“We are come in peace.” The
visitor spoke passably good English, but then you’d expect the devil to know
all languages. “We mean no harm; look, we have brought you gifts from our
world. Please, do not be alarmed.”
There was no way a natural born human being could not be alarmed. The alien
looked like the very embodiment of evil—half spider, half serpent, multi headed
and, atop each snaky head, a pair of horns. No one from the human delegation
was about to accept anything from something that looked like that. In fact,
just being in the same room with it took an act of courage.
The creature’s tinny voice pleaded through its translator, “We bring you a food
and matter synthesizer, a great scientific advance from our world to yours.
Come forward and receive.” No one moved. The creature, confused and bewildered
by the reaction, stood there holding out an object about the size of a toaster
“Please, fear not. Our scientists have adapted the synthesizer to your electrical
requirements. I assure you it is perfectly safe. It is a fine gift to your
species. We have included the plans to build them. With this gift you can
synthesize foodstuffs and feed your masses. We offer you an end to hunger on
Still no one in the human delegation spoke. Dr. Lyman, the President’s special
envoy made an effort to say something but was overcome and turned away
sickened. The creature’s smell was almost as repulsive as its appearance.
Several soldiers from the honor guard, followed Dr. Lyman’s example, left their
posts and ran off retching. If the visitor from the stars was offended, it did
not show it. Instead it made yet another attempt at engagement.
“I realize that our appearance might be strange or even frightening to you but
that is the nature of things. Different worlds have different histories. No two
are alike. In spite of our appearance, we have much in common. Let us celebrate
the things we share.” Again it held out the gift. “Matter synthesis will be a great
boon to your poor and hungry. You can provide medicine to all and end much
suffering. We give you this as a token of our good will and friendship.” It
placed the object on the ground before the closest human.
General Fister eyed the box suspiciously and asked, “You have a name?”
“I am called Shuck-a-nan-zzt which means Brother of Angels in your speech.” The
creature bowed and flapped an appendage. “And you are called?” it asked the
“I’m General Fister, Commander of the Terran Defense Force. I want to warn you
against trying anything funny.”
“As I have said, Commander, we have no intentions funny or otherwise. You have
no cause for alarm. Our delegation is both friendly and unarmed.”
General Fister gave a derisive snort and muttered, “I’ll bet.” Then he stepped
back leaving the gift untouched.
The alien took no offense and tried once again to convince the humans of its
good will. “In my world, when a gift is offered, it is considered a discourtesy
to refuse it. Is there no one here that can rise above primitive suspicion and
trust in the kindness of strangers?”
Reverend Klienhurst stepped forward. “We believe that we humans were made in
God’s image. Does your kind even have a concept of God?”
“We used to think that we too were made in God’s image, but when we left our
world for the stars we saw how diverse was creation. We have since abandoned
such notions as incorrect. Physical forms reflect no divine purpose, only
unique evolutionary histories. All organisms are created equal.”
“You are speaking heresy, Mr. Shuck-a-zip or whatever your name is. We know
that our Lord Jesus Christ, who took human form I might add, sits at the right
hand of God almighty and presides over all creation. To think otherwise is not
“My kind has visited 427 worlds and has never heard of your Mr. Christ. You
can, of course, believe anything you like. There are as many beliefs as there
are intelligent life forms. We are a tolerant people and will not interfere.”
“Why that’s blasphemy,” sputtered Reverend Klienhurst slipping into his fire
and brimstone tent revival voice. “Only the Devil would imply that Christianity
was not the true religion and that our holy book is not literally true. We have
been warned about creatures like you. It was an abomination like you that drove
mankind from the garden in the first place. I can assure you, we’re not going
to let that happen again.” Reverend Klienhurst withdrew a good sized wooden
crucifix and a well worn bible from his pocket and held them aloft; wild eyed
and frightened, he looked like an Old Testament prophet.
“I apologize if I offended your worship system,” said the alien in as soothing
a manner as his translator box would allow, “I wish only good for your kind.”
Reverend Klienhurst glared at the alien with contempt. General Fister growled
softly to himself and thought about wasting the godless vermin. Dr. Lyman
struggled to regain his composure after his embarrassing faux pas.
The alien tried one last time to convince the human delegation that its motives
were pure, but before it could get a word out, Dr. Lyman, having mastered his
revulsion, stepped forward. “Listen, my extra terrestrial friend, I don’t know
how things work where you come from, but here on Earth appearances matter. This
is an election year and the President can’t afford to be associated with something...er...someone
that looks like a... like you.” The politician was groping for a diplomatic way
of saying that any association with beings so repulsive would not be in the
President’s best interests. “I’m sorry, but we can’t risk looking soft on evil.
It’s a public relations thing.”
The alien looked at the human representatives with sadness and compassion and
shook its several heads. It picked up the gift, gave the alien equivalent of a
shrug and turned to leave. They’re still not ready, it thought to itself, maybe
2012-04-12 04:42:54 Ironspider - As Einstein said "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe". Interesting story. 2012-04-09 10:07:07 micheledutcher - I like a lot of this author's work and, although it is rather simple, it makes a good point..we have no idea what other lifeforms will be like. Beauty is only skin deep - but stupid is forever.