On October 21st, 2021, Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory(LIGO) detected a short burst of gravitational wave. At first, the researchers at the observatory thought it was just another collision between two massive celestial objects and only cataloged the findings for later investigation.
European Space Agency(ESA) deployed, satellite based, gravitational wave observatory, the European Joint-venture Gravitational Wave Observatory (EJGO) detected the same gravitational incident. However, the EJGO was able to detect a secondary wave which was otherwise too weak to be detected by the less advanced counterpart, LIGO. Such an anomaly was never detected, prompting ESA to investigate further.
After confirming that the anomaly was not due to instrumentation error, ESA contacted LIGO for a collaborative investigation. The two bodies went into action and quickly learned a chilling revelation behind the incident.
It originated within the Solar system!
But to cause such a gravitational anomaly, it would require two celestial bodies with mass way more than what the Solar system had to collide with one another. That was just outright impossible. The Solar system simply didn’t have that much mass. But after checking the data dozen times through the most advance supercomputers, the point of incident was indeed in the Solar system.
On October 23rd, 2021, ESA called all its radio satellite to aim at the point of incident. LIGO contacted NASA, which in turn pointed Hubble and James Webb Space Telescope to the same place. With an electromagnetic spectrum from radio wave to infrared to visible light, a complimentary integration of the imagery collection produced an enhanced image that made the astronomy community go crazy.
It was an artificial object with a length of 15km orbiting around the Sun at a distance of 280 million kilometers. It was named UISO-001. Unidentified Inter-Solar System Object 001.
On October 24th, the object made contact with the world through a wide spectrum communication band. A chilling message, written in 24 different languages, was received by every cellphone in the world.
Is there anyone out there?
The world made an emergency G20 summit on the same day. Jets were launched to bring the leaders to the summit. Communication satellites were shut down temporarily until further notice from respective governments to avoid accidental communication with the unknown object. GPS went down. Internet stopped working. Air travel brought to a halt. The world literally stopped moving for that fateful day.
Susan clearly remembered that day when her cellphone received the message. She was working in the United Nations UK branch office. All her colleagues received the message too. There was no number attached to that message so she thought it was just some random joke.
Few minutes later, a nationwide emergency broadcast was issued. An hour later the military was mobilized. Twelve hours later, panic took the streets. Twenty four hours later, the UK was in total chaos. Riots broke out in London. Fires tore down buildings. Emergency services were stalled by the panic. The shit literally had hit the fan! All because of a single message.
Is there anyone out there?
As though UISO-001 had sensed the panic on the planet, a second message was sent.
We come in peace. We wish to open diplomatic dialogue with your leaders.
Bricks were shat on that day.
The G20 summit, with the help of Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence(SETI), decided to send a radio signal to the object to declare their standing to UISO-001.
Dialogue shall commence.
On October 27th, 2021, UISO-001 entered Low Earth Orbit(LEO). Its stupendously enormous structure that shaped like a collections of cuboid buildings stacked horizontally against one another could be seen clearly from the ground, even without any optical aide. A spectacle that would close the current chapter of human history and opened a new one.
Human had made contact with another intelligent species.
Three months later…
Susan landed on Berlin Brandenburg Airport a day after the G20 summit in Berlin had adjourned. The aliens were welcomed and diplomatic dialogues was exchanged. International agreement, with the backings of both European Union and the Five Veto Nations, sanctioned the opening of a small region of land in the outskirts of Berlin for temporary sanctuary for the aliens to reside until a more permanent location could be devised and developed.
Which was why Susan was in Berlin in the first place. Her latest assignment was to be the confidant of one of the aliens, named Tark Luda. The twenty five year old woman was more than eager to be a part of such historical event. After all, she was one of the few people who would be interacting with the aliens on a daily basis.
After riding a two-hour road trip to the outskirt of Berlin in a Humvee, in which her heart was racing with anticipation during the entire journey, Susan finally reached the UN ECCEC’s Extraterrestrial Neutral Zone. The ENZ was a 4 kilometer square area designated as a international neutral zone. No one sovereignty had control over that region. The area was to be governed by the hastily formed UN body, the ECCEC and would assume Maritime Law within its designated perimeter.
The area was fenced off with barb wires and electric fences. NATO personnel could be seen patrolling about the area. Anti-tanks, surface to air weapon system and advanced radar equipment autonomously monitored the region for both potential air and ground attacks. It looked like an Ultramax prison multiplied by ten folds. But Susan had no doubt that the prison was designed to be impregnable more than inescapable. After all, the aliens did have a fifteen kilometer spaceship orbiting the planet and God knows what else they had up in their sleeves. She was sure that breaking out of here would be child’s play for them if they wanted to.
