Welcome to Free Writing! Quick fiction written for entertainment purposes. This week we have another piece of flash fiction. We’re continuing the story from the last few weeks. So if you haven’t read the others, click here to see them all. Enjoy!
We’re getting close to the end folks. Just a reminder Free Write will be going on hiatus after this story concludes.
By Nojh Livic
“I was sent here to survey your planet,” Prime said simply. “Not invade conquer take samples. I was to landing on benign little planet, surveying for scientific and exploit purposes.” When General White raised an eyebrow at the word exploit, Prime looked to Paul, who was also expressing anxiety in his facial features. Prime quickly added, “Exploit resources. Elements. Materials. Energy. Benign little planet was not to have life upon it.”
“Right,” the General said, to which Prime nodded his agreement with the statement, although he wasn’t sure how the General really could determine the truthiness of his statement. “Who sent you?”
“Automind survey device,” Prime answered immediately, to dull expressions. Human communication was so complex it was almost requiring an entirely dedicated process just to handle the non-verbal aspects. “It visited system approximately 1,125,733 local solar cycles, scan all planets for possible survey attempts and relayed this information. I was in stasis and received the relay and decided to survey. Selects planets with high resource content. It did not report any intelligent life.” General White and Paul both frowned but it did not seem to be a hostile frown. It had aspects similar to confusion.
“Do you mean days?” Paul asked. Over a million days ago?” Prime nodded its head in agreement.
“Could you translate that into years please?” the General asked. Prime shook its head to indicate negative. “Why not?”
“I do not know what year is,” Prime offered helpfully. This elicited a verbalized grunt that did not match any particular word or prescribed verbal communication. Prime once again glanced to at Paul, however Paul offered no clues as to what this communication meant but instead explained the ratio of days to years.
“Ah. Interesting. That is close approximation to Earth’s rotation around the star,” Prime noted, to which Paul nodded. “It carries with it discrepancies-”
“Yes, but please calculate i-,” the General interrupted.
Prime nodded and answered immediately. “3082.154808 years, approximately.”
“Wait. Humans inhabited on this planet three thousand years ago,” Paul said, looking at Prime. “But you said your auto.. Your probe did not detect intelligent life.” Prime was growing to like Paul. He was more intelligent than some Forms it knew. The General, however, gave Paul another nonverbal communication via facial expression. It looked hostile or at least aggressive and Paul sat back in his chair.
“Yes. It is, deficiency? Of the probe. It can not think organic life to have intelligence,” Prime explained, ignoring the communication between the humans. Prime chose to shrug. “It is unknown. No. Unset. Unusual? Unusual.” This discussion was starting to stretch Prime’s vocabulary. It would like to have access to the information network again but it suspected that would not happen.
“Unusual. Organic intelligent life is unusual?” General White asked. Prime simply nodded. “How unusual?” The General’s tone was different for this question and he leaned forward slightly in his chair. Prime was not able to identify the tone but it likely indicated some form of interest beyond the urgency of the usual questions.
“It has never been discovered with credible sources in my existence,” Prime stated.
“I don’t understand,” the General stated. Prime nodded and tried to determine what it mistranslated.
Paul, however, spoke up. “It means we’re unique. Its race has never found another intelligence organic species while exploring space.” Prime considered this and then nodded. The General sat back in his chair and crossed his arms, grunting again. Paul looked down at the floor. Neither human seemed to like this information.
“I am not sure I believe you,” the General finally said. Prime responded by mimicking a human shrug. “However let us assume you are just a surveyor. Your probe sent you? No leader? Or government? Or group?”
Prime shook its head again but did not wait for another question to explain. “I am not apart of that. I range lonely until I decided to embark home. The Forms are not organized like that. We collective but mobile.”
“That made less sense than usual,” the General muttered. Prime nodded and would frown but it did not design its face to be able to replicate that level of human detail.
“I am low on vocabulary. Sorry.” Prime said, hoping that it modulated its tone to sound apologetic.
“Doctor?” the General prompted.
Paul nodded and thought about it. “I’m not sure. I guess they’re just, not as much of a herd animal as humans are? How long were you in stasis?”
“Translated for Earth local, 27,145.120048 years,” Prime calculated audibly. Both humans were visibly surprised. Prime realized that it would be considered a relatively long time compared to the average life span of a human. Prime nodded. “It is long time compared to human seeing. Lonely Forms travel slowly.”
“Even at approaching the speed of light we couldn’t make it to our nearest neighboring star in under a few hundred thousand years,” the General stated flatly.
Prime once again shrugged. “Form slow is human fast?” it offered as an explanation. This elicited a chuckle from Paul and from one of the soldiers at the doorway. Prime turned its attention to look at the solider, who quickly tensed and straightened, as if he expected Prime to edit its memory and assume that was the position he had been in all along. The General was slower to turn and look, and only saw the two soldiers standing straight.
“Okay we’ll discuss scientific breakthroughs later. I want to know why one of my labs has laser burns all over it and why several of my people are in the medical ward,” the White said with force in his tone. Prime could not determine if the human was simply re-living the aggravation of the prior events he was talking about, or if he was aggravated by the levity of the humans around him.
Prime mimicked a sigh. “That is a complication,” Prime began.