Author : Clint Wilson, Staff Writer

I have successfully synchronized myself with this system’s most evolved planet. As my physical form materializes in the nitrogen rich atmosphere I zero in on an artificially constructed dwelling. It is full of crude technology. Visual/audio and communication devices abound, along with appliances for both preserving and cooking organic food. Then there is basic waste removal plumbing and quasi-advanced temperature control. Overall these beings appear to be verging on the modern ways that I am used to and are probably on their way to interstellar integration.

There is one being home. Surprisingly my intelligence meter sends back a very low-end scan. I have seen their technology. I know that my scanner is missing something. As I appear in a common area the being spies me and launches into a tirade of unintelligible shouts and taunts. I immediately send out soothing, calming messages via telepathy. The quadruped responds quickly and ceases its verbal barrage. It obediently sits back on its haunches and seemingly awaits further communication.

Typically I can communicate quickly with just about any intelligent or quasi-intelligent species but with this one it takes a while. At first I think it is telling me that it has been enslaved here, but then I determine that it is actually quite satisfied with its living arrangement. “Tell me more,” I say in mind speak, as I continue to try and ascertain how this being manipulates all of the complicated devices in its home without opposable thumbs.

Meanwhile, the Johnsons enjoy their day at the beach, secure in the thought that their faithful mutt, Brutus, is safely guarding their home.

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