We both looked through the high-res scope.
‘Why are they doing that?’
‘I have no idea…but it’s madness!’
And before them, they could see a street vendor in a busy market handing over colourful fruits and vegetables to another man for what looked like several sheets of paper. And to make it even more absurd the vendor then gave them some metal back as well. What kind of society is this? What madness pervades their brains?
Quickly and with unhumanly precision our scope zoomed from stall to stall. The same transactions, paper for goods; metal for goods; paper and metal for goods. Madness. No wonder they never managed to move off earth. And the crazy thing was the vendors looked happier than the customers, the same customers who had bags stuffed with goods. The faces revealed white teeth and gums, tan creased up skin and darting eyes always looking for the next customer.
What was in these pieces of paper that made them so valuable? How could such insignificant articles wield so much power, a power that allows its master to gain food and clothing and many things besides. It was incomprehensible…
Back in the motherland..
‘Why have you not attempted a landing on Elusa?’ our boss screeched. ‘What is your excuse this time?’
‘Well, they appear to be infected…’
‘Infected??? How can you say this for sure without even landing?’
‘There are two types of human – one is entirely crazy, the other appear to be in control using magical paper for their own gain.’
‘How have you deduced this, so…conclusively?’
‘The crazy ones smile and laugh and accept pieces of paper for tangible goods such as clothing, food and many things besides. I mean can you imagine, pieces of paper for actual goods? And we think the others control them because they have the paper to begin with and are able to trade for the clearly more valuable items, as if the minds of the others is lesser somehow.’
A look of shock and amazement spread across our boss’ face, as if a pebble had been thrown into the centre of it. After several minutes he finally spoke. ‘Then it seems we must keep looking for signs of intelligent life…’