Humanity’s eyes are opened to behold the universe in a new light.


June 16, 2015 – Kennedy Space Center, Earth

“I still can’t believe this,” Robert Knox exasperated. “Of course it’s possible, but this soon?” 

Knox was a young, yet determined man, whose curiosity knew no bounds. He was the head of the biochemistry department at Harvard. He shakily climbed aboard the massive Klova-⟴䷃, a mysterious spaceship which the Intergalactic Federation provided, fathoming what could possibly waiting for him— and mankind.

“You know how the g-force feels, right? I don’t want to deal with a vegetable of a chemist once we reach orbit,” Korsakov barked. Dorby Korsakov was a 47-year-old space veteran, the Vasco da Gama of space and leader of the Gaea Research Team. He was on his way to meet the Intergalactic Federation on behalf of humanity. 

“I wonder how Korsakov feels about this,” wondered Knox. 

As they stepped into the unfamiliar chamber, a wave of unease fell over Robert. 

“This doesn’t sound right,” Knox thought as he rapped his knuckles on the strange metal making up the ship, “This isn’t aluminum with the standard titanium alloys.” Then, it all clicked together. 

“This must be a new metal the aliens on Mars used to build this ship!” He realized. The crew uneasily took their seats in the ergonomic cockpit, and got ready for launch. 

“Whoowee!” a woman’s voice shouted, “Imagine all the technology they’re gonna have Robert! How do you think they’ll communicate with us? How do they reproduce? Are they like us, or are they insect-like—”

“Enough Ambra! Leave the man alone. Liftoff is in a couple of minutes,” Korsakov snapped. 

Ambra White was a giddy, joyful astronomer. Her excitement seems to always be fueled by strong caffeine, and her honest love for the unknown. She was always fascinated by aliens, and was a geek from inside and out. 

“Five more minutes. Get ready for liftoff,” Korsakov informed. 

Given that the purpose of this  mission was to reveal the existence of aliens, the unusually low number of crewmembers on-board was not without reason. Since the world leaders were informed that an underground research facility has been prepared in Mars, the leaders had to consider risks of humans being murdered and used for research. 

“Why so down, Robert?” Ambra frowned. 

“Preparing for the worst, I guess,” Robert sighed, “Honestly, I don’t know how to feel.”

“Aw, come on! I don’t think they’d want a few guys to go up there, just for them to turn us into burgers… or whatever they eat,” Ambra joked. 

“Liftoff in one minute!” Korsakov snapped. 

Robert got comfortable in his seat, and made sure he was strapped in and ready to go. He glimpsed through the glass-like material on the ship to take maybe the last look of the sky from Earth. The sky was a hue of lavender, with a lick of pink tickling the horizon. He thought about music, Vermeer, love, hugs, images of dandelions and daffodils, and he thought about Earth. He was born on Earth, he breathed Earth’s air, he ate Earth’s food, and he loved people on Earth. The surreal experience of leaving his home planet always hit deep into Robert’s heart. 

“3…” Korsakov started counting.

“Good…” 

“2…” 

“…Bye…”

“1…”

“…World…”  Knox sighed.

“Liftoff.” 

And that’s when our crew started their mission to change the perception of the universe forever.


January 27, 2016 (Earth time) Loravk Landing, Mars – ䷦𝌄☵⍡⍢⍚⍠╠╡(Kershcef)

“We’re here! Do you see anyone! Their architecture is insane! Oh my gosh, I can’t wait!” Ambra yelped. Startled, Robert looked outside properly for the first time since the team left the Earth’s orbit. Anticlimactically, Mars looked exactly how he thought it would. A barren land filled with dust storms, and howling red sand. However, he looked closely and saw what looked like a massive metal disk which seemed devoid of luster, resembling the same metal which the mysterious ship was made of. The team put on their spacesuits and prepared themselves for the unexpected. As Robert hopped off the ship, he felt a pang of homesickness and love for his planet, and the scope of the universe really impacted his mental state. He thought of home as Earth now rather than his bungalow in Massachusetts. He felt the grittiness of the volcanic basalt which made most of Mars’ terrain as he stepped on the land. He picked up a handful of the fine powder and let the heavy winds carry it away. 

“We must travel to the disk. It’s dimensions match the description these extraterrestrials have given us,” Korsakov said with his thick Russian accent, as he looked at the display on his wrist. The spacesuits had a screen on the left wrist to display internal conditions, temperature, oxygen levels, and brief texts related to the mission. The team mounted the ATR (All-Terrain Rover) and headed for the disk. Mars at daytime felt very similar to noon in the middle of the Mojave desert. Robert steadied himself and prepared mentally to meet the aliens in person. Were they going to be insect-like? Reptilian? Why is the facility underground? Questions flooded Robert’s mind like a dam which had burst open. 

