Day 563 of Voyage N3-72.0048
Current Location: Planet Earth
Greetings to the Council.
As I recounted in my last entry, I never meant to stay here this long. My instructions were as clear as Filbaardian crystals – disguise myself as a human, immerse myself amongst them, gather as much intelligence as possible, visit as many different locations as I can, and return Home.
But this place, this “university” as the humans call it, is . . . special. There is a constant hum of learning here that I find quite stimulating.
My skin picks up on infinitesimal details that these anxious mammals could only ever dream of. They’ll never know what it is to feel the leaves changing color – and I mean really feel the shift in tones as they vibrate at different frequencies. They’ll never be able to predict what their professors are about to say before they say it, based on an algorithm I devised on my “lunch break” to predict human thoughts according to their speech and cognition patterns. They’ll never have the same humbling realization that what they learn in their “physics” classes is actual light-years away from what my species has achieved.
And because of that, they’ll also never see the stars – not like I have. Up close, in all their searing glory.
But still, I feel an affinity for these humans, a kinship of some kind that I have not felt since I was last Home. And I would not want to leave the humans at so precarious a juncture in their history. They’ve been toeing the line for some time, and to leave now, to abandon them when their world is on the brink of being destroyed by egotistical maniacs, well . . . I would never forgive myself. Especially once the light from their extinction reached my Home, and I would know that their ruin was utter and complete.
So no, I shall stay, and observe, and suggest, and guide them as best I can. What good is it to have all this knowledge and “higher intelligence” if we cannot share it and help others?
The Council would disapprove of course, but they always disapprove. It will take many human years for them to discover my disobedience. Perhaps by then I will have helped the humans gain a – shall we say – wider perspective, and changed course for their betterment. And then I will return Home.
These university-aged humans are frightfully prone to stress, both emotional and physical, not to mention hormonal fluctuations, which are enough to send even my systems into chaos. But somehow the humans contain all this inner activity within their weak, fleshy forms.
That is unkind, they are not weak. (Well, structurally they are). In fact they are the strongest beings I have yet come across on Planet Earth.
Not counting that extraordinary creature I encountered at the place the humans call a “zoo”. It was a “rhinoceros” and I think I might adopt that as my next form – if the Earth survives long enough for me to do so, that is. . .
But the humans can be kind, and generous, and one can see (and feel) their synapses forging new paths and connections in their brain matter. The speed with which they absorb knowledge and adapt to their surroundings is really quite remarkable. They also engage in some fascinating rituals, both religious and secular, and I have to say my favorite is the one called a “birthday part
. . .
Apologies to the Council, I was called away by my “roommate” to help him with his calculus “homework”. He keeps offering to pay me to do it for him, but I have little patience for such outdated forms of currency.
As I was saying, these birthday parties are a most intriguing phenomenon. The humans gather around the human whose day of birth they are celebrating, and they give this anniversarial human gifts of a sentimental nature, and then sing the “Birthday Song” to her or him. It is most amusing, although I have to say the most engaging part for me is the consumption of the “Birthday Cake”. It contains far more glucose than any living being should ever consume, but oh is it, as the humans say: “tasty”.
And the combustible “candles” on top are also quite fascinating. I would rather observe the burning pattern of the flames and calculate their energy output, but the humans always encourage the now-slightly-older human to extinguish them with their breath and “make a wish”. Most curious.
My “roommate” and his “friends” asked me when the day of my birth is, but I had no answer for them. This seemed to perplex them, and while in hindsight I realize I should have just given any Earth-date as an answer, they became determined to pick a day for me and celebrate my birthday with extra fervor. And so they are bringing a cake tonight and we will all celebrate together, and – if the Council will forgive my use of a prohibited word – DAMN if I’m not excited.
And that is why I will stay and help this Earth, with all its wish-making, cake-eating, singing humans.
Happy Birthday to me!
[Severance of Communications Link]
4 thoughts on “Birthday Cake”
I second what Nicole said: this was ADORABLE! Why?
– The POV (the narrator is a martian with a human roommate at college)
– The narrator is fascinated by rituals like a birthday party
– The narrator wants to be a rhino (HAHAHA)
– The narrator loves cake!
– ”And that is why I will stay and help this Earth, with all its wish-making, cake-eating, singing humans.“ –> I want to be its friend already. What a sweetheart!
– That bit of poignancy here: “These university-aged humans are frightfully prone to stress, both emotional and physical, not to mention hormonal fluctuations, which are enough to send even my systems into chaos. But somehow the humans contain all this inner activity within their weak, fleshy forms.
That is unkind, they are not weak. (Well, structurally they are). In fact they are the strongest beings I have yet come across on Planet Earth.”
Have I mentioned how much I love how these prompts are sparking such wildly imaginative stories in us that we typically wouldn’t write?! I enjoyed this 🙂
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Joyce!! Thank you so much, your comments made my day/week/month ❤ I loved writing this very scientific, objective observer who suddenly gets swept up in our strange earthling traditions 🙂
And yes, these prompts are so much fun because it's like we get to play in a sandbox again, and experiment and try new voices and genres. Can't wait to see what we come up with next!!
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So, this was a really freakin’ cute story. I hope you don’t take insult to that word choice, Meredith, but I seriously just had some really good feels throughout this entire piece. Granted, I know there was some hints at destroying a planet, so there are some darker themes obviously lurking, but the narrator’s tone and their curiosity throughout the entire transmission was just really fun and quirky to read. I loved it.
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Cute isn’t a bad word at all 🙂 I was trying to balance this explorer’s very scientific observations with his very excited curiosity. I’m so glad you liked it!
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