WARNING: This story contains love, lust, and ghirlsblips the size of a pirate’s eye patch
I was having breakfast, Cinnamon Toast Crunch with a glass of orange juice, when a helicopter landed on the front lawn of my suburban house outside of Sacramento. When two G-Men, government cronies in their typical black suits and ties, knocked on my front door, I was glad I wouldn’t have to explain this situation to my two teenage girls, who were already at school, and my wife, who was at work.
“Sir, we have a situation—”
“There’s always some situation; speak straight with me, boy,” I replied. I was too grumpy after years of CIA service to trounce around with the G-Men in their superfluous sentiments of urgency.
“We are not at liberty to discuss,” the second G-Man replied. “You are to come with us to Mountain View immediately.”
I grabbed my orange juice, chugged it, then gathered my personal things but didn’t bother putting on a suit. If they wanted my expertise, they could damn well get me better clothes than basketball shorts and an NWA T-shirt once I got to wherever they were taking me.
Within five minutes of the helicopter landing on my front lawn, I was aboard and in the air. We were in the air less than an hour before one of the G-Men shouted over the rotors that we would be touching down in a few minutes.
I recognized the site; it was the Allen Telescope Array, a field of satellite dishes capable of linking together to receive radio transmissions. The dishes were plentiful, I could count at least 40 from the air, and they were each about the size of a car. I was at project SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.
SETI had been popularized by scientists like Carl Sagan, who wrote a book-turned-movie called Contact in the 90s. However, the CIA was more interested in the parallel computer processing of SETI@home. This website linked idle computers to one of the world’s biggest supercomputers at one point in time. A few confidential files came across my desk concerning SETI in the past, but none had to do with aliens.
The helicopter landed, and the G-Men escorted me to a small building. Inside, I was introduced to a few people and then taken to a back office to speak with Director Ariel Drake. I recognized the name. She was the granddaughter of Frank Drake, the original creator of the SETI Institute, and the Drake Equation, an equation that sought to ascertain the probability of intelligent extraterrestrials in our galaxy.
Drake was in the middle of explaining the purpose of SETI and how it works by listening to the cosmos in hopes of hearing a broadcast from aliens. She spoke about how the broadcasts travel at the speed of light but are hard to “tune in” because of the static from the universe when I interrupted her.
“I worked in the CIA’s Office of Science and Technology, Special Activities branch. So quit beating around the bush and tell me why I’m here,” I said. “Did you find aliens or not?”
“We found them,” she said.
“Then let me see.”
Director Drake escorted me from the office to a computer terminal in the main room. She turned on a projector, and it displayed a black screen. Drake then asked everyone except for a few scientists to leave the room. The G-Men did not seem to like that but obliged after my nod.
“What you are about to see has been processed from raw data. The signal we received was intentionally broadcasted to be translated into many forms of language. Some forms are unrecognizable to us. Like a Rosetta stone for galactic civilizations.”
“So, you have audio from aliens and translated it?” I asked.
Director Drake nodded then said, “And more. It was like the broadcast was sent to other stars in the galaxy because aliens wanted other aliens to watch it, us included.”
“Wait, what do you mean watch?”
“I don’t think I can describe it,” she said. “You will have to see for yourself. That’s why we called you. If this gets out to the public—well, I don’t know how to predict how people will act. It’s an actual broadcast, I mean, the signal was sent over 100 years ago and is just now reaching us, but it is a continually airing, um, show?”
Drake’s inflection in her voice left me confused. I paused to prepare myself, then said, “Let me see it.”
The screen showed some static, and then an image appeared. It was so close to the camera that I could not tell what it was, only that it was moving, like some creature's appendage. There was a sound like suction cups pulled from a glass window, and then futuristic music played full of beeps and bops.
