The wedding went wonderfully, we honeymooned on Tahiti and after a couple of months things went back to normal. Well as normal as things could be in a world of continuous political and technological change. Relations with the Eutopian’s normalized, there was too much goodwill and money to be made to maintain a state of war.
With captan Grolik, considered to be the primary agitator for conflict dead and his plan in a shambles there were few on Eutopos who wanted to continue the fight. Especially when it came out that Grolik’s king killer torpedo was revealed to be so powerful it wouldn’t have leveled a building, it would have killed a city.
The factory in Marseille lapsed back into the ownership of private citizens of France and Eutopos. There were some attempted lynchings of Eutopian’s after the war ended. But these attempts usually didn’t end well for the thugs committing them. They also tapered off to almost nothing after the facts of the invasion came out.
The explosion that destroyed Venice was never adequately explained. The secret of that weapon likely died with the legion conspiracy. Whatever it was, it was awful, it completely annihilated the city, no rebuilding was possible. The entire area was just open water.
Governments were reconstituted, but their powers ebbed, taxes were paid less and less as bureaucrats and other officials had less and less that they could do.
Then one beautiful day in May I was on my lunch break, I was relaxing on a patch of grass with Katy talking about some kind of a wiring problem in a new ship prototype when someone shouted. “There is something coming in from space, it’s moving too fast!”
I reflexively looked up, there was a bright spot in the sky, I reached down feeling for a revolver that was not there. But it would have been pointless, anything falling from space would vaporize us before I could draw.
This thing was not a weapon, it started to curve. Moving so fast that it looked like an endless curve of blazing red light stretching out into the universe. Before I could express a single expletive the light faded, revealing what looked like a blue crystal teardrop falling from the sky.
It landed on the runway apron in front of Tesla’s lab. I ran over to it, Katy was running along behind me. I noticed that she had her pistol in her hand. Other factory workers were pouring out of every nook and cranny with various weapons. I shouted, “no shooting! No fighting, what the heck is that thing!?”
Whatever it was it was clear, crystalline and beautiful. It was hot from coming into the atmosphere, but cooling rapidly. Boudicca and 2 Eutopian consultants ran up, I shouted, “is that one of yours? Venusian? Yonth? What is it?”
Boudicca answered, “no, doubt it, and how the hell would I know?” Another of the Eutopian’s stated, “that thing isn’t possible, there is no way it could have come down into the atmosphere that fast.”
Tesla walked out of his lab carrying several weapons, we gathered around him. Then something came out of the craft.
What happened next was like some mad hallucination, a great multicolored crystal formed on the outside of the craft. It lowered itself on long appendages onto the ground. It was big, the size of a cow, it stood before us for a moment. We were speechless, but somehow I stammered out, “hello, it’s nice to meet you.”
Another shimmering crystal emerged from the ship, I felt myself trembling with fear. I looked down and saw Katy was nervously holding her pistol, I reached down, pointed it away from the beings and snapped the safety back on. I told everyone to put away their weapons and move back. We were uncomfortably gathered between the craft and the lab, I wanted more room.
As we moved back another appendage came out of the first crystal and started moving long feathery, indescribably beautiful wafers of itself over Tesla’s face. He was breathing erratically, I hoped with all my being that nothing bad would happen. Then it reached into his vest pocket and extracted his madness gun.
The crystals moved back and appeared to examine the tiny pistol. The pistol was pointed up and the trigger was pulled, since it was not pointed at anything there was no damage. The trigger was pulled again and again, finally the crystals seemed satisfied and returned the pistol to Tesla.
With that the crystals faded back into their ship and they took off. Leaving no trace of their landing excepting some truly incredible photographs. We spent a week trying to understand what happened, the ship, technology and the life forms we saw did not match up remotely to anything known on Earth, the Martian archives, the Eutopian communications network or the Venusian core.
Drajiuk and Krasico, our new Eutopian hires guessed that the creatures were a silicon based life form. That was as far as we got in figuring out what they were.
Unconfirmed sightings of the craft from various international sources saw the craft in various parts of the planet. But it wasn’t until a week after the first landing that they landed again. This time in the shadow of the grand Teton mountains in Wyoming. They landed next to a lonely road in the middle of nowhere and six of the beings emerged.
As the preeminent experts on such things I, Boudicca, Tesla, Katy and a dozen coworkers flew out to Wyoming as fast as we could after their craft landed. When we flew over we saw six of the beings making their way to an extremely steep and rugged mountain. When we landed we found a local militia was forming up to attack the beings ship. I strongly advised against this, one of the militia commanders recognized me and told everyone to stand down. Tesla asked if anyone had attacked the beings, one old, buck toothed man raised his hand and announced.
“Those things landed on my property, I shot at them but the bullets just bounced off. They were good bullets too, out of a savage auto loader.”
Boudicca announced that no one was to attack these things. However as we ran to the climbing party of creatures the militia followed along at a distance with their weapons. In time we caught up to the beings, they were marching, walking on their appendages up to a foreboding mountain at a slightly slower rate that a person would walk. Tesla and Boudicca started getting out various sophisticated pieces of equipment to analyze the creatures. I decided to talk to them, I introduced myself, my family, my coworkers. I thanked them for not attacking us, they remained silent, plodding along as the ground grew steeper and steeper.
