“Zerp croad! MASHEV SPEL LERDOR! SPEL LERDOR! GSPEALE SPEL LERDOR!”
The transmission reached Zed and Trad at the same time. They scanned for its origin point of transmission when a tiny spark of light flit across their shimmering mercury skins.
Woah. Did you see that?
Looks like one of those metal hives exploded. That’s not good.
Yep, let’s go check out the wreckage.
Hey! Do you see that?
Yep. Let’s get a closer look.
A white dot approached rapidly, the dot resolved into a five point star with one dull and shiny point. The star became a five limbed creature with puffy, rounded limbs portruded from a thicker trunk. Bizarre, geometric runes covered its skin. Zed and Trad knew that this was actually a protective shell the organism needed to survive in the environment of space. They had seen these things before, they were generally considered an interesting oddity.
They constructed small, metallic hives that they lived in. These hives could move about through space rather clumsily using rudimentary physical propulsion. When they ventured outside of the metal hives, they wore the puffy, white shells. When they were inside their metal hives, they shed the shell and walked about in much lighter shells. A small central limb protruded from the tops of all their shells and the organism communicated with relatively low frequency sound waves, which could only travel in enclosed systems of dense matter of mostly gaseous form. They had invented various instruments to manipulate waves of slightly different frequencies to communicate between hives using other frequencies.
Many of Zed and Trad’s kind wondered how limited their communication must be only using such a small spectrum of the available waves in the universe, and specifically a small spectrum of a relatively obscure class of waves that were mostly useless in space. They could only be transmitted through space filled with matter, and they had to construct artificial environments that contained bits of matter, mostly gas, through which those waves could be transmitted. They communicated from hive to hive using a different, though still as narrow, spectrum of frequencies.
The reason for all of this specialization appeared to do with the creatures physical limitations; they needed a delicately constructed environment just to survive, and any disruption in that environment, no matter how small, killed them.
One of these creatures floated toward them slowly, all of its limbs extended. They could see its pink organ for communicating through the one part of the shell that was clear. Its features were distorted in a frozen clench. Fragments of the larger broken shell floated along with it.
Zed pitched. Tiny rivulets of light slid down his silvery body, they slowed when they approached his base and speeded out and around it circumferentially. “Look at that, he came from that explosion! Must have been one of their hives blew apart.”
Zed and Trad’s kind had observed an inscrutable behavior among this strange, primitive space creature. They would occasionally quite intentionally destroy their hives, killing all members inside. Some had their theories about why they did this, but it was such a minor phenomena in the vast diasporas of phenomena in the universe that no one had ever really given the matter much thought. They were a peculiar phenomena of energy and matter interacting, notable only for the unpredictability of their motion and self-organization. In most cases, the interactions of matter and energy produced very reliably predictable results. With these creatures, sometimes they created many hives, sometimes they destroyed them intentionally, and sometimes they seemed to self-destruct, as the one they had just seen appeared to. They communicated in a rudimentary spectrum of pitches.
In some respect they vaguely resembled Trad and Zed’s kind, but in a very dumbed down, unthinking and limited way. There appeared to be some semblance of predictability to their cycles of organization and entropy, as though they followed some sort of internal logic that was just this side of fractured by the occasional moment of unpredictable outcome. Attempts to communicate with them had seemed to confirm their lack of intelligence. That is, it was not clear if they were aware of themselves in the same way that Trad and Zed’s kind were for their seemingly mindless and endless cycles of organization and entropy, but they were alive in their limited way and seemed to respond as individuals.
Some of Zed and Trad’s kind believed that their ancestors from an earlier time out of mind may have been very similar to them, that a great planetary asteroid collision had sent them hurtling into space from a ruined planet, and the carefully controlled environment seemed to give some credibility to this theory. Their controlled environment most resembled some of the temporarily closed gaseous layers that tended to form around planets. It was all conjecture and speculation, of the sort that they found boring and relatively uninteresting compared even to something as common as a solar storm. They did not worry so much how they had come to be, but that they were here now and going somewhere was enough. In any case, it seemed unlikely that whatever their ancestors may have been, they could not have been like these fragile, severely limited, unthinking colonies of things.
You think it’s alive?” Zed asked.
Zed glimmered, “Gee, I don’t know. I don’t know how long it could survive out here with that little shell, or even if it’s still alive. I don’t see how it could be. I’ve heard they go through a strange process when dying and can remain intact for a time.
“I guess so, I still don’t see how it could be alive after that blast,” answered Trad.
Zed blinked, “Care to make it interesting? If it is dead, then we go to that nebula Bri was brimming at us about. “
“Oh Zed, Bri was just shining us on! You always fall for Bris wave lengths. It’s going to be like it always is with Bri, much ado about nothing.”
Zed felt miffed, “Whatever, I want to go.”
