A communicative collision between Martian and man
By the time I stepped outside, the leaves were on fire...I re-register that thought in my mind...the leaves were on literal fire. The noise I'd heard didn't seem natural, and the fire didn't act natural -- thinly coating the layer of leaves that had just recently fallen to the ground in typical early-fall fashion. The flames also held no real heat ... at least, I couldn't feel any.
As I looked down, I noticed the flames to be disappearing in every direction from where I stood and a spot about 20 to 25 feet out in front of me, very close to the center of my backyard. I walked towards the spot, and the flames receded, eventually disappearing when I reached what seemed to be the focal point out in front of me. I quickly realized there was something there. A kind of craft shimmered under a still slightly billowing plume of steam that evaporated quickly. Just then, I felt a swish in the air and a blast of considerable heat before me, leaving whatever had just landed in my yard, myself, and the remnants of that hazy steam cloud silent in the dark. Under the full moon's prominent light, I could still see the craft or whatever the thing was glistening.
This is a true story.
Before I could gather my thoughts, the foreign object made a mechanical, gears-in-motion-sound, followed by a kind of hiss and more steam. Then, a clear container shaped like a tube with something inside popped up from the top of the object. Two small arms grabbed the tube delicately and placed it on a coaster-like object ejected from the craft's undercarriage. It was pretty small as it stood upright, compared to the craft anyway, which was about the size of an average vehicle tire. The craft then built a sort of reinforced cage around the tube, leaving no room for the stupid thought that whatever was within it was not important. It quite obviously. Decidedly so, before even realizing where this foreign flying craft had come from or why.
After the container tube was seemingly secured and in the location chosen for it, the object's arms went back within itself, the mechanical hiss sound was heard again, followed by steam, and more steam, then that odd fire that again coated the leaves. Then, suddenly, the craft was gone. Quickly and smoothly it bound its way back up, and with supersonic speed, it exited Earth's atmosphere.
So began this whole ordeal.
Remember, this is a true story.
I was -- by mere chance, I do believe -- selected in some way to be the recipient of communication from another planet ... from life on another planet. What I'm saying is, I was contacted by a living being, claiming to be from Mars.
He even called himself a Martian. I say 'he' because it said its name was Carl, but it never did specify any gender or idea of gender, save for when he spoke about us -- the humans or the Earthlings, it sometimes referred to us.
I know this sounds unbelievable. And honestly, it is ... unbelievable. But it did happened.
What is preposterous about it all -- and this certainly not providing any validity to this telling of the almost fantastical occurrence -- is that this Martian...in all its intellectual fortitude and technological advancements in mind, this Martian chose me to be the one to receive its letter.
I'm not implying some incapability on my part. I have been a sometimes-sought-after and most-of-the-time-used journalist for the last decade, amassing a collection of published articles or stories that number almost a thousand in over a dozen publications. I've been on award-winning reporting teams, and have individually earned a couple. Over the past few years, I've maintained at least a half-assed freelance career, usually getting by with my journalism and writing work.
But ... and this is a big 'but' ... I've also been a high-functioning or, depending on who you ask, just functioning drug addict and alcoholic for almost all ten years of that decade-long -- and still counting -- professional career. And when I say drug addict and alcoholic, I mean that to the full extent of both terms -- daily use was a constant goal, consistent necessity, and compulsive desire.
For most of it, my drug of choice was just drugs. Anything I could abuse and get high while doing so. And I liked whiskey. Primarily Jameson, but I also liked a good bourbon or scotch. More specifically, I liked any and all alcohol, and, as for drugs, it started with pills and marijuana, progressed to more and different kinds of pills, and eventually made it to daily needle-use of heroin and methamphetamine.
But this had nothing to do with drugs or drug use. I've been to rehab and finished its program, and I've been clean now for months ... mostly clean for even longer. It breaks my heart to admit it, but I've had slip-ups. I've relapsed for about a month-and-a-half-long bender, but that ended months ago. The monster inside me is getting smaller and weaker. That's what I'm getting at. I'm saying I've not been using drugs and this occurrence or finding this letter from a far-away being had nothing to do with any state of high I was not in, nor was it some apparition or malfunction of my mind.
