Man and Mek’qdar
October 14, 2011 § 2 Comments
[This is a first draft of the introduction of my science fiction short story. For more information on Mek’qdar, see my previous blog post here: https://vusf.wordpress.com/2011/09/30/chapter-eleven-homo-sapiens/]
Richard flipped over his pillow. He smiled as he laid his head on cool fabric and then frowned, remembering that it was because of his roommate, a Mek’qdar he called Jack, that the room was so sweltering in the first place. Mek’qdar just can’t stand the cold. “Jack won’t mind if I turn it down a couple degrees,” Richard said as he stood up and started getting dressed.
Mek’qdar are translucent gelatinous orbs. The Mek’qdar analogue to a human nervous system forms a beautiful network under their skin. Richard remembered how surprised he was the first time he saw a Mek’qdar and was told that this jellylike sphere was sentient. They have a very homogenous appearance and their whole body acts as a giant retina which is also remarkably adept at discriminating temperature. Homogenous, that is, except for the budding. Mek’qdar don’t have the muscles necessary to move like humans. Instead, they simply form buds, each bud having the same consciousness as its originator at the instant the bud detached. This property effectively grants Mek’qdar immortality. When they want to go somewhere, Mek’qdar form buds in the direction of their destination and the originator bodies dissolve. When Mek’qdar want to stay in one place, they form buds from the top of their bodies, and these new buds slowly collapse the originator body underneath. “When they move, it’s like a slinky, and when they don’t, it’s like a fountain.” Richard remembered being told that by his commander before being sent on this mission.
Richard 31428 and Jack had been selected as the human and Mek’qdar representatives to visit a newly discovered planet. It was a rare situation; the planet was located in a small area that fell under the jurisdiction of both the humans and the Mek’qdar. This overlap hadn’t been worth resolving until something had been found there. The humans and the Mek’qdar eventually agreed to each send a representative to the planet to gather data and that the species more suited to the planet’s environment would claim the planet as their own. Richard knew that this wouldn’t resolve the controversy, but his job wasn’t to be a politician.
Richard walked into the kitchen to find Jack absorbing his breakfast in the form of artificial sunlight. Richard instinctively said good morning and, upon remembering that Mek’qdar have no sense of hearing, waved at Jack. As Richard was fixing his breakfast, Jack began forming buds in Richard’s direction. Jack stopped at his computer about four feet away from Richard and began forming vertical buds. Richard grinned; it was like having his breakfast near a fountain in the park.
Richard and Jack had been traveling for a day or so. They each spent most of that first day getting settled for their voyage. They had nothing left to do but wait for their arrival.
Richard noticed that the Mek’qdar was typing by forming tiny buds that fell on the keyboard of his computer in addition to the large vertical buds that sustained him.
The computer said something in an even and sophisticated artificial voice.
Richard grimaced and joked to himself that small talk must have never developed in Mek’qdar culture as the words rang in his ears.
“Richard, what is it like to have a limited lifespan?”