After extensive tests, the doctors informed Mrs. Roberson that her son had ‘severely delayed’ development. When she was growing up, they used far-less flattering phrases to describe his condition. Regardless of the kinder, genteel terminology of modern times; she knew he would never have a normal life.
He didn’t have Down syndrome so his level of impairment wasn’t immediately obvious. Externally, he looked just like any other child. It was the speech center of his brain that was underdeveloped. He could only say a few words; and those were hard to understand. Luckily his hearing and reading comprehension were good so he could follow simple instructions. Typically he would reply to questions with a garbled ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Due to his disability, he attended a government operated ‘special’ school for ‘the challenged’.
Non-humanoid aliens from a planet many light-years from Earth came to study its biological inhabitants. Their cloaked spacecraft was undetectable by radar and the visible spectrum but they still ran into difficulties on the mission. They had to enter the Earth’s atmosphere without the aid or benefit of visual sensors. All of their video equipment was damaged by a meteor shower between Jupiter and Mars. Simply by scanning the surface using sonic waves, they were able to compensate for this handicap and map a suitable landing spot. Through pure coincidence, they chose a vacant lot behind the Roberson’s rural home.
While UV Rays were too deadly to open up their ship’s visors, they were still able to monitor radio broadcasts. The science officer scrutinized the auditory form of communication with great interest. It was their last remaining surveillance avenue to decipher human dialects, languages, and regional colloquialisms. They also gathered and analyzed random sound information from movies, game shows and television commercials.
Less than a solar day elapsed before they had a working knowledge of most Earth languages. Certain nuances of humor and emotion were still ‘lost in translation’, however. Comprehending those foreign concepts was much more difficult. They had evolved to value pure intellect over primal emotions. Further compounding this translational rift was the fact that they were unable to visualize what they were hearing. Since oxygen was also deadly to their skin, they were also unable to venture outside the spacecraft to explore, even at night.
These factors limited their research to probing soil samples beneath their ship with a retractable arm. Since data on the appearance of Earth organisms was nonexistent, they had to find another way to ‘bring the mountain of visuals to Mohammed’. Their directional sonar antenna focused on an intriguing conversation going on in the Roberson household.
“George, this is what you looked like as a baby…. and there is a picture of your Grandfather. Now, that was the last picture in the photo album. I want you to go to bed after you brush your teeth, OK? Your father and I will be up in a few minutes to tuck you in.”
Wondering if ‘tucking in’ was a human bonding ritual, the curious aliens listened intently. They carefully noted the chronological order of events which began 7.3 minutes later. George’s maternal and paternal units entered his living cubical and verbally greeted him. Then they asked if he had recited his ‘prayers’. The aliens noted (and seized upon) the fact that no auditory affirmation was given to their request.
The only hypothesis they could conclude was that the pupal offspring was using telepathy to communicate with his genetic donors. If their theory was correct, it was in a range that they were unable to detect. Then the maternal parent said; “Here is your water and a kiss.” A slight popping sound followed. Finally a farewell greeting was offered by both donors, in unison.
Without being able to peer into the human dwelling, they were unsure if the adult humans were leaving each other for the rest period; or just the offspring. The question of whom resided together during their requisite dormant period, was both intriguing and difficult to answer.