I'm not trying to toot my own horn with the personal journalism factoids and achievements, nor am I glorifying any drug use. I just want it to be clear and out in the open who I am and who I have been before I distribute and share the letter delivered to me by Martian drone-like equipment not too many hours ago.
This is what happened. And, to be sure I've made it clear, I was under the influence of nothing more than the crisp, lofty breeze of a mid-Autumn north Texas.
I was sitting at my table in the main room of my writing area. With trying to rebuild my life after debauchery and drug abuse being a complicated and challenging task, I've situated that writing area at my parents' home, far out in the country. I've been here for a couple of months, and I couldn't make it without them.
On the particular night in question, I was sitting there probably even lying to myself about actually writing when I heard an odd noise. It caught me off guard. When I went to check it out, I walked into the scene I started this story with.
Continuing ... I watched the craft disappear into the clear night and then held my gaze on the odd container tube for what seemed like hours.
Then ... I opened it.
What was inside blew my mind. I immediately ran inside and woke my parents. I talked them both into poking me, pinching me, into inflicting some kind of slight pain on me to wake me from my delusion or dream.
But the pinches and pokes only hurt. I still held the letter I'd retrieved from inside that alien container tube, which also still sat still and stoically in the yard.
It was written in superb English, in a serious but almost loving tone, and extremely beautiful handwriting. The paper, if that's what you'd call it, was unlike anything I had ever seen and almost glowed, albeit subtly, lightly.
But it was the message and the being's reason for communicating that were truly profound, prescient, and poignant.
I know nothing else to do now but share it with you, to share it with the world, with as many humans as possible.
I hope this letter finds you well, as it did me:
"My name is Carl Sage, though my Technical Identifier is Martian-436,008,762.
"I’m more often referred to as the former in daily conversations -- a name derived from that of Earth scientist Carl Sagan, who both my parents have been enamored with and loved since his "Pale Blue Dot" days.
"The Earth television program, _Cosmos_, is still played in almost ritualistic-like memoriam regularly. They feel almost as strongly about new _Cosmos_ host and narrator Neil deGrasse Tyson, so when nostalgia for the original, for the poorer production quality and Sagan's cool, casual, crisp demeanor wasn't warranted, the newer _Cosmos_ was also played in our home like daily learning material.
"I think maybe my surname Sage can have its etymology traced back to the idea of a sage being someone who transcribed wisdom thought or spoken, though I can’t be sure. It fit well with Carl, phonetically sounding much like the hailed Earthling Carl Sagan. I’ve felt proud of my name and its roots all my life, and I still do.
"The TI is given to all Martians at the time of birth, and is the count in which each of us came to be existent, thus added to our total number. I was the 436,008,762nd Martian to be born. I’m now 76 Mars-years old, which closely equates to about 29-30 Earth-years. I could get exact, but the equations and decimal points seem again almost superfluous and, in the very least, futile for sake of this correspondence.
"So ... Sage is my family name; Carl, my given name. That structure, to be sure, is common to you already. For though we are in number far less than the human species on our neighboring planet, Earth, we aren’t as different as one may suspect. Certainly, the depictions of Martians on Earth are all superbly inadequate in actually portraying our image or behavior. We are much more human-like than any Earthling could probably grasp, which seems fair to say, considering we are a few million years younger than humans.
"Our human-likeness notwithstanding, there are also stark and significant differences in our kinds. We do share a very similar build and gait, along with a comparable emotional spectrum. Even still, we differ in certain aspects of all three of those attributes, and we are more intellectually advanced, allowing us to know of the existence of humans for millions of years and the ability to have actually watched in real-time at least the last several hundred thousand years of your painstaking quest through existence’s obstacle course.
"It’s because of this knowledge of humanity and how you’ve behaved on Earth, that intellectually and emotionally and even physically, we have developed many of our similarities. Likewise for the same reason being the catalyst for our exponentially more advanced differences in science, communications, energy, language, technology, mechanics, governance, medicine, astronomy, physics, biology, genetics, productivity, economics, peace, and many more fields that at this point too seem superfluous to name.
