So, I don’t know about anyone else, but if an alien ever decides it’s safe to visit us here on Earth, I’d immediately want to… No NEED to meet them.
That got me thinking:
What would it be like for an alien to suddenly attain “Rock Star” status?
There was no other way to say it – Hazzux was the most hated member of his species. Everyone threw insults when they saw him. Some threw rocks. He’d done his best to live a life of obscurity, but when you’re the object of intense hatred from everyone on your planet, it was only a matter of time before it came back around to find you.
It wasn’t really anything he’d done wrong – It was the way of the V’tal people. It was as it had been for millennia; one V’tal would be chosen at birth to be cast below all others – to become the most reviled of his species, so that others may always know they are superior to another, no matter their lot in life.
Hazzux had hoped that a mission to the stars would take him far from the hatred, so he leapt at the opportunity to board a light-craft and journey to a V’tal space station. He thought that orbiting another world would somehow make him feel less… insignificant.
As it turned out, Hazzux had greatly underestimated the scope of his people’s conviction. It seemed no matter where he went, the hatred followed, and other species who saw how he was treated by his own began to follow suit. The other V’tal didn’t mind – It was his purpose to be hated and looked down upon.
As if the very universe itself were in on this cruelest of jokes, the V’tal species were also known for their pronounced longevity – Hazzux would endure two hundred and fifteen years of this treatment before the day that changed everything…
THE DAY THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING
Supreme General Bezuus enjoyed hating Hazzux. Most of his species just accepted him as inferior, but Bezuus made genuine sport of it. Today was to be the crown jewel of his torturous game – He would be sending Hazzux to a Death-World.
He tromped deliberately down the corridor of the station on his way to Hazzux’s chamber. As he rounded the bend, he noticed the inferior V’tal attempting to exit quickly – surely to avoid an encounter.
“HAZZUX!” Bezuus roared, his mandibles swirling with spit and condescension. “WHERE do you think YOU’RE going?”
Reeling from the surprise encounter, Hazzux defensively responded “n-nowhere, General. I must have forgotten how to use doors again, as you’ve often suggested.” He had learned to hide his sarcasm, though this wasn’t his best effort.
“Stupid as always, I see,” said Bezuus. Either he’d missed the passive-aggressive jab, or had chosen to ignore it. “Today is your lucky day, you putrid squish-worm! The highest-ups have seen fit to send you on a little trip.”
The General had managed to cow the meek Hazzux back into his chambers and now loomed in the doorway, clicking his mandibles in the way his species did when they meant to intimidate.
“Seems we’ve found us a Death-World – one that’s actually inhabited! And from what I hear, it’s by a nasty little creature called a ‘Heeoomun’ – look nasty, act nasty,” the General spat… almost as if he were talking about Hazzux rather than a newly discovered alien species.
Bezuus was all the way in the room now, puffing himself up to fill as much space as possible. The air was filled with his musky stench and Hazzux could hardly breathe. He wished the General would just make his point and leave.
“And Guess what?” Bezuus asked with a sick little laugh. “Guess who gets to be our ambassador to this violent, disgusting, parasitic species? Can you guess it, squish-worm?” The General towered above him now. Could he possibly take up any more space?
“M-Me?” Hazzux squeaked. “Am I the lucky squish-worm?”
He hated calling himself that, of course, but after a couple centuries or so of being the most hated member of your species, you learned to use the words others preferred to call you. It was the closest thing to familiarity he really had with anyone.
“You got it, squish-worm!” Bezuus growled. “Don’t bother packing. You’ll be given clothes and the appropriate accessories for your duties.” He finally took a step back, having satisfied his callous urges for the moment. He began to exit the small chamber but turned with a sudden menace in his eyes “It will be the nicest gift anyone has ever given you, of course – We don’t expect you to return.”
And with that, he was gone.
Bezuus was right about one thing – The clothes and various accessories of V’tal ambassadors were the nicest he’d ever worn. Pure V’tal silk, no doubt milked from the most beautiful of their females. Dyed and scented with sweet-smelling flora, and bound with delicate cords made from more of the luxurious silk. The staff he was given, while purely ceremonial, was crafted by the most expert of laborers, and must have taken decades to create – Inlaid with gems and various luminescent artifacts, it was surely one of the finest of its kind.
He travelled alone, of course. That suited him well, as he would not have been permitted to speak had be been accompanied by anyone from his species, and there were no other species who appreciated him enough to want to share his company for longer than a brief passing in the halls.
“Ahh… “ he sighed. “Truly alone. Truly at peace. Plenty of food, beautiful clothes. I wouldn’t be so blessed if I had simply been so kind as to die, and put myself out of the collective V’tal misery.”
He pondered that for quite a while – how his passing would be unceremonious, and how it would only signal the beginning of misery for an unsuspecting newborn. He snatched a delicate fruit from a hanging basket, and watched the stars pass by, content to be perfectly, blissfully alone.
It would be a few years before he would arrive at the planet Earth, and he would enjoy what solace he could during the all too brief journey.
