Monday, March 28, 2016

The people from away

[Weird origin of this fragment: for some reason into my head popped the idea to do a video game in which the main character is a skateboarder and the game consists of said character just having fun, running away from people who mean them harm, and occasionally defying physics in the service of both.  Then this came out]
[Astute observers will note that nowhere in this is skateboarding mentioned.]

First off, we're not aliens.  Sure, our predecessors were from elsewhere, but all of us alive today were born on earth.  Depending on exactly where we were born and the laws, if any, concerning entering that place's borders, we could be construed as the children of illegal immigrants, but we're not aliens.

We're every bit as much earthlings as you, or chipmunks.  You and chipmunks both.

You think you've heard our story, I know because I'm a big fan of science fiction and I've read those books, seen those movies, and watched those shows.  Some of them were even good.  But the thing is that you get so much wrong.

Yeah, refugees.  You got that one spot on.  Who else would send their children to be raised on an entirely different planet by its fragmented different cultures with little in the way of support?

But we didn't come here to resurrect our own culture, nor are we here as heroes who plan on saving yours.  We came here to survive a bit longer.  And when your world is invaded don't you dare blame us.  We found out about your world from their database of places they planned to get around to invading.  That's one of the few things about our culture that we still all know, now that the elders are gone.

We weren't great spacefarers , we'd barely strolled on all of the planets in our solar system when they came.  We stole their information and their interstellar travel thingy to find a place to run to and hide.

The hiding leads to another thing you often, though not always, get wrong.  We don't have advanced technology.  Our technology could be tracked, we destroyed it all.  The stuff we stole from them?  Same deal.  Probably burned in the same fire but that was before my time.

Surely, you must think, we have an advanced understanding of the way the universe works?  No.  Not really.  Part of how they exterminated our people on the old homeworld, when we proved somewhat able to defend ourselves in a fight, was some kind of poison or some such.  The longer you'd been exposed to whatever was released on the planet, the quicker it killed you --but it was still deadly, eventually, for those who left as infants.

Everyone from there is dead now.

By the time of my earliest memories the oldest then-surviving elder was Amira, she'd been twelve --earth years, she converted for us because we'd never known another kind of year-- when she left her old home for earth.  She didn't have great cosmological or philosophical wisdom to impart on us.

There are rumors that somewhere --shut down, lead shielded, and burred deep-- is a copy of our great archive.  Some sort of electronic library of everything our culture produced.  It's ... possible, I suppose, but I doubt it.

Now there's nothing left of the old world, this is our home, and the only thing that we have that you don't is something your stories get right but name wrong.  Our magic.

It can't be tracked in the way the energy signature or this or that technology can be, and it couldn't be removed from us (that we know of) anyway.  Being magic, it doesn't really follow any particularly logical rules of inheritance.  Siblings might have radically different magical talents, or different strengths to their magic.

One might be able to manipulate their mass while the other could produce light.  Total lack of relation.

I'm not sure if you people are incapable of magic, or you're just so out of touch with your magical side that you can't do more than nudge things within the margin of error.

Beyond the fact that we all learn to use our magic --without training or soul searching or anything of that nature-- where you don't, we're really not that different from you.  If you don't take a blood sample, an x-ray, or preform an autopsy then our bodies are more or less --wait.  MRIs, need to avoid those too.  We tend to steer clear of hospitals.  Anyway, our bodies are pretty much indistinguishable from yours.

Amira tried to explain to us what our species original natural bodies looked like.  I could never get a clear picture of it in my mind.  Now we look human.  And humans look us.  And the technology needed to make that fundamental change to the species?  One of the things that was destroyed as a part of the "run and hide" plan.

We have no great cause, we're just like you.  We want to live while we still have life left, and we have to find our own meaning because no one gave us any special purpose.



  1. This seems like something that could become a good stand-alone short story. With or without skateboards.

  2. Biochemistry is presumably (now) similar enough that most human food is non-toxic. Has anyone considered interbreeding?