The camera zoomed out and what I thought was one creature was two, and they were attacking each other or maybe eating each other. One alien was like a human-sized slug that stood erect on a solid tail. It was green with black patches, had phosphorus-green glowing eyes, a hole for its mouth that had no jaw structure, a tongue that tasted the air like a snake, and two antennae with suction cup ends that sucked onto the other creature then detached with a sound like schup, blop, schup, blop, schup, blop, in rapid succession. Slimy drippings streamed from the alien's tongue as it held it out to the other alien
The other alien was more humanoid in build but just as foreign as the other. The humanoid alien had arms and legs but transparent skin in which all the blood vessels were clearly seen, like the scales of a zebrafish. You could see right into the creature’s chest
It looked gruesome, and I felt fear of the unknown. Were these violent aliens going to find Earth and eradicate us? Was this the end of humans? I felt sweat on my brow and wanted to look at Drake but couldn’t take my eyes off the two creatures consuming each other.
“Xiphlo, I want you inside me,” one alien said to the other.
A graphic was displayed on the screen with a strobe light effect, with sensational music and an announcer’s voice that said, “All that and more, on this episode of Love Galaxy!”
“Last time, on Loooooove Galaxy! Jindle and XxxacaT were arguing during their pansexual love symbiosis! And jealousy isn’t the only thing on the rise!”
The video cut to a scene in which what looked like three organisms, one a hairy brown ball shape, one with that slug-like appearance, and another that seemed like a mechanical fox, all fused together by black tubes with a silky hue, like velvet. Apparently, Jindle was the hairy one, and it extended claws from the fur and swiped at the black tubes, disconnecting them from the symbiont.
The slug-like creature cried and said, “Don’t leave our symbiosis; you’ll never find love if you leave us.”
The mechanical fox’s eyes flickered red, XxxacaT I guess its name was, and its jaws moved to say, “Please, my heart might be metal, but it still beats for you!”
“What about me?” the slug creature said, but the camera went back to Jindle, the hairy ball alien, as she walked out of a dim room containing many objects I didn’t recognize.
The announcer's voice returned, and the video followed the closed door to fade to black before opening the door on a new scene.
“But don’t forget that Jindle already hooked up on their acid bath massage!”
The door opened to the hairy one, Jindle, jumping into an acid bath jacuzzi that fried all the hair off their body. The camera followed the now hairless Jindle under the steaming green liquid.
“We believe that to be a solution of triflic acid, sir,” an analyst said from behind a terminal in the control room.
“What’s this guy doing in here interrupting the broadcast!” I screamed. “Get him outta here and do the same to anyone who disturbs me during my show!”
The analyst was dragged out of the room, and when I turned back to the screen, I saw the hairless Jindle, who now looked like a ball of flesh, was intertwined with a ferret-like alien that swam excitedly around Jindle.
“I love you, Jindle,” the ferret alien said.
“I love you, XxxacaT,” Jindle said as the ferret’s tail brushed against their spherical body.
“My name isn’t XxxacaT! It’s Nexus, and you’ll never skittle my sexy ghirlsblips again!”
“Noo!” Jindle screamed. “I didn’t mean—”
I was upset with Jindle, but I felt the pain of their mistake. I found myself falling for the aliens and their humanistic faults.
“Turn it off,” I said. “Show me how to operate the video. This content is confidential as of this moment. Clear the room.”
No one moved for a moment until I screamed, “Now!”
The room bustled, and soon everyone was leaving.
“Not you, Director!” I spoke. “We must discuss the repercussions of this broadcast being seen by the rest of the world.”
“Yes, sir,” she replied, although she didn’t need to refer to me as that. Those years of being in the CIA and showing confidence in commanding a situation were playing off. Once everyone left the room, I sat down and asked the Director, “Do you have any popcorn? I really can’t wait to see if Jindle finally falls in love.”
The Director looked at me blankly for a few moments, then shrugged her shoulders and said, “I have some in my office if you can wait.”
“Oh, you know what? I just can’t wait. Turn it back on! Turn it back on!”