Hey, back again with another story. This one is again Sci-Fi (which is no surprise) and is set in the same universe as last weeks. However, it is not a sequel, prequel, sidequel or anything like that. It is a self-contained story. Really, it’s less about the setting and more about relationships. Wow, it’s quite difficult to be vague without spoiling stuff. So with that in mind I will say no more other than it’s about 9,300 words long. Enjoy!
“Orius D’Nian, the day the Consortium of Infinitude have wished many years for has finally arrived.” Sinifin announces with a loud, proud, strong voice in the native language of the Cense, a race of aliens who arrived on Earth, above it truthfully, some fifteen years ago.
Alas, their arrival was not without issues seeing as phasing in-system above the planet known as Earth resulted in the cataclysmic and highly unintentional particle annihilation of the third rock from the sun’s only natural satellite, the Moon. This blunder led to some calamities on the marble planet for which the Cense apologised profusely. After all, their intention had never been to destroy. Rather, the race of bipedal six eyed aliens with skin smooth and hairless that stand at one and half metres in height, had crossed vast swathes of space to learn.
Humanity is the first, and thus far only, other species of relative technological advancement that the Cense have managed to locate. Until this point they had been searching for so long that they were on the verge of accepting defeat, declaring themselves the only advanced lifeforms in all the galaxies. This age, until departure from their homeworld I’tarinisla, had been known as the Age of Solemn Loneliness. Fifty thousand years ago the Age was feared to be the beginning of the end for the Cense. Not because of wars, famine, disease or anything like that, but rather because it seemed, to the species, that without other advanced life they could elevate themselves no further.
“And you, D’Nian, have been chosen to be the first of us who shall walk amongst the race known as humans, free.” Somehow Sinifin has managed to puff out his chest, quite a feat for Cense who breathe through pours in their skin. Their bodies reliant on nitrogen rich atmospheres, and as luck would have it, Earth’s atmosphere is highly rich in the gas. This means there is no need for breather suits.
D’Nian in particular is relieved about that for they personally find the suits ruthlessly uncomfortable in all the wrong places. Though, they quickly flick off such thinking and back to the words being cast out by the member of the Consortium of Infinitude.
In truth it is a fancy way of saying council. They are but one part of Cense society which endeavours to remain fair and oversee consistent care over every citizen of the Parsenum, the collective name for their civilization in all its complexities.
“As you are aware, Orius…” Sinifin pauses as if lost for words, deep in thought. As for Orius, it is not a name but rather a title. Every Cense holds one, though only in settings such as this are they generally used. At one time that had not been the case, but the Age of Complex Overfulfillment is mercifully long past.
“…, we made a great blunder when we arrived over Earth. Destroying the celestial body known as the Moon, we felt obliged to apologise a billion times. Thankfully, humanity did not retaliate. Rather, it was the beginning of a consultation; a brokering of words which led us to the minor integration and meeting with certain sections of human society.” To be honest Sinifin doesn’t understand what that means, certain sections of society, and is simply parroting back words they heard used to describe those who the Cense have mingled with. Still they continue their dual role of announcing and recounting.
“The transition period which followed has been protracted. We, the Consortium of Infinitude, would have preferred more immediate meetings of our species but humanity did not agree. The politics, which they made clear were involved, are their own. Not a matter then or now for Cense. Graciously, that era has ended and today you D’Nian will embark to the Allied States Of America’s city of Newcova.”
The Allied States of America, or ASA as it is more commonly referred, is a collective formed out of the old USA, Canada and Central American nations following the five centuries of devastation which very nearly wiped out humanity because of floods, worldwide pandemic diseases and natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Newcova, meanwhile, is a city that was built in the aftermath of such devastation. It is not a perfect city, far from it. It has, like all human cities, its poverty and crime issues as there is a significant disparity between the haves and have not’s. Still, it is an atypical location for the Cense to visit. What is found there is no better, nor worse, than would be considered the norm. As such it is deemed ‘safe,’ comparatively speaking, for a Cense. Something which the ASA administration of Carter Magnulson kicked against with considerable brutality, until it became clear that the extraterrestrial visitors would not accept no as an answer forever.
It had surprised the human administrations of Earth, they have no collective title, that the Cense were so adamant and unwavering in their demand to converse with all levels of humanity so that they could learn. It was, and remains, perplexing for humanity, who stores all their knowledge digitally.
