“First direct contact with Earthlings, the standard tests will be conducted to determine the superior species on the planet and determination of intellect according to Galactic Anthropologic Standards.”
Gork turned off the recorder and looked over the board all lights were green and ready to proceed.
“Survey Chief I know this is a standard test but do you really think it is necessary, it is very obvious who the superior species on this planet is.”
Gork sighed inwardly, the young, so eager to jump ahead, so hurried. The Chief nodded then spoke, trying to remember how it was to be young. “I agree, but in testing we may learn something new, it is slow, but it ensures we do not leave any object unexamined.”
Frant nodded to the most respected elder and prepared, checking again the subjects for testing.
Ralph woke feeling strange, he was warm, but he could not feel his blankets, but he was very relaxed as if he was floating in a pool, but not wet. He opened his eyes slowly. “Hello?”
He was floating in a bubble of light in just his pajamas. He tried to look down but all he saw was blackness, nothing, but then his eyes focused and he saw some other bubbles of white light around him in different sizes with something in the center of each. One had a dog laying down sleeping, the other a cat calmly grooming itself, the other a large spider in it, the bubble directly to his right was small with a large red ant in it. He looked to his left and there floating in the middle of it was a dolphin, or maybe a porpoise he could never tell them apart, it was calmly casually moving its tail. He saw a gorilla and it was flanked by kangaroo and a lobster in their own bubbles. Looking further he saw a lot more bubbles some above him, some below some containing fish, some animals, and some bugs. He could just make out a water buffalo and a porcupine and a reindeer and several smaller bubbles between some of the larger ones that he could not make out what was in them. Below him was a huge bubble containing a killer whale and above him an elephant.
‘Weird dream’ Ralph thought. ‘Wait if I know I am dreaming am I really dreaming?’ There was a low hum from somewhere off in the darkness and changing multicolored bubble floated into the center of the blackness.
“Greetings earthlings we are from the Galactic Survey Team you will not be harmed, we have a few simple questions to determine who is the superior species on Earth after the questioning is conducted, we will return you to the place we have seized you from, we apologize for any inconvenience this causes you, but if you answer our questions in a direct and forthright manner this will be over in a short while.”
Out of the corner of his eye Ralph saw the dog and the cat sit up and look directly at the multicolored bubble. He then looked at all the other bubbles of light containing other animals and they were all directly looking at the pulsing rainbow colored bubble as well. ‘Dumb animals drawn to a new shiny thing.’ Ralph thought. As soon as the animals saw no food or punishment would come from the new bubble, they would lose interest and the aliens would realize they should be concentrating on him.
“Please respond quickly with your first thoughts.” The voice from the bubble paused for a few seconds and began again. “First question, in your opinion who is the highest form of life on Earth?”
Ralph spoke quickly. “Hello, that would be me,” He waved his arms trying to get some attention. “That would be humans, people, you know like me, the rest of these are just animals.”
There was a cacophony of barks, grunts, clicks, squeaks as each animal that could make a sound did so as Ralph spoke. Ralph raised his hand to get the colorful bubbles attention and shouted. “Hey, let me save you some time, you collected a bunch of dumb animals, they can’t answer your questions, they can’t speak like I can.”
Ralph’s bubble of light flashed red. “Please only answer questions put to you please.” then his bubble returned to its regular white color.
Ralph rolled his eyes.
“Second question, who is the second most superior species on planet Earth?”
Ralph thought about this for a full second. He pointed towards the dolphin next to him. “This dolphin I suppose, or maybe the gorilla across the way from me.” Again, as he spoke the animals made noises, some after he spoke, some at the same time as him. Ralph thought this was a bit strange, surely, they should just be making random noises all the time if they were disturbed, just not when the voice came from the talking bubble.
“Third question: What is the kindness that you show other Earthlings on your planet.”
