Thursday, June 29, 2017

Story 192: Documentary of Humanity

            (A view of Earth, as seen from outer space)

          Documentarian: (V.O.) The planet: as yet unnamed.  Location: third celestial body from the central star in this system.  The dominant species: bipedal, hairy, fleshy beings ill-suited for survival in their own natural environs, yet extremely adaptive, to the point where they have nearly destroyed their own world as they force it to cater to their whims.  In the most prominently visible language, they call themselves “humans”; and they are the subjects of tonight’s episode:

(Title card) Out in the Star Field: The Ways of the Natives

            (Montage of everyday life around the globe)

           Documentarian: (V.O.) Seven major land masses.  Seven major bodies of water.  More than nine billion of these creatures and counting.  The real question lies in how this planet has not imploded from the sheer weight pressing on its crust by now.

            (View of a traffic jam on a freeway)

            Documentarian: (V.O.) Their migratory patterns are baffling: large numbers of the herds travel immense distances within one solar day, simply to return to their point of origin with no real signs of food, possessions, and/or offspring having been obtained in the process.

            (View of a busy playground)

          Documentarian: (V.O.) Speaking of offspring, their young appear to have over-developed skulls to encase their over-developed brains, yet the majority of this segment of the population encounter great difficulty in simple tasks such as following straightforward directions or differential equations.  (View of one child repeatedly tossing a ball against a wall) Most peculiar use of advanced cognitive functions.

            (View of an office building)

       Documentarian: After vast study of these beings, we have developed a rudimentary understanding of the aforementioned most prominently visible language.  We also developed extremely crude methods of infiltration into their various herds: they do not bear up under close scrutiny, but tests have proven them to be at least temporarily passable.

          (View of Documentarian wearing a human-face mask, a hazmat suit, and a large VISITOR badge, navigating through a maze of cubicles; the recorder following is unnoticed by the subjects)

            Documentarian: (Speaking quietly) I have penetrated deep into the wilds of a branch of this species, whose members mainly call themselves “employees.”  Each is positioned at an outlying terminal to receive and enter data for the central hive mind; we believe this ultimate authority is called “I.T.,” but there could have been a mistranslation of its importance in the social hierarchy.  (The Documentarian stops at one cubicle) I will now attempt to initiate contact with one of these beings.  Observe how one must execute extremely complex auditory and visual behaviors to successfully convey one’s intentions.  (To employee) Ahem.  Ex – cuse meeeee…?

            Employee: Oh, hello.  Can I help you?

           Documentarian: Yes.  Could you – explain.  To me – what, is it, you are doing?  Here.  Yes.  Could you?  (V.O.) We have observed on multiple occasions that these beings respond favorably to repetition.

            Employee: Um, well, as you can guess, it’s not exactly rocket science here, heh-heh.

         Documentarian: (V.O.) These creatures often make that sound that is not what they call “words” – usually if they are amused, but also if they are angry, triumphant, or extremely nervous.  It is unclear as to which meaning this subject is attributing to the sound, so in order to blend in, I imitate.  (To Employee) Heh-heh.  (V.O.) The subject accepts the sound and continues with communication.

         Employee: Yeah, what it boils down to is that I take data from one place and move it to another.  I also take pieces of paper from one place and move them to another.

         Documentarian: (V.O.) The subject appears slightly agitated; I mentally review my list of appropriate questions for this environment and select the one least likely to elicit an aggressive response.  (To Employee) Do you find your work fulfilling?

            Employee: No!  (She lays her head down on the desk and cries)

           Documentarian: (V.O.) Having depressed the subject, I decide to terminate contact and allow the being to return to its natural state.  (Documentarian walks away from the still-sobbing Employee)

            (View of a break room)

        Documentarian: (Still wearing the camouflage, now addressing the recorder; the other employees in the room do not notice) Aside from the occasional fact-finding mission, we have a strict policy of non-interference with any species we observe: we must allow their lives to progress as if we had never been there.  It becomes difficult when observing subjects in peril, however; for example, this alpha over here is harassing this beta for food, territory, and possible procreation.  At times such as this, one wishes one could simply transport the alpha off-world to leave the beta and the rest of the herd in peace, but that cannot be.  (The beta suddenly dumps the contents of the water cooler over the alpha’s head; the remaining employees form a circle around the two as they fight) Ooh, did not see that coming; this just got rather exciting.  Again, one cannot interfere, but that does not mean one cannot take sides.  (Documentarian joins the circle and chants “Go!  Go!  Go!  Go!” with the others)

            (View of the Documentarian, sans camouflage, hovering in the middle of a savanna)

          Documentarian: (V.O.) There are so many variations within this species that they simply cannot all be covered in one episode, which is why this is the first of a 10,000-part series.  Next installment will find us exploring the dangerous mountains and valleys of commerce, collectively referred to as a “mall,” wherein many beings enter and leave without having accomplished much that is observable, aside from being encumbered with burdensome materials.  Once our overview of this species concludes, please stay with us for our 1,000,000-part series on all the other species of this planet – in this scientist’s opinion, by far the more interesting segment of this particular program.


  1. Been watching the SyFy channel, have we? Funny.

  2. That channel, and all those nature documentaries :-). Thanks!