I have just recently found out that the primates pursuing us upon reaching your planet were in fact human. My apologies. I know of your humans by your speech, and it appears that the language I have been translating belongs to a strain of hyper aware primates. Humans. It should be noted that I am a linguist, nothing more. It should appear that you value pictures just as much as words though, if not more from time to time.
Facebook. What an odd combination of words. I was able to gain access via these screens. Though only to one account: Karen Cavendish. I could see so much information about her. What she enjoyed, your various art forms and which ones she owned. Or preferred. Her books, movies, music, all arts that she enjoyed placed on this site. Romeo and Juliet was a title I found in all three categories.
Every major event in her life was recorded here. Everything from when she was born, to every birthday, whenever she met people, where she has been and what she has done. Even relationships. That part interested me. Friends, stories, connections with other human beings were all recorded here for every other human being to see. My fellow Valorians and I all went our separate ways without much thought after reaching your planet. But you humans place so much value on one another. You must be a pack species, certainly, but there is something beyond that. Though I’m still uncertain what.
At first, I believed that this Facebook of yours was a small tool used by few, but looking back through years and archives and even these ‘friends’ (a term I don’t yet understand) belonging to Karen that it was once a massive device. Used by millions of your kind to record your lives and your thoughts, to communicate with one another. This was part of the network that nearly struck down my peoples’ ship. All your lives floating above your heads. Memories gathered from days gone by. I came across pictures of such days. Scenes were green and apparently full of life. Earth shared resemblance to what I saw, yet was nothing like the sand filled planet I saw outside. The humans in the past resembled the ones I came across, but I doubt that I would have mistaken them for simple primates. Everything was cleaner. Everything was organic, organized, and natural. Now it is not. Why?
Use of this tool began to wane off, from what I could gather it happened in a matter of only a few solar rotations. Some singular event had caused you to stop recording, stop caring to communicate. A few still cared. Karen seemed to. I looked through what were called ‘statuses’ (this must be a powerful tool, if it can so easily influence your place in society). She seemed to post once every solar rotation (days, I’ve only just learned you call them) She often simply confirmed that she is alive. Other times she called out for survivors. She placed other words which seemed to serve little purpose. “Carry on” was a recurring theme in these statements.
My screen blinked. Karen had a new status. This was not of my doing. It read:
“Safe house 64 confirmed. Coordinates 42.820954, -109.149261. Heading back to Last Stand in the morning. Stay tuned survivors.”
by ROBERT COCANOUGHER / literature columnist