The Zeta Reticuli Exchange Program
We had a serious problem. How do we explain our science to an alien entity, who doesn't know Einstein, Kepler or any of the other scientists of our time. Simple mathematics, seems so foreign to them. Ebe2 is the smart one. She seems to understand our language more than 1 and 2. She even seems to understand our basic math. We started with the basic math. 2 plus 2. Then progressed on. She understood and even caught on so quick that she continued on without our help. We realize she has a great IQ when she repeated 1000 times 1000 and came up with an answer. We showed her our slide rule. It took her a couple of minutes to figure it out, although I don't think she fully understood all the symbols on the slide rule. She is really something. We found a personality in her. Maybe because we have more contact with her than the others. She is very warm hearted, one can just sense that in her. She really cares about us and she even worries about us. During our first night, she seemed to make sure everything was just right for us. She warned us of the heat and the light. She mentioned that SERPO does not get dark, like earth. I wonder how she knew that? Has she visited earth? Maybe she is just educated on earth's properties. Maybe they have books about earth.
Anyway, on the first night, she told us about the winds, what winds. Gusty winds start just when the one sun sets. The other sun does not but stays in the lower horizon. The winds blow dust, free dust into our huts. We had a very difficult first night. We call it night but it seems that the Ebens just call it a period of their day. Ebe3 knew the word day but didn't compare it to earth's day. Maybe she hasn't been to earth. We didn't sleep well during our night.
The Eben's don't sleep, like we do. They seem to rest for periods of time and then wake and go about their business, whatever that might be, When we awoke, Ebe2 was there, outside our hut. I opened the door and she was waiting. Why? How did she know we were awake? Maybe the huts are being monitored by some sensor. Ebe2 told us to follow her to the eating place. She didn't use the word dining hall or chow hall or facility. She used the word place. Once I gathered the team, we walked across the village, I'll call it a village for the sake of wording. We entered a large building. It seemed to be large, based on the small stature of the Ebens. There were food on tables. I guess we'd call this place a chow hall. Ebens looked at us but carried on eating. Do they not cook inside their huts? Maybe everyone eats here. We walked to the food tables. Same food we saw and ate on the spaceship except some items were different. They had large bowls of something like fruits. Strange looking things. They also had something like cottage cheese, it tasted like sour milk but after the initial taste, alright. I encouraged each team member to eat and drink. We might as well get use to the food. But 700 tells us to eat just one of their meals a day and stick to our C-rations for the other meals. That way, our system will adjust to the Eben food. We sat at a table, small compared to our standards and ate. The Ebens numbering, probably about 100, just ate and didn't really bother us. Every now and then, we would catch Ebens staring at us. But we were the freaks, not them. We are the visitors. We are the aliens. We must really look strange to them. We all look different, they all look the same. How can they compare us to them? They can't. We stare at them, they stare at us. We then see a different looking Eben. Very strange looking creature, large, long arms, almost floats along with long legs. Can't be an Eben. We all stare. This creature just floats by us and didn't even look at us. I find Ebe2. She is eating with three others. Once I approach her, she stands and almost bows her head towards me. Maybe just a greeting, have to remember that. I ask her abet the creature we saw, I ask if that was some other type of Eben. Ebe2 seems confused. She asked me what creature. I used the word creature. Maybe that was an insult or maybe she didn't know the word. I pointed to the thing at the other end of the building. She then saw what I meant. Ebe2 said, no Eben, just visitor. Like you, pointing to me. Ok, I see, they have other alien visitors here. I guess we are not the only ones. I then asked Ebe2 what planet did that visitor come from? Ebe2 said, something like CORTA, not sure of the exact work although I asked her to repeat it twice. Ok, where is CORTA?
She walks me to a television, at least it looks like one. It is positioned in the corner of the building. It is set up like some type of command station. She places her finger on the glass and something appears. The universe? Star systems. I don't recognize any of them. She points to a spot and says CORTA. Ok, where is earth? She points to another spot and says earth. Based on this television glass space map, CORTA and earth are very close. But I don't know the scale of this map. Maybe they are a trillion miles apart or maybe 10 light years. But they seem close. I'll have to have one of the scientists look at this and see. Ok, I thank Ebe2. She seems pleased. She almost looks like a angel. She seems so very nice. She touched my hand and pointed to my table and said, eat. Good eat? I laughed and said, yes, good chow hall food. She looked puzzled. I guess she doesn't know what a chow hall is. I pointed to the building and said, chow hall, earth eating place. She repeated what I said, chow hall, earth eating place. I laughed and walked away. Now she will think all earth restaurants are called chow halls.
