Noah Makes Contact
The Primrose Files
This story was inspired by the bonus scene about how Primrose started in 1905. And I just wanted to do a scene where Noah meets other lost aliens on Earth, and show that part of the work Primrose does. This is his first visit to one of those islands.
Signed access papers in hand and badge pinned to his jacket, Noah sat restlessly in the bow of the boat as it set off from Kirkwall. The grey sky loomed over them as the mist prevented him from seeing much farther than a boat length. Noah would have liked a better view, but Primrose had arranged the date without any input from him. Next time, maybe. Assuming he could stomach coming back.
He fiddled with the plastic sleeve holding the papers as he tried to peer through the mist. He had debated long and hard about visiting the island. Though Primrose treated their alien guests well enough at their headquarters, Noah only had Connor’s word that the displaced aliens lived on this island in freedom. As far as freedom was possible for species with no possibility to return home. Of course, Noah knew all about being separated from home, from kin.
A splash to the side dragged Noah out of his thoughts. “What’s that?” he asked Alex Nicol, the young, muscular Primrose Agent accompanying him. That Alex also dated Lily, his assistant, Noah tried not to think about. He had nothing against the redhead, but dating Connor was already one Primrose Agent too many. Connor, who had been called in at the last minute and couldn’t join him. Hence Alex Nicol’s company on this trip.
“One of the swimmers, probably,” Alex answered.
Nicol grabbed the edge of the boat and peered across the water. “Some of the residents here live in the water.”
“Sure. Some of them even seemed to have made friends with the white-beaked dolphins.” Alex beamed at him. “I worked here on the island before landing a job at headquarters.”
He had? “As security?”
Alex frowned. “You make it sound like a bad thing. What have you been told about the island?”
“Only that you’re keeping aliens here who can’t go home.”
“And cannot be integrated into society. Though, granted, you are one of few who are.” Alex lowered his eyes and looked away. “Our world isn’t ready to face aliens yet. At least not until we understand them more.”
“But keeping them here like…” Noah shook his head.
“Noah, they have nowhere else to go. You’ll see it for yourself, but out here, they live free and unbothered by humans. Well… except us, of course, but the islands are not self-sufficient. And someone needs to make sure no one bothers our guests.”
With the way Alex was smiling, Noah wondered why he’d left his position on the island. He said nothing, though. Instead he tried to see the ‘swimmers’ that could still be heard.
“They hardly ever approach the boat, I’m afraid. So, unless the weather clears, you’ll not see them.”
“There truly is no barrier to keep them in?”
“Not here. I think one of the more isolated islands has a barrier around it. But these swimmers know to stay clear of boats and humans.”
The boat slowed and turned. Noah took his eyes off the mist and looked up. A long pier loomed up in front of them, and the skipper moored alongside it with ease and skill. He then helped both Noah and Alex onto the pier.
Noah followed Alex along the pier to a large gate with a manned booth. The security Agent there looked at their badges and read through Noah’s papers. He took the last page, stuffing it into a large binder on his little desk. “Agent Nicol here will tell you where you’re allowed to go,” he said as he stamped the first page of Noah’s papers. Then he fixed his gaze on the both of them. “Stay away from the shed at the most northern point, please. We have a couple of Urus in mating season, and they do not take kindly on being interrupted.”
He opened the gate and waved them in. Noah leaned closer to Alex and whispered, “Primrose really doesn’t do naming well, do they?”
Alex laughed. “No doubt all these species will be happy to have someone represent them. Not in the least those Urus. There are seven of them on the island. And even after twenty years, we still have no clue what their relationships are. We only know one of them doesn’t seem interested in mating season at all. You’ll have a large chance of seeing them. They go nowhere near the shed now, either.”
Urus. Noah was tempted to ask what they looked like, but if he was going to see one for himself, he might as well wait.
The first alien they stumbled across ambled towards them the moment they were out of sight of the gate. They were a hip-high six-limbed species with green scales, They only walked on four of them, the other two they held stretched out in front of them as their eye-stalks swished left and right as if seeing past them.
Alex smiled at them and grabbed one of their out-stretched limbs. “Good morning, Olaf. How are you doing?”