”It may seem odd that we Martians remain undiscovered and unknown to you all, despite the valiant human efforts to put camera-documenting and information-sending rover vehicles on Mars, starting with the Pathfinder Mission landing the Sojourner Rover on our planet in 1997, followed by others over the years, to the Curiosity Rover, which is still operational, as of this month this year. It's even in the news there right now that the newest and assumingly soon-to-be-launched Mars rover has officially been named Perseverance. The thing is, we've always managed to stay just behind the rovers’ cameras. Never have we been caught within the view of the slow-moving, predictable camera lenses.
It wasn't always like that. At first, the Sojourner just drudged along in the vast, desolate areas yet uninhabited. Imagine us landing some similar device smack in the middle of the Sahara Desert or the Mojave or on the floating ice-mass you all refer to as Antarctica or in the vast uninhabited swaths of land in say Montana or Oklahoma. Our rovers may dilly-dally around for ages seeing nothing but dirt and rock, ice and water, trees and grass -- the only life being that of the critters that call the areas home, but no humans. Quicker than you, we spread over our capable areas of landmass, and the newer, 21st-century rovers clanked nearer to us, making way for our discovery of the vehicles.
"It was wholly and swiftly decided to never let ourselves be seen by the lenses. I mean, do you blame us? Given the proclivity for destruction, the proclivity towards distributing domineering doctrine, and blind faith in irrational structures of thought and worldviews, humans can be dangerous. Even we far more advanced Martians fear you. This is why our ability to see you, to watch you is and has been so important. That would have been ruined and interrupted if you'd known we were doing so. Now it’s gotten to the point where that doesn't matter.
We’ve advanced as much as we can, and humanity seems, at best, fledgling. Though I must declare, humanity is hopeful. I just don't think the hope stands a chance fruition without this correspondence. As a whole, Martians have decided the risk of the consequences of us being discovered are far outweighed by the significance of saving your species. At least we have to try.
”Why do we think we can save humanity? Because as we’ve watched, we have learned. We have learned to see your mistakes and grow, to truly become better. We have learned what ways you communicate and what is most important to every single one of you.
”We have probably much more importantly learned what not to do, but I try not to always be a ‘glass-half-empty’ kind of Martian. I’ll say, the situation of either leaning -- ‘half-full,’ ‘half-empty’ -- seem both to be negative in a sense. I mean, either way, you have room for more of whatever your proverbial drink is the cup holds, so room for more equals a negative; I’d say pour it up.
"But I digress. I do want to preface the following observations and revelation of the point in this letter by letting you know that humans have taught us much more good than bad ... no matter how you sum it up. For it’s because of humanity and the treachery along with the advancements we were able to see and playback as many times as we’ve wanted that’s allowed us to develop into something greater, more intelligent than humans -- to live longer, live healthier, live with more peace and unity, fewer wars, less heartbreak, less corruption, less adherence to faith. The latter being the most important.
"We have encountered all of those issues throughout our existence, but they more quickly fizzled out of popular belief -- free to live on the outermost fringes of our species -- than those same kinds of mental and emotional calamities did in the minds and lives of you Earthlings, humans.
"Still, adhering to my aversion towards the ‘half-empty’-type attitude, humans are incredible beings, and because we Martians have the endless annals of human existence at our disclosure, ready to be viewed, studied at any time, we are thankful for you.
"That said, it should also be noted that humans are far more artistic, abstract, creative, and emotionally-charged than us Martians. For better or worse, that's true. We are rather rigid in our application of -- in all situations -- and adherence to science and its method for finding the truth. The ideas put forth by religion we began to see as an early-iteration of the human condition that we've largely evolved away from -- quite nearly completely.
"We had, at one time anyway, a Jesus-like self-proclaimed Messiah to the masses; we had a Yahweh-like diety for a minute or two, and a Mohammad-ish guy and Allah-like character; but that was all ages ago. Very quickly, and by seeing the same kind of narratives play out over there with you humans on Earth only to lead to formidable failures and substantial shortcomings for years and years and years, we walked away from those archaic and antiquated belief systems.
