Chandler, Arizona, United States

There's an old saying. If you don't want someone to join a crowd, you ask them, "If everyone were jumping off of a cliff, would you?" Well, I have. So my answer would be "Yes". True story.
Profile continued . . .

Story Idea: First Contact with Aliens

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

this entry brought to you by the white stripes, "the hardest button to button"

Six years ago we made first contact with an alien species, a fact that has been kept a secret from society. Like most scientific discoveries, the plan is to release the information to the public after knowing a lot more about it than the initial discovery; first, our respective scientists wanted to learn about one another, and share our cultures.A team of seven of their linguists have been spending the entire past six years in secret so that we can learn each others' languages.

The time has now come for phase two. Our main character is an unassuming 8th grade Spanish teacher, who is also a mother of a six year old. She had previously been a professor of ancient languages at the local university, but through a series of events, decided it would be easier just teach eighth graders. Her husband comes home at the opening of the story and tells her about a project he's been a part of for the prior six years but has never been able to tell her about; their family has been chosen for the next phase of the program.

75 families, between the ages of 28 and 35, with no more than one child aged 5 to 8, will be sent into space in secret, to board an alien space craft, which will then travel just outside of our solar system. It will take two years to get to their destination, a space station that was designed built by the aliens specifically to hold 150 families, 75 of each species. In the two years it takes to get there, the human families will be taught this alien language. The aliens do not have vocal chords, and therefore cannot speak any human language; they have a language that relies on harmonics, and therefore we cannot speak theirs. The objective is to learn to understand each others' languages, so that the two species can understand what is being said even though neither can speak the tongue.

The program will take two years to get to to the space station, the families will live there for 3 years, and it will take another two years for the space station to move slowly back to Earth, where the aliens will finally be introduced to the rest of the human race. The objective of living together in the space station is to immerse each other in our various customs and cultures. While on board the space station, each family will be expected to have one child. The idea is to have one child who is old enough to remember Earth and will have to adapt to the idea of the aliens, while a baby born on the space station will grow up knowing the aliens their entire lives, and obviously learning how each child reacts to life amongst the aliens would be helpful sociologically.

The aliens themselves are humanoid and are roughly the same size and shape as humans, and are mammalian. They have hair that comes down from their head, is still attached on the neck and comes down to their shoulders, like a mane; on the males they also have hair on their forearms and their thighs. I imagine they have some sort of decorative head as well, but I haven't decided at all what shape that would take. The females have four breasts-- it's much more common for a female to have more than one baby at a time. The top breast is usually no more than an average woman's breasts, and just under those, a second set that are much more smaller and immature looking.

Their eyes are wide and have a second, muscled eyelid that covers the entire eye except for an oval slit. This makes them seem cold and distant because their eyes are not soft or caring. Humans at first assume that this is just how their eyes look, but discover when they're around those they are comfortable with, their eyelids move back behind their eyes revealing the rest of their eye, including the color of their iris, which makes them seem much more expressive and caring. Their voices are very harmonic and sound more like a musical instrument being played than human voices do, and when they are speaking to someone fondly, it sounds positively beautiful. On the flip side, when they're angry, it resonates with a horrible tone and sounds much more frightening than a person yelling.

One of the recurring themes I think the story should have is that the humans go to meet the aliens, wondering what they'll be like. Are they more war like? Are they more scientific? And it turns out that, much like humans, the aliens don't really have much of a defined culture as a whole, and are actually very different from subculture to subculture. One thing that I dislike about sci-fi is that they're very racist if you think about them. Each race represents their one aspect of humanity and there is usually very little outside that archetype. In this story I think it would be interesting if the humans go into the situation thinking that this is essentially how it will be, that the aliens will be this way or that way, but the truth is much more nuanced. A set of twelve from one side of their world may think one way, and another set of fifteen from another part may think another, and then within the smaller group, there is disagreement about even more specifics.

The problem is, of course, conflict. I have no idea what sort of conflict should happen that the characters would have to overcome. I suppose the entire point could be the situation itself, a woman going through a life experience on a space ship learning about this specific, weird, alien culture, but would that be enough? I suppose there's always the idea of some sort of inter-species love, and perhaps that could happen to one of the supporting characters, but it seems like a cliche to have it as the main story.

I could always have a third species show up and take them all hostage. Which. Uhm. Actually sounds like a cool idea. Hmm.

with love from CRS @ 9:36 PM 


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