Joe's Spot

Tom Burns


Tom Burns








Note to reader: All these TV programs of aliens, monsters, or out-sized insects, etc. are so unrealistic it seems to me that a story or TV movie that looks really plausible might be welcome to many. Here is just an outline of one that is more plausible that could be filled in with a lot of details and talk to make a good book or TV by a good writer. (I am not much of a writer)

Joe Blow, recently retired professional, living near Denver in an area where there are many nights of clear clean air, had been interested in astronomy since early on. He has had a moderate size telescope for some time. After retirement he decides to get a pretty good sized expensive one and search for comets, like many other amateur astronomers.

After a year or so of comet hunting, one night Joe finds a very dim fuzzy spot on a photographic plate where the star catalogs don’t show anything. After looking at it again the next few nights and its appearing to have perhaps moved very slightly, he becomes very excited about it and calls the International Astronomical Union to give the coordinates of the location. Newly discovered comets are named after the discoverer and confer a certain amount of prestige or glory on the discoverer, particularly if it turns out to be a big one visible to the naked eye when it gets nearer.

But this one looks strange, not exactly like a regular comet, and the IAU defers calling it a comet, although they give it a number and refer to it as “Joe’s Spot”. The word is passed out among astronomers and some of the big scopes are trained on it. Astronomers try to figure out its orbit. It doesn’t appear to be like any comet or asteroid’s typical orbit and it is moving extremely fast and appears to be headed somewhere in our direction. There is much conjecture as to its apparent speed and the possibility of it being a tight bunch of comets or one big one broken into several pieces. It has the astronomical community buzzing with this new phenomenon. When the word gets out that it is heading somewhat toward the earth the media gets on the trail and starts generating news excitement. Meanwhile, astronomers have now figured out that it is moving extremely fast, way above any hitherto discovered comets. Finally, to everyone’s disbelief, measurements appear to actually put it someone near to 3/4 of the speed of light, and it is heading toward us. Great excitement the world over. The various doomsday cults and Armageddon proponents are having resurgence. It almost looks like it could be doomsday!

Although there has been a lot of conjecture and various methods studied for the possibility of slightly changing the orbits of any large asteroids or a comet that could endanger the earth, using atomic bombs, etc., they all involve much time for preparation and advance action to do so. They would have to be intercepted a long time in advance to sufficiently alter their paths to miss us But this thing is coming so fast there obviously will not be enough time to do anything about it. It looks like it will be here within months and, and now the trajectory looks like it is dead on for us. Because of the difficulty of estimating its exact speed, astronomers cannot predict the area of impact except that it is coming from the north and will be in the northern hemisphere if it hits us. Pandemonium! (Quite a few pages could be written here about what might be expected and peoples’ reactions). Big exodus to the southern hemisphere. Some people who can afford it are buying up surplus commercial airplanes, getting mechanics to get the planes in operating condition, and contracting with pilots or former pilots to fly them so that they can be airborne at the time of impact and then land at places not affected. People are buying non perishable food supplies like crazy. (A good writer could make a whole chapter here)

Then, suddenly, with apparently only weeks to go, it appears to be slowing down. High definition photos by the Hubble now show varying spots of brightness suggesting that it may be many separate smaller objects close together. The slowing down keeps extending the calculated impact time farther into the future, but it is still now only months away. This slowing is contrary to laws of physics (an object in motion continues in a straight line at a uniform speed unless acted upon by another force) and has scientists in a quandary. There has to be some force within the object itself to cause this change in velocity.

Finally, as it gets closer, better photos begin to show more clearly that it is almost surely several separate objects. A possible answer is that it may be a fleet of objects, possibly space ships, with some kind of intelligent control! Further evidence for space ships is that backtracking the trajectory points to an origin from Centaurus, the nearest group of stars to our solar system at about 4 light years away. If intelligent beings had figured out an energy source that could accelerate space ships to near the speed of light, a 4 or 5 year trip from a possible planet in Centaurus’ system is plausible.

Now, the speed is steadily slowing down. As the speed decreases, the rate of reduction in speed indicates that the projected speed at arrival near earth will be approximately the same as the orbiting speed of our Space Station and other man made orbiting objects. Finally, when they have entered into our solar system quite a distance, our big telescopes indicate highly reflective objects all the same size, obviously made by some kind of intelligence. They have to be either objects of doom or space ships. But why and who would send something here to destroy us. If they were to destroy us, why slow down now? That almost cinches it--Space Ships!

