The T’Quenq had conquered the population of the Earth a generation ago and with good reason. On the verge of humanity developing a working Interstellar drive, the T’Quenq, who had been observing our planet for centuries, were terrified that we would spread our propensity for strife, bloodshed, and harsh colonialism to the nearby inhabited star systems. There was only one way to make sure we never got the chance: subjugate us.
In science fiction stories, the aliens are always just humans who look different from us, four arms instead of two, green skin, pointy ears, that sort of thing. In real life, alien means alien. Concepts of cruelty or kindness were foreign to their thinking. They didn’t even have words in their language for “generosity,” “charity,” or “compassion.” They simply administered resources and populations. The people of the Earth were governed but not a great deal of thought was put into our comfort. Neither did the T’Quenq deliberately cause us to suffer. We simply existed under their rule.
We were conquered a generation ago and since that time, a few things have mellowed a bit. Segregation between T’Quenq and humans was no longer strictly enforced. Some of them thought it adventurous to walk our streets and shop in our stores, while a few human beings were allowed in T’Quenq compounds, only as servants, but a smattering of us got a first hand look at how they live.
The T’Quenq were even becoming slightly curious about our various cultures. Diversity is another concept foreign to them. Think of them as more of a hive with members developing into specific roles or castes. No single T’Quenq ever questioned their lot in life. It would never have occurred to any of them to do so.
December 2041, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Christmas was rapidly approaching and the T’Quenq Under-Queen had heard of a quaint custom among some of the humans in her jurisdiction called “the Christmas Pageant.” Thus she invited a selection children from Mountain View Elementary School to perform for the local T’Quenq in their compound located just outside nearby Manitou Springs.
A number of the Under-Queen’s (her name was unpronounceable by humans) youngest hatchlings, roughly at the same developmental level as the fifth and sixth graders arriving for the performance, were invited to attend as an educational experience. A group of them were excitedly milling about the service entrance where the humans were coming in with the props and equipment needed for the show.
The hatchlings had never seen humans before and were intensely interested in what they were like.
Bobby Jackson and Carrie Taneja were helping to carry in the costumes, but they had picked up too much of a load. Bobby lost his balance bumping into Carrie and causing both of them to fall, spilling all of the clothing on the floor.
The dozen or so hatchings were the closest to this scene, and not knowing what had happened or what to do, stopped chittering and gesturing and stared uncertainly.
The next to youngest hatchling present (though missing being youngest by only a few minutes) slowly left his group of hatch mates and approached Bobby and Carrie, who were frantically trying to collect their spilled cargo. The two looked around for Ms. Chen, their teacher, but she had just gone back outside to hurry a few children who were still straggling in from the bus.
The hatchling stopped in front of the two startled children as they stared up at him. They’d never been this close to a T’Quenq before and had never even seen a hatchling.
Hatchlings learn very quickly compared to human children, and this one had been studying the English language in preparation of today’s event.
“Help,” he half squeaked, half clicked. “I help you?”
A stunned Bobby and Carrie nodded in unison, lacking any better response under the circumstances.
The hatchling extended it’s midsection limbs and picked up some of the costumes, then organized them into a more manageable load.
The other hatchlings who had been silently observing this transaction, not willing to be left out, all joined in and helped pick up costumes. They weren’t as fluent in the concept of “help” as their hatch mate, but hatchlings do everything together (it did however surprise them a bit that a hatchling who was not the eldest of the pod should initiate an action, especially one as bold as close contact with humans).
The hatchling to first help the children communicated the word and concept of “help” which it had learned with some difficulty from a commentary on one of the human religious texts, to the others.
As if telepathic, the hatchling group immediately understood and eagerly, each one took some of the clothes and deposited them where the human children mutely pointed.
None of this was lost on the adult T’Quenq present, nor on the human grown ups, Ms. Chen having returned in time to see most of the interaction.
When the work was done, Bobby and Carrie faced their new companions and extended their hands. “Thanks,” Carrie said. “Yeah, thanks,” Bobby echoed awkwardly.
The next to youngest hatchling, the one most willing to get the closest to the humans understood, extended his left, midsection limb toward the pair and said, “Welcome. You welcome,” while touching the palm of each child’s hand with his primary two digits.
In another two generations, the T’Quenq and the human race would cohabitate the Earth as equals and with T’Quenq technology and assistance, humanity would finally travel the stars in peace and unity.
Given the protests, riots, and social media panic attacks involving the recent election I’ve seen over the past week, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to unity and peace among divergent populations. I wrote an article on this topic called Peace With Our Neighbors at one of my other blogspots, but was inspired to give this expression a science fiction spin when I read an “Ask the Rabbi” at Aish.com:
I’ve been thinking a lot about all the strife in this world – between individuals, between countries, between races. I understand that hatred occurs when there is hostility between two people, and neither have a desire to see the positive in each other and build a friendship.
Surely, given the vast range of different personalities around, people will come across others with whom they simply do not get along, and if they try to associate with them, the hatred will just build. Isn’t it better to just agree to differ and avoid contact with them?
The Aish Rabbi Replies:
The Torah says: “If you see the donkey of someone you hate lying under its load, you must help him unload it” (Exodus 23:5).
While the verse addresses alleviating the pain of an animal, it also presents another issue: Helping someone you “hate” unload his donkey.
We see from here that the way to overcome hatred is to help the other person, care for them, and give to them. When I give to someone, I invest a piece of myself, and therefore we become bonded.
Of course, if your hatred is greater than your ability to be patient and giving, and the interaction will end in a fight, then it’s better left alone. But if you are capable of overcoming the challenge, then it’s good to put yourself in a situation where you are forced to help the object of your dislike.
Otherwise, hatred left alone will just fester, waiting to explode. And is that really the type of world we want to live in?