‘I didn’t bring it in. It just walked in while we were on the ground. If anything, it’s your fault that we landed in the first place. You’re a lousy pilot.’
Landor dismissed that accusation and looked down at the semi-conscious biped on the floor. It had been rendered senseless when it had stepped on the security plate. It had been a necessary addition to their scoutship ever since the local inhabs became too inquisitive whenever they saw an open door and entered unannounced. Did they do this to any open door in their own settlements? No invitation, just walk in. That was the problem with primitive cultures. A lack of manners.
‘We’ve still got to do something with it. Get the manual. I want to see what options we have. We are supposed to be low profile on this planet. The inhabs are relegating us to myth after previous mistakes and it needs to be kept that way.’
Beldor searched the slots and plugged the chip into the visual panel. They both studied the itemised index before going in-depth.
‘It looks like a choice between what they expect to happen to them or what we should do to them if they see us.’
‘Read this here. They might be comatose but their senses still pick up what’s been going on around them. This one will have nightmares for years and likely to make its fortune from recounting what it remembers.’
Landor looked at Beldor and took a pause before speaking, thus ensuring that he was giving some contemplation. ‘What were you doing outside? Self-fornication or dissecting the local wildlife?’
Beldor looked away but there was a slight blush down his neck. It might not have been neither of these two options but it had to be something of comparison.
‘Were you excluding waste matter? What is wrong with the latrine in here?’
Beldor’s blush continued and he refused eye contact of commitment. ‘The latrine’s chemical filter is overloaded. It needs time to recover since we both had problems with the meal yesterday.’
‘So the inhab walked on-board while you were distracted. It might not have seen that much. The exterior. A white light in here. Some optical shock from the defence mechanism. Its brain should be sufficiently shocked not to remember anything. At least it won’t understand what we are talking about without the translator activated.’
Landor opened another panel, noting scoutship, possible crew, one of whom was discharging. He added fuzzy shock. There would be needed report and this would contribute towards noting their next actions at the inquiry. This would have to be recorded correctly or both of them would never be allowed to fly again.
‘That confirms that it doesn’t seem like it’s seen too much. At least you didn’t try out your language skills or spun it a yarn. I doubt if they’d believe we came from the nearby planets anymore, especially after they managed to send primitive machinery to look for themselves and found them inhospitable. They’re moving away from believing anything and seeking facts at this time in their evolution. They want more substantial evidence from people like these now. Has it got one of those visual devices?’
Beldor examined the biped’s clothing, finding a couple devices that he placed on its chest before examining them more closely.
‘They would still have problems with believing we can travel vast distances and look for a paternal ship,’ Landor continued.
‘Why don’t we just leave it unconscious and tied up and let the inhabs think it was one of their own inhab kidnap victims?’
‘Except we are too far from their local inhabitation. I have studied their broadcasts. They require some written confirmation of the deed and an absence of several days before returning after a receipt for some payment. We can hardly collect and then they would expect to receive various parts of the body to confirm its death if we don’t.’
Beldor shuddered at the thought, stood up and placed both devices on the sensor scanner. Its auto function turned them on and both examined the more recent visuals.
‘This device has a communication facility but it hasn’t sent copies yet. I could manipulate them so it looks like one of their fake versions. Putting a smaller shadow there and there so it looks like it’s a lot closer than it looks. These bipeds are not very clever when it comes to scale. Those tiny little eyes they have lack a sense of spatial perspective.’
Landor spent more time over the second device. ‘This device takes both single photographs and continuous photographs that can be ran at a speed of motion. It has done both. It would be better to remove all of these than leave anything incriminating. Transfer them into the frame so they can be examined later.’
‘Shall I fog the originals?’
‘Haven’t you examined these devices and read their history? They have moved beyond that primitive silver compound film exposure. They now use computerised digital pictures. They have made it easier for us to delete them. Do it carefully and only remove evidence of us not other material it may have photographed. Ensure that there is no back-up feature to restore deleted pictures. I have studied text of such restorations and if it is convinced it saw something, it will endeavour to see if anything remains. There is a check on the scanner. It will think it dreamed it all and never think of it again.’
‘I assume you do not want me to do a less than convincing medical examination?’
‘No! Their literature has been trying to make sense of the waste tabulatory devices left from cursory examinations before. Evidence such as that would only back up any claims it would make. It might even suspect members of its own kind for concealing the truth. As if we would trust anyone in authority here. We have never been here. Leave it at that.’
‘I will adjust its timepieces as well. These devices record the passing of time…’
‘There is also such a device on its arm as well. The scanner notes that at least one of these is synchronised with a satellite platform. Our scanner will maintain these times and prevent any lapses while it is here. Better that than being too precise. These inhabs rely more on mechanical devices telling the time than their own internal clocks.’
‘These inhabs are so intent on the passage of time and yet fail to have any sense of accuracy with it.’
‘Well, they are still primitive. They are still only playing around with relativity. They still need another genius to make the next step and five more before they are ready to meet us officially.’
‘So why do we come here?’
‘Well, it’s not for you to exclude on their soil. It’s more a courtesy call while we’re in the neighbourhood. Pick up some sensory information and go. Oh, and avoid the inhabs.’
‘So why does it happen? It isn’t as thought we are near their inhabitation.’
‘We think there’s an awareness of presence. Synchronisation of selves. We’re just in a long succession of such bad luck. We could land in the middle of their most desolate terrain and still one of these inhabs would be there to take a look. Earlier visits saw them as a test for communication. Give them a few lies, a pat on the back and send them on their way. No one thought that we would become part of their culture.’
‘Put it outside. Away from the craft. I need to incinerate the top soil on launch. Make sure there’s none of your exclude in the soil.’
‘And in future?’
‘I’ll make a provision in the itinerary to include either a secondary latrine or a spare filter or at least a reminder that our last meal has laxative properties.’
‘The spore is straightforward. There won’t be a need for pretty circles taking off trying to find it.’
‘It’s a good thing you weren’t pregnant. Look at the mess that has caused in the past. A local inhab turned the information into some sort of cultural event.’
‘It got it wrong.’
‘It made us look cute once and in an earlier production, bad-mouthed us as if we would deliberately abduct people. Never forget these inhabs are mischievous and cunning. It is better that we remain a myth than for them to have any truth about us.’
‘Will my indiscretion get me in trouble?’
‘Recorded evidence will show we have taken all the necessary action. Now, put its body outside away from the vessel and we can leave. We can only hope it doesn’t create another cult waiting for our arrival.’
‘Don’t call me a lousy pilot to hide your own exclusions.’
© GF Willmetts 2014
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