This story is a change in pace for me as I don’t generally espouse to sci-fi. I put an alien into the story as a device which liberated me to question some the human activates which we may take for granted. I hope that it gets you thinking!
Note to diary – My observation and deduction test!
Dear diary, I write in a mixed dither of emotions. I’m happy because I am to go to the Blue for my graduation observation and deduction test. I’m apprehensive, because things are moving fast and I’m to leave in two waking periods. I admit to you, dear dairy, that I am scared. This is a good assignment, isn’t it? I’ve always been excited by the blue images of this remote third planet, but what if I mess up? The Blue is so far away – and why should that matter, you ask? I concede, it doesn’t matter and it doesn’t matter that the Blue spins around a small insignificant sun. What is important to me is that it is beautiful; some say that it is the most gorgeous place in the universe. I look forward being able to make my own assessment on the validity of this claim.
The evaluation team have already given me my information zapper whose use is to be restricted I have latched it to my invisible bubble suit so that I won’t lose it. I know that I am not supposed to research or prepare for my trip but I already know that the Blue is blue because seventy-one percent of its surface is cradled by a mildly saline H2O liquid – a fortuitous stable union between hydrogen and oxygen. The liquid forms masses unequalled by any observed oceans its immediate celestial system, including those on the nearby mooons, Titan and Europa. I hope that I get to make my observations in the depths of that liquid. I read a report by a successful graduate who wrote about their observation of the giant mammalian fish in the seventy-one-percent water. Now that was an experience!
I recall a galactic class in which they told us about the dominant species on the Blue. It is a life form, self-named Homo Sapiens or wise genus. They are sixty percent H2O to match their planet. Some analysts label them successful as they are multiplying fast and overrunning the Blue. In the last fifty-two of their solar rotations they have multiplied from three billion to seven billion. Now that is fast. I seem to recall mention that they leave their indelible imprint all over the Blue and may even be destroying the beauty and the mildly saline H2O with their pollutants. This speculation challenges the successful adjective and the self-name ‘wise’.
Second note to diary – A power plant?
I’ve arrived and this is not what I expected. I can’t see any blue – it is all browns and greys. My laboratory is not in the seventy-one percent H2O, but among the dominant species. I am assigned to make my observations restricted to this large room full of equipment. The room is about 300 ft. by 200 ft. by 30 ft. It has a mezzanine over half of the volume. At first I think it to be a primitive generating plant. I speculate that the pieces of equipment are mini-generators. There are wises sitting, running, bouncing and causing motion on the equipment; but, no, when I zap the machines I got no indication that their output is being harnessed. Most of the wises don’t look happy, so I can’t deduce why this place and this equipment exists. I don’t know why they act as they do.
By the way, a curious side comment, I zap a couple of the wises. I didn’t know, dear diary, that their body envelopes contain a fluid which is ninety-two percent H2O. I notice that their internal pumps which move this fluid around pump much faster when they are on the machines it gives me the silliest thought that perhaps the whole point of the ridiculous inefficient machines is to accelerate their internal pumps – but that doesn’t make sense so I’m only able to share this idiocy with you, dear diary.
I am worried, if I don’t work this out I’m going to fail and no-one in our family has ever failed the test. I can imagine my father’s reaction. As it is, he is perpetually disappointed in me. His response, dear diary, it will not be pretty.
Third note to diary – An energy storage facility?
It’s me again and I think that I am getting the hang of this test. I realize that you shouldn’t jump to quick conclusions. Slow and steady is best. The equipment with continuous moving parts got my first attention, but then I notice that part of the room is occupied by other machines which involve lifting and lowering heavy discs. I assume that they are a form of energy storage battery which the wises are recharging. They grimace and groan as they lift, so it has to have something to do with improving their general good. I zap one of the discs before and after it is lifted. I see no indication of energy stored. So that hypothesis is blown.
I zap these wises; their pumps were racing, but not so much. I notice that these wises have higher ratios of muscle, which is seventy-five percent H2O. I vaguely wonder if this is significant – why do I always seem to wander off task? This is a hard test. I worry that I am going to fail, and I can already sense Father’s ire and ridicule.
Fourth note to diary – A correctional facility?
