The Ambassador (1/2)


First Person

This was it! I took a deep breath and squeezed out of my vehicle. We crafted it after one of their own, as an homage to their technological advancements. It turned out to be quite a beauty. Our technicians were rightly proud of themselves. They had nailed it! From the outside it looked completely authentic. The inside was totally ours, of course, or we would never have taken off. The craft was yellow, had nice circular windows and one of our artists drew friendly tidings to its side, to make a good first impression even from high above. Our leader had insisted on building it rather small, though. She wasn’t one hundred percent convinced of our hosts’ friendliness.

“Just in case somebody tries to overpower you and decides to get away with it,” Octu Potus had said.

She wanted to make sure not more than twenty of them would be able to fit in. According to our vets, twenty was a safe number, propagation-wise.

“Even if they should succeed making it to our world, we should be able to handle their growing numbers without having to kill them off”, they had assured Octu Potus.

Due to the size limitations, my ride had been rather uncomfortable and I was more than happy to finally stretch my limbs. Well, at least some of them.

When my feet hit alien ground, I totally understood this Strongarm guy I eavesdropped on so many centuries ago. It was a small step for me, but a big leap for mankind. At least judging by their looks. They all stared at me, eyes and feeding holes wide open. I straightened up and I sported what I had learned to be a friendly smile. I had practiced it to perfection and it was one of the reasons my people chose me as ambassador for the mission. I had come in first for most man-like smile. Of course, it had also helped that—due to a congenital deformity—I had come in first in the category closest number of limbs. My three additional arms were tied to my back right now and hidden by the blazer of my uniform. Mission control had decided it would be better not to alienate mankind too much on our first visit. I had to smile at the thought. Even with matching numbers of limbs we were rather different. Though it had been quite uncomfortable at first, I had stopped minding my other arms sixty-six light years ago. That was about the time when they had gone completely numb. Now, I found that the lack of them rather helped me putting myself into the role of ambassador. In my real life, I am a behavioral scientist with a focus on lower life forms. So this was all new and exciting to me. When I swung my two remaining arms back and forth in their traditional way of greeting, I almost felt human—and the crowd went berserk in appreciation. They, too, swung their arms above their heads to greet me back. With cheers they ran about. The whole crowd was in a frenzy. I had never seen anything like it. That was when my training kicked in. Even though I had not been prepared for this custom by mission control, one of their weird sayings sprang to mind and suddenly made sense. It was meant for situations just like this! In an instant, I followed their lead and “did as the Romans did.”


Dieser Text ist das Ergebnis der Schreibübung “Erzähl’s noch einmal!” aus dem Modul “The Craft of Character – Teil 4”, der Teil der Coursera-Spezialisierung: Creative Writing ist. Zur zweiten Version dieser Szene geht’s hier.

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