Captain Isaiah Morrison, for such had he once been called, late of the Confederate States Army, having found himself without a home or family, thanks to that damned Yankee Major General William Sherman and his “Scorched Earth policy,” had spent these past ten years in the Territories of the untamed West prospecting for gold (among other activities). His living was meager but sufficient, and now approaching middle-age, a time when men add distinction to the beginnings of waning vigor, he was riding his paint toward town in the hour before dawn to resupply and spend some few short hours in the bed of a hired woman.
The stars were brilliant above him and he stopped momentarily to appreciate the grandeur of God’s great masterpiece, spread before him in all its splendor, ancient, spinning fires contrast against the utter blackness of the infinite void.
Sentient indigenous experiment number 47 commencing. Approaching two mammalian life forms, sentient biped atop non-sentient, non-intelligent quadriped [query: could this be a mating practice].
Morrison was captivated by one star which did not match the pattern of the others. For one thing, it was moving against the flow of the constellations, for the second, it was growing larger, and finally, it was approaching his position.
“Yah, Breyer. Get up!” He kicked the paint’s sides and lashed him with the reins, urging him to gallop at break neck speeds over uneven ground in an attempt to escape the unholy apparition which was pursuing him and defying the will of the Almighty in His own heavens.
Non-intelligent quadriped increasing velocity while carrying sentient biped. [Unlikely practice for mating. Consider intelligent mammal has enslaved non-intelligent mammal for purposes of transportation].
The former Confederate officer, current prospector, and occasional scalawag, had made it through the foothills and onto the desert floor before the object arrived directly overhead. Then there was a bright light, one more brilliant than the Arizona sun at high noon, and Morrison swooned, knowing that a fall from his horse at this speed meant severe injury if not death.
Subject present in observation pod. Initial scans indicated subject had a superficial layer of mainly organic but non-living material over much of its structure. Removal of material seemed to cause no injury or distress, but subject remains in a state of unconsciousness which likely resulted from its physical relocation from the planet’s surface to this vessel.
Subject now conscious. Activating avatar which has been styled to approximate the subject’s appearance. [Note continued failure to create a more accurate avatar. Although bipedal, coloration, limb length and number of joints, and particularly cranial unit are all indistinct].
Subject now detects avatar. Subject’s movements and vocal utterances are increasing in frequency, possibly indicating agitation. Subject is making contact with avatar with mainly upper limbs but occasionally lower limbs as well. Contact is rapid and indicative of increased force [query: unlikely to be mating practice. Could be some form of communication, hunting activity, or defensive behavior].
Activating restraint field. Subject’s motions now terminated. Subject remains conscious. Vocalizations recorded and now being played back to subject in attempt to communicate. Subject’s agitation is increasing. Communication not established.
Examination of orifices proceeding. Subject’s agitation reaching critical level as the probes are inserted in both upper and lower openings. Subject has lost consciousness. [query: could probes have caused physical discomfort or is this part of subject’s natural nocturnal coma state? Is response indicative of pain or does this species continue to possess primitive emotional structure? Cross-check references for sentience since emotional structures are inconsistent with higher life forms].
Probes indicate digestive tract similar to previous subject mammals, both sentient and non-intelligent. Attempting to determine if subject possesses organs specialized for reproduction. [Two possibilities must be discounted since they both are also used for the elimination of waste products]. Subject’s reproductive potential remains inconclusive.
Examination complete. Conclusions are speculative. Brain activity and structure indicates intelligence and sentience, but communication remains elusive. Based on erratic behavior, likely subject and its species possess primitive emotional structures, but such structures, as previously indicated, are inconsistent with higher life forms.
Subject likely enslaves lower life forms, both mammalian and avian, as both service and food sources, again indicating primitive state of development.
Primary recommendation is to not initiate wide scale contact with this species as it is unlikely to be the primary life form on the planet, and certainly is unsuitable to form alliances or treaties.
Subject has been returned to original location, though the secondary, non-intelligent quadriped is no longer present. Subject has regained consciousness. Unable to reapply organic, non-living outer material. Planetary location now facing its star and mean temperature of subject’s immediate environment has increased. Subject again is registering distress and uttering vocalizations.
Reviewing reports from other exploratory units which indicate a much higher likelihood of discovering primary intelligence in the oceans, as some of the mammalian life forms in that environment show promise based on initial contact. Proceeding to nearest oceanic body to investigate.
I was suppose to write this from the alien’s point of view, but I had to include something about the human’s perspective in order to set the scene. Thus, I superficially used a few vague references from the beginning of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel A Princess of Mars, which first saw literary life over a century ago. My hero, like John Carter, is a former Confederate Army officer who has lost everything in the war and since has become a wanderer, soldier-of-fortune, and gold prospector. From there, the similarity ends.
Hopefully, I communicated the “alieness” of the alien and its difficulty in comprehending a human being.
Oh, I did look up the history of alien abductions, and although one of the earliest records goes back to the 19th century, the most famous report, and the one that popularized the notion that aliens kidnap people, was the 1961 case of Barney and Betty Hill.
I thought it would be more fun (and a spaceship more likely to escape detection) if I set my story somewhat earlier.
By the way, I love the image of the spaceship.