I wake up, eyes open but it’s still dark, look around, sit up – but -what the -?
My hand slips off a tree branch. I feel myself pulled by gravity. I’m falling!
Someone grabs my arm and pulls me back. I’m perched in the pouch of three tree branches, delicately balanced. A woman is beside me. She’s – I don’t really know. Is that warpaint on her face? She’s holding an ax. I am, too.
I’m wearing leathery pants and no shirt. I’ve got a headband on and feathers sticking up in back. Why can’t I get a break? Hey, my hair is really long. And braided?
“Shh!” the woman insists sternly. I know I didn’t say anything. Okay I’ll stop fidgeting! Why is she pointing down?
Below rides a lone dude with a big sword on his hip. He reminds me of paintings of the Spanish and Portuguese sailors who wiped out the Incas and the Aztec. Am I in South America in the 1500’s?
Shit! She’s getting ready to jump on him! She’s wondering why I’m not more into it. I’m supposed to jump with her. And she’s counting it down! One…two…
No way. There she goes!
Whoa! She never reaches him! She bounces away from him like he’s got an invisible bubble protecting him. Her ax flies off into the dark. She falls beneath a tree, out.
Surprised but unconcerned, the rider sees her landing then looks up to find me perched with an ax. He remains unconcerned and continues on his way down the moonlit trail.
I climb down. This is odd. Times seem medieval but the generation of a force field is either technological or magical. And isn’t magic just technology without mechanics? Either way, this guy is no more a native here than me. I catch up to him.
“Hey there? Hello? Yes, I, um, I just wanted to ask you…where are you from?”
“I’m an explorer. I decided to visit as a conquistador to ensure my safety.”
“Not working out well in this case,” I point out.
“Correct. I estimated you’d leave me alone. Stay a respectful distance. Don’t you people think I am a god?”
“These people are not mine,” I explain. Then I can’t think of how to explain further without sounding nuts.
The “explorer” points a device at me. After a quick look at the results he concludes, “You seem to be native to this region. That’s all I meant by ‘you people.'”
“Yes, this body is native to the region,” I admit from experience. “But the compelling mind driving this body just got here and is not from around here at all! Kind of like yourself.”
“You show a surprising awareness of possibilities for someone of this continuum vector,” says the conquistador. “And you display a calm curiosity amid bewildering input. You are not of this continuum vector. Show me your true appearance.”
I’m flummoxed. “I – this is it. I don’t transport physically. It’s my mind that switches universes. I call it transcarnation.”
The conquistador ponders what he’s heard, but then, “We know of no possible means of transplanting a hypothetical ‘compelling mind’ from one neural infrastructure to another. Clearly, you have suffered a precocious form of brain damage.”
“Who is ‘we?'” I demand cautiously.
“The answer would be senseless from a planetary perspective,” the pretender assures me. “Do you know the meaning of…” he hesitates, calibrating the proper translation, “…DNA?”
“Yeah. I’ve heard of DNA. Yes, yes I know, the nucleic acid that directs the growth and development of life.”
“Good. What you may be unaware of is that when your DNA shows its roots in certain regions, you are better off physically and mentally living in those climates. Slight variations in your home’s geographical elevation, latitude and longitude – the place on the planet where you live – will either be chronically helping you or constantly hurting you.”
Okay. Thanks. But what…?
“Your eyes might reveal an element that is and was commonly produced by a northern European with a slice of another element common to South Americans,” the strange visitor goes on. “When these differences are compiled and compared to stable populations from around your world throughout time, a close approximation of the origin point from as far back as a million years ago can be determined.”
“My world?” I note. “What world are you from?”
Ignoring my question, the mounted mystery goes on. “Your very birth there would have been best; but failing that merely living there now would bring a condition of less allergies, fewer injuries, better coordination, stronger immunity; and all these and more will come with proper situation of your body.”
“Yeah, well, some people, like me, have such a mixture of DNA that most habitable regions of the planet are comfortable for us,” I assert.
The stranger points his device at me again. Checks it again. “Not really…”
“Well not now! Like I said, this body isn’t…”
“If only you could understand me, little one. I am collecting all of this detailed information so that we can best understand you and your needs as the galaxies evolve.”
Then he and the horse simply fade into a shadow.
Next time you see a lone conquistador in remote regions, remember:
There’s a thin line between aliens and alienation.