I’m concentrating on getting it together and have put the images of Father behind me so that I can concentrate better. Our pre-test instructors told us not to make quick assumptions, but to pause and assimilate. So, I’ve abandoned the quick gut-feel response and wait and watch. This time I begin to observe the individual wises. They all enter by the same door. I can see part of the Blue through the door. I can see the light of the Blue’s sun and admire the blue of the sky. I can almost smell the sweetness of the air. I am glad that I can get this tiny glimpse of the beauty of Blue. I wonder why I was assigned to this awful room.
I watch the wises entering and checking in at a computer. They are scantily clad. They quickly disperse to their activities. I notice that there are a group of black-clothed wises with white letters on their chests. They must be guards, for they latch onto some of the new entrants and chaperone them around. They give them assignments on the machines. While their victims, perform the black-uniformed guards stand and smile. My zapper tells me that this is an indication of pleasure. I watch these pairs of wises navigating around the room – the guards in font, the detainees meekly behind. I detect no discussion, no pleas for mercy; mere blind obedience.
I notice that some of the female wises who enter are wearing torture devices on their feet. These are archaic in the extreme and force the victim to balance on one square inch at the tip of their feet and a long spiked nail at the other end. The device forces the wearer to balance on an acute incline, making the formally flat foot into a triangle with the torture device. I zap one of the devices but come up with an error reading. It strikes me as odd that they are not required to wear the torture devices when they are on the machines. Now that is illogical, and we are warned about illogicalities so I begin to doubt my correctional facility idea. Perhaps if I devote attention to one pair I might find a clue. Time is running out and I fear failure.
Fifth note to diary – A mating ceremony?
In our training we were instructed to focus on individual interactions as these may reveal truths. There are few interactions in this space but I manage to observe a pair of wises.
They are a couple, standing and talking. I can see her face. When she came in she was wearing the torture devices. She is smiling. Her face is animated; the zapper records it as flirtatious and sexy. Her long dark hair is drawn up into a practical ponytail. I decide that she is a pretty girl. As she speaks she twirls the end of a plug-in radio earpiece around her fingers. The white wires with white ear plugs on the end whirl like old-fashioned motor blades. When it is completely wound around her hand, she reverses the direction and unwinds it, only to start again. She is using her right hand. Her left hand animates her conversation.
The black-clad guard who talks to her stands with his back to me. He leans against a machine and stands on one leg the other crossed in front with his foot turned toward me. His nonchalant poise seems to be in stark contrast to her animation. He is wearing foot gloves with individual protrusions for each toe. Toes, dear diary, are strange bumps on the feet and are of apparently little use to the wises.
The guard enjoys the exchange, although twice he tries to bring things to a close by raising his hand. Each time she responds, and their hands touch in the air. Then he changes his position and draws away, but something she says or does draws him back. The conversation revitalizes and he retraces his steps to take up his pose again. At last a final mid-air hand touch and they separate. She walks off toward one of the enigmatic machines and he off to the stairs to descend out of sight. I notice her wide hips and large bottom, and zap her to get her body-mass index. It is high. It is a bit unkind of me but I wonder if her time on the machine might eat up some calories and bring her index down.
Later, I watch her leave. I watch her walk past him in her torture devices. He is staring at her legs and instead of looking concerned about her discomfort, he looks happy. Actually my zapper records an increase in desire. A strange notion pops into my head. Could she be wearing those things voluntarily, specifically to arouse the opposite sex? If this is true, that she goes to this extreme, I can understand how they manage to multiply so fast. Ah-ha, perhaps I am on to something, something very odd!
Sixth note to diary – I cheat
Yes, I cheated, but not really, and I am sure that Father would have done likewise. I am going to keep this a secret from all except you, dear diary, and you shall always remain locked and hidden. It wasn’t a big cheat; I’d like to call it a white cheat. All I did was zap the writing on the wall. The dominant word is gym. The zapper tells me that this is a place where wises come to move and strengthen their bodies. This information is alien. Is that the heartbeat and muscles which I dismissed earlier? But, why do they choose to come into this dismal place when they have the Blue outside? Why don’t they strengthen their bodies in the light of that warming sun under that blue, blue sky or perhaps immersed in the mythical blue oceans which I won’t get to see.
My time is up and I am about to leave. This whole thing is a big disappointment. I am in half a mind to mention the heartbeat and muscles in my report. I might go overboard and mention the torturous sex stimulus footwear. I worry that these thoughts will be ridiculed and perhaps get back to Father, but I am feeling liberated and bold, for at least our society is beyond these primitive customs