She passed through three heavily armed security checkpoints and weaved through a series of forest flanked roads before finally reaching her destination. When she laid eyes on the place that she was supposed to find Tark Luda in, she was surprised.
“All that because of this?” she asked in disbelief.
“We needed the security, ma’am.” the GI riding shotgun replied with a thick German accent.
Multi-million dollars worth of security and a 4km square fenced perimeter all to guard several small brick cottages located at the river side? Must be some really important cottages, Susan scoffed.
“But I thought it would be…” she trailed off.
“Grander?” the GI turned around with the same incredulous look as Susan, “yeah, I get what you mean.”
“Won’t the Jovi think that we aren’t sincere of our commitment or something? I mean,” Susan gestured at the old, moss ridden, brick building. “It’s just a small cottage.”
“Apparently, it’s what they want.”
“Wow. They must be modest.” Susan mumbled, almost as if to herself.
Susan got out of the Humvee when it stopped near at one of the many cottages. The cool spring breeze washed over her, sensing a sweet chill down her spine. Despite the crudeness of the structure in front of her, this place was actually quite nice. It reminded her of her weekend stays in her nanny’s cottage in Aberdovey when she was younger. She hadn’t been in touch with nature even since she moved to London for her job.
“That’s the one.” the GI pointed. Susan thanked him and the driver.
The Humvee drove away, leaving Susan with her luggage and a laptop sling bag. She took out her foundation and looked at herself in the small mirror. She applied some on her cheek to masked the paleness. She wouldn’t want to give a bad impression to the Jovi on the first day.
Then she paused. How would the Jovi judge human beauty in the first place? Shrugging, she tossed the foundation back into her back. She muttered some encouraging words to herself and then walked to the cottage. She knocked on the wooden door. Sucked in a sharp breath when the lock clicked and the door opened.
“Ah, you must be Susan Mayers.” said an extremely gorgeous man with his hand stretched out.
“Yes.” she blinked and shook his hand awkwardly. He must be Tark Luda’s another confidant. She could really bed him. Hypothetically, of course. Not that she would since it would be inappropriate to bed someone on her job. “Is Mr. Tark Luda here?” she asked.
“You are looking at him right now.” he said with a knickers wetting grin.
“You’re hilarious.” she scoffed in disbelief.
“I am him.” he insisted. “Look.” his hand split into three pale gray tentacles.
Susan’s face went blank. Her jaws dropped. Her sling back slid off her shoulder and plummeted to the ground.
She had seen pictures of the aliens in news sites on the internet. Hell, there were even countless of memes of them in the internet. She expected a gigantic egg-like crystal pod like she had seen on the internet. A suit for them to stay alive on the this planet. Like the spacesuit humans wore during a space walk.
“You must be confused.” he smiled. “Come on in. I’ll explain.”
One of the tentacles took her luggage, the other grabbed her fallen bag and the last one wrapped around her waist. He moved backwards and tugged Susan and her luggage in with him. Susan was so flabbergasted by the spectacle she didn’t resist.
No one told her that the aliens could look so much like humans. And a very handsome and very sexy male human at that too.
“Would you like a cup of tea?” There was a distinct English accent in his tone.
“Uhhh…” she nodded absentmindedly. Tea was not her interest right now. Why was he even sounding like an actual English? She had heard from her boss that the aliens could speak English, and Russian, Chinese, French, etc., but she hadn’t expected such fluency.
“Sit.” he gestured at the empty wooden chair by the small square table. Susan obediently did so.
He then went into the kitchen. Susan took the opportunity to study the interior of the cottage. There wasn’t much difference than what she would expect from a common cottage of similar size. Well, except the alien looking contraption at the center of the small living room. It looked like it was made out of glass and shaped like an egg. Could that be his spacesuit?
“Here you go.” he put a steaming cup of tea on the table. “So, where should I begin?”
“Your look?” she muttered, still couldn’t believe that this gorgeous male specimen was actually Tark Luda.
“Ah, yes. So, how do I look like this, you may ask. Well, the answer is simple. Mimicry.” he brandished his white set of teeth.
“Mimicry?” her pitch jumped an octave.
“You are a marine biologist, are you not. I’m sure you must have acquaint yourself with some cephalopods that do the same thing.”
She nodded. Some octopuses did mimic their surrounding features to hide themselves from predators. And they did so amazingly as well. Susan vividly remembered the time she mistook an octopus for a sea rock when she was scuba diving in the one of the Australian reefs.But to mimic with such a precision that he could even emulate human facial emotion? His brain capacity shouldn’t be able to compute that.
