by Katherine Phelps
Copyright © 1989

The sun shone green and glinted and sparkled off of the spaceman's silvery outfit. He looked something like a great shining fish, and in the grip of one glove webbed hand he held a tube capable of wishing greetings and peace in all the languages of the earth, including several computer languages. The spaceman smiled a long beatific smile. To the gangly, hirsute creature before him he extended his hands and opened them.

"You probably do not understand right now, but we wish you the joy of earth at finding another planet so nobly populated . . . we are not alone." Inside his suit the man positively glowed as warmly as the setting sun. "Since I must depart, plowing once more through the starfields home, I leave you this tube that your scientists might better understand us and someday join with us as brothers." The spaceman encouraged the alien to take his gift. The alien obligingly wrapped its long nobbly fingers around the object. For a moment it seemed to nod its head in approval. Its deep soft eyes appeared to smile in friendship. The spaceman, then, returned to his ship feeling self satisfied that he had fulfilled his universal mission of goodwill; he had been the ambassador of understanding.

As the last traces of the ship's drive flickered in the distance, the alien carefully arranged the tube in its mouth and ran home to bury it in its master's backyard.