Written by Ken Carman
Ironically we discovered them first, even though they were far more advanced in many ways. They had been visiting Mars, on their way to cross paths with Earth anyway. Not that that would have been better. It probably would have been even worse.
When the first Mars bound Earth woman-astronaut opened up the airlock on the lander the last thing she saw was an alien looking down at her, after slipping off the ladder to the surface. But the alien was so different she didn’t recognize it as anything intelligent.
We thought, when the corpse was returned, it had been, not just a warning, but a threat. The bio-craft that landed and delivered it was like nothing we had ever seen: evaporating before our eyes, leaving just her body. That was to avoid contamination. We thought it like them dropping off trash.
Meanwhile, unknown to us, the efforts to contact us went just as poorly for the aliens as our attempts. Their “people,” for lack of a better term, died too on every encounter.
We breathe different gasses. Our customs and norms are very, very different. Biologically we seem insane to each other.
One of the least sentient things that sentient beings do is when they run across something they don’t understand, is they kill it. Differences that led to death are assumed to be aggression, though they may just be misunderstandings, or just basic differences that make us toxic to each other. And for intelligent, sometimes even very advanced, creatures, we are all too often too damn slow to learn.
Have you ever dated someone and found your differences so vast you only hurt each other; no matter how well intended both of you were? Ever met someone where the gaps between who you both are are so great there seems little can fill those gaps but hatred, fear and misunderstandings?
Meeting aliens can be very much like that, only far, far worse. For though your friend, your potential lover, may not seem human: they are. You are in the same neighborhood, share human history, ways to communicate, even though how you use that may be different, and most important: the biological method behind how you think is the same. You just have adapted it for your own lives in ways other may not have.
So, yes, alien biology might be quite different, chemistry, maybe even physics if they are from, not just another planet, but some other universe, some different dimension.
But hidden in the brains of humans, and in the thought pods of these aliens, there was one similarity: an ability to read each others thoughts. Of all the things to share this seemed most unlikely, but it was there. At first that was bad, for those thoughts were so strange to the other it cause more murder and destruction. It took too many generations to get past the hatred, the fear and the ignorance, and by then we we both doomed. We had damaged each other through a ongoing war in hope of saving our own species, figuring exterminating the other was the best option.
Ironically that goal meant no one won the war. We both lost.
So the war ended. And when we finally understood, all that was left was to share the sadness with each other before the final darkness came.
all rights reserved