Posted Apr 14 2014 - 12:38 AM
June 27, 1995
The ship made a soft and uneventful landing at 2:35 AM, directly in the middle of Fortification Hill Road, Arizona, approximately two miles east of the Hoover Dam. We were ready for it. The many astronomers who had seen it coming were told to say it was only a meteor. We sealed off the area for miles around to ward off any sightseers. We had it surrounded by armed men, though they had been ordered not to strike unless the beings inside displayed hostility.
I myself was present, and I will never forget the awe I felt when the being, the primary subject of this report, stepped out. It was about seven feet tall, towering over most of our heads. It was clad (or so we thought at the time) in a suit of white armour, and wore a mask with a curious lens on it. Though it carried a weapon in each hand, it showed no sign of wanting to use them on us. It surveyed us, turning its head from side to side.
Some idiot fired a shot at it. The bullet dented its armour, but did not penetrate. The being was similarly unconcerned. It raised its left hand to the sky and fired the weapon it carried in it upwards. The resulting explosion was heard for many miles around, and it was only through all the resources we could muster that we kept the operation covert. We motioned for it to come with us, and the entire squadron held up their weapons in an attempt to force compliance. The being allowed this, and even surrendered its weapons to us, although we cannot imagine why.
We transported it back to base in the back of a van, like an animal. It had already displayed signs of sentience, so this decision was perhaps misplaced, and I regret ordering this. We gave it a prison cell to stay in, though it did not seem to mind terribly.
The next two months were spent deciphering the creature's language. It had a writing system, which it freely demonstrated for us. Coincidentally, it corresponded exactly with our alphabet, although it was largely phonetic in its language.
A major obstacle, however, was its antisocial nature. It never allowed us communication for more than an hour per day, which is part of the reason why the language took so long to decipher. Eventually it would refuse to speak, however much we pestered it. On one such occasion a particularly enthusiastic private slapped the creature across the mask. It calmly stretched out its hand and unleashed a jet of energy from it. When the jet subsided, the man's foot was locked to the floor by a jet of ice.
Some considered euthanizing the creature after that incident, but I had none of it. We apologized to it (our linguistic efforts had progressed that much at the time), and continued our efforts. The private was summarily discharged.
Once the code was sufficiently cracked, the creature revealed more information about itself. It was not an it, but a he, although it bore no anatomical signs as such. Yes, he came in peace. Yes, there were others of his race. No, they were not coming after him. He had four brothers and a sister, but his language did not have a word for "parent". When asked who his "creator" was, he said only "Artakha", never saying what this was.
When asked if he had a name, he wrote a sequence of characters that we deciphered to read: Kopaka.
That was the first session. In each, he told us a little more about himself.
He came from a place that he called Spherus Magna. When asked how long he had been travelling to arrive here, he answered "3400 years".
Of course, we believed that a year on his planet and a year on ours were probably not the same thing, but that was a long time however you slice it. From further conversation (all the while keeping to his hour limit), we learned that his years were in fact longer. As his ship travelled at slightly less than a hundreth of light-speed (a fact we were able to deduce from his descriptions of his people's measurement units), we realized that we knew his star system as Pollux, and his planet as Pollux b.
We brought him a telescope and showed them to him in the night sky, and at that moment I swear a faint smile crossed his face. It was the only time we saw that expression on him.
When asked if the journey had made him lonely, he answered simply "I prefer to be alone," something we had always known. But he also said that this "Artakha" could communicate with him even over this great distance, and kept him updated on the state of his world. When asked how this was accomplished, he answered with a string of words that we could not immediately decipher, but that we eventually found to mean "Telepathy. The speed of thought is very, very close to instantaneous."
He agreed to allow our medical staff to perform an exploratory surgery, though they did not wear surgical masks but welding masks. Cutting through his armour revealed muscle tissue—an exoskeletal life form made of metal? The taxonomists would have had a field day. We also found a respiratory system, and a digestive system, but nothing else. He had told us that beings on his world did not age, though we are not sure whether to believe this.
But all these things paled in the face of his stories.
This being, and his siblings, had fought in countless battles, defeated enemies that would have sent even the U.S. military scurrying. He was powerful, of course; he had demonstrated that with the ice incident. But he had overcome a shadow version of himself, enemies that could create infinite duplicates of themselves, and foes who could reach out a hand made of pure evil and absorb you into their substance.
There was a journalist, visiting the base on a month-long stay, who particularly enjoyed the stories, and put everything that the being said to paper. He was sworn to strict secrecy of course, but with the enthusiasm he had, you couldn't help but wonder if we could trust him. The two were on such good terms that, six months into the project, Kopaka refused to speak to anyone but him.
The question eventually came up of why he had left. The answer was succinct, as always.
"They invented space travel. They needed someone to try it. And fighting gets old after a while."
We were planning to release him and give him back his ship at the end of the journalist's stay, but instead he staged a breakout, and took the journalist with him. We don't know exactly what happened, since they picked a precise route through the base such that no cameras caught their escape, a route that would take x-ray vision to decipher. We do know it began with Kopaka freezing a hole in the wall of his cell, and that one guard who tried to stop them suffered severe frostbite to his arms and chest.
We wish Kopaka well, and can only hope that he is at peace in the life he has chosen.
We were originally worried about the journalist, but reports indicate he has chosen a harmless career as a writer for the Lego company. We have little fear of an exposé.