We retuned to our huts. We must get better organized. We have a meeting. Everyone seems ok. We wonder about latrines, Where do we relieve ourselves. Ebe1 comes by, almost as if he was reading our minds, maybe they can even do that. He tells shows us pot in hut. We all wondered what that was. Ok, that is our latrine. Realized that won't work very well but we'll do what we can. Then we realize the pot has some sort of chemical inside. Our wastes are dissolved or something like that. Can't really tell. Each of the four huts have one. That will work for the time being. Ebe2 tells us to walk on ground. Not sure what he means by that but 420 says that might we to just walk around. Ok, that we will do. I organize the teams102 will remain with 225. I want 633 and 661 to look at the television glass map and see if they can tell which star system is CORTA. I ask 518 to take temperature readings and general weather observations. I know it is hot. Very hot. Most be over 140 degrees. 754 warns us to keep covered from sun radiation. 754 says radiation levels are high. Doesn't sound very good to me. This reminds me of Nevada. 1956, during one of the atomic bomb testing. We had hot weather and we had to worry about the radiation from the atomic blasts.
Now we are on a strange planet 40 light years from earth and we have radiation and heat. But we have to explore that is why we were sent. We starting walking around 475 will take photographs with our military cameras. I hope the film is affected by the radiation. How do we develop it? Maybe we didn't think of everything. I team up with 225. We walk to a large open door building. We walk in and it looks like a classroom but no Ebens are here. There is a large television tube, it takes up the entire wall. There are some lights flashing on this television tube. We examine the tube. It is very thin. I wonder how it works. Where are the tubes or the electronics. But maybe they are more advanced in this area than us. They must be. We don't find touch else in this building. We move on, wow, it is so very hot, I hope l get use to it. We find a large tower. Looks like a antenna tower but it has a large mirror. We saw this when we first arrived yesterday. We find an Eben standing near the door but he moves to one side. We ask him if he understands English. He just stares at us but seems friendly. I guess he doesn't speak English. We move on into the building, Can't find any stairs. But we see some type of round glass room. Maybe it is an elevator. Then we hear English. We turn around and find Ebe2 standing there. Where did she come from? I her if we may explore this building. She said yes, of course, She points to the glass room and says go up. Ok, we enter the glass room. The glass door closes and go up real fast. I no time we are at the top. But what is this. We ask Ebe2, what is this. She points to the sun and then points to the top of the room, where the mirror is located. She then points to the ground. Ok, we see it. The tower is in the middle of a circle. The circle is situated on the ground. In each quadrant of the circle is a symbol. I see that the sun is directed through the mirror maybe this isn't a mirror as we know it since the sunlight travels through it, but once the sunlight travels through it, the light is directed on a symbol within the circle. Ebe2 says that when light contacts symbol then Ebens make change. Not sure what that means. Maybe she means it tells the Ebens what to do. 225 seems to think it is a sun dial. When the sun strikes a symbol, the Ebens change what they are doing and do something else. Maybe the Eben day is structured. Or maybe this is their clock. Strange. But we are on an alien planet. I'm glad I still have my sense of humor. This is only our first day, first day of school. We have a lot to learn. We have to keep an open mind. We can't keep comparing things to earth. We have to open our minds to new ideas and new science. All these things are foreign to us but we must learn.
I pointed to my wristwatch and then pointed to the ground and in a gesture to show Ebe2 that the two items are time pieces. Not sure if she understood. But I said time and she then understood.. Yes, she said, Eben time, pointing to the ground. I pointed again to the wristwatch and said, earth time. Ebe2 then almost smiled and said, no, no earth time on SERPO. Ok, that makes sense. 225 said, she just told us that earth time doesn't work on SERPO. Yes, I guess she did. What good is our watches or time device here? They don't work. We have to start using Eben time. But we must also maintain our time because we must know when to leave.
Ten years seem like a million. Maybe based on Eben time that it might just be a million years. Lets hope not. No time to think about home, we have a mission and duties to perform. We are a military team and we must maintain that idea. 225 and myself go back into the glass bowl and go down to the ground. We walk onto another building, large again. Inside we find rolls and rolls of plants. This must be some sort of greenhouse, They are growing food. Many Ebens are inside. They look at us with some glares. But we just walk in and around. One Eben comes up to us and speaks but in Eben. He seems to be telling us something. He points to the ceiling and then to our heads. Maybe he is telling us to cover our heads. We must find Ebe2. We go back outside and then finds Ebe2, she always seems to be near. Now we understand why, she is monitoring us by the devices we are wearing on our belts. I ask Ebe2 what is that building. She says food making place. Ok, maybe we contaminated the place. We told her that another Eben spoke to us and then pointed to our heads. Ebe2 seemed confused and walked back into the building with us. The same Eben exchanged words with Ebe2. Ebe2 then told us that we must wear a cover on our heads in order to enter. Why? But we don't argue. This other Eben produces some sort of cloth had and we wear it. We walk about, the Eben seemed happy, We look at their plants. They are growing food in soil. They have a watering system. They also have some sort of transparent cloth over each plant. I point to the watering system and ask Ebe2, if that is water, drinking water. Ebe2 said yes. Then she senses we are thirsty. Ebe2 leads us to a place near another entrance and offers us water, at least we think it is water. Tastes like chemicals but it is water. Actually tastes good.
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