Chronicles of Alien Dwellers

Vin'yla (on intercom)

"Consider the question of existence." 

"That's a little vague, Vin'nyla." 

"We've got to find a solution!" 

"We can't trust anyone now." 

"It's all right. Vin'yla will explain." 

"Each of us hides a secret pain. Share yours with me and gain strength from the sharing." 

"You could've warned me." 

"There's got to be a way out of this mess." 

"It is escape proof." 

"How do you know?" 

"The designers tested it using the most intelligent and resourceful person they could find. S/He failed to escape." 

"This person?" 

"It's time I announce my intentions." 

Back home

s/he looked up at them with one eye, "So how does this stuff work?"

"It doesn't work any particular way. There's no magic formula or anything. Just patience."

"So, this is your genius plan?"

S/He kept sipping their drink and reading their own book, when a gentle next step occurred to them. 

S/He looked up with a raised eyebrow, 

S/He looked at them for a while before continuing, "Any chance you feel like doing it now?"

"Noooooo," s/he snickered through their answer, "Now let me finish this chapter would you?"

They both read, waiting out the midday sun. The entire time, Vin'yla's right tentacle slowly worked back and forth. By three o'clock they had enough reading.


After the museum The Visitors connect with the trees in the park. They learn about the story of Erysichthon who ordered all of the poplar trees in one of Demeter's sacred groves to be cut down. Demeter punished the king by calling upon Limos, the spirit of unrelenting and insatiable hunger, to enter his stomach. The more the king ate, the hungrier he became. Erysichthon sold all his possessions to buy food, but was still hungry. Finally, he sold his own daughter, Mestra, into slavery.

Erysichthon used his daughter's shape-shifting ability to sell her numerous times to make more money to feed himself, but no amount of food was enough. Eventually, Erysichthon ate himself.

Vin'yla sighs.

"What are you doing?"

"In order to lower and raise as quickly as possible, we're going to elevate manually."


"How often have you done this?"

"Actually, it's my first attempt."

(elevation mode)

"They're up!"

"...S/He's good."

"For a moment ...I thought we will fail."

While elevation they leave behind apprehension of things that are beautiful, transcending the sensible world, to achieve contemplation of the pure idea of beauty itself.

"Vin'nyla, you will accompany me?"

"No, ...I will not."

"You know, you have to."

... and all of a sudden the different elements weave into very contrasting sections. It creates a rather combative atmosphere. 

Their ideas on beauty did not take into account the role of art in aesthetics. The fact is, Vin'nyla holds a low opinion of artists and poets.

"Although it may appear that art implies the idea of beauty, a little introspection reveals that they are, in fact very different things."

"There is a beauty by which all things are beautiful."

"What is beautiful in itself is not this object, or that one of that which conveys their own nature."

S/He explains their understanding of art as an act of treason against the idea, because the sensible object is already a copy of its idea. In copying reality, the artist in effect, copies a copy.

After eating,

s/he looked down the beach then over at fleet-footed Vin'nyla as they stepped outside.

Vin'yla smirked at them as s/he tightened the elastic that held one of their tentacles in place, 

"What, you didn't get enough waffles at breakfast? You hungry for some disappointment too?"

S/He dashed out onto the beach. 

It was about a hundred yards to the ocean. 

S/he was already ducking into the surf by the time Vin'yla's much slower feet even hit wet sand.

S/He grinned as Vin'yla finally swam out to join them.

S/He laughed and splashed them.

The contact. Day 0

S/He realized too late why s/he was looking so cheeky.

Their tentacle found the flat of Vin'nyla's stomach again but when their tentacle gripped their left tentacle, s/he reached back and unwrapped their feelers. 

"It was kind of hurting when you kept squeezing my tentacle so darned hard yesterday. But I liked it"

S/He shamelessly guided their feeler up until their palm was pressed firmly between their tentacles. Vin'nyla's pulse quickened. Their gap was warm and soft. S/He could feel their tentacles curled slightly over their body.

When the first big air wave came s/he carefully thrust them forward, their tentacles pressing hard enough into them that s/he could feel them. S/He caught the wave's curl and surfed off.

Hailing frequencies open.

"Neptune's migration explains the pervasiveness of highly elliptical orbits in the Kuiper Belt, and can explain all the KBO orbits we've observed, except for a handful of KBOs on extreme orbits that always stay at least 10 AU beyond Neptune."

"Have they responded?"

"No, but you can bet they will. Let's go."

To prepare for the contact they attend a technoshamanic lecture performance.

"May I dance to the audience?" Vin'nyla asks.

Their answer is 'no.' But not for lack of effort.

The performance artist known as the fragrance seller of Bhopal recites:

"want to.


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The fragrance seller of Bhopal rendered the audience speechless.

Interrogation after arrival.

Turning to Vin'nyla.

"Why did you do it?"

"To preserve their dignity."

"If you hadn't killed them, they might have lived."

"I thought I would release them! But not long after the rescue mission they found a cure to reverse the process!"

"But did it feel right?"

"Yes! No! I thought: 'Release the pain. Release it.'" 

"This has poisoned your soul for a long time. Now you've taken the first step. The other steps we'll take together. Each lifeform's pain is unique."

"But we saved the fragrance seller of Bhopal, whom we celebrate as a performance artist known for exaggeration."

S/He has apparently fallen out of favour with the authorities.

"There must be other places in this Galaxy," s/he says to theirself.

"The James Webb Space Telescope could detect life in Hycean planets within the next few years. Hycean planets are exoplanets with liquid water oceans surrounded by hydrogen/helium atmospheres. Hycean planets are a sub-class of "mini-Neptunes" that could contain biomarkers in their atmospheres. Simulations by a team from Cambridge University show that these planets could be detected by JWST in just the next few years!"