“I arrived in the Earthling star system today,” began Hazzux. As he dictated his notes and prepared for his first encounter, he was fascinated by what he saw through the view-screen – worlds with expansive rings, and some with many moons. He silently wondered what the planet Earth would be like. Death Worlds were so often teeming with violence, it was hard to imagine amidst the peaceful silence of space.
“I am cautiously optimistic. If these Heeoomuns can live through the horrors of a Death World and prosper, then the limits of existence may have been dramatically understated…” He paused the recording, suddenly worried that he was somehow blaspheming against his own kind. He had secretly wished for some existential revelation – some assurance that all his suffering at the hands of his people had been worthwhile. He also knew that this type of thinking was forbidden and would bring repercussions if he did not handle himself correctly in this matter.
“While the Heeoomuns believe themselves to be alone in the universe, that has not stopped them from reaching out – They have not lost hope amidst all the strife and turmoil of their loneliness.” There was an embarrassing honesty to his words. He couldn’t help but feel connected to these creatures already. “But in fact,” he continued, “their messages have been received by many species. Species who have chosen to steer clear of their violent little world, and thus perpetuating their loneliness and need for belonging.”
He closed the recording portal and discovered he had been lost in thought far longer than he’d realized. The ship was beginning to slow, and the planet Earth was drifting lazily into view. From here, it seemed peaceful. It was hard to imagine the stories were true.
Scanning available frequencies, he was able to digest the most current events on their world – civil unrest, natural disasters, war. The planet seemed to exist in a state of constant chaos. Hazzux hoped harder than he’d ever hoped for anything before – that when he arrived he could give them what they craved so desperately – what HE craved so desperately: knowledge that they do not have to suffer alone.
At first he thought he would die before ever reaching the surface. The inhabitants of the planet were surprisingly quick to react to his arrival, and had it not been for his centuries of deflecting aggressive advances, or his overdeveloped sense of inferiority, he may not have survived the first 5 minutes of contact with the Earthlings.
“Please,” he said quickly, “before your superior might engulfs me in a glorious ball of fire, know that I am Hazzux, Ambassador of the V’tal people, and I am on a journey for peace.” And for himself he added, “For hope.”
After a bit more linguistic fencing and some diplomatic close-calls, Hazzux was finally permitted to land his craft. The sky was on fire as he crashed through the atmosphere, the violence of it all threatening to tear his ship apart. When at last he broke through, he gasped as he laid his eyes upon the planet up close – he had expected the whole thing to be engulfed in natural savagery, and yet nothing could be farther from the truth.
“Earth Generals,” he crackled over his comms, “Your planet is beautiful! How lucky you must all feel to call it your own!” And he continued to stare in awe as his ship descended, overcome with the beauty of it. He was certain he could not have been more surprised than he was right at this instant, but he was completely and utterly unprepared for what happened next.
He had expected a private meeting with the leaders of this world, to discuss his arrival, and how they would share the news with the rest of the world. When he emerged from his vessel, however, he found that the rest of the world had refused to wait.
He saw that he was completely surrounded by Heeoomuns – Some in military uniform, some waving signs, others playing music in the grass – almost all waving their communication devices about taking pictures and shouting… no cheering! It was all more than he could take. He began to climb back into his ship when a small female broke into a run and headed right for him. She lunged at him and he winced, ready for the end.
And then she hugged him. She hugged him tightly and beamed up at him baring her teeth in the way he knew they did when showing affection, or in times of elation. He bent down slightly to see her better, and then laughed. He laughed and then others began to laugh with him. He carefully picked up the small female – an Earth child, he learned later – and propped her on his shoulders and waved at the other Heeoomuns, who then cheered louder and began clapping, shouting, and singing.
Hazzux had become an overnight sensation. He was in high demand to attend all matter of formal function. Weeks went by in a blur, and within the first few months, he had toured all the late night shows, presided over grand openings, even had a star on the walk of fame. Months became years, and his fame brought him into the political circuit, where he became known for his fairness toward the downtrodden, and defiance against the would-be evils of the world.
Roughly fifty years later, the V’tal finally thought to ask him for a findings report. As he sat down to record his briefing, he found he was no longer concerned over perception or status quo.
“A momentous occasion – one which my people only ever saw as a way to punish the lowest of their own- has blossomed into one of the greatest adventures of our time.“ Hazzux lingered on this thought for a moment before continuing – carefully choosing his words to drive the point home. “I have come to know them all as my friends, and they have come to see my arrival as the turning point for their species.”
He shifted in his seat, and his long-time friend Lianna joined him in the viewscreen. She still had the sweetest smile.
“We all spend time together on this Death World, devising new ways to enjoy its wonders, and to survive its horrors. And now we look to the stars. We know that we are not alone, not a one of us, and we are ready.” Hazzux thoughtfully looked to Lianna and hugged her close. Looking back to the screen he offered his parting thought. “Tell the other races of the universe, that we are ready to join you all,” and with a glint in his eye he added, “As equals.”