Big sighs of relief; no collision, but still the question of what happens when they arrive here with obviously superior machinery and high intelligence. All kinds of speculation! Will they be friends, enemies, conquerors, or what?

All attempts at radio communication via many different wavelengths have resulted in naught. Finally, they arrive and go into low orbit around the earth, each one into a different orbit. There are twelve of them. Their various orbits seem to completely cover the earth, and this looks very ominous. Why are they doing this? They orbit for two days, obviously reconnoitering. By now everyone on earth is waiting to see what happens. Much drama here--what governments are doing, what individuals are saying and doing,--all kinds of stuff. Some governments acting like idiots, some calm, some with all military and big guns alert, others just perplexed; some people heading for the hills to hide, others near hysterical, most just intensely interested, but just waiting. Some governments trying to coordinate with each other on what to do if the ships land, but no one has the slightest inkling on what to expect.

Finally the ships begin to land. No need to enter the atmosphere with heat shields like our shuttles. They have the power to decelerate before hitting the atmosphere while remaining aloft and then guide their ships down slowly through the atmosphere to slow landings. Of course they are tracked by radar and our spy satellites, and they land at various times in the daytime, depending on what time zone the landing spot is in. Two of them land, of all places, at spent nuclear fuel rod repositories. One was tracked as landing in a remote part of the Amazon forest and another in northern Canada. The rest go near areas of recent volcanic activity-- only two of these near habitations, the others at remote volcanic areas scattered around the globe. The word about the odd landing spots gets around quickly. No one can figure out what this strange pattern might mean, but it doesn’t look too ominous. 

The ships are big--about 400 ft. long and 100 ft. in diameter, generally cylindrical in shape with one side slightly flattened, on which they land, and what appears to be the front end more or less blunt, but with three rocket-like nozzles, apparently for slowing the ship down. The other end has what appear to be a ring of the rocket-like nozzles. The ships rest with the slightly flattened side down. There are also some nozzles on this down-side of the ships to assist landing and lifting up.

The two ships near habitations are now emitting high pitched sounds in various radio frequencies, now apparently trying to communicate. We respond in one of those frequencies with random high pitched sounds like theirs and also our speech sounds. This results in a flurry of back and forth sounds between them and us, but no one on either side can make any sense of what the other is trying to say. The occupants are obviously intelligent and must have some kind of language, but how do two societies from different worlds attempt to communicate? These creatures could be something that we cannot even imagine. 

One of the landings is high up on the flanks of Mt. Vesuvius in Italy near a very small village at one of the few small more or less flat level spots nearby. The other is on a small Japanese island with some habitation, by an inactive volcano.

One of the two at nuclear waste sites is in the U.S.A, the other in France. Apparently in their 2 days of circling they had detected the above normal radiation of these two places and were interested in them. At both sites, armored vehicles and units quickly appear at the landings sites, staying at a distance and waiting to see what happens. This occurs first at France, being in an earlier time zone. After another stalemate in attempted radio contacts, a door opens in the ship, and a large vehicle similar to one of our military tanks, but without a turret, trundles out, and the doors immediately close behind it. It is about 25 ft. long, 9 or 10 ft. wide and 6 or 7 ft. high. It has tracks similar to our tanks, and the sides above the tracks slope inward. There are what appear to be observation nacelles at each end near the top.

The vehicle maneuvers up to the rows of stainless steel nuclear waste containers. A door at the bottom of the front of the vehicle opens, and something like a conveyor system juts out. Then two long arms appear and start maneuvering one of the waste containers onto the conveyor. 

At that point a hot-headed French commander orders one of his armored vehicles to shoot a burst of machine gun fire at the alien vehicle. The machine gun burst merely glances upward off the sloped side with no apparent effects. But two hatches on that side of the vehicle immediately pop open and a gun of some kind with an antenna of sorts above it poke out of each. The aliens desperately try again to communicate via radio, but no one can understand each other. The French commander then orders an anti-tank missile to be fired at it. A burst from one of the alien guns hits the antitank missile in mid air and explodes it before it reaches the vehicle. A second shot results in the same thing. Wow! These guys have really got something there. Those antennas above the guns must be for some kind of radar or have something to do with detecting the missile and provide this kind of super quick action. The alien vehicle now sits there doing nothing, but with its guns pointing toward the French armored vehicles.

