As the book is written in LaTeX using the book environment i decided to upload a mostly up to date version of the book, i also started translating it in french (which is my native language)
An up to date LaTeX PDF version of the book can be found here : https://www.scribd.com/document/561969673/A-Galactic-HRT-Current-Version-Up-to-date-with-ScribbleHub
A french translation LaTeX PDF version of the book can be found here : https://www.scribd.com/document/561970055/A-Galactic-HRT-French-Version
Chapter 3: We Need To Talk
3rd person POV.
- “And that leads us to now…” Aarin said, finishing his hour long explanation of who he is.
- “So… you’re telling us that you’re a benevolent alien coming from a far away union of species and planets to study our planet and specie to monitor when we will be ready to initiate first contact? But I do not understand, how? Who are you? Why are we here? How are we here ? How are you talking in our language? And for god’s sake why are you so…. Human?” Ariana yelled more panicked rather than angry, as Sylvia covered their ear to protect themselves from the sheer volume of Ariana’s voice.
- “Try to calm yourself I will answer to all of your questions, but first I would not say I’m a benevolent alien, I’m only here to observe you and your specie. As I said my name is Aarin, that is in your language, you could not pronounce or even comprehend my name spoken in my language, You’re here because I made a mistake, I took pity of you when I witnessed your parents evicting you from your house and decided to boost a little bit your HRT, unknowingly I boosted it too much and I had to introduce myself to you to avoid panic or public disclosure of the effect.” Aarin said, calmly, almost coldly.
- “So it was you! I was sure my HRT worked faster than expected, well I would not have imagine an alien boost it but thanks by the way, and you witnessed my parents kicking me out? How? I don’t remember seeing you.” Ariana cut Aarin before he could answer the next question.
- “I thought you wanted the answer to your question young lady stop cutting me when I’m talking!” Aarin said with a little smug smile on his face, “To how I witnessed it, I will said one thing, you remember the cat?” Ariana nodded “It was me, I have a shape-shifting device, it’s also the answer to your last question, our specie have had the technology to shape-shift for centuries now so we do not even have a “normal” shape it’s very diverse you should see our mainworld with its millions of different shaped and coloured people.”
“As to how you’re here I transported you here with a short-range biological transporter that’s as simple as that, your physiology is new for it so forgive me for the rude journey here. I’m talking in your language because I spent the last decades learning and studying your society including learning Earth Standard, we also have automatic translators tuned to you but I do prefer talking with my own mouth.”
Ariana took a few seconds digesting what.. Aarin just said, there was another worlds, shape-shifting? Transporters? All of that was really a lot to take in, but she has only one important question.
- “If you’re not benevolent and only here to observe, why were you in my house to begin with? Why did you decided to help me? That does not make sense at all!”
- “So, my original mission was just to monitor your civilization, but see I’m a xenosociologist, I thrive on learning how others society works, and yours have a truly unique concept, the concept of gender I had to learn more about it! When I saw that your specie did not have any shape-shifting technologies or abilities I began to understand it more, I theorized gender appeared as a consequence of the sexual dimorphism development that seemed to appear approximately 12 thousand years into your past. I learned a lot with your internet, it’s a wonderful piece of technology we definitely have to implement something similar into the Union.”
“A few weeks into my mission I decided to push to the next phase and pick a human subject to study. I took your city because of its size, the number of inhabitant, and the diversity of the population, I made the computer chose a random young human and it was you! I was really lucky thinking back.
I was in your house because even if my computer calculated that your physical health was in the normal parameters for humans your mental parameters were completely off and my science curiosity was picked, I then tracked you, transformed into a cat and sneak into your house to stuck a microphone on you.
But then you came out and the rest is history, I learned about the concept of transgender people, of transition and as I said… I witnessed a truly shocking event I could not think objectively as a scientist studying his subject, I wanted to help you, and here we are with a big problem on our heads.”
Ariana was thoughtful, yes he sneaked on her, studied her for months, but he is a scientist after all, and more than that an alien scientist that was here just to study our society and an exterior rather objective eye is more than welcomed given the current state of human society.
Suddenly Sylvia stood up, approached Aarin looked up and said
- “We’re in space aren’t we?, I can sense the low rumble of a deuterium fusion reactor, is it powering this vessel?”
Aarin was surprised, Ariana however was shocked they were, in a spaceship, in space, the cold lifeless airless void capable of killing you in mere seconds space, that one? She thought. She collapsed in the mess bench and started to panic, a few seconds later Sylvia was embracing their best friend and was whispering calm and gentle words to try to calm her.
