They Call

They Call

by Meghashri Dalvi

It all began 465 days ago.

We were waiting for ages to make contact. Movies told us that they would destroy the big cities with a bang and novels old us that they would rather crash behind a nondescript house of a carpenter.

We waited. For the big antennas to pick up signals and for the nation heads to declare war. Meanwhile, we went along with our humdrum lives. We commuted for long hours, we slogged in workplaces, and on weekends we wasted money on mindless entertainment. Nothing much happened beyond that.

When they finally came, the waiting itself had turned boring. We simply accepted that the contact finally happened. Nowhere fancy, they landed just outside a small village, near the vinegar factory. The factory workers were first frightened because of the silvery glittering spacecraft. But they somehow managed to stay calm and meet the visitors gracefully.

We at last got our aliens, who were obviously technologically better than us. They had mastered faster than light travel, they had several advanced gadgets, and they could quickly learn our languages. Sometimes all that looked like magic. But obviously—any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

They took charge. Exactly 20 days after their arrival. It seemed inevitable. And they had a cool charm to do it sweetly.

Once our world was fully at their command, they started training us. Initially some simple knowledge transfer. Then some serious practice. Then full weapons training.

Some of us sensed what this exercise was for. Apparently, for fighting with other aliens. They were preparing us to be their armed forces. But nothing was wrong in that. We actually enjoyed it. Anything is better than that daily commute and those dreadful taxes.

For young and fit persons like me, it was something dreamlike. The technology was stunning and I especially relished the buzz it gave me. To be honest, I wanted more.

It all began 465 days ago. With the first contact. And now we are ready. To travel with them to distant worlds. Leaving the empty nothingness of suburban life. To fight their battles.

I adjusted my gear. The allure of space and distant planets was overwhelming. I couldn’t wait to take off.

My alien bosses cheered. We all loved them. In no time they had charmed us to be their allies. With wit, grace, and of course – great power.

The only jarring thing is their physiology. Maybe it is right for that supremacy. They have fewer legs—to begin with. And they move those legs strangely. When they taught us to walk like them, it was difficult to balance on six legs alone. But we needed the front legs to hold weapons. Like they do.

I guess we’ll learn. To think and behave like them. Because they are so superior. No wonder their name means The Greatest in our language. Yes, they call themselves Humans.

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Meghashri Dalvi
Dr. Meghashri Dalvi consults in Technical Communication, when she is not writing science fiction or teaching Management. Her stories have appeared in Aphelion, Ascent Aspirations, Anotherealm, Quantummuse, and AntiSF.

6 thoughts on “They Call

  1. Ii loved the echoes of our own culture- any action (even negative) is better than no action. This story was intriguing and engaging.

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