After a while, the French commander gets what he thinks is a brilliant idea. If he can simultaneously fire three antitank missiles from a close range, maybe two of the missiles can be stopped by the two guns, but there might not be time for one of the alien guns to also get the third one. He tries it, and it works, but the antitank missile that gets through does little damage. The materiel the tank is made of must be awfully tough. One of the guns of the alien vehicle immediately shoots back a blast at the French vehicle from which the third missile came and blows it and its personnel all to smithereens. Finally, it slowly begins to dawn on the French commander that maybe these guys have a bit more on the ball than a Frenchman. He finally realizes that after coming in from outer space and having those weapons that can blast a missile in mid-flight and blow one of his vehicles to bits, these aliens must be pretty smart and have superior weapons. They could have blasted his whole contingent into nothing in seconds flat with that kind of weapon. He reluctantly backs off his forces in retreat. The tank-like vehicle backs off from the nuclear waste containers and returns to the mother ship. The space ship blasts off, lifting vertically for a short distance, then off to join one of the others.

Meanwhile things are going differently on Mt. Vesuvius. Most of the villagers have gathered near this space ship in awe, most just curious and some fearful. Eventually, police and military units wind their way up the narrow road and arrive. The same kind of vehicle as at the French landing has emerged from this space ship at about the same time as in France and started excavating in an adjacent unused field a couple of hundred feet away, unconcerned with the spectators. Everyone, including the military, just sits still and watches in amazement. This vehicle has scoops on the ends of arms similar to a backhoe and has scraped off the topsoil a foot or two down and begins to bring some of the rocky material below on to the conveyer, which delivers it into the vehicle. A couple of brave spectators advance close to the digging, but this doesn’t evict any signs of alarm or concern from the aliens. The spectators try to see what is inside the vehicle where the arms and conveyor emerged and who is operating it, but the openings are small and more or less shielded by flaps, and they can see nothing inside. The digging goes on until it has collected quite a load, whereupon it goes over to the nearby creek and sucks up some water. It then returns to the mother ship, unloads and comes out again. This time it maneuvers around the immediate area and digs up some miscellaneous native plants and some vegetable plants and a small grapevine in the rear of someone’s back yard. A military vehicle had started following the alien tank, but the aliens ignored it. Then the operation suddenly stops. Hatches open with guns popping out. This happens in time right after the French fiasco is taking place. Apparently, there is rapid communication between space ships, and the aliens are now wary after the French deal. The Italian captain in charge of the small military presence senses the uneasiness on the part of the aliens and orders the close military vehicle to move away. The alien vehicle then resumes its poking around and returns to the mother ship with the plants. 

The same kinds of digging happens in Japan later on in the later time zone, except there was no military presence there on the small island. In Italy, there are only the local villagers and some police and military people observing. The military vehicles have pretty much torn up the narrow road in this rough territory in getting to the site so that only four wheel drive vehicles can now negotiate it, and it has been closed off to the general public except for locals and TV news crews. It is assumed that the same kind of excavating is going on at the other remote volcano landing sites. A helicopter flight over one in Chile confirms this.

The landing at the U.S.A. nuclear waste repository site is less dramatic than the French one. Having heard what transpired in France and Italy a few hours earlier, the military and scientists just stood by and watched the aliens gather up a couple of waste containers to bring to the mother ship. One official was heard to say “ Great! The EPA would be very happy to see all that radioactive waste taken away”. Then someone said “Let’s get out the special converted fork lift they use for handling the containers and help them. It might pay to be friends with these guys, whoever they are. They obviously have some pretty good technology we could use”.

Since the temporary repository is within a restricted zone, the general public in great numbers watched from a distance from whatever vantage points they could get a clear view.

After the fork lift helped load two more containers onto the conveyer, the tank-like vehicle went back into the mother ship, and they left. It was later found to have rendezvoused with the ship in Chile. Scientists and everyone else around the world are completely confounded. Who and what is inside of those huge ships, and why are they gathering radioactive material and rocks and plants? The radioactive material could be valuable for the large amount of power still left in them, because their ships are obviously powered be some kind of atom power and they might need it for reserve or for their return trip, but the rocks and plants--who knows?; and who, if anybody in the ships, is manning this operation? They obviously know what they are doing as evidenced by an intelligence capable of this space flight and operation. But no alien beings have come out of the ships or “tanks” or have been seen, and everyone is completely baffled. After the French incident police and military are reluctant to make any moves that would appear to be aggressive. 

