UntuitionHard to follow

The Landing

The aliens arrived and they read our DNA just like a book. They had no interest in our words. They sampled the oceans and its diseases, a pathology specimen from the self-destructive damsel of this solar system, an off-smelling primordial soup that has sat on the counter for too long, infested with small creatures who consume too much for their size. And just like that, they disappeared as if they were never here.

What a strange insult it was. It felt so deeply personal.

As creatures on this Earth, we spend our lives in self-awareness, in continuous nit-picking, in little wars of carefully controlled destruction against the “other” who can damage us. Grooming has worked to keep us free of pests and to prevent illness. We do it in order to make us look invisible to predators and to protect those in close quarters of us. We need it to not become like that man, who everybody knows at least one of, at the corner of a generic city street. That man usually has a beard as long as hair can grow and clothes so thoroughly soaked in old sweat and urine stains that the salts are oppressively crystallizing him into a statue the longer he stays still. Nobody knew how he became this way.

I looked over at Mittens as she marched out of the litter box, looking a little sullen. She stuck her face into the food bowl in the corner of the room. Ah, the circle of life.

Did she understand the ineffective futility of licking her paw and then running it over her face repeatedly? Was this merely a religious ritual that existed in her species? A neurotic superstition? Her face must now be entirely covered in a thin film of cat food. This one is liver and cod flavour.

Fair enough cat, I haven’t seen my own face in the mirror for a while and that’s probably for my own protection.

I realized I had not showered for multiple days. My hair felt like a greasy New York sewer rat king, the red licorice between my teeth from last night possibly turning alcoholic. I hadn’t eaten properly for a long time and felt dizzy. The lab has otherwise been empty for a month. Everyone moved on. Yet I still sat here in denial. Cycling through every frequency with brute force, hoping this SDR unit can find the rest of the message that the aliens started transmitting and never finished. It is here somewhere, in the air. All we need to do is to see it. It’s just here.

When we can not figure out the cause of an event, we cobble up an assumption based on what scant data we have and test it until we have a reliable, replicable result. We can then build around that node. All I have now is a cloud of confusion and there are too many unknown unknowns. Did the aliens get to the glacial ice caps? What is coming for us once those caps begin to melt down? How many alphabets will we burn through to name the new iterations of existing and circulating pathogens? These questions kept me locked in this lab, waiting for our foreign friends to call back. It might pay off. It might be worth the time. An inner voice told me that if I wait just a little longer, I will get some closure, but the message of that closure might not be what I wanted to hear. I wondered if the bearded old man shouting at the corner of the street thought the same thing about his own struggle. Repeating the same sentence over and over, hoping someone would listen.

We were unable to establish communication with the aliens again, but we just somehow knew that we were not their first. They just wanted to see why we’ll soon be gone. They never told us what they foresaw. And I will keep trying to find out, for the rest of my life, until it kills me.