Pythonism

writing about my life

The Anti-Personic (Microfiction)

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The human sat in front of a screencloud on the vessel’s bridge, icons of the translation software overlaying a view through the boat cameras of his host’s lair. This was an important moment in communication for both visitor and the ones who received him. Before he initiated the formal greeting he took one sip of his whisky, savouring the esters, the sheer organic volatility of the golden drink. He’d had to have one to “steady his nerves”, as his father used to say. A memory from a world now separated by a relativistic caesura.

“All enlightened beings seek merger of the Personic Field with others. And so I join with you.” said the frog-like creature, its signalling detected by the chemical sensors and autotranslated onto the scientist’s equipment.

“Thank you for your willingness to join… It is good to communicate with you once more.” The last session had been hell.

“Please continue to tell me of your species.”, said the exobiologist, just perceptibly quivering in the intensity of his concentration. This was a crucial stage in their contact.

“For us Kalati the personic field is mediated by slime. I am slimy, my lady friends and offspring too. Praise be. This is all, this is the deepest tasting we have.” The translation software had elected to assign the aliens with the kind of name that the scientist remembered from historic science fiction magazines as a child… ahh well.

“Yes.”

“Even in our beginnings in the infant-swarm slime is with us, all around us. The slime is protector, but also mediator. Enzymic thought grains emerge from our surface organs and become shared knowledge for the group. At laying the Field accepts, and at death too. In termination, our inner-core is fermented back into life summary thought grains that perpetuate through the Field.”

“But as we have smelled, you are different, though we can still join. This is fascinating to us.”

“OK, I hope we can both learn from this event.” The human mused… language had to be carefully chosen for optimal translation, and the software was not flawless, having been created in a hurry after the first sensor data started coming in. If anything the word choices tended to veer too much into an over-clinical style.

“As an adult, of course, I have a constant flux of feelings and longings stewing within me all day. These are represented to others because the slime emanates my odour/flavour into the surroundings. How is it for your species, because I cannot taste you fully.”

“We too, like all sentiencies we have encountered, have feelings and perceptions. But they reach others of our species through our gas-vibration and radiation based transceiver organs.”

“Ahh… You do not taste?”

“We have chemical senses for food only, I think. But please continue.”

“Through you visitors I have learned much. My journey into the nature of other beings has led me towards many insights. At first it led to a different understanding of the nature of Fear. If my fear was a variety of suspicion then perhaps I was being too untrusting of you. We are aquatic, you land-based. There is no need for competition, I now taste.”

That was the moment. The translator wouldn’t pass it over, having been designed with a narrow bandwidth, but the scientist breathed a huge sigh of relief. He turned to an adjacent screencloud and spoke casually. “We’re in, guys”.

The plan could start. The chemistry of a genius species, a species that could actually feel and communicate with bio-engineered substances. A glorious vista opened… decades of data coming in to be crunched… And then, with earth now dead, if the project roadmap held, a chance of a new candidate-world for habitation.

And just think of those new potential bio-weapons…

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Written by Luke Dunn

November 8, 2018 at 2:35 pm

Posted in Prose

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