The Italian landing was at one of the few fairly level unoccupied spots in the area. But there is a volcanic vent a few hundred yards away. On the second day the alien vehicle starts off toward it, even though it isn’t visible from the landing spot. Apparently, during their three days of orbiting reconnaissance, and probably with sensitive instruments, they must have catalogued all sorts of features below. They knew exactly where that volcanic vent area was. When they arrived there they immediately started digging and retrieving material again. After they got a full load they returned to the mother ship.

Nothing has happened now for a couple of days, except that there is some humming and an occasional puff of dust coming from the mother ship. It looks like there might be some kind of processing of the rocks that were taken aboard going on. A scientist poking around the area notices two piles of material ejected from the opposite side of the space ship. One is dirt but the other is crumbly material looking like neither dirt nor rock. He takes a sample to bring back to a lab for analysis. He also takes samples of dirt that has been touched by the aliens’ digging apparatus and wheel tracks to test for microbes. One of the immediate concerns of health officials is that the aliens may have brought dangerous microbes with them. But the whole world is just waiting on pins and needles to see what happens next.

Two girls, one older leading a younger 1st or 2nd grader stop near the door of the space ship on the way home from school They are unnoticed by guards who have generally been keeping local spectators and TV crews confined along the road which is some distance from the ship. The girls have come from a side direction, unnoticed by the guards, and passed near the space ship. They leave a basket containing some fruit and a candy bar near the door. The next morning on the way to school the girls can see that the basket is gone. So they collect some items from the other kids at school, put them in a bag and again leave them by the space ship on their way home. The following morning they pass by close to the ship again to see if the bag is gone. It is.

But Lo and behold! The door opens and some kind of an animal-like creature starts to come out slowly. The aliens have taken the small gifts as a sign of friendship. Everyone is all eyes! Finally the occupants have appeared! The animal looks like it has six legs, but as it emerges it can be seen that there are four legs, and the two front appendages are longer but smaller in diameter more like arms and are now lifting up and making some kind of gestures like “come here”. As it comes farther out, it can be seen more clearly. The TV cameras zoom in on it so the whole world can now get a glimpse of these strange beings.

It is about 5 ft. high like a big dog or small pony. It has an elongated body somewhat oval shaped, wider than high, with a slight narrowing 1/4 of the way back, giving the appearance that the front portion is more or less like a head. The two front legs or arms are attached to this portion slightly higher up than the 4 rear legs. The whole thing gives an insect-like structural appearance, except that the legs are much sturdier looking and made of softer looking material than an insect’s exoskeleton, and they angle more downward like a dog or horse, rather than out like on an insect .Near the rear of the “head” portion there is a large hump on top. The whole upper surface of the body seems to be made of a harder looking material .The front of the “head” is rounded but slightly flattened. Slightly above center there is a flat deeply inset horizontal channel that goes around from one side to the other, almost semicircular. The flat area inside glistens, and this must be an eye, there being no other features that could be an eye. There are roundish membrane-like areas below each corner of the eye that appear to be heat or sound sensors, most likely sound. And there appears to be a mouth. One wonders that in two entirely separate worlds evolutionary forces have come up with a somewhat same general layout plan for a mobile and intelligent creature in both worlds, even though the details vary considerably. Arms, legs, and a head.

The two little girls are startled, but hold their ground. The little one relaxes, thinking this is great, just like some of the creatures in a story book come alive! The older one is more apprehensive, but not too alarmed. She senses that if the creature wanted to harm them it could have quickly pounced on them, with those sturdy legs and long arms. It approaches them slowly, making gestures with its arms and hands that appear to be peaceful. The girls try to talk to it, and it also makes sounds that are only high pitched. It appears to hear the girls’ lower pitched voices O.K. The older girl finally realizes that one particular group of sounds that is repeated numerous times actually sounds something like a very high pitched “Buon giorno”--hello (good day), in Italian. She repeated the words and the alien immediately raised an arm as if in recognition. In attempts to figure out our language the three days aliens have been here they apparently had been trying all kinds of combinations of the radio, TV and other frequency waves and hit on a local TV channel that works on their version of a TV. By watching actions of people obviously greeting each other on T.V. programs, they were able to figure out that the words “buon giorno” was a greeting. This is encouraging.