By contrast, the Cense on the other hand do not. They hold the knowledge of their species within each of them. To humanity it sounded, at first, inconvenient, wasteful, pointless but as integrations with the upper echelons of mankind continued over the last eight years it has become clear that this localised knowledge has allowed all Cense to be equal.
Secretly, that gave yet another reason as to why the administrations of the world felt it better not to let the aliens integrate with ‘normal’ people, civilians, lowly and without vast fortunes and power to their names. For if the Cense spoke with these people it would become evident that humanity is not a unified collective like these visitors. Still, it’s been passed now, and there is no going back. To a Cense a deal is an unbreakable bond.
“Speak your words Orius, then depart us for Newcova.” Sinifin says finally done speaking.
They’ve been rambling, as they inevitably always do, for what feels like hours. D’nian is aware it has not been that long, and until fairly recently did not know what an hour was. Thankfully, they received a crash course in basic human terminology. But alas no, D’nian cannot speak the language known as English. That is where Cense tech comes in, something that has been shared with those the aliens have interacted with, for near the rear of their head D’nian has a translator chip. Without it they would be quite lost. Perhaps only able to make out the occasional word, if they are lucky that is. Again, unlike Cense, humans have dialects, accents. These are not words known to the visitors and yet D’nian has born witness to such things. On first pass interaction they did believe the chip in their possession was defective for it could not accurately translate what was being said by everyone. Mercifully, such issues have since been rectified and tested, thoroughly. All in preparation for today and that might leave you wondering why? After all, the Cense have conversed with humans for years passed. Well it’s quite simple really. Those humans who have mingled with the aliens were prepared for teething issues, the Cense decided the same patience should not be expected of those out in the wilds of their world, living their lives. Especially, as human patience will already be tested by the inevitable questions that D’nian will be asking as they gather knowledge. A process which the Cense were pleased to see has gone both ways because humanity too have been hugely interested in the Cense as well. It’s why their tech, previously mentioned, which involves ending disease, famine and doubling lifespans has been shared.
Still, as yet D’nian would have to admit, forgetting that they are supposed to be addressing the Consortium, that the reach of such shared advancements has not been as great as the Cense would have expected. Questions over such have been issued, but as yet there has been no reply forthcoming. Regrettably, humans, it seems from the aliens perspective, are not the most swift moving of species. It’s unfortunate but nothing that makes the extraterrestrials regret their decision to venture out here, and it is out. You see, Earth lies at the other end of traversable space and proved to be a tricky mathematical puzzle to solve to get out here. Unsurprisingly, with the knowledge of a species in each of them, the Cense prevailed and yet their first act, unintentional as it was, which came alongside their arrival was the destruction of the Moon.
Like all Cense, D’nian cannot overcome the shame they experienced as a result of such a tragedy. It’s why the first hundred and nine days were spent issuing little more than apologies, including once they were connected and speaking to the leaders of the species.
Finally remembering they are meant to be concluding this interaction, D’nian jolts back to the present. Their dallying is not something a Cense of their age should be dancing with, and yes the extraterrestrial species has no gender definitions. They long since past, as a result of evolutionary advancement, into the ‘pages’ of history.
Orius D’nian smiles pleased with their use of human lingo but makes sure to launch into their concluding words without further delay, “I offer my humble praises to the Consortium of Infinitude for this chance to be the first Cense to mingle amongst the humans and learn the ways of their species. I foresee a fruitful and packed Age of Noble Learning ahead of us. For this is all we as a species have yearned for since the onset of our last Age.” All six eyes, arranged in twin triangle shaped clusters of three on either side of their face, blink as the words leave the Orius’ narrow slit of a lipless mouth which houses no teeth.
In case you are wondering why the Cense have no teeth, and whether it is because they do not eat certain foodstuffs, it is because they suck on paste tubes. These tubes are filled with all the nutrients they will ever require for their bodies. Though, at one time they did eat solid foods but that was many eons ago in a very different age occupied by a very different version of the aliens who are stood here now on their StarEgg.
With their statement delivered the eight members of the Consortium wait with baited breath. They are expecting more. There is no more. That is all D’nian feels is necessary to say and so as a result a pause of silence, awkward and elongating, is left to stretch until all members realise that the Orius is done.
