Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

Yes, the aliens were invasive. Savagely invasive. But how could we blame them? We were a treasure trove to them.

The aliens had no name of their own, you see. As a warrior race, they let the planets they invaded name them. As they took planet after planet and civilization after civilization, they collected names. They were up to one hundred and sixty four.

Unpronounceable names screaming forth from terrified beaks, mental picture collages from psychic races, bursts of scent from pheromone speakers, they were all collected in their databank.

If a planet had no sentience, the aliens moved on. Slaughtering animals that could not name them held no interest.

And this is why Earth was like a rainbow of temptation to them.

With over 6900 languages on Earth, the aliens could increase their name count (and thereby their reputation) by factors of ten. And that didn’t even include slang or scientific definitions.

They took their time, making sure to take at least one speaker of each language to record their names for posterity while they laid waste to us.

It was fascinating for us to find out that the way we split and diverged our languages was unique. Most alien civilizations leaned towards a common language but we didn’t. What a strange thing to find out on the eve of our doom.

They didn’t destroy the forests or the oceans. They only targeted the cities and the towns.
As a reward for our staggering bounty of names, they left enough of us to start another stable gene base with the promise that they would be back in another ten thousand years to do it all over again after we’d evolved and split and developed new languages.

There are a hundred thousand of us now. They picked us all up and dropped us in Indonesia where it’s hot most of the time. We’ve started having as many babies as possible and doing our utmost to survive and keep each other safe.
Earth is reclaiming the ruined cities. The stink of human death is dissipating on the wind. In time the animals will multiply faster than we can eat them and the oceans will fill back up with fish.

Although this is the worst chapter of human history, or maybe even the end of it as we have no way to record our findings now other than scratching on bark or painting on cave walls, it sometimes feels as if we are in a new Eden.

I am thirty-two years old. I am on a beach in this hot country. The sun is going down. I can smell the boar our party killed cooking on the dinner fire. Sixty-three women are having babies in the next few months. We are by necessity polygamous to increase diversity for strength. We have no shame at nudity and we must not tolerate jealousy.

We’ve painted pictures of the aliens on any available surface as a warning to future generations. We are struggling to maintain one language among us but we are from all over the world. It’s hard. But we’re trying harder than humanity has ever tried to speak one language to each other so we can all understand. We are one tribe now.

I cannot bring myself to thank the aliens. My own family and all of my friends were killed. I am the only person from my city left alive.
But sometimes in moments like this sunset, I feel something like gratitude in my chest and it makes me feel conflicted inside.

I turn away from the sunset and go to eat.


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