Chapter 1: Beginnings
Copyright© 2018 by Duncan7
Before Brian was even born, the unthinkable happened. Aliens abducted his mother, Molly Westwood. It happened one night, she was taken in the dark and never returned. There were no clues, no trace of where she went.
Her alien abductors were of a race that would sometimes gather samples from more primitive, non space-faring races for study. The alternatives would be to land on a world and make direct contact publicly, or to try to blend in with the subjects in a covert operation, both of which involve significant risks. Primitives are rife with superstition and fear that renders them far too dangerous for direct contact, especially in numbers. So the standard operating procedure is to bring back isolated samples, and learn from them.
At the time, her selection was quite arbitrary. She lived alone in a fairly isolated place, and so others would not see her abduction and raise alarm or otherwise provoke the indigenous population. Earth was a closed world to all space-faring races, except for the occasional scientific study. Exposure to the humans was prohibited, and ever since they managed to reach out with space probes, the moon and other planets within the sol system were off limits too.
They took Molly back in a space cruiser to their home world, to live there the remainder of her life as their guest. She could not be returned, since having learned about them she was contaminated with knowledge of her hosts and their more advanced technology. They would not risk her disturbing the status quo back at Earth. A missing person is one thing, but one that later reappears with knowledge of alien abduction would be too much. Equally, tampering with her memory was a risky prospect, usually resulting in little more than a vegetable. So for Molly, the journey to their home world was a one-way trip.
It took a few weeks aboard the space cruiser to get to their home world, during which time Molly was confined to her quarters. The aliens provided for her basic needs, but otherwise left her alone. She was the subject of a study into primitive species, which meant that she was not to be disturbed. The protocol for the transfer of samples was to limit interactions with the sample that could contaminate and invalidate the study. So after an uneventful journey, the space cruiser arrived at its destination, and Molly was eventually escorted to living quarters on the planet which would be her new home.
Fortunately for Molly, their study did not involve any painful probing or dissection, like some humans feared. It was more like getting to know her via observation and, if possible, communication. She was simply their guest, for an indefinite stay, while they learned more about humans. In numbers, the primitives could be dangerous, but individuals posed little danger to these alien scientists.
The place that was provided for Molly was nicer than her former home, but for her it was still a form of confinement. There was no lock on the door, and she was free to go out and explore. But being alone in an alien world, she felt little desire to venture out. She was observed both directly and indirectly as she went about her new life. The aliens, known as Tians (pronounced Tee-ans), would study her daily. She felt a like an exhibit in a zoo.
Tians were part of a loose syndicate of star-faring races. They were mostly peaceful, and they welcomed visitors from other star-faring races, for trade and other mutual benefits. Her abduction was part of the equivalent of some anthropology experiment, conducted by the Tian science academy.
She was the only human, and one of a few specimens from primitive races, collected for study, although she never met any other subjects. It sounded good if you were the ones doing the studying, but not much fun if you were the subject.
Tians looked roughly human, but without hair and a bit shorter in height. They had pale skin and wore clothing that was mostly uniforms or plain in design.
Their mannerisms were cold and reserved, or at least that is what Molly thought. The Tian scientists were cautious not to contaminate the suspect with their own communication, so they remained distant. The unfortunate result was a reinforcement of the feeling of isolation she felt.
One thing her abductors had not planned for was the birth of her son, Brian, who arrived about six months after her arrival. He was an unexpected bonus for the Tian scientists. He provided both another human to study, and some much needed human company for his mother.
The birth went smoothly. At the time, Molly was both glad to have her son and sad that he would never see his father.
Molly bonded with the little bundle of joy, determined to raise him as best she could in this alien prison. She named him Brian after her grandfather.
Brian learned both about Earth, and being human from his mother. From the point he was old enough to venture outside, he got to learn of the world of his birth, known as Tian Prime. Molly taught her son to speak English, and she tried to teach him reading and writing. But she had no Earth books to read and only she would be able to read his writing. Eventually she gave up, glad she at least had someone to talk with.
Unknown to Molly, the Tian scientists did have a collection of books and documents they had collected for their studies of Earth. They had recorded countless hours of TV and radio broadcasts. She never knew about the existence of such things, and they never thought to offer.
The Tians provided for Molly and Brian’s needs, but with things of Tian origin. Things like furniture, utensils, clothing and toys. To Brian it was all quite normal, as he grew up with a human mother and surrounded by alien items.
