Okay, I got a few responses to the question in my last post. Not an overwhelming amount — two to be exact — but I won’t complain (much).
The two Dusts, tasked with collecting as much information as possible in a short time, landed in a location known to Humans as Loving, New Mexico. It had a similar temperature and aridity to that of their home planet; therefore they believed their ACD (Atmosphere-Camouflaged Descent) would go unnoticed. And it did. Once in Loving, they took on forms that would fit in regionally and moved — for the time being — into these buildings.
For reasons that will be obvious at the end of this story, the Dusts wish to keep their true identities secret. They will be referred to as Bandana and the Hat.
This metal contraption, though it had too many bits, still proved quite useful as a TRD (Transmission Receptor Device), allowing them to keep in touch with the mother ship.
They arrived early in the night, and spent the rest of the dark hours figuring out the purpose of this building. The white ceramic object with the lid was an especially challenging puzzle. The Hat tried it on, but it was clearly too heavy and too big to be a headdress for any Human form, even this close to the place called Texas.
“Maybe it’s a throne of some sort,” suggested Bandana. If so, it was useless to the two Dusts, because they were each other’s equals and neither was inclined to hurt the other’s feelings by trying it out.
They sat on opposite sides of it and thought music, but nothing came out. Perhaps “music” was made by physically banging the lid? The Hat tried it. The inside smelled funny. Maybe the thing was also meant to encourage singing? Bang! — “Ewwww!” — Bang! — “Ewwww!”
“Well, if this is their idea of music, these humans are puddle-fucking primitive,” said the Hat, and hurled the thing toward the door.
“Do watch your language, Hat, I beg you. Anyway, the interior decorating would suggest otherwise, being quite postmodern, with extraordinary attention to detail,” said Bandana, in that pedantic tone that never failed to drive the Hat around the bend.
Being the more down-to-dust of the two, the Hat was the first to notice the lack of any obvious furniture. He said, “When the sun comes up we could see if the dust specks can be consolidated into useful forms. They might just be floating around when not needed.”
“Ah,” said Bandana, “That way more mundane objects don’t distract unnecessarily from the absolutely spectacular walls. Genius!”
The Hat rolled his eyes.
Daylight came, but the dust specks refused to be herded into any useful form.
“Well, let’s stick a pin in it for now,” said Bandana, and he turned his attention to the landscaping. “This was clearly done by the same artist who was responsible for the interior decorating.”
They were standing in the shade, Bandana admiring the subtle use of color while the Hat wondered what the different extra structures were for. Perhaps the white ceramic object was a throne after all; these other structures didn’t have any, and they were smaller. On closer inspection, some of them even seemed to be vehicles.
Bandana mused out loud, “If the white thing is indeed a status symbol, then it’s interesting that the inferiors’ homes would be as exquisitely decorated as the main house. Is class determined mostly by size here? Everything equally pleasing to the eye, but bigger is better? Strange, very strange indeed!”
The Hat opened his mouth to make a smart-alec joke about that notion when the mother ship beamed down a warning, which was creaked out via the makeshift transmission structure, using the local wind to move some of its metal parts: Human approaching. Advise disappearing for now.
And so they did. From their invisible form they observed the Human.
“A female, I think, though I can’t be certain,” murmured Bandana. It had quite a bit more mass than the images of Human females in their brains’ EKFs.
“Well flood, if bigger is better in this world, this could be one of the Humans’ leaders!” said the Hat.
The Human walked around the buildings, aiming a small rectangular object in different directions. The rectangle made clicking sounds.
(The image below shows Bandana and the Hat looking rather foolish as they are caught in one of those clicks. They are invisible, of course, but if you look closely, you can just make out a faint glimmer of Bandana’s belt buckle. Exactly how the image was obtained is highly classified.)
As they followed this Human around, the Dusts sensed that there was something oddly familiar about it. Almost as if it was some form of alien itself. And then the Human did something that convinced them: it aimed the little rectangular thing at a metal contraption outside the building. From inside!
“There’s only one explanation for such complicated behavior: this metal contraption is its TRD!” said Bandana.
“Well fuck me and pour me and call me water! What a coincidence–a fellow alien also exploring this place! Boss, can we make contact?“
Their commander communicated, “Affirmative. Show yourselves. Attempt exact identification of this creature.”
So they showed themselves, albeit in their local Human form, assuming the creature would recognize another alien regardless of appearances. After all, they were out in the open in full daylight and a real Human could show up at any moment.
They put on the DGs (Dark Glasses–a well-known Human friendliness accessory), then thought up a vehicle and stood in front of it, eagerly waiting for the being to emerge from the building it had wandered into. They fully expected to see an expression of pleasant surprise the moment it saw them.
But the being, once it emerged, did not make eye-contact, though it did walk toward them, clicking at things all the way! This was baffling indeed, not to mention extremely rude. As it walked by, it suddenly greeted them in Human–“Hi, how’re you guys doin’?”–apparently choosing to ignore their alienness altogether!
Go wet yourself, you fucking slime, thought The Hat. “We’re doin’ just fine,” he responded out loud in surly Human, transmitted by the commander. He didn’t even look at this offensive being, thus indicating his strong displeasure. The being cheerfully ignored this as well, and walked into another building.
“Well, I never!” said Bandana.
The Hat thought out his AID (Alien Indentification Device) and aimed it at the being when it walked by again.
“For pulsar’s sake, Hat, could you be any more obvious?” said Bandana.
“Hey, if this drip won’t acknowledge our common alienness, then why in rain would I give a fluid fuck for interstellar niceties? Wait — what the slush? This thing is immune to the AID’s rays!”
Bandana sighed, wondering if the Hat would ever clean out that mouth, and took the AID. Sure enough, some static appeared on the screen, indicating that this creature was indeed not of this land, but that was the extent of the information it gave off.
The being moved its extra large Human form toward a metal plate with the word “diesel” on it, aimed and clicked its little rectangle one last time, then said, “You guys have a nice day now,” got in its vehicle, twiddled the fingers of one of its hands at the Dusts and drove off.
While the Hat seethed, Bandana requested the meaning of “diesel” from the mother ship, and received the following definition:
Diesel: 1) Fuel used for propelling Humans’ vehicles, especially large ones. Made from ancient creatures called Dinosaurs, which seem to have liquified themselves millions of years ago for this purpose. 2) Vin Diesel. Strangely hairless Actor [definition needed]. It is said that female Humans melt at the sound of his voice.
“Liquified?! Melt?! H-Hat, did you get this?” said Bandana.
The Hat stopped his seething and turned inward. “Holy fucking tsunami!” he exclaimed. “I think that thing just threatened to water us down! The one form we can’t handle. How did it know that?!?”
“That does it,” said Bandana. “This planet is giving me the waves. I strongly suggest that we remove ourselves and never come back!”
“You’re not kidding,” replied the Hat. “Beam us up, Boss!“