A minute later as Ariana was resting on the bench Sylvia turned themselves to face Aarin and he calmly answered
- “Yes Sylvia, we’re in space, in my vessel, it’s a 20 years old long-range science exploration and planetary observation ship. Its standard equipment is indeed a large nuclear fusion reactor and a few tons of anti-matter to power fast jump. In its cruise sublight speed we can make the journey from your sun to Pluto in a week, its FTL cruise speed it’s capable of joining Union Central 80 light years from here in approximately 3 months, 2 months and a half in an emergency. Finally in case of an emergency it can consume anti-matter and deuterium to power an instantaneous 0.1 light year jump, it however require to stop to cool off the engine, and anti-matter is a rare substance difficult to manufacture so it’s only in case of an emergency.
Sylvia and Ariana brushed off the mention of their names and locked themselves into a shared glare with big dilated eyes and simultaneously shot out:
- “FTL is real!?”
Aarin pleased to see the discussion was going well so far relaxed a little bit, he was really tense, he never did that before and for good reasons! He should not do that. But he had a mistake, he mentally add to talk to Ariana about the remaining of her transition and how she wanted her future body to be, at least he could give her her “true form”. He tried not to think about how he was going to explain that to his superior back home and to focus on the current task, that is talk to the two young humans in his vessel and try to at least have them trust him, if he could managed to become friend with them it would be good, for his research of course.
After that rather… difficult discussion, at least on their part, they have to completely reconsider their sense of world and their place in the universe, he was sure they were gonna do it, but it understandably would take some time, he left the two friend alone in the spacious sofas of the lounge area and headed to the bridge of his ship to launch some probe, monitor data, boring scientist stuff but much needed after the shot of adrenaline he just received.
- “Please launch 2 small FTL probes outside of the heliosphere one starboard side and one on the port side please. Equip them with long range wide sensors and forward the data to this computer” he commanded to the voice system which answered by the familiar beep.
The probes launched he could finally relax, the last few days have been stressful but nothing unusual happened, he now have 2 friends he could use on the ground to explore for himself, that would be much easier to take a shuttle and waste a few hours. He took his student last test he received via the long range communication arrays placed not far from Pluto, the first planet of this system discovered. Surprisingly enough he also learned on the human internet that Pluto has been withdrawn from the planets and lost its planet status due to the official definition of planet. Well it makes sense to him so he didn’t think about it too much.
I sat here dumbfounded, waiting for the dream to end.
But it never did.
I somewhat knew deep down “we are not alone”, but I never excepted to see a bacteria coming from another planet, and he is much more than a simple bacteria!
Sylvia seemed thoughtful, I decided not to bother them and simply thinking about the matter at hand. Despite saying he is just an observer, he intervened and sped up my HRT! I was really excited about the sheer possibilities of such a technology, I mentally noted to talk to him about this technology later, I’m sure he can help correct the deficiencies of my birth body, I squealed at that thought, and at that moment Sylvia came out of her trance.
- “Ariana, are you okay? I mean an alien coming from nearly 100 light years away from us just randomly decided to change your treatment with something more advanced based on his specie technology? And what if it was dangerous? What if he was dangerous? A lot of questions remains unanswered and I admit it creep me out”
- “I am not okay okay, but I try to see the good things, really Syl, you saw what he can do, imagine what this technology could do? I understand we can’t bring this back home but you know, at least I could be closer to my true self” Ariana said, with her tone lowering at the end of her sentence.
Sylvia did not answered with words, they just sat near Ariana and side-hugged her, “she really needs that...” Sylvia thought. Sylvia, themselves, in their head at least, was also squealing about this ship’s technologies.
- “Hey Ariana you know this morning we thought FTL was a science fiction concept that was impossible to achieve. You know like in these old shows, Star Trek I think it was called, they warped space if I recall correctly? You think this ship works like that? Or is it another kind of FTL? It may be jumps? Or worm holes ? Or some future physics concept we did not even started to imagine let alone study!”
I smiled as I recognized my friend’s nerd-mode. To be honest I was incredibly curious about the kind of FTL this ship is equiped with, running some calculation in my head, I deduced it was equivalent to about 1 light years per day, assuming the engine was designed to work all day long.
- “Yeah, I agree, this looks awesome and I’m really curious too, maybe now we are in the secret they’ll let us learn a bit about their tech? I would like to have my own FTL ship.” Ariana smiled fondly at that thought
- “Oh! Yes! Maybe we could even learn their tech and design our own ship and engine layout! Or maybe we could even improve their design!” Sylvia audibly squealed and launched themselves into their best friend’s arms.
