I thought it was a little strange when the space program wanted me, a linguist, to go on an expedition with them. Even after it had been explained to me, I couldn't quite bring myself to grasp the reality of the situation. But here I was, looking down from a spacecraft above a planet full of 'little green space men'. The catch is, *we* were doing the abducting.
Honestly, from the first time I set eyes on one of them, I felt that something wasn't quite right. I don't mean with *them* - I mean that I felt guilty. But I didn't really have any logical reason for it . . . so I justified myself in the name of science. Still, I could not push the thought out of the back of my head that I might be aiding in something very dangerous. I found myself wondering whether Einstein may have felt this way when he was working on the Manhattan project.
But you aren't interested in that. You asked me to report what happened. If you will bear with me though, you'll see that (strangely enough) my morality does play a part in the story. But that's for later.
At the beginning, we observed the Finxians from afar, monitoring them with all our magical technological advances. But we could only learn so much from that. I'm sure that you have read the reports written by all the scientists before the incident, which detail much more than I could ever have learned about their biology, geology, and other things that I know (knew) little about. I am also sure that you have read my own reports on the few things I picked up from our long-distance studies of them.
It wasn't 'til we caught a few of them that we were really able to study them well. I want to say we "abducted," but abduction has gotten such a bad rep. Of course, to say we "caught" them, makes them sound like animals. Unfortunately, that was the way we treated them. Anyway, once we were able to actually get one on the ship, everyone's studies progressed quite quickly.
My studies with the "foreigners," (as they called us), consisted mainly of conversations, as I was a linguist. I also studied many of their writings that we were able to "acquire". To tell the truth, since all of our subjects had been drugged up, I actually learned much more about them *from* their writings. (As you'll recall, they'd drugged the Finxians so as to not blow our cover and cause the hypothetical "mass panic" that may have occurred).
Since you have asked me to write a report on the mishap though, rather than a paper on language and literature, I will try to tell only of the conversations and writings that tied directly into the incident.
The most important (and foreshadowing) of those conversations occurred shortly after we had abducted our first "specimen". Though it came into the room with an air of peace, (which I attributed to the tranquilizers,) I sensed pain in his eyes. I asked him (in the best way I could) what was bad, (since I had not yet learned the word "wrong") and he seemed to cheer up. I asked him again, and he said something that I didn't understand for awhile.
"*Foreigners* are bad."
I would have understood it if he had said this enraged - but, as I said, he was now cheerful.
"Am I bad?" I asked.
"No, you are good. Foreigners are bad."
"I *am* 'foreigner'."
"You are no foreigner!"
After he said that, I asked him to explain. I could not understand the rest of his answer. I told him I was trying to learn his language, and from then on, the conversation stayed pretty much on grammar, which I will not bore you with.
As I said, most of the conversations I had with Finxians were as a sober man trying to speak with someone severely intoxicated. As such, I wrote off most of the weird comments and outbursts they made. I came to understand them only later.
When trying to think of things that may have forewarned us of the dangers that went undetected, I am reminded of a talk I had with the mission neurologist. I was sitting with him one day - though we rarely talked of work, there wasn't much else to talk about. " Discover anything interesting while sticking those little suction-cups on their heads? I bet it's fun doing brain surgery on them!" I'd said sarcastically.
(We had had a few to drink.)
" Actually," he said, "We recently discovered something we didn't think was possible."
" Oh? You aren't doing lobotomies on them, are you?"
"No, no. It's just, they don't have any serotonin."
"What's that mean?"
"Serotonin regulates stuff like sleep, and emotions. It's deficiency or overproduction is thought to cause many psychiatric disorders."
I asked him, "Well, doesn't it make sense that they wouldn't have any of the same kind of hormones that we do, since they evolved billions of miles away from us?"
"Ah! But they're carbon-based life forms. That's why we can breathe their air. They have almost *all* of the other chemicals we share. Their brains are almost identical to ours in the lower parts, and even in the forebrain. One thing is missing."
His solemn voice caused me to be silent for a moment.
"You mean they don't have any type of control for their judgment?"
"Yes. Kind of like us right now!"
We laughed for a moment, and I took another swig while thinking about it.
"But they aren't drunk. They don't act angry or ridiculous like us."
"Right," he said. "This is the mystery."
"Have you any clues as to *why* they're missing that part?" My mind was still spinning between perplexity and inebriation.
"We don't know how they do it. But they seem like a peaceful people."
"Yes. I must say, from their writings I'm under the impression that they have no word for war. Or Police. They don't seem to have any social troubles whatsoever!"
"Maybe that's the key. World peace through permanent intoxication!"
The conversation only got sillier from that moment on, but the mystery troubled me constantly in the future. It makes it a little scary to have face-to-face contact with a creature that you know has nothing holding them back. In all my interviews though, they never once attacked me or seemed even the slightest bit malign.