“Nebula? Bri? Ok, but you have no sense for the beauty of subtlety in your taste, Zed. I want to relax and take in an asteroid planet collision, I heard about a good one from Jalel, and jalel said only he and a few others had worked it out and were trying to keep it quiet. Almost no one else knows and the best part is that it’s not even that far from here so we can take our time and screw around on the way. “
Zed chuckled, “Ok, Deal. But what should we do to get it to move? I don’t want to poke it, if it is alive still then it could be badly injured and feel pain at our impact. They are very fragile, and when damaged become even more so. No reason to cause it more suffering. We should try to use its frequency and say something to it.”
Trad gleamed, “You are right,” then shimmered, “What should we say?”
Trad gleamed first, “Why not just repeat back that noise we first heard from the hive before it blew apart?”
“That’s what I was thinking too,” Zed shimmered. They changed pitches and loudly shimmered in unison, “Zerp croad! MASHEV SPEL LERDOR! SPEL LERDOR! GSPEALE SPEL LERDOR! Zerp-“
At that the figure flailed its limbs.
“It’s still alive! It heard us!” they shined in unison.
Trad followed up quickly, “Asteroid planet collision it is! Yes!”
Zed, “I can’t believe that thing is alive! Poor thing. Hey, what if we can get it to answer back?”
“Hmm. Care to make it interesting, Trad? First one to get it to respond?”
Trad beamed back, “I want to see the solar cluster over near turion 7.”
Zed asked, “Isn’t that near the dark star cupola?”
“Oh, Zed. Your geography is terrible sometimes. It’s over by where we saw that orange star turn into a dwarf with Delo and Ran.”
“Oh, I kinda have been wanting to see that cluster myself. I heard one of the stars has been changing pitches frequently.” Zed then changed pitches, “If I win then after the asteroid planet collision and the aftershocks we go to the nebula. There will still be time.”
Trad laughed, “Ok, we’ll go see Bri. You can even go first.”
Zed gleamed for a bit. “Zerp croad! MASHEV SPEL LERDOR! SPEL LERDOR! GSPEALE SPEL LERDOR! Zerp croad! MASHEV SPEL LERDOR! SPEL LERDOR! GSPEALE SPEL LERDOR!”
The figure continued floating, motionless.
“Nothing, it’s not even twitching this time.”
“That’s because your pitch is off. I think it still alive, your form is just so bad that it can’t hear you. Do it like this,” Trad gleamed, “Zerp croad! MASHEV SPEL LERDOR! SPEL LERDOR! GSPEALE SPEL LERDOR! Zerp croad! MASHEV SPEL LERDOR! SPEL LERDOR! GSPEALE SPEL LERDOR!”
They waited silently. The figure sailed on in a frozen pose for several minutes. Trad and Zed took turns glimmering the sound at it.
Zed glimmered, “I told you. They can’t live out here for that long. I’ll bet it was just twitching before.”
Suddenly the figure began flailing about wildly. With one appendage, it suddenly responded, “HLRP! HLRP! PFEADE HLRP MRMR! RARGHT GAW!” It kept repeating this loudly.
Trad gleamed, “I think its trying to talk to me! I was the last one to go! That’s two in a row!”
“Dang, you are getting lucky lately.”
“Lucks got nothing to do with it.”
The two started off.
“I just thought of something.”
“It didn’t look too hurt or damaged.”
“And I am right about something else too, it won’t last long out here in just that tiny shell, Trad. Let’s pick it up and drop it off at the nearest hive that we come across on the way to the asteroid collision.”
“Hmmm. You are right. I think I remember a hive just a few suns yonder, we can drop it there.”
Trad and Zed were already circling back to pick it up while the thing continued loudly shouting at them on its limited frequency.
A short time later they dropped it off at the metal hive Trad remembered, and the hive seemed to accept it even though it was from another.
Kevin would later describe this as the experience of the sole survivor of a deep space ship accident to incredulous crew of the Orion XII station thanks to the intervention of two shimmering, silvery beings that he believed were divine, protective spirits. He described his experience as though two stars themselves had come seen fit to save for some incomprehensible purpose that only the universe knew.
At first, the crew believed he was high or insane. Kevin did not take offense, because during his experience he had first believed he was dieing, then hallucinating, and had finally accepted that he must have lost his mind to explain what he was experiencing on the way to Orion XII. The basic facts of his account have since been verified by documented logs, recording his presence on the destroyed ship, the time of its destruction and his arrival at the Orion XII space station. A copy of the ships last known transmitted logs that confirms Kevin’s location within the ship at the time of the explosion is known to exist, he had just entered an air loc from space in the southwestern quadrant and had not yet checked in his space vac suit. In 30 minutes, Kevin transported from the ship accident to the Orion XII space station, a trip that was 3 days away by way of the fastest known means of space travel technology.
He was recieved at Orion XII in nothing but a vac suit and just a few minutes of oxygen remaining. He was one of 5 documented cases who had experienced something similar.