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Unknown to the humans on Earth, an invisible extraterrestrial spaceship orbits the planet, the aliens onboard in a passionate debate. The dispute: Are Humans an intelligent life form?
Apparently, Earth is in the middle of a large spaceship highway the aliens are planning to build across the universe. Some compassionate aliens are trying to convince the others to build a detour around the green and blue planet to prevent the murder of all its citizens. Other lazier aliens would rather blow the planet to smithereens than build around it because they think humans are a waste of space.
Finally, after weeks of deliberation, the aliens decide to send a representative to the planet to discover the extent of the intelligence of the two-legged beings. They choose the alien Aaakknoid, who is a genius among the aliens and will easily be able to determine the mental capacities of the creatures of Earth. They stuff his various tentacles and antennae into a rubber human skin, dress him up, and when they think he will pass for a native Earthling, they load him into a shuttle and send him down to the planet.
Aaakknoid’s invisible shuttle lands in a rural neighborhood on the outskirts of a small town. Aaakknoid wanders into a park where the only inhabitant is a four year old boy on a swing set. The alien is unfamiliar with human development and chooses that boy as the specimen to determine the intelligence of the species, unaware that the boy is immature and uneducated.
“Hello,” the boy said as Aaakknoid approaches.
“Hello,” the alien says. Actually, he says “Nnnaargh,” but his Translator converts his speech to English. The human language was picked up from the Hippie aliens who briefly lived on Earth. The Hippies shared the language with other aliens but, unfortunately for Aaakknoid and his alien companions, didn’t share anything else about the human culture.
The alien inspects the boy and notices he has a large head to body ratio. Aaakknoid decides to find out if the large head has any logic in it. “If a bolt of my spaceship is removed, my spaceship is still my spaceship. If another bolt is removed, the spaceship is still the same ship. If a third bolt is removed and I replace it with another bolt the identity of my spaceship remains the same. With that reasoning, every piece of my spaceship can be removed and replaced with a different piece but it will still be my spaceship. Simultaneously, I can build a spaceship from the pieces I removed and that will also be my spaceship.”
While Aaakknoid was talking, the boy’s eyes grew larger and larger. After explaining the paradox, Aaakknoid waits patiently for the boy’s answer to the false truth, but the human’s response is unpredicted. “You have TWO SPACESHIPS! I want a spaceship!” the boy exclaims. “Then I could fly through the sky,” the boy says as he leaps off the swing and begins to run around with his arms flailing and making ridiculous motor sounds.
Aaakknoid is impressed. The boy obviously didn’t know the answer so he diverted Aaakknoid’s attention to something else. That in itself was logical. Next, Aaakknoid tests the boy for emotion, because emotions are a sign of a very intelligent creature. Many creatures display emotion through facial expression, Aaakknoid knows, so he tries to arrange his features until he thinks he looks very happy and waits for the boy’s reaction.
The boy stops running and notices the strange man is making a face that looks like a constipated lemur. No one outdoes the boy when it came to ridiculous faces. “If this guy wants a challenge he’s got one!” the boy thinks. He sticks his tongue out while he wiggles his ears at the strange man. But the man retaliates by making a face between a sneer and a grimace. This guy is good, the boy realizes as he crosses his eyes and puffs up his cheeks.
Aaakknoid is delighted. The human is defiantly capable of expressions, although he doesn’t know what they mean. Aaakknoid is especially curious about what the movement of the boy’s ears could signify; anger, sadness, happiness, who knows? After a few more facial exchanges, the alien is convinced that humans are definitely an intelligent life form and relaxes his face to normal.
“That was cool,” the boy says. “You’re funny.”
“I have only one more question for you,” Aaakknoid says. “Are you dangerous?” The alien had to be sure that these intelligent beings weren’t going to endanger the life of his species or any of the species of his allies.
“Dangerous?” the boy asks.
“Let me explain. Is your species capable of voyaging out of your atmosphere, flying billions of miles to foreign planets, hijacking those planets, and murdering the inhabitants of those worlds?”
The boy looks at the strange man innocently. “That sounds like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
“Humans have teenage mutant ninja turtles to take over other planets for them!” Aaakknoid is horrified.
“It is just a television show,” the boy says with a shrug, but Aaakknoid doesn’t understand (he has never heard of telly-vision). “Haven’t you seen it? It is the coolest show ever! The turtles are always beating up the bad guys like this. HIIIIYYYAAA!” he cries as he performs a carefully placed kick into the side of an imaginary enemy. The boy continues to fight back the hordes of invisible enemies that have come from nowhere to attack him. Aaakknoid is terrified, unable to grasp that TMNT is just a cartoon that kids watch and is in no way based on fact. Aliens do not have a big imagination and have never experienced anything like television either.
“I should go,” Aaakknoid says nervously as he glances around for any signs of the turtles the boy spoke of.
“Me too,” the boy says, “before my mom yells at me. I am not supposed to talk to strangers.” Then he skips away, leaving Aaakknoid flabbergasted.
Stranger? Aaakknoid thinks. How is he strange? Unless the boy knew he is an alien. Aaakknoid looks and sounds exactly like a human, how did he know? Perhaps, humans have secret powers that help them know everything.
Aaakknoid hurries back to his shuttle, frequently glancing over his shoulder for signs of mutant turtles and all-knowing humans. After he flies back to the spaceship, he says to the other aliens, “There is something about the humans that is just…human. We should just let them be.” Before the turtles attack, Aaakknoid thinks to himself.
A few days later, the aliens fly away with a large detour drawn on all their blueprints.