Author : J. S. Kachelries

We had been in Antarctica for two months studying the alien spacecraft. It had been discovered a month earlier when a portion of the Ross Ice Self caved into the sea. Based on the thickness of the ice covering the ship, we estimated that it was buried approximately 120,000 years ago. The ship was saucer shaped (big surprise), and was 318 meters in diameter and 72 meters tall. The ship had ten habitation floors in the upper portion, with a large cargo hold below that. We did not find any alien bodies, so we assumed that they were either rescued, decomposed, or they wandered off. The ship appeared undamaged, so we don’t know why it was abandoned.

My name is Steve McCoy, a Xenobiologist, and I’m heading the team trying to learn about the alien’s physiology (mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions). I admit, not having a body is inconvenient, but as scientists, it’s routine for us to deduce information using limited data and our powers of deduction. For example, we concluded that the aliens were much shorter than us, because the ceiling height was only 1.2 meters. Furthermore, they were not humanoid, because we could not find any furniture for sitting or laying down, utensils such as knives and forks, or equipment that required hands for gripping or manipulation. Therefore, you could logically deduce that they were probably serpent-like, insectoid, or hoofed quadrupeds. In addition, if they died on site, their bodies had no “hard” parts, like bones or teeth. We found traces of degraded biomass along the cargo hold walls, which we believe are remnants of their food supply. It smelled “fishy,” but everything smells fishy in Antarctica. Remarkably, this degraded biomass contained amino acids and proteins very similar to our own. The similarities were sufficient enough that had the aliens crashed on land, anywhere but in Antarctica, they probably would have been able to survive on Earth’s plant and animal life. Unfortunately, the poor devils crashed in Antarctica where there was no food. They no doubt starved to death once they consumed all of their supplies.

I was reviewing my interim report when Dr. Smith (Information Technology Team Leader, aka, head geek) paged me to come to the bridge. Recently, Dr. Smith had been able to download data from their mainframe computer. Fortunately, their technology was similar enough to ours to decipher some of their language. His cryptologists identified a dozen or so words: a, the, is, we, no, it, yes, food, home, safe, mission, suitable, predators, desolate, etc. There were also sub-routines containing what he believes to be digital images. When I arrived on the bridge, Dr. Smith was at his interface terminal. “I’ve got it, Steve,” he said. “I’ve accessed their personnel files. I’m uploading the crew manifest now. There should be images of the aliens. We’ll see if your hypotheses are correct.” Slowly, horizontal streaks cascaded down his monitor, and an image of the aliens formed. “Well, I’ll be damned,” he said. “They’re penguins!”

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