° “Oh this is really nice cuddling like that”, privately thought Ariana and Sylvia to themselves.
A few minutes, or dozens of minutes I don’t really know at that point Sylvia was way too comfy, later the door opened and Aarin entered our lounge.
3rd person POV
After about an hour he decided to check on his guest, he had a proposition to offer them, in part to excuse himself from the rude journey here, but mostly because he saw Ariana and Sylvia’s scientific interest and couldn’t wait to nurture it. He saw potential on these two, maybe Sylvia could absorb the Union knowledge and become a good union scientist, and probably the best human engineer ever seen on this history of their civilization. But that was an idea to think about later, now he was in front of the door of the lounge and entered.
- “Hello, sorry for keeping you waiting, I hope you had time to think about what I just said, I have an offer for you. I would like you to gather me some intel on how your society works, I am an exosociologist after all. But before asking you to do some job and to answer endless bizarre questions by dozens, would you like a tour of the ship? I think you also would like a tour of the sol system I can limit the power of the FTL engine to lower the travel time between planets, it’s not recommended but your system is quite empty, no offense by the way, I think we would depart between one and two weeks what’s your thought?”
Sylvia and Ariana exchanged a non-verbal conversation with only movement of their eyebrows and shoulders, this really confused Aarin, and he realized he still had a lot to learn about humans, good thing he “met” these two they also were essentials for his research as they were the best examples of the human gendered society, before he could finish his thought Ariana began talking,
- “We would love visiting the ship! We still have a few hours ahead of ourselves, unfortunately, for the tour of the solar system, we would be on board of course but we don’t have one to two week empty now, however november break is in two weeks so we will have at least three weeks of freedom what are your thought about that?”
Aarin was pleased his guest were excited about the tour, to be honest he would be too! They had the only-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see every corner of the solar system, far beyond the moon which was still the farthest human settlement to this day, as Mars was not excepted to be man-visited for about a decade in his estimation.
He agreed to show them the ship now and to arrange the system touring three weeks from now.
He started by the cabin, - “So this ship is a small science exploration it do not have a lot of cabin, you will live in the co-pilot cabin just beside mine,” just as he continued he was sure he saw Ariana sneakily take a peek of the ca bin but it also could be his imagination. They then stopped by the main engine room which housed the big nuclear reactor and the small yet sturdy anti-matter reaction chamber for the jump, he explained to the young humans behind him.
- “We cannot enter directly the engine room itself because of the residual radiation and the temperature of the room, as you know dissipating heat in space is hard and the thermal radiators made to emit heat as infra red radiation outside in space are not enough to lower enough the temperature of this room to allow most of known sentient life, this room is thermally-isolated and have powerful anti-radiations active and passive shields to prevent this radiation to damage living tissues” He explained, grinning at the two young humans completely absorbed by the view of the several dozen meters tall and hundred of meters wide nuclear reactor stored behind the “glass”
- “How big is this ship!? How can you stay stealth and isolated from earth sensors?” said Sylvia, still self absorbed by the view.
- “This, young enby, is one of the marvel of engineering of the union, and a secret we keep very secret to avoid… problem” Aarin told Sylvia, with a distinct university professor tone in his voice. “But as how we’re stealth, this ship is equipped with an electromagnetic deflector, it’s similar to the effect of a gravitational lens from black holes but at a much lower scale, all electromagnetic waves are deviated, so we’re basically invisible in all frequencies, we call that technology a cloaking device. To which is added a phase modifier, to the whole ship is vibrating at a very high frequency allowing the outside matter to pass right through it, so detecting us reliably is really hard, and dare I say, impossible with your level of technology.”
The visit now ended in the bridge, he did show the trick of switching from union-layout to human layout which prompted a really satisfying “ooooooh” from his two guest, and then he guided them to the transporter room in one of the bay.
- “I hope you liked your tour, here is two short range communication devices, modified to your parameters and liking, I think you call them mobile phone, they are connected to the mainframe in the computer room and allow us to communicate easily, call me if you have a problem, I will warn you the next time I transport you” he added with a wink.
At that Ariana shuddered and was visibly shaking, seeing that he added
- “Don’t worry the transporter adapted to your physiology, it will be as light as if you’re jumping out of bed” he smiled before pushing the transport button.
Back on earth, the two friends were a bit shaken but seemed okay, they glanced at each others, smiled, and then hugged tightly.
Just before Sylvia broke the hug, a thought came to Ariana, “There was only one bed…”
End of Chapter 3