A HIGHER LEVEL
Gazing round this strange new environment, Lixia bristled her mandibles, and made the call. ‘Lixia to Mothership. Come in.’
She waited only a moment, before, with a little trepidation, she called again. ‘Lixia to Mothership.’
‘Come in, Lixi. What’s been the problem? You’re two days late reporting back.’ Captain Troid’s voice was soothingly familiar, perhaps worried for her, but so welcome to hear.
‘Sorry, Captain, I became deeply involved in the initial survey—'
‘Right.’ He cut her off. ‘You’re back on now. So what’s the situation down there on the ground?’
She looked about her again. ‘It’s certainly a very different planet from Scalia, but, with a number of provisos, I believe we could survive and thrive here.’
‘Temperature range, air and general resources are well within acceptable parameters. In fact, it’s a rather beautiful planet in its own way. It should certainly be habitable. In fact, I think I could find it quite lovable, really.’
‘Okay, Lixi.’ The captain cooled her down with his tone. ‘Let’s have the report, hmm? Have you detected any higher life forms?’
‘Oh, yes, straight away, although they’re not like us.’ She hesitated, and straightened a few scales, and quick-licked them down to bring up the gloss. ‘They don’t have horns like ours, for instance. Although some creatures here do have horns of many sizes and shapes, they’ve not responded to any of my approaches.
‘Even the beings with scales seem, I’m ashamed to say, almost blank-brained. They’re almost entirely environment-reactive creatures, not truly sentient. It saddens me to say so, but even those with horns and scales—'
‘Yes? The beings most like us?'
‘Even they are scarcely aware of their own existence, much less being able to relate to others, or to a higher world.’ There, that summed up the most closely-related beings on the planet – a disheartening situation.
‘That is disappointing.’ Captain Troid’s voice took on a lower pitch. ‘So we won’t have any of our own kind to associate with?’
‘Not really, no. Not of a similar physical form, anyway. But then, this planet is a weird one – bursting with life forms everywhere of one kind or another.’
‘Yes? You said you had located an elevated form of life?’ Troid sounded hopeful of a more positive outcome.
‘I have, yes.’
‘On a par with our own mentality, philosophy and awareness of the higher plane?’
‘Yes. Perhaps even a higher level than we ourselves.’ In truth, Lixia was impressed by their superior nature, but didn’t want to overawe Captain Troid before he brought the rest of the crew and colonists down. ‘I think we can learn much from them.’
‘You’ve made some initial contact with their representatives?’
‘Indeed. Yes, I have.’
‘Were they welcoming? Come on, Lixia… What did this higher life form say?’