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Vulgax9 on Earth
About the Author: Jared Schwartz is an award-winning street artist and political cartoonist whose work has appeared in galleries all over the globe as well as many published zines! When he's not making artwork he's instructing students on reading, writing and grammar, and submitting his art as many places as he can, or posting them on his Instagram, @Jareds_Sketches.

As the brain-shaped spacecraft glided smoothly into and through Earth’s gassy atmosphere, its lone inhabitant Vulgax9 couldn’t wait to see what her studies would reveal. The nocturnal ZGGGGbop Empire had been immensely pleased with her work at Universe-University where she displayed an unusually impressive aptitude toward the study of alien life, in all of its various forms.

She was the one who proved that the BurstGasses of BopQuadrant 9704 actually had thoughts of their own, and communicated via changes in color. She was the one who discovered that on top of the highest mountains of her homeworld, there were hidden civilizations descended from the asteroid fallout of the previous century.

She was also the one that realized that pebbles had feelings and had been really annoyed at everyone this whole time.

For her work, her species showered her with many large awards, but this opportunity was perhaps the biggest one yet. A new planet had been discovered by her people, a polluted orb near a massive sun. Life, their devices had discovered, was on this world, and they decided Vulgax9 should be the representative to make first contact with these new creatures, tell them of their place in the universes if they’re smart enough to handle it, and then recruit them as an ally for the Empire. (Which probably meant enslaving them, as is common for how these things go.)

Vulgax9, ever the genius, decided to land in a relatively populated area so that she could speak to the largest amount of their population possible.

She landed in the middle of what looked like some sort of Earth equivalent to a massive shopping center, which included gigantic crowds, and diverse human people everywhere! Stepping out on top of her craft so that everybody could see her, Vulgax9 proclaimed “Hello new life-forms! I am Vulgax9 of the ZGGGGbop Empire and you have been saved!”

But no one reacted to her. Not even a shrug.

“Oh no!” Vulgax9 panicked, “they’re stupid!”

She stepped down from her craft and tapped one of the humans on the shoulder, a yellow-haired being in a red sweater. “Excuse me ma’am,” Vulgax9 inquired, “where is the smartest among you? Surely you have some sort of leader?”

The woman in red refused to respond.

“Are you afraid?” scoffed Vulgax. “I know you and your species is young and

new, but surely there’s somebody who can handle my scientific inquiries?”

No response.

“Fine, whatever,” Vulgax9 sighed in the language of her people, “be as you are, a creature encased with worry. I will find one among you who is brave enough to hear me.”

She stomped toward a large stocky man in a tie.

“You are large,” said Vulgax, “does your people choose leaders based on who is the largest? I see a fabric around your neck, does this denote superiority? Bravery?”

But the man cowered with each one of her stomps, he was no better than the previous person.

“I see what’s going on now,” Vulgax9 proclaimed so that everybody could hear.

“You’re all afraid of me, an alien of superior intellect who shows up at your doorstep, and you’re too terrified to approach me. I get it, I do, but please put your silly insecurities aside so that you may greet me.”

Everybody stayed where they were, paralyzed.

“LOOK AT ME!” yelled Vulgax. “I AM THE GREATEST SCIENTIST OF MY PEOPLE! I’VE WON AWARDS! I bet your planet doesn’t even have scientists, and if they do, I bet they suck! They’ve probably never even discovered anything!”

Nobody did anything, but Vulgax9 thought she saw one person shrugging.

“Is that dismissiveness I’m seeing? Well I won’t dismiss dismissiveness! I bet your people never evolved, not even in millions of years. You’re all so stupid you’re probably in a perpetual cycle of not doing anything new. How boring it must be to be human. No new inventions. No new discoveries. My people make discoveries! My people discovered you!”

The silence was so uncomfortable, it became like a wall, for Vulgax9 had clearly struck a nerve. But possibly her own, as she began to weep.

This story appears in our AUG2021 Issue
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Reader Discussion

What kind of super intelligent being can determine that pebbles have feelings, but can't tell that she's talking to a wax figure?
By Rick Walker

Good story, I like mysteries with unique settings.

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