Posted Apr 14 2014 - 09:09 AM
There's a section at the beginning that got censored by BZP's profanity filter,
Some cool dude fired a shot at it.
and normally I would tell you that you should probably edit that to another word instead of leaving it word filtered, "cool dude" here makes for an incredible pun
I was wondering who this report is addressed to, unless it's just a personal document of the General's, 'cause its definitely a very thorough and technical report but it lacks a certain formality, makes me think its more like a letter to a higher official. Just something that stuck out to me that I wanted to clarify.
I like that the people in this story aren't portrayed as paranoid trigger happy military dudes, like what happened in Iron Giant and most other stories like this that I've seen on BZP. It's always interesting to see how a peaceful interaction would go. Unfortunately, I feel like this was a wasted opportunity to take advantage of the scenario to explore some really interesting ideas. Sure, the humans learned about Spherus Magna and Toa anatomy, but what I want to know is, what would Kopaka have gotten out of this experience? We don't see much at all from his point of view and it's a missed chance to explore some interesting stuff about human nature and go deeper into this relationship between biomechanical spacemen and us fleshy bags of mostly water. There could have been an exchange of ideas and ideologies and technologies and I think that would have made this story that much more interesting and meaningful than just saying that Bionicle is based on a true story, ya know? It left a little something to be desired. Also, on a side note, I would have liked a bit more detail on the spaceship, it's really vague on what it actually is besides "they thought it was a meteor."
The story also felt like it was a little simple. You would think that Kopaka crashing into the Earth and interacting with people for half a year would cause a lot more trouble and intrigue and deserve more than just a single report. I know I said it's good that it was a peaceful first contact, but I feel like it was too easy. Who is this General that he could keep this entire event under wraps like this? It just didn't really add up to me but I had to suspend my disbelief for the sake of the narrative. You also focused a lot on these ultra specific technical things like how long Kopaka was in space and the exact planetary system he's from and the autopsy and such, but characters and their relationships are a lot more interesting to read about and more important to telling a good story rather than just throwing facts at us that don't really affect the plot. The narrator didn't really react to these details much, and the reader already knows all this stuff, so you have to weigh how realistic going over this stuff would be in this situation against how boring it might be to sit and read about it.
Overall it was a very neat short story, no grammar or spelling errors that I could see, and a nice premise, but it also had a lot of room for improvement in the storytelling department. I enjoyed it, though, so yeah ^^
Posted Apr 14 2014 - 09:32 AM
The journalist was indeed supposed to be Greg. On his Amazon profile, he states that his first job out of college was work as a journalist. Putting that together with the fact that he lived in California, and it's entirely possible he could have made his way out to a small, undisclosed base in the Las Vegas desert (it's Area 51, in case you hadn't guessed; I'd hoped to give that away with the Hoover Dam reference). This also explains why Kopaka is Greg's favourite character—because he knew him.
That "some cool dude" was a mistake. It was meant to read "some idiot".
I didn't expect this to be perfect; I typed it all out in about 45 minutes. Anyone is welcome to write improvements to this.
Posted Apr 14 2014 - 11:09 AM
Posted Apr 14 2014 - 05:41 PM
Is the title supposed to be a Transformers 2007 reference?
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Posted Apr 14 2014 - 06:33 PM
You would think that Kopaka crashing into the Earth and interacting with people for half a year would cause a lot more trouble and intrigue and deserve more than just a single report.
Indeed, it did! Which is why I said "from the files of". And no, he didn't crash. I tried to make that clear.
@Toa Kayn, the title is not supposed to be a reference as such. It's just what they decided to name the whole communication project, based on Kopaka's powers.
Posted Apr 14 2014 - 09:46 PM
Posted Apr 19 2014 - 03:27 PM
"They invented space travel. They needed someone to try it. And fighting gets old after a while."
Overall, it's an excellent piece, and I'd be glad to see a sequel story in the same vein, if you were ever interested in writing one.
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Posted Apr 23 2014 - 02:55 PM
His introverted nature was precisely what inspired him to make the trip. After all, space travel is a lonely thing (I pictured his ship as a one-person ship, like the lunar lander). He would welcome the solitude, and he always has Artakha's telepathy to communicate if he somehow got lonely. (Although, this assumes that Artakha survives Velika's efforts; we can only hope.)
Posted Jun 29 2014 - 07:46 PM
I actually really enjoyed this. For the most part, I dislike Human/Bionicle stories, but this one was great as well as mildly amusing. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I particularly loved the journalist reference. Now we all know how Greg came up with Bionicle,
Posted Sep 02 2014 - 05:26 PM
I liked this. Very clever.
"Those who dream by day are conscious of many things that escape those who dream only by night." - Edgar Allan Poe
Posted Sep 02 2014 - 07:14 PM
I like that you gave a place in the real world for Spherus Magna. Who knows,
maybe one of the UFO sightings was someone seeing the Mata Nui robot? Well, then again, I guess not.
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Posted Sep 05 2014 - 04:55 PM
This is a really cool story. I like how you showed most of the people as good guys, and not evil ones as other stories have done. Well, the guy who slapped Kopaka may not be good, but he could've also just been impatient.
I also like that you chose Kopaka for this story. He's a great character to see interact with the people. Though I do find it hard to believe that he, or anyone in his position, would willingly let people perform a surgery on him just to see how his insides work. Even if they were to give something to him for saying yes to this, I just don't see Kopaka agreeing to allow people to cut him open. But that is just my opinion.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story, especially the Greg cameo.
Everyone is one choice away from being a bad guy in someone else's story.
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