This one had Avatar written all over it. No blue cat people, but I was some sort of hired gun on a lush alien jungle world. We were there to capture a specific species of animal to be resold elsewhere as pets. The target animal resembled a chimpanzee but with no fur, smooth amphibian-like skin, and a head in the shape of a hammerhead shark.
The little fuckers were fast, darting through the treetops so quickly I couldn’t keep a bead on them with the “capture gun” I’d been given. Some sort of energy net caster thingie. Consequently I was also given a hoverboard of some sort. Disc shaped but with little triangular fins, and a sphere underneath.
The sphere allowed for quickly changing directions when I was close enough to the ground for it to make contact. If I pressed down to increase traction, I could really build up some serious speed. But then lift a few feet up off the ground to hover right over fallen logs, ponds and other obstacles.
I couldn’t seem to go higher than ten feet, however. This seems to be a rule that applies to any sort of flight in my dreams. I can never actually fly freely. There’s always some limit. Like I can jump and then “glide” forward while steadily losing altitude, or by exerting myself I can “boost” into the air, but only in fits and starts.
I couldn’t even get close to them until I stopped and wondered why I was doing this. Even for a paycheck it was kind of scummy work. I put the capture gun down and sat on a log, contemplating my choice of career. A minute later I noticed the monkey things gathered in the trees all around, watching me.
Eventually their fear diminished and they came out of the trees, closer and closer until one sat on the log beside me. The rest gathered all around. I apologized for trying to catch them, though they couldn’t understand me, and gave them something like an energy bar to eat.
There was a strange, fleeting feeling of camaraderie. Despite being totally different species from different planets, at the end of the day we were both just mobile colonies of cells. All that differed was the number of cells and their DNA. I felt forgiven and invited into a family of all life throughout the universe.
They were now fully relaxed, play fighting each other, lounging in the meadow around me and just chilling with me like a bunch of cozybros. Eventually I had to get up and leave, thinking of an excuse as to why I couldn’t catch any. I knew this lone act of defiance wouldn’t change anything though.
Not with such a well equipped company determined to catch and sell these things. For every one person like me, there were surely ten who would do the job without hesitation and never feel bad about it. It still seemed like it meant something that I refused to be a part of that, but I couldn’t say exactly what.
This one gave me a lot to think about. What are my goals? Am I sure about them? Am I a good person? Do I check to make sure that when I’m making money, it isn’t depriving anybody else of anything? Also, that I’m more similar to most living things than I am different. Complex mammals in particular probably experience a lot of the same feelings I do, they just can’t express it.
In the same way that every person that’s ever lived had a rich, detailed “inner universe” beautiful in its own distinct way, do animals have all that going on inside their brains as well? But trapped in there, never to be shared with us or even others of their own species for lack of spoken or written language?
It also makes me wonder how we plan to communicate with aliens when we can’t understand dolphins or elephants. Even something very similar like gorillas have to be taught one of our languages (ASL) rather than us learning theirs. It left me feeling as if I should focus on making new connections.
I’ve been neglecting that for many years, I often don’t see the point as it’s not clear what I could contribute to anybody elses enjoyment of life. I often think even people who love me would be better off without me in their lives. But I’m also aware that much of that is likely just me being moody.
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