Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

I’m with the XIA. The Xenomorph Intelligence Agency. I’m undercover. This is a soft war; more of an intelligence-gathering mission to discover weak points and destabilization technique hypotheses in case they’re needed.

It’s the pin-striped skin that’s hard on the eyes. What works as camouflage on their world stands out on ours. They’re roughly humanoid in appearance. That makes it a little easier to accept them. Some of our teenagers have been getting full-body tattoos to look like them. Idiots.

The aliens from Karnasis have sixty tiny, bright pink eyes spaced around their heads like seeds on a strawberry. That creeps me out, both the lack of pupils and the 360-degree vision. Somewhere between insectile and mammalian and I can’t decide which. And the eyes are spaced randomly, differing from Karnian to Karnian like Rorschach blots, like a paintbrush-flick of glittering pink nail polish. It’s part of how they recognize each other. They have thick, furred hides like zebras.

The other disturbing thing is that they’re a very direct race with no sense of downtime or relaxation. Their evolutionary path seems to have lasted about ten thousand years compared to our millions. If this keeps up they’ll ‘pass’ us on the evolutionary race track sometime in the next few centuries. We’ve made friends with them because of this.

They have no art. That’s also disturbing to me.

They have five-partner sexual relationships that we’re still trying to figure out. There are encyclopedias about the ‘non-mating versus viably fertile’ hookups between their five sexes that contribute to social strata and byzantine caste system etiquette. There seems to be no enjoyment in what they get up to sexually, though. It’s instinct-driven but not in the same lust-crazy way ours is.

There are some long-term strategies in my department for dealing with the eventuality that there might be a battle between our races. Recently, however there has been a new social trend popping up with them that gives us hope.

The Karnians are fascinated by the concept of ‘fun’. Laughter and playing are totally insane activities to them. They want to understand these things and they’re impressionable. Like logical, curious children. It’s the younger ones that are picking it up fastest. It’s a fad that is sweeping through their adolescents. They have ‘earth parties’ where the whole point is to ‘enjoy’ time without doing anything.

It’s a little creepy. They’re adopting all of the affectations of having a good time without actually having a good time. Their laughs sound recorded. Their teenage rebellions seem empty. They’re starting to have orgies but all they’re doing is robotically parroting the actions of porn films. It should be hot but it’s like watching mannequins get it on. Creepy and soulless. I can’t tell if ‘fun’ is there.

Most of our recreational drugs don’t work with them but we’re trying to synthesize ones that do. I’m helping with that research as well. Every party I go to, I bring something new.

If this trend catches on, it could slow down their whole society to our speed. By teaching them to relax and have fun, we could quadruple the time it would take them to surpass us in terms of developing higher intelligence and cognitive skills. Lucky we caught them when we did.

Hopefully, all we’ll have to do is party with them for a few generations to stick a pole through their evolutionary wheel spokes.

I’m going to one of their parties now. I’m bringing some Absinthe and the Kama Sutra.

I’ll see what kind of trouble I can get into.


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