jerardo continues to observe the beings entering into a building. They appear happy and are greeting each over but not in the ordinary method as recorded by the probes.
<i>Interesting, I’ve made initial contact with beings from many world and I have never been given this bad of info…well, I’m not sure if we have enough solid information to make formal contact.</i>
The space traveler remains at his arrival point along a busy thoroughfare taking mental notes of these apparent humanoid creatures. He checks his four dimensional recorder, <i>Good, it’s functioning appropriately, Command will be pleased</i>. Several beings notice Jerardo and give what he assumes are some sort of greetings – one hand raised with second and third fingers oddly spread apart, or two fingers extended as if in a modified salute, while others stare at him and just smile while shaking their head. Jerardo notes the beings are entering into the building but no one is coming out. He decides if he is to make contact with these humanoids he, too, should enter into the building. He can always activate his plasma transporter for quick escape.
“Welcome, glad you could make it. Where y’all from?” vocalizes a humanoid sitting behind a desk.
Jerardo takes a chance and says, “Ah…I believe your world calls it Alpha Centauri.”
“That’s not very far from here, I think that’s the closest planet we have represented today. And you’re not on my list either but you sure are welcome.”
<i>Closest planet? I was told this planet does not yet have even interplanetary travel means.</i>
“What’s you name little fella?”
“Jerardo.” This being seems friendly enough.
“Jerardo…that’s G, A, R, D, O right?”
Not to offend, Jerardo agrees.
The humanoid hands Jerardo a small piece of paper wrapped in plastic with a sharp metal projectile on the back.
“Want me to put it on for you little fella?”
Jerardo looks around and all the other beings have these placed on their chest.
“Yes, please,” proud that he understood the custom of using courtesy.
The humanoid comes around the table, bends over to reach his short guest and stabs Jerardo in the chest with the metal projectile.
<i>Curious custom. I’m not sure I like it. Central Command said nothing about this.</i>
“I hope you enjoy yourself.”
<i>This is supposed to make one feel joy?</i> He decides to move on before this being wants to bring more joy into his life.
Moving through the crowd of beings he sees many creatures not documented by the AI probes and he does not recognize any species he is familiar with from his vast space travels. There are some things in common with all the different species he observes within this building: they all have two arms, two legs, and one head. Yet they all have vastly different appearance. He is relieved to know that he somewhat fits in by also having two arms, two legs, and a head. Many species he has made contact with have many or none of these. Almost every creature here is much taller than him which is somewhat disconcerting.
Jerardo moves through the crowd almost unnoticed, eavesdropping on conversations. He is disturbed there are so many bragging about galaxy conquests and wars, space travel by means Jerardo has not heard of, and in hearing of weapons of such mass destruction that goose pimples breakout over his green scales and his cold blood starts to warm.
<i>These creatures are obviously from far reaches of the universe. Species we know nothing about. This appears to be a war conference to conquer more worlds. Could we be next?</i>
Jerardo continues what now has become a spy mission rather than a first contact. He hears nothing to alleviate his fears. He must report this to Command. His entire world is in jeopardy. He quietly walks through the crowd and finds a door labeled “Exit”. Once outside he is relieved that the probes had at least acquired an adequate verbal and written language for him to use, otherwise he might never be able to escape with his life.
He activates the subspace transmitter, “Central Command, the probes were wrong. I have my entire contact recorded. I’m sure you will agree that we must strike now while this war conference is still meeting. This is a hostile planet and must be eliminated without delay.”
More beings are filing into the building; more beings which he does not recognize. How could Central Command have been so wrong about such a dangerous planet? They have advanced far beyond any capabilities his beings possess.
<i>Surprise must be our main weapon now. This planet must also possess a superior shield to have hidden their activities for so long. Fortunate I was able to visit at such a time as this.</i>
Jerardo activates the plasma transporter and beams back to his planet. In doing so, the heat produced chars a billboard overhead reading:
<b>“Welcome to San Francisco’s First Annual Science Fiction Convention”</b>
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