ESD September 23rd, 2628
Destiny Colony, Jupiter
I don’t know what to say. I mean, I do but damn… Aliens. Real aliens. It’s not a movie or a dream and it’d better not be a joke. What am I doing here? I’m thirty-seven years old; I’ve only been teaching for a year. I should be on my way to tenure, busting my ass to get my work into any credible journal that’ll take me, not leaving for some alien planet that’s only been charted for roughly the same amount of time as I’ve been on faculty. Just thinking about the travel makes me think I shouldn’t be going, much less everything else there is to worry about.
But really, yes, I should be going. Sure, there are more qualified people out there. Jasin would’ve been all over this. I’m positive Orrana  would go if her health wasn’t so bad these days. Instead, the planning committee chose me. I guess I should be realistic: modesty has never really been one of my strong suits. As nervous as I am, as much as I really don’t want to screw this one up, I’m confident. I really have been trained for this. All those mind-numbing intro courses, the specialization in sociolinguistics, the many asses I suppose I could’ve kissed more convincingly on the way up but didn’t bother to… It all brought me here. And now that I’m here, I don’t know what to do. OK, that’s also a lie.
All I can do at this point is try reading everything I can get my hands on that might give me some clues, hopefully enough that I don’t end up ruining our species’ first potential communicative event with something else intelligent out there, but maybe just enough that I don’t tell the aliens that I taste delicious when slow-roasted over a fire. I suppose I can settle for the latter. The project organizing committee was nice enough to give me two weeks to throw together my working bibliography; it’s either that or my still-beating heart on a platter, I suspect. At this rate, I might not make it long enough to get eaten by space monsters.
I also suspect I shouldn’t be calling them “space monsters”. The reports call the planet Ryosh c, so there’s something. Ryoshi? Ryoshans? I can’t exactly ask them for an ethnonym yet, since the project doesn’t really start for another three months and even then, I’ll have a further four ahead of me in transit. All we know so far is that they can transmit in the EM spectrum but when I played back some of the signals captured in the VHF range, there was no evidence in the garbled sounds that came out pointing to an underlying lexical system, or at least one that I could make any sense of. Not that that means anything, of course, but it doesn’t give me much to go on. Then again, what if we get there and find out they communicate exclusively with pheromones? Or maybe they just wave their tentacles? Do they even have tentacles? This’ll be the biggest nut I’ve ever had to crack. Here’s hoping I don’t crack first.
- Dr. Jasin Grettenen, a Shinasan linguistic anthropologist (2586-2661).
2. Dr. Orrana Telekin, a Procyoni linguistic anthropologist (2570-2639).