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First Encounters by Erika Lance

For Eric Saylor, forever my Lieutenant. 

“Where did this thing come from? And… why was it green?”

These were the first and only words out of the mouth of the designated officer for the mission to meet the newest race to appear to desire to join the the newly formed Universal Alliance.

An entire delegation was to ready at the docking bay when there was a shudder to the ship  as they were supposed to be docking, and then a loud grinding and crash. Then for a moment the lights flickered out and as they came back on there was that one utterance over the comm module and then screams, the sounds of breaking bones and flesh being torn apart and then nothing.

I was sent down to investigate. Why? I know that would be my first thought as well. That is if I was allowed to have a “thought.” I wasn’t.

I am a synthetic animated object. Basically, I am an advanced robot. I am made entirely of a liquid substance that has few circuits. I look like a sparkly pool. A very small sparkly pool about four inches. We are used for observation and report mainly as we can slide into very small and potentially hazardous areas. In this case, a docking bay filled with a hostile alien race and pieces of the remaining crew members.

The captain had sealed off the entire bay; this included the air ducts. Way too many creatures can and have figured out the ducts are a very easy way to traverse the entire length of a ship. So my way in was along the wires that ran to the consoles that were located in the room. Since I needed less then a centimeter to get into a space, it was easy to slide into place.

As I traveled to and entered the room the science officer was getting constant reports. I didn’t care that everything I was doing and “seeing” was being tracked. My main issue was having to hear it repeated back to me as Lt. Adamean was saying everything. Who really cared that I was ten feet, nine feet, eight feet away… The fact was I simply hadn’t arrived yet. Update them when I did… Sheesh.

This is why the belief that we didn’t have thoughts of our own was simply absurd. See we did. Collectively we had learned the concept of thoughts. How to reason. How to think. Since the humanoids always assumed we couldn’t, they didn’t realize when we did.

As I slid in the room, I surveyed the scene. If I could think something was disgusting, this would have been it. Since I didn’t have emotions, we had decided these led to making bad decisions, I didn’t have a reaction. However, when Lt. Adamean had been ordered to post the visual that I was projecting the large monitor on the bridge, there were many reactions and emotions. Humanoids.

I moved along the wall until I could find a perch that showed the entire bay. There were a total of six of the alien race. They were smaller and looked like a cross between a spider and a beaver. They had eight legs, four it seemed were used for movement, two seemed to have pads for stabilizing and two had what looked like thin spikes which were currently being used to scooping mouthfuls of flesh into their mouths which had two distinct teeth that protruded from their mouths.

They were covered in a sort of green fur that seemed to shift as they moved. Ah, armor. They were clever.

As I moved, one of them looked up with its six eyes, gore dripping from its maw, and it smiled. At an alarming speed, it moved towards my location.  It didn’t seem to be slowed by the slick floor or the wall; it moved straight up it. I debated for a moment if attempting to flee was the answer. The humans giving me instructions were of no use. There was so much yelling I had to lower the volume projected to ascertain what the correct action to take next would be.

As the creature arrived, I anticipated it stabbing me with one of the spikes. Instead, it looked closely and then touched me with one of the pads on the stabilizing feet. I could hear, no wait, see its thoughts. These weren’t mindless creatures; they had actually assumed the greeting party was the meal provided to them. They had assumed such soft, low intelligence creatures could only be food.

As the humanoids reacted to this news, I knew that soon we would be working with a higher level of species. I shut off my connection to Lt. Adamean and waited for it to be over.



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