Noah had never seen the species before, nor did he understand their language. But as Olaf turned to him, he grabbed their free limb and repeated Alex’ words. He received the same unintelligible reply Alex had. They let go of both their hands and ambled off again.
“You’ll get used to him. He’s the oldest resident here, named by McCulloch himself. He was Primrose’s founder.”
“Yes, Connor told me about him.” In an attempt to take away Noah’s trepidation about coming here.
“Olaf, after Agent Dickens, is our actual welcoming committee. We don’t know how he does it, but soon most of the inhabitants will know you’re here.”
“How old is he? If Noah remembered correctly, Alfred McCulloch had died in 1971.
Alex shrugged. “No one knows, but he’s been here since the mid-fifties, according to the log.”
“And you’re sure he’s a he?”
“Oh. No doubt about that. He was busy mounting sheep on North Ronaldsay, an island to the north of here, when they found him.”
For the next hours, Noah followed Alex all over the island. He had never seen so many different habitats in one area. Little cottages mingled with two-story prefab flats, sheds, treehouses, and burrows. Despite their terrible naming practice, Primrose certainly seemed to have taken an effort in finding appropriate housing for all the inhabitants.
The more he saw, the lighter Noah’s heart, and the better he felt about visiting. But it was the lack of fences or netting that made his heart soar. These aliens were indeed allowed to roam free.
Some of them approached them as they passed, like Olaf had, and some stayed far away. None of them shook hands or other limbs, but they did all great them one way or another. They didn’t seem afraid of humans, at all. If only Noah were better at spoken languages, he might actually know what they were saying.
Noah regretted only recognising a handful of the aliens they met, and when they paused for lunch, he scribbled as much as he could into a small notebook he’d taken along for the purpose. Of course, lunch wasn’t a solitary experience, either. And one of the bipedal aliens sat next to Noah, staring at his notebook with three rapidly-blinking violet eyes. They clucked something that Noah didn’t understand.
He glanced at Ales, who shrugged. “I don’t know them. Must have arrived after the last time I visited.”
Noah refrained from asking when that was, instead he pushed the notebook towards the alien, and held out his pen, glad he hadn’t brought one of his fountainpens.
The alien tilted their head and glanced at them with one eye, the other two fixed on his pen. Then they grabbed the pen with their four fingers, and wrote something in Noah’s notebook. They didn’t just write a sentence, they filled at least two pages while Noah finished his lunch.
Alex stared at the scribbling with fascination for a moment. He shoved his chair back and rose. “I’ll go and make sure they’re supplied with pen and paper.”
The alien didn’t even look up, they seemed completely and utterly focussed on writing. They didn’t stop until they had filled four pages. Their eyes blinked even faster as they handed the pen back to Noah, clucking.
“Thank you,” Noah replied. He grabbed his notebook, too, and studied the aliens’ writing. Though it wasn’t a language he knew, there were enough familiar symbols to guess its meaning. He turned to a new page and wrote what he thought was his name.
The alien kept one eye on Noah as they read what he’d written.
“Noah.” Noah said, pointing at himself. “Noah.”
The clucking became louder. They seemed excited. They held out their hand for the pen, and Noah gave it to them. They added symbols beneath Noah’s, dropped the pen to the table and pointed at themselves as they clucked.
It took Noah a minute to decipher what the alien had written. Door. They were called Door. Assuming Noah understood the symbols correctly. He pointed at Door and said, “Door.” Then he pointed at himself again and repeated his own name.
Door clucked even more enthusiastically as they pointing first at themselves, then at Noah, blinking their eyes in a weird one-two rhythm, where the middle eye blinked continuously, while the others alternated. They grabbed the pen again, and wrote something else, which turned out to be a simple thank you, once Noah had deciphered it, followed by a question. Will you visit again?
Noah smiled through his tears. Door seemed so happy that Noah understood them. If Connor had not convinced him to get on the boat, trepidation and all, he would not have met Door.
Yes, Noah answered Door. He might not be able to help them all, but he could at least help some.
Noah Makes Contact © 2018 Blaine D. Arden. All rights reserved