The Encounter
Gerardo Chávez Spínola
(Translation: Daniel W. Koon)

The spaceship had traveled for many years, visiting many planetary systems in search of intelligent life, but so far without success. This new planet on which they planned to land had characteristics which revived the crew’s hopes for that anticipated encounter.
        “Prepared to land in the valley?” the commander asked through the intercom.
        “All systems ready,” replied the pilot.
        “Proceed.”

        The powerful engines of the ship with their impressive flames brought them to a smooth landing on the valley surface.
        “Open the hatch and send the exploration module toward that mountain,” the commander ordered.
        All watched expectantly as the exploration module was ejected, until only the glowing jet of its engines could be seen.
        “Is this planet inhabited?” one crew member ventured out loud.
        “Yes it is.” The words emerged from a strange voice inside the mind of each crew member.
        They looked at each other, startled, realizing at once that this was a telepathic transmission.
        “Who is this?” the commander asked out loud.
        “A biological entity which is located in the mountain is communicating with you,” responded the same interior voice.
        Dozens of questions arose in the minds of the crew who were unaccustomed to hiding their thoughts from a telepathic entity and whose thoughts were especially disordered, given their excitement.
        “What do they look like?”
        “What do they eat?”
        “How do they reproduce?”
        “How many are there?”
        They broadcast their thoughts, almost as one.
        “Biological entity, consisting of various subsystems organized in cells, irrigated by appropriate fluid. Gaseous respiration,” the entity continued. “Semispherical form, diameter approximately 32 millimeters in height, weight between 60 and 80 grams, depending on the epoch of the year. Bacterial alimentation and reproduction by biological contact. Trained to receive and transmit telepathic waves with the goal of contacting advanced civilizations and of responding to the questions that they pose about the known universe. We are an extinct species. We were only two specimens: the biological entity in the valley ceased to exist one thousand eight hundred and seventy-two seconds ago, when your ship landed on top of it. At the end of this transmission plus exactly nine point three seconds, the biological entity which lives in the mountain will cease its vital functions, as your exploration module is resting right on top of meeeeee..”
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