As they stood facing each other the alien pointed to the book the little girl was carrying. It was a beginning reader with things like a picture of a dog or tree with the word spelled out below it. She handed it to the alien and it immediately started looking through it with great interest. It apparently was familiar with something like a book -- a book of some kind would be necessary for encoding information in any advanced civilization. The alien’s “hand’ was something like a flexible pad on the end of a two-jointed arm and had four fingers, two on each side, more or less opposing, and appearing to be very dexterous in looking through the pages. By now, one of the TV crews and several bystanders excitedly started moving in closer for a better look. On seeing these people converging, the alien became alarmed, handed the book back and retreated to the ship, closing the door.

As soon as the TV crews had focused on the aliens they were sending out the pictures. The word went out and immediately spread throughout the world. Now we know what the aliens look like! By the next day people from everywhere were arriving at the big city down below, hopeful of getting up to the site. But the government immediately sent out messages to stay home, to prevent a stampede and big general mess. There was no way a big mob of people could be handled up at the landing site. They blockaded off the area.

A language professor from the university in the big city down below was allowed to visit the Space Ship site and he talked to the girls. When the oldest girl told him about the alien’s apparent trying to repeat and then recognizing the word “hello”, and its interest in the book, he was very impressed. 

The professor guessed that the aliens must have found the local TV station when he was told about this. From that he figured that the use of pictures with words and writing on a TV program watched by the aliens might be a way to start some kind of communication. But a big problem is the difference in sound frequencies in our voices. Humans can just barely hear their high-pitched squeals. And some of their sounds even appear to be out of reach of our ears. Upon talking to some of his colleagues at the university the next day he finds that there is a U.S. company that is developing an electronics device that can shift sound frequencies. Contact with this company reveals that they had recognized the problem on first hearing about the alien communication problem a few days before and had been furiously working on a model to do the job. They were putting together a couple of experimental units and would immediately send them by air express. 

The professor got together with the local TV station, and with some of his students, developed a program to try to teach the aliens our language in a TV program that they could watch at a particular time each day. They started with something like a picture with someone pointing to an arm and below it a written phrase saying “This is an arm” then another showing a different object like a foot, etc saying the name of the object. This would start a vocabulary and also some grammar and writing. Also they would be shown some actions like a mother motioning for her child to follow her, then moving and saying (and writing below) “Come with me” Any and all other gestures combined with appropriate sounds and writing that they could think of would be tried in efforts to start communication.

The students also tried using mathematics such as pictures indicating pi and angles with our trigonometric functions to get some kind of feedback talk of a mathematical sort, but this didn’t seem to get any response. We found out later that their counting and mathematical system was on a base of eight instead of our ten. Small wonder we couldn’t coordinate. Apparently, like our system based on ten (evolved from our ten fingers or toes), theirs evolved the same way based on their eight fingers. 

As soon as the frequency transforming devices arrived, the professor brought them up to the site. He also brought some pictures of the local TV news announcer such as one they would see on the TV. He found the girls and got the guards to move all spectators quite a way back from the ship. Then, slowly walking up to the ship near the door with the girls, holding one of the devices out like as a gift, the door opened and out came an alien. The professor held the thing up to his mouth and said hello into a microphone while holding a small speaker out towards the alien and the sounds of his voice came out of it in high frequencies similar to their voices. He gave it to the alien and showed them the pictures, and gestured like watching the pictures. He hoped the alien would recognize the T.V. station announcer and would take the clue and use the frequency changer in an effort to hear the T.V. sounds in their frequency range. The professor had told the announcer to keep a radio tuned to the frequency both sides had used earlier in attempts to communicate, while he is broadcasting the TV program. 

Two days later while listening in to the radio channel that both sides had originally been able to connect with but not understand anything, single words of those shown in the special program the TV station was broadcasting for the aliens were beginning to be heard. A few more days and more words and a bit of grammar were recognized. Their voices on the frequency changers were not able to make the perfect sounds of our speech, but were able to make sounds that are recognizable. Between watching the program the professor had prepared and probably watching other programs and listening to speech while watching actions, they were learning our languages. They had figured out what to do. The seeds of communication had been sown!