Ralph was puzzled by the wording of this. Kindness? “Can you clarify this a bit?” The light around him changed to a soft blue. “No.” Then returned to its white color. Ralph stroked his beard on his chin. Around the space the animals responded, not all at once, some at the same time and he just happened to be looking at the spider who simply twitched two of its legs in a strange fashion then stopped its movements. Ralph shook his head, were the aliens able to communicate with that spider.
The light in Ralph’s bubble dimmed then came back to full brilliance. “Please answer the question.” Ralph was thrown off and started to speak without thinking. “Well, we humans do all sorts of things, we clean up after ourselves, we feed dogs and cats, and we take care of other animals like these in zoos and sometimes in the wild.”
The voice from the bubble spoke again with no change in tone. “What is the single worst thing your species has done to other Earthlings.”
Ralph was getting angry with the way this was going and decided to end this right now. “Hey like I said earlier I am the only Earthling here, these other things in these bubbles are just animals. Cut the crap, we humans are in charge of the planet, and sure we do some bad things to animals, but they are just animals, they are not intelligent, and they act out of instinct, just come over here and talk to me one on one.”
The lights dimmed substantially in Ralph’s bubble and stayed that way for a while. “Finally, you guys realized you are wasting your time with these animals.” While the lights were dimmed in his bubble there was a series of animal noises around the area, some longer, some shorter others a bit longer vocalization.”
“Again, the question is what is the single worst thing your species has done to other Earthlings?
Ralph put his palm to his face and drew it down in frustration, looking upwards as if looking for guidance from above. “They are not Earthlings, these are just lower life forms, they don’t have intelligence like people, they don’t talk, they don’t build, they don’t really communicate except at the most basic level, do you understand what I am saying?”
Is that your answer?” The voice sounded like it was directed right to Ralph.
“Yes, it is. To quote a book that is very popular among humans, which I might add, these animals do not even have. ‘Man was given dominion over the animals.’ Now that may not be a direct quote, but it sums it up, we, meaning humans, people like me” he said pointing towards his chest. “get to decide what to do with the animals on our planet.”
The light stayed dim for a full minute while the animals’ lights stayed at their full brightness. Then the voice spoke again like it was directly to Ralph. “Thank you for your input, you will not be required to answer any other questions during the rest of the inquiry.
The light in Ralphs area stayed dim, he watched as the animals’ made noises or movements periodically to something that he could not hear. Probably confirming what I said he thought to himself. I am sure they are going to return to me any minute after they figure out, they are just a bunch of animals.
After several more minutes the lights came back up to the beginning level in Ralphs area and the voice broadcasted to every area again. “Thank you for your time and answers, you will now be returned to the area you were sleeping in.”
Ralph took a breath and started to shout ‘Wait a minute’ when he realized he was back in his bed.
Gork looked up as Frant took a position across from the Senior Chief in the consumption area. “Was I correct in that we learned some things from the standard testing?”
Frant signaled slight embarrassment. “You are right we did learn from the standard test.”
Gork expressed the proper bit of mild forgiveness to the younger colleague. “I am still learning as well, for example, I learned the level of arrogance in the one labelled human.”
“Have you seen such a level of arrogance in any other species?” Frant asked automatically.
“Twice, one destroyed themselves and all the other inhabitants of the planet they all lived on, the other overcame their conceit and are becoming a fully sentient species.”
“What do you think of the Earthlings in general?” Frant said feeling a bit of satisfaction at the ease of conservation with the Survey Chief in such an in this relaxed setting.
Gork signaled his agreement as he ingested some fuel in his port. “I really thought the earthlings’ called bees were fascinating, and the lobsters had an interesting life cycle.”
Frant self-consciously checked his own fuel level and saw it was sufficient for the time. There was a pause and Frant verbalized again. “I shall begin to quantify the data for your report.”
“Our report Frant I am going to put your designation on it is as well.” Frant was surprised and Gork noted this. “It takes many spokes to complete a wheel, and you are part of the wheel Frant.”
Frant beamed in gratitude and its circuits processed the feelings with a bit of newfound speed.