"We are an empirical species. Period. No faith ... no room for faith, for what seems and is even described in some of your holy texts and by its proponents as a faulty notion in belief in the unprovable and improbable. If that's not been substantiated for you, check the Christian New Testament where, in the book of Hebrews, the unknown author proclaims faith to be 'belief in those things yet unseen,' or something real close to that effect. I need not here go into how important I know that holy text is to way too many of you. And that's not a good thing.
"The almost all-encompassing intelligent whole of us Martians declared adherence to faith or a belief in some monotheistic or deistic being to be anathema many thousands and thousands of years ago. That's led to our advancements more directly than likely anything else. Probably about the time the man called Moses and/or other Jews penned the so-called prophet's receipt of the Ten Commandments and the subsequent belief in that story by the masses became the turning point for us.
I mean, what kind of real ethical commandments are 'love and worship only Him' and also 'recognize him as the only god, putting no other gods before him,' while firmly and frequently the 'inspired' holy texts and verbal stories over the years defined this world as a monotheistic one.
Also, don't lie, don't kill, don't steal, sure, but don't covet your neighbor or their belongings? A mere thought-crime. That seems pertinent to a god's direct contact with humanity through a prophet he then tasked with sharing those commandments as law ... instead of maybe commandments like slavery is never permitted or excusable -- an abomination it should be for one human to own another human in all cases; or instead of don't rape, don't take advantage of other humans for harmful gain; maybe don't be a dick, or always try and be kind first to all other humans, or don't be racist or sexist; or just a general, 'don't be an asshole,' which all seem like better commandments in both foresight and hindsight. The so-called god of the universe did this commandment-exchange thing with an Earthbound prophet one time, and the Ten Commandments were all the all-knowing could muster as the most important moral and ethical laws? I mean, color me unimpressed. And why can't you all see that?
"Anyway. Though it's a crux of the whole situation I'm communicating now with you, human, I must move on. There exists not enough time or space to waste, so I continue with brevity in mind. But I do so hoping you understand the severity of my concerns.
"Somethings must change there on Earth or there won't be humanity left to enjoy life or existence anymore. At least that's the fear we have for you. That's the fear developed over years of observance and studying. We have been able to see and even foresee some tragic times for humans during their interactions with each other. At some point, the ideas of being the only life to exist and the center of all the universe, being created by an all-knowing, all-powerful being for an experiment in life and death, in war and peace, and the large swath of you humans that blatantly deny facts or even the quest thereof in exchange for blind reliance on what you call faith are becoming too much...becoming too dangerous, too prominent, too powerful, and too deadly.
It took too long for sure, but Darwin was right to imply the indifference of nature, absent some supreme mind or being that allegedly created the universe or universes, if you subscribe to the multiverse theory. When Darwinian impressions flooded the world of science there on Earth, they were in large part correct observations...the fittest, in almost all cases, do survive and go on to propagate until they -- and this seems obvious -- can't survive anymore. But what's more, the Darwinian claims of evolution are falsifiable; they're observable and provable claims.
The reason now that's become so important that we Martians feel it's finally time to reach out -- that's keeping in mind the horrors we've seen over the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of years, from Pol Pot to Hitler and so many more -- is, quite simply, the November 2020 election. It has become clear that Trump is a monster. It does not reflect humanity well to have him hailed as great in any way. Vote Democrat in November.
Nothing we've ever seen there on Earth has been more important than this. Don't fail each other.
Much love and peace and all that,
Carl Sage, TI-436,008,062"
Well ... there you have it. My work is done. I've shared this. And like the sage wisdom of Mr. Sage suggests, vote against the monster. Don't fail.
About the author
Check out my full bio at www.muckrack.com/reporterjallen. I have a series of essays for a book I’m writing (and have a publishing deal for) called Parables of an American Outcast. Standby for a sneak peak at some of those. —tDM