George Roberson was awakened by the translucent image of a monster at the foot of his bed. It wasn’t saying anything but he could hear it speaking in his mind. He wanted to call for his Mom but no sound would come from his throat. The holographic ‘monster’ told him not to be afraid. It’s disjointed ‘voice’ was a poorly pieced-together sound montage of movies, songs, and TV commercials. The rapid change in pitch, accent, and enunciation also did little to calm him.
The projected alien image explained that their spacecraft came from a distant solar system to study the Earth and its inhabitants. Then the message expressed their urgent need to locate as many ‘kodaks’ as they could, so they could better understand Earth biology. In exchange for each picture that he brought them; they would ‘pay’ him one thousand words. The bizarre offer was in keeping with the spirit of the slogan; as their literal minds understood it.
Lastly, he was assured that no harm would come to him but George wasn’t worried. He had watched E.T. and other space movies. He wasn’t afraid anymore. He was actually excited at the thought of getting to meet Captain Kirk and Chewbacca. He grabbed a Sears Catalog, some magazines, and an entire set of old Encyclopedias. Slowly he climbed out his window; making several trips in and out. He used his flashlight to find his little red wagon to load all the books and magazines in it. He wondered how they could ‘pay him words’; but was sure Mr. Spock would explain it logically to him.
Korbrux had been chosen for the contact broadcast because of his mutant features. By only having three noses and no tentacles, it was reasoned that his ‘hideous’ appearance would put the Earth creatures at ease. Based on their limited Intel, he was assumed to look most like them.
He stepped out of the hologram booth and reported to the Commander. “All three of them were in their dormant phase but the offspring came out of it easily. Analysis of its primitive brain patterns indicates that it understood our request. We believe that ‘George’ is bringing the requested Kodaks.”
“Excellent!; Commander Vxrai applauded. “The sooner we obtain these video representations of Earth creatures, the sooner we complete our mission. I for one; do not like being tactically blind on an alien planet.”
“I do have one very unusual thing to report, sir. I sensed a complete lack of fear or surprise in this immature human. It was as if he was actually expecting our visit here. Scans on its brain indicate that it is formed differently than the rest of the humans we have surveyed. Unlike the others, he is apparently incapable of verbal speech. We are unsure of what to make of it.”
“Clearly it is a sign of superior intelligence.”; The commander stated without hesitation or pause. “Much like our race, this particular human has evolved beyond the need for external speech. It no longer uses that primitive method to communicate. That also explains why we didn’t hear him answer his genetic donors. We obviously do not possess the codec to hear his frequency range.”; The Commander expounded. “How long will it take him to respond to our request? I’m anxious for this meeting to take place.”
“He should be here very soon”; Korbrux responded. “But sir, we will probably have to perform some sort of modification to it’s brain, to keep our end of the bargain. We put all our research into their spoken languages. The only way we can currently communicate with it, is though inefficent word telepathy.”
“Well, a deal is a deal; whether it needs the verbal ability or not. This is our first contact with the human race. Everything has to go smoothly. We can’t go back on our promise with their primitive nuclear capabilities. If they dropped a fifty megaton bomb on our ship, it might damage our navigational equipment. Then we would be stranded here until a repair ship could arrive.” None of them wanted to be there any longer than necessary so they accepted the extra diplomatic inconvenience. In a sign of good faith, Morpz; one of their biologists was assigned to do the surgery on the human named George.