Intelligent Life | Jeanette Stampone

After Earth receives signals from an alien language, Captain Worthington and his crew investigate the possibility of Intelligent Life.

Intelligent Life

Jeanette Stampone

The Space Travel Die Award

They were going to be the first humans to encounter intelligent life. Their mission was ten years in the making but at last they had reached their destination. Captain James Worthington connected the space phone to update the crew, “We should be able to provide you with a visual soon.”

James felt the adrenalin rush through his veins. He had been waiting for this moment all his life. The research on the planet had been extensive. In 2065, signals were received in an alien language and since that moment, the Space Station had continuously attempted to reconnect, to no avail. Now, 167 years later, the technology was finally in place to launch the mission to the planet Callidus.

James was just eight years old when he was given a constellation map for Christmas. Not a common present for a boy of his age but even back then he was fascinated by space. He spent the warm summer nights checking his map and star gazing with his father. It was one of those nights when James saw his first shooting star arch through the sky, “I wish… I wish could be up there one day,” he said to his father, “I want to be an astronaut and meet a friendly alien.” James’ father smiled and held him tightly, “Follow your dreams, son,” he whispered.

And here he was, gazing at Callidus before him. It was a far cry from his first position as crew on the Space Tourism Flight. After five years, he had become bored of the daily trips to Saturn, Mars and Jupiter. He had driven more tourists on moon vehicles than he cared to remember. He craved more. He wanted to explore beyond the confines of the Solar System and answer the big questions. He had always wondered about the planet Callidus and the intelligent life responsible for those mysterious signals.

Just then, the screen flickered. Their spaceship had reached the edge of Callidus’ atmosphere. James’ eyes widened as he absorbed the vibrant colour. Rainforests, open plains and lush green forests. He had never seen anything like it. He frowned as he searched for signs of intelligent life. As the camera zoomed in closer, he could see that the planet was indeed inhabited with life. There were a multitude of species. From tiny flying insects with colourful wings to giant hairy beasts that were ten feet tall. Oceans teemed with life, full of fish and coral. It reminded James of the old video and pictures he had seen of how Earth looked in the early 2000s. “But where is the intelligent life?” he asked.

It was then that he noticed another species. A group of them stood together. They were of a similar form to humans with two legs, arms and hands. Their faces were flatter though and they all had the same silvery coloured skin. The group of five appeared to be communicating to each other in a complex language. James recognised it immediately as the alien language heard back in 2065. “That’s them!” he exclaimed excitedly, “We have found them!”

James’s excitement soon turned to confusion as he continued to observe these alien beings. How could they have possibly communicated with Earth? There was no technology. No vehicles of any description, no housing, no infrastructure. Nothing. James continued to observe the aliens and their planet. He became mesmerised by the natural beauty of this world and the harmony within it.

Then with a smile, he updated the crew, “We received a signal from this species in 2065,” he began, “And since this time we expected them to continue to evolve into highly intelligent, advanced beings. There is however, no sign of any technological advancement. In fact, their technology appears to have regressed, to the point of not existing.” James paused for a moment, his heart thudding in his chest. He glanced again at his screen as one of the aliens wrapped their arms around their young, just as he remembered his father doing. The fresh, bright colours of the planet shone and lit up his cabin.

“I can confirm that this species is of a higher intelligence than humans. More than we ever thought possible.”