July 18, 2017


Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them.

SF Trope: Bird Aliens

The day the Hrafn came to Earth, Kaeli Waang and Bjorki Veniti stood beside their rack of Ravens, nervously rocking from foot to foot. Larry, Mo, and Curly -- they hadn't named them, the Amplified Avian Hatchery named them – were doing the same.

The Hrafn had arrived in Earth space a month ago and spent that time sending detailed directions, images, and itinerary before their expected landing. The fact that they had chosen the ten intersection points of what were called Ley Lines had sent the entire looney community into ecstatic mutterings. Kaeli leaned to Bjorki and whispered, "You ever notice that the word 'looney' refers to birds?" The fact that the Hrafn looked like somewhat creepy, humanoid crows made the reference humorous...

He whispered back, Did you ever notice that the word 'hysterical' is related to 'hysterectomy'..." He puffed an “oof!” when she elbowed him.

Thin clouds over Mount Kailash, Tibet began to glow orange. Bjorki cupped the bud in his left ear and said, “The Hrafn are descending. All ten ships are at the same altitude, but we’re going to make contact first because where we are.” They’d spent the past three weeks acclimating so that they’d be ready to talk to the aliens.

Larry said, “I’m so excited to meet my interstellar cousins!” Though he didn’t exactly speak standard English and someone who hadn’t worked with him since his hatching would have heard, “Emmm sss essst-t-t-eh t-t-t mmmeeeeet-t-t mmm emmmt-t-tssst-t-therrr kkksssmmmsss.” This would have been repeated at least three times because Larry was embarrassed that he couldn’t speak clear English and wanted to make sure that anyone listening would know he was working hard to overcome his handicap.

Curly reached around Mo to take a poke at Larry’s head. He missed and almost fell off the bar.

Bjorki grabbed Curly’s tail and Kaeli intercepted the peck by slapping Curly’s head down. Anyone watching them would have realized exactly how apropos their names were. None of the five of them noticed that the Hrafn ship stopped descending a meter from the stone, snowy point of the “Unclimbed Mountain”.

“How are they going to step out anywhere? There’s no flat ground until we get back down,” Bjorki said. The two halves of the ship suddenly separated. At least three hundred meters across, the split happened silently. A silvery shimmer appeared below the split, extending two meters out from the ship, almost as if they were projecting a porch. A section faded out of existence, gradually revealing a pair of two-meter-tall shadows…

Names: (England, Aboriginal Australian); (Iceland, Italy)

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