Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

The body was huge. Seven feet tall, at least, and heavy.

X-Rays had shown a delicate tracery of machinery throughout, strengthening the huge frame to allow it to move quickly.

Its bright, neon-blue hair glowed in the dark. It was the same colour as the lips, fingernails, and nipples.

It was the same colour as the glittering eyes.

It was dead now.

It stared out at the scientists, unblinking, and awkward.

It had been found, naked, stumbling through the snow up in Alaska close to a week ago. Its skin was as white as the snow.

We called it Codename Winter because of it.

In the week before its death, it had picked up a few words of our language and could respond to rudimentary questioning. It was a slow process as it seemed to be straining not only to find the words but also the concepts behind them. I hate to say it, but it seemed really stupid.

Its story, told through clumsy mime and pieced together as best we could, was that it had come here from space and had left its ship to explore the wilderness in Alaska. A passing human airplane had spooked Codename Winter’s ship. The ship bolted and the alien was left alone.

It insisted that it was the only one on the ship. It insisted that the ship was probably worried about it and was looking for it.

It had been dead for two hours and there had still been no contact with the ‘ship’ of its story. Planes that had passed in the region she was describing witnessed nothing.

While it was alive, a tennis-ball sized lump of what we took to be biocircuitry in the center of it had given off a steady stream of data that seemed to be directly tied to its sensory organs but we couldn’t decipher the data we collected from it. We were still trying to figure out what the densely packed stream of trinary data meant.

However, it had not issued any transmission that we could detect after the alien’s death. No homing beacon, no SOS message, nothing.

Its death had been immediately preceded by a burst of a data washing through the biocircuitry that burned it out. Codename Winter had looked at us, puzzled, and died that way.

We’d come up with a saddening hypothesis:

Its warranty was up and it had been switched off like a light.

Its ship had scanned our planet, looked at the dominant life-form and made a copy out of the material it had on board. The ship drank in all the information that skin, eyes, ears and nose could provide. Maybe it didn’t waste time on colour or maybe it just had no idea what colour was.

Maybe the next step would have been to make a better copy that could fool us and let it wander around downtown Los Angles or something.

The ship wasn’t coming back for this creature any more than we would return to the site of a picnic for a lost fork.

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