Meanwhile, at the Japanese Space Ship site things had started out pretty much the same as at the Italian site. The “tank” that emerged from that one looked the same, and it immediately trundled over to where there was some sulphur-bearing rocks and loaded up with them. Also some plant material was collected. When the Japanese heard about the Italian girls and the tries at communication, they similarly sent a little boy to the space ship door with a gift to try the same routine. Apparently the ships had contact with each other either directly or via relay between the other ships scattered around the globe, and the same kind of communications were started as soon at the Japanese were able to also get one of the frequency-changing devices. The Japanese also presented the aliens with a laptop computer, ran a telephone line to the ship, and showed them via T.V. the steps how to connect up and use the computer. They also showed them how to access Google and Wikipedia. There was confusion at first when communications from the Italian ship to the Japanese ship were not making sense, but the aliens soon realized that the Italians and Japanese had two entirely different languages and writing. .

Then three of the ships that had landed at other volcanic areas moved and landed at the U.S. radio active waste site where one had first landed. They landed lined up and close to each other. Then they sent snorkel-like tubes out between them and connecting them. The tubes were large enough for movement of their occupants between the ships.

We later learned that these were used during their long flight from their home planet in order to have personnel access between ships. But the terrain with limited level space available at both the Japanese and Italian would not accommodate them there. They seemed to want to have immediate communication here with each other and perhaps exchange of personnel between the ships. We also learned later that the occupants were not just scientists and explorers, but some had families with them. The apparent friendliness of the Americans and the large level area at the U.S. site made a perfect spot for them to be able to connect their snorkels easily while on land. Also, the proximity to earthling habitations and T.V. facilities would enable them to communicate with the earthlings like at Italy and Japan. This time the aliens initiated the desire to communicate by having one of them come out of the door and motion for someone to come there to meet it.

One of the staff at the site did so immediately. The alien went through the motions of speaking to a microphone and holding out a speaker. The staff member figured that the alien was asking for a frequency changer. By now practically everyone on earth knew all the details of what had gone on at the two other landing sites. The staff member indicated as best he could that he understood, and the alien immediately returned inside the ship.

We later found out that the reason the aliens spent only very short lengths of time outside the ships was because they needed more oxygen than our air had. The atmosphere at their planet was quite different than ours, having an entirely different mixture of gasses. They could breathe ours, but only for short periods of time. It was like one of us being on top of Mt. Everest or higher. 

Meanwhile, the samples of waste material and dirt touched by the alien machinery that had been taken at the Italian site by a scientist were being examined. One of the first worries by people in health interests was that the aliens would introduce some new kinds of microbes that could be disastrous for us. But there was good news here. Same as on earth, there were tiny microorganisms similar to our microbes, but study with electron microscopes showed that their bodies were organized slightly differently, and they didn’t react with our earth life organisms. . They were hard to keep alive and all initial attempts to grow them failed. So it looked like we didn’t have much to worry about here.

The waste material the aliens had ejected appeared to be remnants of what was originally rock but had been chemically broken down with some of the elements removed. No one could figure out how or why. 

After about a week of working with the professor’s T.V. language program and intensely studying all the T.V. programs they can watch, the aliens are doing very well at learning the languages. They seem to have photographic memories of the words and their meanings and grammar. But a conversation between them and us was a difficult thing, because their minds and ours ran on different tracks and we each didn’t know of things common to both of us. . However, we finally got through to them the question of why were they here. After some time during which they used various words and named things, we figured they were looking for sulphur. Then, showing a picture on the T.V. program of our periodic table of elements and pictures of a couple of the elements, including sulphur, they immediately grasped the meaning of the table and confirmed the sulphur. 

Now, the mystery of why their landings were near volcanic activity spots was solved.

These are very strange creatures. They landed here and went about their business, whatever it is, more or less completely ignoring our presence. They take what they want without any indications of respecting our ownership. They must be highly intelligent, but what kind of morals have they? They seem to be willing to communicate with us, and apparently are working on this. They are learning our language, but we are not learning much about them. After only a week they are now able to communicate fairly well. They must be pretty smart and have terrific memories judging from some of the things they are saying, things about us that they could only have learned by working the information sites like Google and Wikipedia on the computer we gave them at the Japanese landing spot. Scientists conjectured that their one ear-to-ear eye must be capable of reading one or more whole lines at one glance, and that big hump on their head a large brain, the two together enabling them to absorb a lot of information in a short time.

They have explained their actions of just landing and taking what they wanted, because they thought we were pretty backwards and kind of stupid. They had sent an exploratory space ship here quite a few years ago (which just happened to be at the peak of World War II) and saw everyone blowing everyone else up all over the planet, and that didn’t give them a very good impression of us. But after learning more about us now via T.V. and the computer sites, they are changing their minds a bit.

