Author: Alastair Millar
“Given the different composition of the atmosphere,” said the surgeon carefully, “your lungs will need to be entirely replaced.”
No problem. Even as a student, I’d known that xenobiology would require sacrifices.
“The artificial eyes should mean you see more or less what the locals see,” said the ophthalmologist, “but the colours might be a bit approximate.”
That’s quite alright; I’ll be looking at another planet, everything will be new and different anyway.
“You’re crazy!” said my best friend. “You’ll have to spend ages in physiotherapy just learning to walk again. Twice!”
But if you want to study alien societies, you have to make an effort. That’s all there is to it.
“What about me?” asked my partner plaintively. “I thought we were going to have children.”
We will, one day. They promise that all the procedures are reversible.
“Try not to reject their food,” advised my supervisor, “a lot of species get really upset about that.”
Given some of the things that we eat, I’m sure they’d have issues if our situations were reversed, too.
“You know,” said my grandfather, “we didn’t have the technology for this even a generation ago.”
Yes, I do know, and that’s why I have to go now; it’s a chance to make my mark, start building a career.
“We’ll insert you during local night,” said my liaison in the Planetary Exploration Bureau, “it’s safer that way.”
Of course. We don’t want them to know they’re being studied, in case that changes their behaviour.
“My poor baby,” cried my mother, overdoing the melodrama, “how do you know you’ll be safe?”
I guess I don’t; but that’s always been true for anyone studying new cultures.
“How will you cope with the wrong number of arms?” demanded my sister. “You’ll be really confused!”
The natives all manage. I’m sure I’ll get used to it.
“Seriously,” said my baby brother, “you’re going to look really weird!”
You’re right. But it’ll be worth it if I can pass for a human.