Finally we reached a point where it seemed they could go no further, a solid, sheer face of rock that no man could climb. It was spring, there was still snow on the ground, what could they be intending to do?
Then the lead being stabbed his appendage into the living rock and continued to climb. Up the vertical rock face. It was incredible, the creatures seemed to be able to anchor their appendages into the rock and climb at a rate not much slower than their walk.
As five of the beings climbed away the sixth remained, standing inscrutable before us. It wanted something, but none of us knew what, so I continued talking, about everything that had happened since the Martian invasion. When I was out of speech Katy stepped up, then the engineer Steiner, then a militiaman, as Tesla and Boudicca ran their tests.
Night was falling, it was going to get cold, so I told the being, “it has been a pleasure meeting you, but if you are not going to say anything back we have to go to sleep for the night and we can’t do that here so goodbye.”
As we walked back to the Spooner and the Pelican the being followed us back to our camp. As we walked we continued to talk, and as it kneeled down in our camp near its ship someone stayed with it all through the night talking and talking and talking.
The next day Tesla and I flew up to the top of the mountain the other beings had climbed. While the winds were calm, I had no desire to fly around that great granite hazard in hurricane winds.
As we neared the top of the mountain we were treated to an incredible sight. The five creatures had climbed the peak. They started extending their appendages from their bodies. Their legs and arms became great big feathery structures which started to resonate in the wind.
I brought the Spooner as close as I dared and opened the airlock, we could hear them singing in the wind. We could see their whole being vibrate and generate sound from the wind. It was beautiful, Tesla and I were moved to tears as we hovered around the mountain ridge.
We returned to the base camp where by now everyone in our party and the local militia had taken a turn talking to the being. It still was not communicating, by now everything imaginable had been tried. Radio, flashing lights, speech, physical contact and nothing elicited any kind of response. So I came up with what was in hindsight a really bad idea. Seeing them singing on the mountain I figured that increasing the wind speed might get this thing to sing. So I pointed the turbines of the Spooner at the being and ran up the engines with the starter motor. The creature started to sing, but it sounded awful, not in pain, just a crazed cacophony of nonsense noises. That didn’t work.
We spent three more days talking to the thing, in time people started to come flooding in from outlying areas to gawk at the new aliens. The US government wanted to take the beings off to a “secure location”. I strongly advised against it, if these things could shrug off bullets I did not want to imagine how they would respond to kidnapping.
I and my people studied their ship, but it was a total mystery. It was concluded that the only way into the thing was to dissolve into the ship as the beings did. Their ships appeared to be driven by light in some unknown way. They also had some kind of light driven weapons in the nose.
One day I had an epiphany, the creatures were attracted to the madness gun. It was the first thing they examined when they landed here. I had a vision of a creature like these when I was shot with the gun. So I stood next to the creature and told Tesla to shoot me with the madness gun. He reluctantly agreed to do it, and I took a deep breath as he took out the device.
I did not go mad this time, the experience was utter ecstasy. I felt my entire body vibrate, and I felt the being vibrate at the same frequency. It briefly turned purple, then it started walking up a small rise and started unfolding itself into the form of its fellows up on the mountain. Then it spoke. It’s voice was indescribable, I can best analogize it to a choir singing.
“Greetings, we come in peace, in our examination of your planet we have seen signs of great conflict on your planet. Are your intentions towards us hostile?”
I replied, “no, never, you are incredibly beautiful. If you are here with peaceful intentions you are welcome. But what are your intentions here? Trade? Exploration? Are you the Yonth returning home?”
“I do not know what this Yonth you speak of is. You have no possessions that we desire. We were summoned here by the device you just used, the madness gun, you call it. Whenever it fires we can feel it, like a light from a distant star. We are here to do what we do on all the planets we visit. We experience pleasure from the flow of atmospheric gases through ourselves.”
“So, you are here to breathe our air?”
“Our understanding of your language is crude, it is far more complicated than our communication. But that is a fair metaphor, is there anything else you would like to know?”
Over the course of the next few days we asked the creature every question we could imagine. Starting with their name, they did not have a name for their race, or for their individual beings. Since they sang so beautifully we called them singers, it seemed to like that.
It gave us a simplified history of their race, they had the memories of every singer that proceeded them. They had never heard of the Yonth, or the events of their diaspora. They appeared to be unbelievably old, perhaps immortal. They had engaged in conflict with several other races, always acting in self defense, but they were willing and able to wipe out any race that attempted to kill them.
Shockingly they told us all of the secrets of their technology. Even the parts that made no sense. Finally we were out of questions for each other and the remaining singer started up the mountain. I asked one last question, “are any more of your species on the way here?”
“Possibly, the decision to come here is theirs not ours.”
As the Singer walked away we were left speechless. These beings did not come to conquer, trade or do anything we could understand except sing. By now dozens of journalists had showed up in the Tetons and I tried to explain these aliens as well as I could to them. But they could only think in terms that the Singers wanted to either trade or take stuff from us. They couldn’t believe that the Singers were just here to, well sing.
To be frank, neither could I, but if they wanted to sit atop a mountain and sing for all the world to hear I wouldn’t stop them.
“Singers” used with permission. Original concept by Reginald Reg Steiner