Nash couldn’t believe his incredible luck; all he wanted to do was work for NASA, and maybe get the chance to visit space, but now he was living his dream. When one of the astronauts had dropped out of checking on the Jupiter Station, he basically threw himself at the mission.
It was weird to think that only a few hundred years ago, none of this kind of space travel would’ve been possible. Humans before could barely make it to the moon, but now there were Stations all over the galaxy that could be reached in just a few hours.
The mission was nerve-wracking, because not only was it Nash’s first, but he was going solo. Honestly, it was a simple operation—all he had to do was tighten some of the screws that had come loose on the Station—but he was still anxious nonetheless.
Nash pushed a button on the dashboard of his ship and spoke into a microphone above his head. “Station in sight. Nearing landing pad.”
Through his earphones, Nash could hear someone respond. “Roger. All clear.”
He carefully maneuvered the ship to the pad, making sure it was properly suctioned down and wouldn’t drift away without him. Nash eagerly grabbed his tool belt, strapped it around his waist, and stepped out into space for the first time.
From the simulations, Nash knew what it would feel like to be free floating; still, no amount of training could prepare him for what it was actually like. Knowing that he was the only person floating around was an odd feeling. Nash had never felt more alone in his life, but it was peaceful. He actually wished he had a camera to take pictures.
A voice in his ear laughed and said, “Okay rookie, I know your first time can be overwhelming, but you’ve got work to do.”
Nash startled out of his thoughts and almost bumped into the Station. “Copy.”
After an hour of searching for any loose screws, Nash was starting to get bored. He hoped that he would have some time to do a little sight seeing, but all he had been looking at was the metal on the Station. He was nearly done when he heard a small thump hit the other side of the Station, followed by a hushed string of words that he didn’t understand.
Nash went to report the disturbance to the base on Earth, but his microphone wasn’t working. He knew that he probably shouldn’t go check it out on his own, but curiosity got the better of him. Using the handles on the Station, he slowly made his way to the other side.
What he had hoped was going to be a rock was actually some kind of humanoid figure—at least that’s what Nash thought it looked like. The being was small and grey. It looked almost like a child, except the eyes took up half of its face. Where there should’ve been hands were four long fingers. When they accidentally made eye contact, both of them yelled.
Nash tried to move, but his body was in shock. The small alien kept hitting a large black button that was strapped to its arm with a band, but nothing was happening.
“I should be turning invisible…” muttered the being.
“What the hell are you??”
The alien, continuing to pushing the button, rolled its giant eyes and said, “What do you think I am?”
Nash, panicking, said the first thing that came to mind: “How can you understand me?”
The alien laughed. “Your human language was easy to figure out. We translated it thousands of years ago.”
The alien started to move closer, but Nash quickly moved away. “Don’t touch me!”
“Chill, Nash. I—“
“Hold on,” began Nash. “How do you know my name?”
“Humans are so stupid.” The alien pointed to Nash’s chest. “It’s on your suit.”
Nash’s face was burning so he quickly changed the subject. “What should I call you?”
“Just call me Greg or something.”
“Can I ask you something, Greg?”
Greg went back to pushing the button, but it nodded.
“If you all know so much about humans, why hasn’t anyone made contact with us?”
“Humans think everything is so simple.” Greg spun the button on its band a few times and pushed it again. Nash jumped when a giant holographic map popped up.
“This is only my part of the galaxy. There’s thousands more different species out there, but we’ve all come to the conclusion that we need to leave humans alone.
“Why?” Nash didn’t think humans could be that terrible.
“The second we made contact, you’d want to trap us. You’d juice us for information, and then probably start some sort of galactic war. We’ve seen how destructive you are.”
Nash nodded. “I can’t really disagree with you there.” A thought popped into his head.
“Wait, am I the first human to see aliens?”
Greg laughed. “Hardly. All of the others have been smart enough to keep their mouths shut. Anyone that confesses is generally seen as crazy.”
Greg’s expression changed to a more serious one. “Please, please don’t expose us. You’re a nice guy; it wouldn’t be hard to make others believe, especially in this day and age. But I trust you. Please keep us safe.”
Nash nodded. “I will, don’t worry. Can I ask you another question?”
Greg shook its head. “I’ve already told you too much. But if you’re ever up here again I’ll try to stop by.”
“How will you know?” asked Nash.
“Our technology is thousands of light years ahead of yours. Trust me, I’ll know.”
more by CASSIE GAMMIE
photograph by NASA