What stupid question have you heard someone ask (or asked yourself)?
It had been remarkably reckless to come down to the surface, but sometimes the only way to understand a thing was to witness it firsthand. Besides, Nisae was bored of monitoring from orbit and had grown curiously fond of the humans after decades of data collection.
She had sampled the data and she had done the calculations. The atmosphere was very similar to her homeworld, if a bit more nitrous. Exposure shouldn’t harm her. She didn’t account for just how much extra nitrogen was in their air.
Nisae’s exosuit was old and she had to calibrate it manually. It would have been able to filter out the harmful gas if she had only made her calculations more carefully or had a partner to check them. A month had passed since the accident. Perhaps that was why she had been so eager.
Regardless, she exited her exploration shuttle into the toxic atmosphere with high hopes. Her suit had a built-in translator so she would be able to communicate with any human she might encounter. She just didn’t know it would be several days later from a medical institution.
She had been found unconscious by an agricultural steward. Their word was “farmer.” He grew and tended vast acres of crops. She had collapsed in one of his fields.
When she reawakened, she was surrounded by physicians. Oh the High Council would have her hide for this. First Contact was not supposed to be a medical emergency.
A human, she believed male, dressed in a white coat, spoke to her. The others stared with wide-eyed anticipation, a few gawked openly at her pale-green skin. So much for her exosuit’s disguise and translator tech. Nisae glanced over her shoulder and sighed in relief. It was folded neatly on a chair in the corner.
She gestured to it and waited patiently as one of the other physicians retrieved it for her. The disguise function would be useless now, but she could still make use of the translator. She took the base ring from the helmet collar and clasped it around her neck. The connected earpiece she looped around point of her ear.
“Does that help you understand me?” the first man asked, and she realized that had been his initial question.
“This does,” she said, pointing to the earpiece. Excited gasps and nervous laughter rippled around the room. She touched the collar. “And this helps you to understand me.”
Nisae was a scientist, not a diplomat. She was keenly aware that these first interactions would be key in any potential relationship developed between these humans and her people, but she was equally as excited as they were to learn about each other face to face.
“Are you an alien?” someone else asked.
She stared at his pale squishy flesh and thin tuft of hair, compared it to her own thick skin of a color that did not present on the people of this planet, and wondered if maybe they weren’t prepared for this encounter after all. Then again, nerves could prompt people to say or ask ridiculous things. “I am not from Earth, no,” she finally replied.
There would be many more trivial questions before she could contact the High Council and inform them of the missteps that had occurred. But the humans were ravenous for knowledge, and they had knowledge to share. Her recklessness had moved the timeline up by several decades, but time would tell if that was a bad thing.
Notes: This late post brought to you by NBC and their commercial-dense coverage of the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics. Could I have started earlier? Probably. Could I have worked while I watched? Possibly, but I am far too easily distracted so the end result would have been the same. Man am I sleepy.
I actually had an anecdotal response to this but figured I would spare my sister the embarrassment. It’s bad enough it gets brought up at every other family holiday, no need to shame her to strangers on the internet. We’ll just say, geography is not her strong suit.
Ever asked a stupid question? Do you think it’s not possible for a question to be stupid, since the act of questioning is an act of learning? (Can you guess where I stand on that based on that very specific leading question?) What sorts of questions do you consider “dumb?” Jot them down!
Monday’s prompt: When was the last time you got lost?
I never get lost. I always know where I am. I’m right here! I’m always right here! Heh. I think it’s time for bed now. Have a great weekend folks, I’ll be back on Monday!