Some feel they should roll their eyes for it felt as though the occasion called for more grandeur than has been offered. Others think it to the point. Not what they had been expecting but serviceable. Perhaps in time the words will prove to be perfection personified. Whether, they may or may not be in the future matters little, which is why the members of the Consortium deliver waves of dismissal.
Suppressing a smile, D’nian turns, straightens their back and slinks off. Because of the proportions of Cense the aliens cannot march. Every movement they make looks casual, at ease, but steeped in millennia of learning. Perhaps you could call their walks arrogant but the extraterrestrials are no such thing. They do not hold a view of superiority over others. All life is life and so should be treated similarly, though in accordance with the lifeforms customs, to permit the free exchange of learning.
Exiting the dome shaped Consortium’s Cerebrum Chamber with its single mass of clean white, broken only by thin wire conduit slits of black which pulse with soft blue lights, and a floor composed of white light emitting tiles; D’nian continues down the Mass Miranda. It’s what in human language would be termed a corridor even if it is one of great importance. As they go, the Orius studies the myriad displays, statues, arks, banners, emblazons and such which fill the avenue to bursting, save for the wide red and gold trimmed floor and the pinnacle of the vaulted thorn decorated vegetation wrapped blue vine ceiling.
The Mass Miranda is a place D’nian has spent many an hour, again making sure to use human vernacular, to ensure the knowledge held within is appropriately framed and understood. Yes, the Cense still have to study the knowledge they each possess. For without study knowledge is nothing but a list. At least that is the case in the minds and beliefs of the Cense anyway. And though the Orius’ learning is long since complete they find it soothing to walk this space. Even more so when seeing the young frolic, play and, most importantly, diligently work at unpacking what it contained with each of them.
Expertly navigating, without a word passed, around a particularly chatter infused group of his people’s youth, who are not as aware of their surroundings as perhaps they should be, the Orius is reminded of how before long these same youths will reach maturity. A process which takes, in human terms, forty three years to achieve, and ends only when an examination covering the vast and reaching knowledge of their species is not only taken but unilaterally conquered.
Use of the word conquer occurs only in this context in modern Cense language and relates exclusively to the examination dubbed Jenannasint. That is because they have not warred since the unification of the three thousand tribes some nine million years prior. Something D’nian is overly pleased they never have had to live through for war strikes them as a pointless loss of life, learning and opportunity.
Gliding out of the Mass Miranda, the Orius ventures down a number of shifting halls, which are intelligently aware of the destination to which they are headed, until finally D’nian reaches the bay from which departure will occur.
Sat in the centre of one ship tile is a transport of entirely human design. Though, they had been granted advanced opportunity to study the vessel and were impressed with the integrations made thus far of Cense tech to human. D’nian even learned a number of interesting and previously unknown possibilities, which once conveyed to the remainder of their species should open up new avenues of further learning.
In fact, they felt so much glee over this relatively minor addition that they wondered if they would burst. They clearly did not and with nothing new to consider this time around they board the vessel, a green oblong shape stunted in appearance as if something is missing.
Aboard, D’nian chuckles over the presence of what humans call a cockpit. Cense have no use for such things, or things known as pilots whom are meant to sit in such compartment. Rather, D’nian’s transport will be entirely self-guided, using the patterns of scan data accumulated and endlessly checked since the StarEgg’s arrival above the world known as Earth.
Again the Orius is reminded of how it is a confusing name for it used as terminology for dirt, the ground beneath their feet. That discovery in itself had lead them down a rabbit hole for many a cycle.
Realising their mistake, the Cense corrects and re-terms, failed again, using human vernacular into the measurement knows as days. Still, this error does not stop them from settling into their seat, security slings and all, in preparation for launch.
Excitement fills their head without any preconceptions as to what they might soon be experiencing. After all, Cense are not known for their imagination. They are fact, knowledge, data based beings brilliant at using their understandings of the universe and their species to create whatever they felt was necessary to be the best version of themselves they could be.
The transport engines fire, noisily, and roar leaving D’nian to think how they could be adjusted to significantly reduce the decibel level while simultaneously improving efficiency. They make a mental note of the potential improvements, again eager to relay them at a later date. Right after however, they make sure this note, and all others created prior to it, do not clog their mental faculties and limit potential learning opportunities for what is yet to come.
The transport, having lifted from the tile, lingers several metres above and then explodes into a blink flash jump heading for Earth, its atmosphere and the city of Newcova, ASA.