Holder and Kale have both told me that one of the most popular genres of story on Earth–both in words and in moving-pictures–is something called ‘science fiction’, which, as best I can tell from what I have seen of it, involves extrapolations either of events in an imagined temporal future, or events stemming from new achievements in human invention or science. Holder says that some of the science fiction films and books he read as a child were directly responsible for the career he chose, because he wanted to see the Sea of Stars. Kale says something similar, although his family had been involved in Earth military service for cycles and cycles before Kale was even born, and it was expected of him.
Besides space exploration and the horizons of technology, one event frequently depicted in science fiction is the idea of ‘first contact’ between the human race and lifekind from other worlds. This contact is shown in many forms: sometimes it is violent, like the events of the film and book “War of the Worlds”; sometimes it is a meeting of the minds in a rational and scientific sense, as shown many times in the television show “Star Trek.” And once in a while it is peaceful and bordering on spiritual, such as in the moving-picture Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which may be my favorite of the science fiction films I have seen. It may seem strange to those humans who read this, but the genre has fast become a favorite of mine.
First contact, when it came for my people, was neither spiritual, rational or scientific. My Memories tell me that the humans came to our world to steal our knowledge of Shaping and healing; to bend and twist it into something they could use in war. Not all humans felt this way–my friend the Maestro, and his father, certainly did not, but they were in the minority. When the humans could not conquer us or use our ways to help them, they came again in ships of steel, on clouds of fire. They tried to destroy what they had not been able to capture. Evohe’s ‘first contact’ with humankind was a bitter thing indeed, and it informed my people’s Memories of Holder’s species for generations.
But my own first contact with humans was far different. It came in the form of a man who was very badly hurt, nearly dead, and very much afraid. It came, for me, in the shock of realization that the people my Memories had taught me to fear were much like my own kind, and, later, my true first contact with Holder’s race became the recognition of love.
I believe that, whatever world we call home, and whether we are human or of some other race, like the children of Evohe, the events of our lives are a series of first contacts, and what we do with those experiences shapes not only our own selves, but helps to shape the world around us.
To use a word that is not really in the vocabulary of my own people, the world itself is ‘alien’ to us when we are first bloomed and born: we all open our eyes upon a horizon that is strange and unexplored. The spirit in which we approach that exploration makes all the difference. “First contact” can consume our own lives in fires of division–or it can color our own horizons with the light of transformation. The choice is ours.