“15 minutes to go, everyone!” Korsakov exclaimed. “How are you all feeling?”

“Look! The disc is coming into view!” Ambra interrupted.

The disc was utterly massive in size, with the shape and look of a UFO. It was more of an oversized entrance to a bunker. The rover slowed to stop and the team got out of the rover 10 feet within the disc. 

“So—what do we do now?” Ambra asked. As if on cue, a digital display appeared in front of them. 

“Kiershtek no Loravk biestech polastil,” a voice from the dialog sounded.

“Um… hello? We’re the scientists from Earth? Can you understand?” Ambra asked.

“Ambra, come on, there’s no way that would wor—”

“Oerscht karst— Our humble apologies. We have been expecting you,” a voice spoke. 

What?! There’s no way. “Oh Robert. How could you be so naive?” he cursed in his mind. What shook Robert so much was the fact that the aliens had managed to contact Earth and figure out the most common language, English. He wondered why the extraterrestrials never responded to the radio signals the SETI sent. The fact that they have display technology must mean they have electricity… or some other power source. He shook his head in disbelief.

“It seems that all the extraterrestrial scientists have learned English for our sake. I say we make an effort to learn their language now,” Knox said as the massive doors slid open with a groan of metal. The doors revealed a staircase down to a floor which led to another circular door in a wall. 

“Please, do come in,” a voice from the door said. The doors opened with a hiss, meaning that the inside of the facility was filled with a different type of air— similar to the internal conditions of a spaceship. The team walked through the hallway as the door hissed close behind them. 

“Please wait a moment as we switch our internal atmosphere to oxygen,” the dialog informed. 

“So that means they don’t breathe oxygen like we suspected… But why an underground facility then?” Robert wondered. The final door was starting to open, and at that moment, humanity saw the first alien.


December 16, 2025 (Earth time) Robert’s Home, Cambridge, MA

It was a pleasant afternoon, the air was crisp and a warm ray of sunlight kissed Robert’s cheek. Robert was writing his report of the encounter with the Merscheo people on Mars. “The aliens welcomed us warmly, already knowing our language and customs,” Robert began. “And their appearance was somewhat humanoid, with insect-like heads and features. The aliens breathe carbon dioxide instead of oxygen, and also drink water like us. Due to the scarcity of water on Mars, the aliens have already developed technology which can atomically fuse hydrogen and oxygen molecules through attaching covalent bonds between the atoms with ease. I was shocked to hear that the aliens had in fact been monitoring human life for millenia. They were the ones who actually enticed humans to build the Great Pyramids, the Pantheons of Rome, the Ajanta Caves, and other mind boggling feats of architecture as gods. Funny enough, the Mars Rover had been tricked the entire time and had been hijacked and set to move in a certain route away from the research facility as they believed we weren’t ready to be connected with them. I have also brought a new metal from the research facility they call “ollosch”. I think merschellium is more fitting as a tribute to this fateful meeting between extraterrestrial and mankind. Merschellium has the malleability of steel, but the rigidity and strength of tungsten. It was what made the spaceship they had given us and seems to be the best substitute for steel in our society.  Regarding food… well, it was appetizing but the texture was of the consistency of a rotten banana. The Merscheo also used their own version of “space food” throughout our time at the research facility. We spent the majority of our time learning about the customs and technology of Merscheo and tried to experiment with the combinations of elements and substances from both planets. The majority of the Merscheo actually live in a gigantic spaceship similar to that of Wall-E as Mars had turned into a wasteland, similar to that of how our Earth might turn out due to climate change and overpopulation.” 

Robert took a deep breath and sighed, “I can’t believe we’re expecting to release all this information about joining the Federation to the world just next week. The future looks bright… but it’s also frightening. What if there’s a war? Will Earth become uninhabitable just like Mars? How will the world take this news?”


December 23, 2025 (Earth time) Oval Office, Washington DC, MA

President Anderson spoke, “I thank you all for being present today, be at home or in person. Our nation, no, our world has existed in solitude since the beginning of time. And us, humanity, have cultivated this planet and gave it life. From the Great Pyramids, to the Stonehenge, humanity has achieved literally unbelievable feats which seem impossible. We have put man on the moon for Pete’s sake! But the fact is that by simple probability… We are not alone. This day shall remain the pinnacle of mankind’s feats. Today, we have proved it. I now welcome the Merscheo people of Mars to speak, yes, Mars. Let one thought resonate with you all today. We are not alone…

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