I build a tall structure out of Lego at the window of a hi-rise, knowing full well that something is not quite right with it. Not so much the its build quality, which is decent enough, but that something in the very nature of the construction is unsettling. Night. I'm standing in in the middle of a neon thoroughfare in the rain, the Lego structure now an enormous metal pylon jutting from the middle of the street, stretching up into the night sky. Glowing blue panels higher up are dimly visible through nocturnal smog.
I know now that what I’ve built is a beacon of some sort to try and lure in an alien intelligence from the depths of space or time. After making some final reconfigurations, a nearby shopping centre glows blue and an alien dropship lands suddenly and in full view of the public. It is a fairly generic thing resembling a shuttle raft from Star Trek, and we wait in anticipation to see what sort of being will emerge from the door, but nothing ever does.
Instead, we cut to a hallway that hums in luminous white. It is a series of connected cloisters and chambers, each inhabited by slightly different entities, trying to communicate themselves through the forms that they take. One chamber is flanked within skeletons with engorged heads in the shape of Klein bottles. Another is populated with porcelain slugs with vestigial humanoid features. They slide about like chess pieces, their bodies painted into phrenological segments and cryptic symbols.
What seems to be the final chamber a dance of white statues; Bernini’s Daphne and Apollo turns on its axis, her vegetal hands rippling and thrashing in fast forward even though her face remains frozen. Behind them, Laocoon and his sons struggle is slow motion before rippling fronds of marble. At the end of this ultimate chamber lies a locked door, before which is a headless statue that reaches up as if in rapture, his hands ribbons of thrashing stone.
As my mind glides through this sequence, I scoff at this tortured cliche of an attempt at making first contact.
In the years that followed, it was revealed that the alien Mind bestowed upon humanity a gift, but only to those who possessed an imminent concept of God. Individuals whose instinct towards the divine was like birds who can sense magnetic north. Driven by something beyond the edge of language to gravitate towards the structure of the unknowable. Despite our species’ religious tendencies this turned out to be an extremely small portion of the global population, but one of them was me.
Over time The Mind had assembled us into a close-knit cabal, one which wore uniforms with quasi-militaristic, retro-futuristic stylings. And it had tasked us with with finding others like us who could wield this this gift - whatever it is - to do something with it that felt very important but also very unclear. As we chatted and hung about in what looked like a military mess. Our irises glowed blue in fanatic intensity but as I look closer into them I see corporate sponsorship in the whites of our eyes like optical flotsam.
At one point I notice that one of our cabal is TV’s Patrick Stewart, and wonder what he might be doing here, as that would be a stroke of luck. Then one of the cabal announces that in addition to seeking out people with similarly glowing blue eyes, they also had to have blonde hair, and suddenly I see in horror what is going on.
This is the Pilot episode of the new Jean Luc Picard TV series, and it appears to being made to appeal to internet edgelords, crackpots and ethnic-nationalists. I could see that the seeds they were planting would bloom into a lizard-heavy alien infiltration storyline, and something like a New World Order plot would retcon the more traditional Vulcan origin story of the United Federation of Planets.
”The fans are going to hate this”, I think.
The locked chamber at the end of the long, white hallway is somewhere I have seen before and has repeated in many dreams throughout the years. It resembles a damp, stone basement full of secrets stored on heavy wooden shelves. They sit like old furniture, rotten, indistinct and draped in tarpaulin.
Behind them, barely visible in the shade, lies another door.