To Arthur Dent

Dear Arthur,

You may be surprised to read this – as you are pretty much the last of the human race. Don’t be too surprised however – stranger things than this have happened – there are many more improbable things that have happened to you than receiving a letter from the dead people of the planet you escaped before its demise.

No worries, Arthur. We’re not holding any grudges or anything. The thing is, we’ve all come to an agreement about something (wow, right?) that concerns you and we had to get the message to you somehow, so here you go. A few things we as the deceased people of the Earth would like to stress the importance of.

See, you’re our last representative in the universe. Pretty much the way anyone judges you is going to reflect on us. And we would  appreciate it if you tried very hard to make us look better than we really were. Try to keep the nasty bits about the wars and genocides and pollution, etcetera, to yourself alright? No need to air out our dirty laundry for others to see.

We understand the delicacies and difficulties this request might present, but if it’s possible we’d also like for you to work on propagating the species with that Trillian woman. Yeah, yeah, we know, but the least you could do is try, mate.

Also, the blokes who demolished your house would like to offer their apologies even though that’s sort of moot now. But they’ve insisted and kept on about how it’s the principle of the thing.

Last, if you ever find those dolphins you give them a solid piece of your mind. Honestly, if they’re so smart they should have known we didn’t understand one blasted thing they were trying to tell us. You let them know that once we find a way to become corporeal again we’re going to have it out with them.

Okay, I think that’s about it. Oh yeah, work on staying alive for as long as you can. Don’t panic. Always bring your towel. All things you know already but we’re just saying, a little reminder never hurts.

-Best Wishes, The People of the demolished Earth

PS: You can stop whinging about tea, we’ve stuffed this envelope as full of tea sachets as the post will allow. Don’t bother trying to reason out how.

The girl and the alien hominoids

The planet was a lush rainforest of continents swaddled by gentle indigo oceans. Enormous pink clouds floated around it like so many puffs of cotton candy.

From a crawling orbit above the atmosphere the strange bipedal hairless hominoids were embroiled in disputes about it, and about the sentients they hoped to find below.

This was the first time the hominoids had ever attempted such a thing. They had been carefully chosen for this mission to properly represent their species as delegates from the third planetary body orbiting the star Sol.

So far from home, only the Navigator recognized that specific star. He checked several times a day (insofar as one could relegate days on the vessel), just to make sure it was still there. He superstitiously believed that if he ever lost track of that star, he might never find it again. A good navigator can always find his way home.

The hominoids bickered about how to land, where to land, what to bring, how to approach the natives (if there were natives), what all that purpley and bluish stuff was, and who would go versus who would stay. The arguments were pointless for the most part, as they had procedures set in place for just this kind of thing. To be fair the landing discussion did have some merit: everyone agreed that it would be difficult to land on top of the thick canopy of trees covering everything. At least what the topography expert believed to be trees. No one knew for sure.  Two things they all agreed on was that all this had seemed much more simple and straightforward on paper, and also that the planet below was more beautiful than they had ever anticipated.

 

Below in her small forest village, a brilliant girl was fiddling with her latest invention. She fine-tuned some metal filaments and what could reasonably pass as an antenna inside of a crude wooden box. This girl, whose mind was far beyond anything her people had ever seen, was at the moment quartered in a treehouse with all her homemade gadgets and paraphernalia. She was both feared and respected by the village, who gasped in wonder at her impossible inventions. A small orb made of fused sand and metal absorbed the sunlight during the day and emitted an illuminating glow during the dark night hours. It didn’t provide the warmth of a night fire, but it was a much safer lighting system. She’d also created a sort of aqueduct system that brought the village fresh water from a nearby river. Her star map – carefully carved into a large piece of stone was something of a novelty to the villagers who didn’t really understand what it was for, but appreciated its complicated beauty.

As she fiddled with the filaments a gentle hum emanated from the box. Jumping back excitedly,  the girl moved her finger to the antenna to ground the device. She felt a small charge and grinned. She was hoping her theory was correct, and this this device might be useful to warn the village of the frequent great electrical storms. What she heard instead from the device was garbled words in a language she did not understand, although it sounded strangely familiar to her.

“…earth. We come in……Captain Walsh….Transmission….Four – Two – Seven……..delegates from the planet………..peace……can…..hear me?……Walsh……Two – Eight – Six….”

The device lapsed back into a humming static as she pulled her finger away from the antenna. Eyes wide, she stared at the small wooden machine in front of her. Any other villager would have proclaimed that the box was possessed by evil spirits. This girl was not so superstitious.

She was thrilled. Immediately she began working on another box, similar in design but with key alterations. She would send a message back. She would say in every dialect she knew that she had waited so long for a friend equal in her intelligence. She would ask where her new friend was. She would tell him to come to her little village – she would tell him about her inventions, and ask about his.

She would no longer be alone.

 

Miles and miles above the village that held such an extraordinary girl was the ship. The great metal beast of a ship, filled with hairless hominoids. Hominoids that could not stop arguing with one another about so many tiny details. Details about how and where to land, what to do, how to make contact. They were already sending a pre-recorded radio transmission out into the airwaves – but there was not much hope that it would be answered. So when it was, the bickering stopped cold, and the girl’s message filled the silent ether.

“…R..unn….nno..t…wel..co..mm…….no..land…goback….leave….be..for……..warr……yuuuu…are….nno..t..wel..com……..rrrr….unn……nnowww….”

And the hominoids staring fearfully at one another as the strange gravelly voice intoned such hostilities at them suddenly decided as one that they would listen and obey, no arguments about it. It did not occur to them that the words they heard may have only sounded like their language, but meant something else entirely.

The Navigator searched the sky for Sol and programmed the ship to make a beeline. He was gratified that the rest of the crew suddenly all asked him to point out the comforting star to them, and not a single one forgot how to find it again.