The cinema of my dreams – I always wanted to see the planets – Episode 45

Back on the alien vessel

If asking for and getting what you wanted was the technology of lesser beings, what was the other world’s technology like?

It was a question I asked myself, or perhaps a moment after, if the alien people we were currently talking to had difficulties with other more advanced people in their galaxy, where would we fit into the picture?

It was a worrying thought, because through time those that were inferior, in our world, were always subjugated by the more superior.

Granted we had spaceships making us seem reasonably advanced, but theirs were not like the one I was on.  We thought we were very clever getting the ship we were on into space, but out there, now, I certainly didn’t feel clever, or superior.

There was also the revelation that we had been observed for a long time, our progress monitored, and basically rejected as likely candidates for being welcomed.  Or being told we were not alone.

It must have been a dock to see us turn up one their proverbial doorstep, but not so great as out that they knew about us.  It was a case of our reputation preceded us, and it wasn’t the good, only the bad.

It would be true to say, given everything we’d done to our world through greed and selfishness, that finding off-world destinations for colonization was a definite requirement rather than an option, and along with that, to find and learn from other civilizations, especially those that had been in the same plight.

And having found what we had always believed, well, a lot of us anyway, that there was other life in the galaxy, it wasn’t going to sit well that we were basically in the ‘cane man’ stage of development as a civilization.

It was not much of a starting point for any sort of negotiation, diplomatic or otherwise, along with the prospect of meeting the other civilizations in this quadrant if it could be called that, basically from behind that proverbial eight-ball.

We were still no wiser as to where these people came from, or that it was near our first intended destination, Proxima Centauri.  We had a list NASA had compiled, earth-like exotic plants that were thought to be able to support life.

Several of the meetings between the world’s greatest scientific minds, when they were not off on one of their theoretical rants, all concluded that there should be life out in the universe somewhere, that all the known explanations of our existence were wrong, and we were descendants of aliens, possibly more than one species. 

It was a fanciful notion that drew interesting reactions from the Darwinians who believed we descended from the apes, the church, still stuck on their Adam and Eve theory, and others that we evolved after the ‘big bang’, or that our DNA arrived via a colliding meteor, which had me puzzled.

Now, I was not sure what I believed.

The Russian captain, now free of being threatened with an alien weapon, had completed a full circuit of the bridge, taken a moment to stare out into space, and where our ships were standing off, then come and join us.

I had a hundred questions, but the first was, “What was your mission?”

“Beat you lot into space.  To be honest we never expected you’d ever get that ship out of the space dock”

A year late, and people still arguing over staffing, fittings, weapons, technology, even bragging rights, if it hadn’t been for the Admiral, we might still be there.

“You didn’t answer the question, not specifically.  No one just wants to be first, and especially not brave about it.”

“Not yet.”

“I assume you’ve been in communication back home?”

“Communication wasn’t one of the strong points since no one really knew how to make instant calls work, so not really.  We’re basically flying by the seat of our pants.”

“I can see that, applying earth mentality to alien relations.  I would have thought you and your superiors would take a more diplomatic approach.”

“We tried.  You do realize were are technically inferior to this lot, and they don’t view us as being worthy of their time and effort.  Apparently, they knew exactly who we are, and where we were from, something I find hard to believe.”

“Did you visit the planet?”

“We were stopped by a patrolling ship, and they actually fired on us.”

I was not surprised.  We would have done exactly the same, in reverse.

“So, you started on the wrong foot and it only got worse from there.”

“What would you have done in the same situation?”

“Be less confrontational, but then, we’re on an exploratory mission, not one that takes whatever we can steal or in your case kidnap.  Did you realize who those people were?”

“They approached us.  Before we got to their planet we got a distress signal from what looked like a space station, quite a distance from the planet.  We didn’t know it was a prison, only that there were people in distress.  We rescued them, as anyone else would.  That’s when the proverbial hit the fan.”

“Did you know they had specialist knowledge?”

“Eventually, when the aliens came after us, I told them I needed to know why they were being so angry about a few criminals.  I offered them sanctuary if they were willing to share their knowledge.  They agreed.”

“They didn’t want to go home?”

“No.  They said they’d be killed by their own people.   We call it treason, they call it something else, but its more or less the same thing.  Now they’re going to kill all of us.”

© Charles Heath 2021-2022

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