“But…you shouldn’t be able to.” she finally found her voice. “If evolution tells me one thing is that a species couldn’t have developed the brain capacity to emulate another species to such complexity. It didn’t need to. Evolution wouldn’t have allowed that.” she elaborated and when she was done, she was panting.
“You are right.” he said with a smile. “Your kind are much intelligent than I first thought.Well, we did start out with evolution that drove our species to global dominance. But that was a long time ago. ”
“We’ve altered our genes so that our brain developed a secondary organic processing unit within it to help us with the mental load. Our body was genetically altered as well, making us more versatile in our mimicry. Ever since we realized just how inefficient having to be in a spacesuit every time we went to other planets in our galactic neighbourhood, we opted to change our brains instead, allowing us to mimic the local species to an indistinguishable resemblance. It does help us adapt to the difference in pressure, gravity and the local star intensity and what not. Though we do need to take certain adaptive drug to stay stable in this form.”
Susan blinked in disbelief. Did he say that his kind had developed genetics technology that allowed them to grow secondary brain and alter their body structure?
“How did you learn our language?” she asked further.
“Every language has a pattern. For instances, I communicate with my kind through the use of predetermined florescence signals on our skin and body mimicry while you communicate through body gestures and specific sounds. We simply downloaded your language using the internet and ran it on our mothership’s on-board computer to find that pattern. Once we have that, the rest of the languages are simply just differences in sound, pitch and intonation. The building blocks of grammar basically follow the same, predictable, pattern. Your kind may name all those languages you have differently, but to us, it’s fundamentally the same thing; the human language.”
After decoding your language, we downloaded it to our brains. Even when I speak to you, my secondary processing unit automatically searched for the words in your language that I would otherwise said my own. When you say something, the vibrations are detected by a certain part of my skin and the secondary processing unit will then translate that signal to me in a way that I can understand. The secondary processing unit works so well, it almost feels natural to us. Movements like hand gestures, head bobbing, nodding and what not; we don’t think of doing it, it ‘s part of the human language package and my processing unit simply emulates it by default. And when I want to express an emotion, for instance joy, my secondary processing unit will help me emulate by sending the right impulses to our muscles at the right time. Even when you show signs of joy, my eyes, which would otherwise be oblivious to the minor facial movement, will be able to detect, process, and translate that back into something that I can relate to.”
Susan stared blankly at the aliens. They were far more advanced that she had first thought. They were superior, both genetically and technologically, than humans. Which made her a little bit uncomfortable.
“You look uncomfortable.” he said.
“You can tell?” she let out a humourless laugh.
“Like I said, my brain has the human language package to understand your kind.”
“Ah, sarcasm. Another part of the human language.” he smiled and butterflies took flight in her stomach.
Susan looked away. Her body was beginning to do stuff that it shouldn’t be doing. He was an octopus-like creature with twenty eight tentacles for fuck’s sake. But why couldn’t she look at him as though he was one. In fact, as she sat near him, she could feel the inadvertent attraction of her body towards his. The mimicry was so realistic her body couldn’t tell the difference even though her brain obviously said otherwise. Was it like some sort of psychological effect, like how people consciously tell themselves that they aren’t affected by an advertisement but yet they still do?
“Well then, that’s it for our little get-to-know session.” he clapped and his attitude suddenly changed. “Now, would you care to know me a little bit more?” his voice turned sultry.
“What…” she stuttered. Her stomach was twisted in knots by his voice.
“I’m sure there are certain interests that we can pursue that aren’t limited to just words.” he leaned forward until his mouth was by her ear. “As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words.” .
Susan sucked in a breath. Was this the promiscuity of the aliens she had heard much about from her boss.
“Those things will try to get into your knickers, Susan. It’s their culture. Beware.” the words of her boss played in her mind.
Susan leaned backwards. “I’m sure we have other more pressing matters to attend to, don’t you think?” she whimpered.
“Nothing is more pressing than to make you scream my name, Susan.” he cooed. Susan swallowed.
“I”m sure that can wait.” she said as she took out a dossier from her sling bag. “Your schedule for tomorrow, we uhh…we need to discuss it.”
“Am I doing it wrong?” he leaned away and stared accusingly at her. “It worked for the German Prime Minister’s secretary though.” he rubbed his chin.
“You are not…doing it wrong, per say.” she let out a wry laugh. “It’s just that I’m not interested in that sort of thing.” she explained.
She was interested in banging him right there and then. She really did. But a deeper voice told her that she would be fucking with an octopus, granted a very hot looking octopus, and that didn’t sit well with her principles.
“Ah, well. I guess it doesn’t work every time. Anyway, it’s a pleasure to meet you, Susan Mayers.”
“The pleasure it’s mine, Tark Luda.”
The two shook hands.