Author : Bob Newbell

“Captain Ree’Eer’Ak reporting as ordered,” said the alien who, from a human perspective, might have been described as some nightmarish character from a Picasso painting made flesh, as it seemingly just appeared in the room that lacked any visible means of ingress or egress.

“Be comfortable, Captain,” said the other equally surreal creature. Part of what might have been one of the thing’s arms appeared to be missing. The alien looked in the direction of where the remainder of the arm should have been. “Ree’Eer’Ak, your report is…”

“Difficult to believe,” the Captain finished for its superior. “I’m aware of that, Admiral. But as the old philosophers said, when evidence and belief are in conflict, belief must change.”

“Quite a bit will change,” the Admiral replied, settling back. The missing hand that held the Captain’s report abruptly snapped into existence as the back of the Admiral’s head disappeared like a poorly executed split-screen effect in an old movie. “In fact, it’s no exaggeration to say that very few aspects of life will remain unaffected if your ship’s log entries are correct.”

“They are correct, Admiral.”

“Make no mistake, Ree’Eer’Ak. When this is made public, every biology textbook will have to be rewritten. And it’s an open question how the major religions will accommodate this discovery, if they can accommodate it at all.”

The Captain leaned forward. Its body seemed to break in two, its proximal half sliding forward on its distal half. “Every word of every log entry is true, Admiral. What I and my crew documented is an accurate description of life on Earth. And we have brought back biological samples for study.”

“And ‘Earth’ is the name by which the inhabitants of Dellor 3 call their world?”

“Yes, Admiral.”

“And the…” The Admiral referenced the report. “The ‘humans’ as well as all life on that world are…”

“Three dimensional,” said the Captain.

The Admiral leaned back further. Its head now seemed to vanish entirely. “It’s long been theorized that simple microscopic life might exist in three dimensions. But complex, higher life forms? That was always thought impossible. And you claim these humans are intelligent?”

“They are, Admiral. Their science is somewhat confused because their sensory organs can’t detect a fourth spatial dimension. For example, they imagined some strange and undetectable material called ‘dark matter’ existed to try to reconcile their 3-D perception of what is a 4-D spatial universe.”

“How do they appear?”

“They’re bipeds. They’re…it’s difficult to describe. They’re ‘flatter’ than we are.”

“And how do we appear to them?”

“Very unnerving. Parts of our ship and the crew are not visible to them. And the parts that are or are not visible change as we move. And their architecture is likewise limited to three dimensions meaning we can enter or exit what to them is a totally enclosed structure by simply walking around the walls. I’m glad we were able to make first contact without incident. To them, we must be terrifying.”

“And yet you conclude your log entry with the suggestion that we establish full diplomatic relations?”

“Yes, Admiral. As you noted, this will change who we are and how we perceive ourselves. And it will have the same effect on the human race. Isn’t that the ultimate goal of exploration? I believe we should extend the hand of friendship even if our new acquaintances can’t see it all at once.”

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