Sunday, October 20, 2013

An Angry Visitor from Xon

My grandmother was a voracious reader of sci fi, with many Asimov books prominent on her shelves. I'd enjoyed a fair share of it in high school and perhaps this strange little story was birthed from those early readings.

An Angry Visitor from Xon

He landed his spacepod in a field near Carlton, Minnesota. It was night and he hoped that there had been no sign of his landing. He had landed without lights.

He meant no harm, visiting this planet for the first time in more than a hundred earth years. During his last visit he was instructed to refrain from making contact with the residents of this planet, called Tortell in his own world (which means, Two Thirds Water.) It was not a creative name, as most of the inhabitants of Xon are factual, reality based engineers, lacking in imagination. (Xon means, “The Largest Blue Planet in our Solar System”, which it was.)

His name was Som Felo Fint, which translated means he was the first born son of Som Felo. His parents, however, called him Rau, which means “Male Boy.” Happily, Rau had discovered in his previous visit that Tortell had ample supplies of oxygen, that the molecular designs and carbon based life forms corresponded to his own planet and that, but for his clothing and one other handicap, he could practically pass for a Tortellian, that is, earthling.

Rau’s unfortunate handicap was the lack of vocal chords. The peoples of Xon had developed their telepathic communication skills to such an extent that it was believed by Xon scientists that vocal chords were irrelevant. The vocal chord gene was removed from the genetic code shortly after the elimination of the genes that cause migraines, cancer and an assortment of other miscellaneous maladies. The only peoples to be infuriated by this decision were Xon’s pet owners and pet trainers. Telepathic communication with animals has yet to be developed, in spite of that “can do” attitude of high ranking Xon technologists.

The spacepod landed without mishap in a farmer’s field shortly after dusk. He made only a modest attempt to conceal it, intending to depart by morning.

Rau’s visit to Northern Minnesota corresponded with the county fair season, and as luck would have it, these were the days of the Carlton County Fair. His first stop: a farmhouse just off Highway 61, to pick up a set of clothes. The farmer and his family had gone to the fair and for a Xonian, subduing the family watchdog was a cinch. In no time at all Rau was appropriately decked out. He smiled when he caught his reflection in the mirror. On the surface, at least, he made a passable rural Minnesotan, and a handsome one at that.

Rau was off to the fair.

*

Lisa Flanagan was mad at her boyfriend Curt Steffle and she intended to let him know it. Curt had made fun of her in front of his friends. Roland Kinney and Billy Mitchell were laughing so hard tears spilt from their eyes. And if that wasn't bad enough, Tess Harper saw everything and she probably wouldn't get off Lisa's case for a year. For definite and for sure Curt was finished.

Lisa took a walk in the field beyond the parking lot and found a place to be alone with herself while her friends went off to have fun. She cried into the folds of her sweatshirt, then quietly composed herself in the dark. As she stood up to head back toward the fairground she heard the sound of footsteps and whirled about only to see a man's silhouette moving toward the lights.

At first it frightened her to think that she may not have been alone. Then, she wondered if maybe it had been Curt feeling awkward and guilty, having followed her but being too timid to approach her.

Walking briskly, she pursued the dark figure until she reached the open lighted space between a tent and a vendor's trailer. The figure turned, and it was not Curt at all. In fact, it was a young man, taller and fuller in the shoulders, and very handsome, with deep set eyes that seemed to possess an understanding which exceeded his years. The glare of lights shone on her face and he saw that she was looking at him with a strange expression. Rau turned and walked out of sight around the corner.

About ten minutes later she found her friend Melissa. “Did you see him? That new fellow. Know anything about him?”

But Melissa hadn't seen him.

“Where’s Curt? Didn’t you come with Curt tonight?”

"Curt’s history,” Lisa said and she spat. She wasn’t very good at spitting, so it was more like she sprayed a bit of spittle in the direction of the ground. The sound was effective and showed what she thought of her former boyfriend.

"So what’s his name?”

"I don’t know,” Lisa said. “We haven’t really met.”

"You don’t even know the guy and you –"

Lisa cut her off, pointing. “There. He’s over by the cotton candy.”

Rau was standing alongside the glass, mesmerized by the furls of air and sugar that were being wrapped into pink and blue clouds of cotton.”

Come on,” Lisa said. “Let’s go meet him.” Reluctantly Melissa went along.

Lisa acted like she had lost her footing and brushed against him. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m such a klutz.”

Rau looked at her and smiled. He found her features delicate and pleasing to look at. Using his telepathic powers he attempted to tell her she was beautiful and that it was O.K. that she bumped into him. He said he was shy and wanted to comfort her in the field, but sensed that she wanted to be alone. He said many more things, but on his face he wore only a smile that seemed strangely sad.

Unfortunately, human comprehension of Xonian telepathy is zilch and Lisa wondered if she may have said or done something wrong.

The second half of this story, which I posted at Ennyman's Territory in October 2008, can be found here . Enjoy!

No comments: