In Version; Chapter 13, Kondor 225

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Stories from the Verse
In Version
Chapter 13:  Kondor 225
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Beam 162



Kondor was beginning to worry that Slade might be right.  There was some sense to the notion that aliens interested in forging some kind of trade or treaty relationship would take the time to identify locations relevant to their needs.  However, the longer they delayed contact the more it appeared that they were doing reconnaissance in preparation for an attack.  The point had been made that there probably wasnít anything on the planet that the aliens would need or want; that suggested that they wanted the planet itself, or possibly that they were slavers seeking to conquer the people.  It did not look good.

Could there be another explanation?  Of course, an assessment that they were being overly cautious before making contact was fundamentally a human assessment, and indeed a rather limited human assessment.  He had no experience, really, in contacting another culture.  Thatís not really true, he noted.  After all, he had been bouncing from universe to universe for quite a few years now, and every time he had had to introduce himself to a new culture, a different people--but most of them were human, and he was usually alone.  He had no idea what experiences these aliens might have had making contact with what to them were alien races on exoplanets.  They might have learned layers of caution he had not imagined.  Indeed, they might be a more cautious species generally, although he dismissed that idea quickly--any people who would build spaceships and travel to other star systems could not be that cautious.  Even so, if he wondered why the aliens seemed to be delaying contact with the parakeets, he had to take into account that they might already have experience making contact with other creatures, and it might have taught them a level of caution reflected in their actions now.

Indeed, they probably have been mistaken for demonic spirits, as they might have been here.  They might have been identified as an invading army, which they very well might be and which was one of the possible conclusions being considered even now.  The perfect way to establish peaceful contact was probably not simple, and probably not the same in every case.  If they wanted to make contact, they would do so when they were ready.

And, he realized, that didnít take into account Derekís suggestion that the visitors were going to have a lot of trouble deciphering the parakeet language.  Even with his significant advantages including a copy of what seemed to be a related language, Derek had been unable to reach the point where he believed he could talk to them.  They must be struggling to make sense of the complexities of chirps and whistles that constitute communication among these people.  That would not only delay their ability to make contact, it would limit their ability to gather the preliminary information they would want before doing so.

Could there be another explanation?

Maybe so.  Maybe these visitors werenít interested in contact or in conquest.  They could be xenologists, gathering data about alien cultures for purely scientific interest.  In that case, they would want to avoid contact as much as possible, because any such contact would contaminate the data.  He might argue that they had failed in this, because the sightings of their ships obviously contaminated the data--but he couldnít know how long they had been watching before the ships appeared, or whether the introduction of the unidentified flying objects was part of an experiment, a stimulus to elicit a response, to assess the reaction of the subjects.

That would explain a lot.  On the other hand, there was insufficient information from which to draw any conclusions at this point; all he could tell the others was that there might be another reason why the visitors had not made contact.

Next chapter:  Chapter 14:  Beam 163
Table of Contents

There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with eleven other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #478:  Character Conflicts.  Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter.  It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.


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