A good thing of note, Brian’s birth on Tian Prime earned him a full Tian citizenship, complete with an identification chip, which was encoded and embedded in his arm. He was perhaps the first ever citizen who was not of the Tian race. At least he never met another like him.
The Tians explained to Molly, that it was in their laws and constitution that granted his citizenship. He would grow to become a member of their society, with all rights and privileges.
In comparison, Molly was a subject of their study and her status equated to that of a guest. She would never have or gain the right of citizenship, but she would live out her life as a guest, free of responsibility. Under the standard terms of the study of primitive species, she would be provided for, and protected. She could not be returned to Earth though.
As a citizen, Brian was entitled to a full education. In time, he attended the Tian education system, and learned Tian and multiple alien languages, including reading and writing.
Brian was the most unique Tian citizen in a long time, and that got him some unwanted attention in Tian society. He learned to keep a low profile when in public, and he developed the skills to avoid trouble when he could.
Time passed and Brian grew up. He kept up with his studies. He put in the extra effort, and it showed. At 14 cycles, he had earned the respect of his teachers and classmates. He behaved in a very Tian-like manner in public, and you would not be able to distinguish him from other Tians except for the physical differences. He had learned to blend in was the best way to keep a low profile. Other beings might look at him as strange at first, but in time they would get used to the differences and he would be just another Tian.
The relative advancement of Tians versus humans was not so much one of developmental, but knowledge and technology. The expectations of his teachers for success caused a self-fulfilling prophecy or Pygmalion effect. Brian was one of the top in his classes.
Molly never got over her abduction. She felt like a prisoner, living in a nightmare. She refused to cooperate with her alien captors, rarely leaving her living quarters and not learning their language. She taught her son to speak English, and would only use English with him. She could not understand what he did outside, or why he would even interact with the aliens the way he did. For a lot of the time she was depressed and withdrawn.
Brian cared about his mother, but as a child he was ill equipped to help. Her distance from him helped push him to succeed at his studies. He did all he could to be a success, so that his mother would feel better. Of course his efforts had the reverse effect, but he was too young to understand then.
Brian knew he could not go to Earth, and by now understood why. Genetically, he was human. But due to his upbringing he was in no way a normal human. Although his mother had told Brian that she was from some country known as America on the planet Earth, he was born on Tian Prime, with all the learning of a Tian citizen. There were no countries or other divisions in Tian society, which made so much more sense to him than the primitive culture on Earth.
His education on Tian Prime had him far ahead of his mother and those of her home planet. He had no claim to a life there, nor did it appeal to him. He identified with Tian Prime more than Earth. He was Tian in all ways except genetics. His fellow students were Tian, not human. They were friendly enough to Brian. The only human he knew was his mother, and she was perpetually sad. Her example of what it was to be human did not appeal to him. If Earth was full of people like his mother, it must be a sad place indeed.
As he progressed in his education, he took subjects including astrophysics, stellar cartography and navigation. He understood that he lived among the stars and he saw his future there. He studied how hyper drive technology allowed travel between star systems, and his enthusiasm caused him to excel in those studies.
One night sometime after he was 16 cycles of age, Brian had a strange dream. He knew it was a dream, because he woke up remembering it. It was strange because he rarely recalled any details from his dreams.
He dreamt that when he closed his eyes and looked into the darkness, he saw a pair of eyes open and staring back at him. They were similar to his own eyes but they were green, and no more than a metre away from his face. He could not see any other features in the darkness, he only knew there were eyelids because he saw the eyes open, so something must have covered them at first. There were no words spoken in that dark place, no sounds at all. The eyes just looked at him. They did not appear to be Tian. They might even be human, but with just they eyes he did not have enough to be certain. He thought perhaps they belonged to a girl.
He felt a mixture of surprise and awe, and was afraid to open his eyes, lest the eyes would be gone when he looked again. It was as if he had turned a corner one dark night, and come face to face with someone, not knowing what to do. So he remained motionless, waiting what would happen next. He got the feeling that there was no menace behind those eyes, and maybe even something more positive. He did not feel afraid, rather he felt drawn towards them. And that was as far as he could recall the next morning.
He had no idea what the dream meant, but it had to be something important. He tried to sketch what he had seen, but he was not that good at drawing, so eventually he gave up.