Chronicles of Alien Dwellers

Others grow Placebo buttons like mushrooms.

The Welcome Habitat is full of buttons that don't actually do anything — buttons that are mechanically sound and can be pushed, but provide no functionality. 

"They do have a psychological effect," s/he said. "Taking some action leads visitors to feel a sense of control over a situation, and that feels good, rather than just being a passive bystander. Doing something typically feels better than doing nothing."

Full control doesn't necessarily equate to more comfort. Thermal comfort research demonstrates that when people have perceived temperature control over their spaces, some may tolerate higher levels of discomfort.

If a non-functioning (placebo) thermostat or limited function thermostat is installed, just having the option to manipulate it can affect one's perception.

"They were placed there to quiet a constant complainer by giving them control. As an engineering trainee I was sent to calibrate one. When I asked why they had me calibrate a thermostat that was not hooked up, they panicked and asked if I told the occupant it wasn't hooked up. After assuring them I hadn't spilled the beans, they admitted that, by not telling me it was disconnected, they thought I would put on a more realistic calibration show."

Buttons give people an illusion of control. They serve a psychological purpose at the very least and sometimes they do have an effect.

After the elevation

Charmayanne enjoys themselves in the popular shopping and entertainment area of the Welcome Habitat. Charmayanne enters a shop for elevation appliances and spends a lot of time seeing the new designs. S/He is still confused as a sideeffect of the previous elevation. S/He finally decides to buy a portable elevation device. Buying is a good experience. It feels like a convergence that stimulates a kind of an immune system whose antibodies can be called destruction or deconstruction.

S/He comes to know something s/he hardly can put into words.

S/He hits up a bar to find the mystery engineer. 

The engineer is upset.

"Your good intentions don't get the work done."

Later s/he decides to sells faux gemstones to improve their income.

The restaurant

The technician sits down at a table with Charmayanne. 

Charmayanne breathes tensely. 

"I need more time." 

S/He leans forward. 

"I'm so sick of it here."

S/He stands up and turns to Charmayanne. S/He takes the wine bottle. S/He smiles reassuringly. 

"Talk about it!" 

"For you everything is always black and white."

S/He shakes their head distractedly. Charmayanne nods and leaves their table.

"Maybe something else?" 

S/He smiles. Charmayanne returns and sits down again with them. The two of them talk to each other. Charmayanne pours wine. 

"I sometimes hate people. At least that's what I used to think when my profession was still worth something, and I still think so." 

S/He shakes their head. 

Charmayanne gets elevated.

A gloomy room

Zak Qlikman enters. 

Charmayanne wears a discreet make-up. 

On the ceiling a glaring lamp swings back and forth. 

The engineer fills a water glass. 

Suddendly s/he holds a weapon to Charmayanne's head from behind. Charmayanne gets handcuffed to a chair.  

Breathing heavily Charmayanne looks at the glass. S/He reaches for it. S/He can, must drink.

S/He drinks the glass in one go. S/He struggles for breath and puts the glass down. Their gaze is clear. Slowly the engineer puts the weapon on the table in front of Charmayanne. 

S/He has lied to them from the beginning.

Charmayanne keeps their head lowered, trying to remember. 

It all started in this restaurant. 

Biosafety level 1

The Welcome Habitat is spacious and well lighted up. Zak Qlikman is new at the Welcome Habitat. S/He joins Charmayanne for a drink in the lobby of a huge complex. A display reads: "Late Night LoFi Chill Drone Future Perfect". They proceed to the meeting point. 

"We come from where you want to go."

The engineer stands up struggling to keep their balance. 

"This is not my home world. My home world is paradise," the engineer continous. 

"You have a malicious intent. You give a false sense of security and hide your true intentions. You cannot lie but by not telling the full information you do lie indirectly which is another subtle way of showing your motives." 

"Tell them I have answers." 

As Charmayanne translates everything the engineer looks down upon them. Charmayanne finally finishes translating. "Everything shows," says the fragrance seller of Bhopal. The engineer is annoyed by the hostility and tensions surrounding them. It explodes in a dramatic response to the fragrance seller of Bhopal because of the complexity of their language. Their reply takes nearly thirty minutes to complete and the engineer looks violently exhausted during and after the speech. 

"I think you thought you are the ones who presumably know how to tell the difference between reality and illusion."

Zak Qlikman avoids being squelched under the wheel of the discourse as a result of the prevalent ambiguities. 

Zak Qlikman is an experienced radio astronomy engineer.

The engineer is a stocky lifeform with a very short grey hose and a balding forehead.

Zak Qlikman wants a change.

S/He gives a list of things that you can actually present as beautiful even though they are pretty ugly. S/He says the only ugliness which can't be beautified is the disgusting. 

"A fascinating idea. And the disgusting causes pain. And s/he even talks about, s/he even says, the ugly can be beautiful. But the disgusting, that's the real antinomy. And s/he elaborates on that, in their vlog," says the fragrance seller of Bhopal.

The vlog entries are characterized by innovation and relentless challenges to convention. 

S/He is thinking about what s/he sees at the time, as popular entertainment. S/He ends up thinking that totally fake things are the real thing, totally fake depictions of virtue or real virtue or success or greatness or courage. Charmayanne thinks that the true nature of the ephemeral things s/he sees in the world is their idea. The triangles s/he draws in the sand are imperfect copies of the perfect idea of a triangle. 

At the laboratory

They use six entangled photons to create two alternate realities — one representing Wigner and one representing Wigner’s friend. Wigner’s friend measures the polarization of a photon and stores the result. Wigner then performs an interference measurement to determine if the measurement and the photon are in a superposition.

The experiment produces an unambiguous result. It turns out that both realities can coexist even though they produce irreconcilable outcomes, just as Wigner predicted.  

The engineer looks at Charmayanne. Again Charmayanne attacks the engineer who brought the elevation device. S/He examines it with curiosity and admiration, then the s/he rips off the engineer's head and proceeds to kill other visitors. It happens as the engineer explicitly says: "You developed more advanced skills and technologies. You started becoming greedy."

But it is also possible that Charmayanne was growing inside of the engineer even before the elevation. Therefore the engineer attacks Charmayanne. S/He gets killed without being impregnated with new technology. 

The engineer doesn't want to say a word after elevating.

"I'm just getting started. And for my next violation, I intend to do something, ... something very big." 

The conversation remains extensively reduced. Then the events unfold.

Just like the birth of a shape-shifter requires the sacrifice of a host, the engineer must sacrifice themself. 

According to Charmayanne their theory cannot explain why engineers tried to send the deadly virus. 

Charmayanne's derives systems and cycles from plants and animals – cicadas, hermit crabs, algae, sting rays, sea squirts, sea sponges, and frogs.⁠ S/He teases the visitors with the dire abjection of plastic evolving from the earthy clay. ⁠

⁠"The ironic choice of plastic takes aim at the conundrum of future evolution," says the fragrance seller of Bhopal.

⁠S/He doesn't care.

"Now continue. Tell them why I came and only retranslate whatever I say."

Charmayanne translates it back. 

They propose a reason why other lifeforms will think like them, in spite of different origins. They think that all problem-solvers, intelligent or not, are subject to the same ultimate constraints – limitations on space, time, and materials. 

The fragrance seller of Bhopal attacks the engineer.