That single exploratory ship had made secretive landings here and gathered much information about our geology, but it was almost all lost. When the ship was almost back home close enough to where they could communicate, they had just started telling about our planet, including a not very good picture of our people, when their ship was struck by an object flying through space that they were unable to dodge. The damage was so severe that they were unable to maintain their life support system for more than a few hours, and then the ship careened off into space, never to be seen again.

The same routine about using a T.V. program to enable the aliens to learn English as in Italy and Japan was followed in the three ships at the U.S. site as soon as frequency changers were furnished. Computers and wire connections were also supplied. After a couple of weeks, communication was getting pretty good. They were mastering our grammar, and conversation about things in general was starting to take place. They didn’t have to ask many questions. They were finding out about everything they wanted to know about us on the internet.

In answer to our questions we found that their planet was somewhat smaller than ours and, but was circling a sun larger than ours. Their orbit was a bit farther out making their year longer. But the tilt of their axis was very, very small, resulting in no seasonal variations. Their far north and south latitudes always very cold, and the equatorial belt was very hot. Narrow mid latitudes belts were the only parts of the planet very hospitable for them to live in with comfort, and their overall population was much much less than ours. They had oceans, but not as high a proportion of the planet as ours. They had three moons, all larger than ours, and each in a different orbit. These three moons caused a complicated tide pattern sometimes resulting big tides their sun had high sunspot activity that caused large output surges. This and the tidal movements of the oceans drove their climate.

There was another species of beings similar to them on their planet, but there were very few of them left. This other species was very aggressive and war-like, but maybe not quite so intelligent. After harassing our aliens on and off for a long time, our aliens finally took drastic steps and all but wiped the aggressors out. This is how come they had the tank-like vehicles they converted and used for exploration when they landed here. These were old relics of the days when they had to fight the aggressors, although things were peaceful now, and the need for the tanks no longer existed.  Asked why they were interested in sulphur, they said that it was necessary in their bodily metabolism and it was becoming very scarce on their planet. They didn’t need much, and they were able to recycle most of what they used, but what little they had left wouldn’t last them more than 50 or 75 of our years. Their presence on their planet was very much longer than our human presence on ours. Originally sulphur was abundant, but it was wasted and diluted in the early years to the point where it was dispersed too much to be recaptured and remaining deposits eventually became scarce. Theirs was the only solid planet in their solar system, and they have made trips to other solar systems in a search for available sulphur. No solar system closer than ours had any approachable planets where sulphur might be found. But an amount of only about 30 or 40 tons in our measurements would be enough to keep them going for a long time. They could easily carry this amount in their ships. On finding this, we assured them we could easily supply them with that amount. They could come back again when that supply became low.

They have a very peculiar metabolism. Whereas our mammalian life cycle depends on a chain of events starting from minute organisms getting chemical nutrients from the sea or plants from the earth, and then larger and larger life forms gobbling them up in turn to eventually end up as birds, animals, fish, etc. with humans or large animals at the top of a food chain. They somehow evolved from chemical nutrients from the earth like our plants start off doing, but stayed on that path up an evolutionary ladder into increasingly complex animals without the intermediate steps of everything having to eat other organisms on its way up a food chain. This was why they had been gathering dirt and rocks, besides their search for sulphur. Somehow they were able to process the earth to gain the nutrients they needed. 

But they can also digest plant material. However, their planet is very shy in nitrates, and the atmosphere has a low percentage of nitrogen. Vegetation is somewhat sparse there. This is the reason they were collecting various plants along with the rocks. They are looking for nitrogen fixing plants better than the ones they have there that might work. Our scientists gave them seeds and samples of nitrogen fixing legumes such as ladino clover, etc.

Of course our scientists were very interested in finding out how they made the very tough metal of their space ships and tank-like vehicles, and especially their power source. They were not very forthcoming here. They did reveal that their planet had abundant quantities of metals like beryllium, manganese, tungsten and others, and that they made their tough alloys from them, but they didn’t seem to want to give the exact compositions. They were very tight-lipped about how they got the tremendous amount of power they had to have to attain such high speeds and maneuver their ships except that it was by fission, but no details were given.

Then one day they suddenly said goodbye and all took off for home, leaving us with a multitude of unanswered questions about them and their planet.

Tom Burns

Stockton, CA