Those Long Grey Limbs – Minjae Kim ’21

Entry #253, Gaskin ARK 301524.

Gess seems more anxious than normal. Jimmy, Marilyn, and Edgar seem particularly sensitive towards them. Signing off.


Hello? Is this still working? Oh! Um, hey. So lots has happened… Michelle Gaskin ID 301524, citizen of the United States of America, um… resident of Florida, and… Earth. First entry since collapse. I don’t know who or what will find this, but I’ll try to explain.

We all remember the articles.

“Found Signs of Water on Mars!”

“Ice on the Moon”

“Possible Life on Enceladus”

We were proud creatures and wanted to know if there were others like us outside of our planet. We searched further and further out and studied things in greater and greater detail. But despite all of humanity’s combined efforts, we never did manage to find life out in space. But they did find us.

It happened about two years ago on October 14, 2078. They landed in a field in the middle of nowhere — Westphalia, Kansas to be exact — a city with a fluctuating population of around 165. A local dairy farmer spotted it first, although Gess claims that the cows had found them first. I’m not entirely sure how to describe the pictures I saw in the paper — of course, I did what any self-respecting human would do and went to see them myself — but I’m still not sure how to describe it. The UFOs they had arrived in had no visible outer structure. No steel bars, no red pointy tip, no rockets sticking out. They were innocuous spheres of gas, the size of small elevators, composed of amorphous clouds swiftly shifting through varying shades of black and deep blue.

Scientists ran tests on these clouds for weeks. They checked for pressure, radiation, composition, and sound. They never figured out what permitted these ships to travel through our atmosphere and through space over hundreds of light years. They might’ve, if given the time, but funny how that worked out.

One of these ships had a hollow imprint left in it, leaving behind an outline of what had previously been there. Of course, this was the outline of Gess, the first and only alien that humans have established contact with. The other two never made it out.

I guess I should tell you about the aliens. Turns out human imagination wasn’t too far off. Everybody got pretty well-versed with alien theory after Gess landed, so I hope it makes sense when I say they were the typical “Roswell Gray.” If that doesn’t make sense to you, the Apple alien emoji, the inverted triangular face with large black saucer eyes, was basically what Gess looked like. They were a lot taller than us, averaging about 7 to 8 feet tall. I have been told by Gess that some grow even taller. As a species, they have also evolved to reproduce without sex, long considered to be an absolute waste of energy and time. In short, Gess has both the ability to bear and give


The naming of Gess took a long time. They didn’t exactly know if they wanted a gendered name based off of arbitrary observations that conformed to a human standard of measurements. In conclusion, Gess was chosen as a neutral name that sounded most similar to what their neutral grunts and growls of communications sounded like. Linguists argued for weeks over this, before finally agreeing that it sat closest to a glottal trill and picking an unrelated name that most people could pronounce.

That’s basically all humans did when Gess landed. Argue about their existence and how we could put them into a box we could understand them in.

This is where I come in.

As it turned out, there was a reason three of them had landed. One was their leader and was supposed to make the decisions. The other one of them would’ve been very useful, as they had studied vocalizing and learned to practically mimic human language by blowing air through their hands and vibrating various fingers aggressively. But of course, only Gess made it.

Gess was quite fond of cows. It took a while for humans to convince them to leave the poor dairy farmer’s cows alone back in Kansas. As it turned out, humans were one of the few animals that Gess was unable to communicate with. Humans had all this “garbage” in our heads, which was officially renamed “clutter” because nobody really wanted to officially accept that their heads were full of garbage.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

Gess liked cows because they could talk to them. Or at least send their thoughts to the cows in a convincing enough manner to get them to act in a certain way. They never bothered to clarify the difference and at this point, I don’t really care to check. Once the government found out about this, almost every single animal was tested for compatibility. So for a while, Gess was the centerpiece of what the government called the ARK Project – they brought every possible animal they could think of for Gess to interact with. And as it turned out, when animal brains and thoughts became too

complex, Gess was unable to communicate with them. But an intelligent, manageable medium turned out to be, surprise surprise, my crows.

Oh, I didn’t introduce myself. I’m Michelle — an expert ornithologist and bird trainer, specializing in crows. The government swept me up once they realized Gess was able to communicate easily with intelligent birds. For instance, when I asked Gess why they couldn’t talk to us directly, they turned to the crows, and without much hesitation, every single crow flew over and sat on the garbage bin. The government scientists made me ask multiple times just in case it was the crows choosing to do this of their own accord, but no, humans are just full of garbage — I’m sorry, “clutter.”

So what brings me to making this entry now?

Well, as it turns out, something that never occurred for us to check out in great depth when communicating with Gess was, why were they here exactly? Through vague crow interpretation, we understood that they had come here less prepared than they wanted to be and that they were running from something. But beyond that, not much. They definitely had intended to find us, or some form of habitable planet with intelligent life forms on it. And they had successfully found us. Or at least one of them had.

Perhaps if vibrating-fingers didn’t die out on us, we would’ve known what was coming.

God, we always thought humanity would meet its end through the eventual death of the sun or something to do with global warming and cooking ourselves to death. Truth was less science and more Hollywood. Another, different alien species (Can you believe it? There was another one out there — how many had we missed?) came to Earth, tracking down Gess to finish what they had started.

They never managed to get Gess. But they did manage to get every other person on the planet.

While the Others were massacring the entire human race — I’m calling them the Others, if you want a better name, find someone whose job wasn’t staring at birds all day — Gess grabbed me and shoved me into a corner and covered me with their body. Fortunately for me, Gess’ specific species of alien is a peaceful prey species that has perfected hiding over centuries of evolution. As far as I can understand, it’s an advanced type of camouflage that does more than color — it also mimics heat and such. The Others came and left a couple of times but managed to kill nothing but a few very disgruntled crows. Until they stopped coming altogether.

As soon as they left Gess nursed me back to health, bringing me water and the cooked flesh of my dead crows. Earth has been wiped clean of human beings; in fact, it is eerily clean. Not a single drop of blood or corpse has been left behind. Dead animals yes, but not a single dead human so far.

We’ve been marching for days now. With the number of alien conspiracists that existed before and after Gess’ arrival, someone must have survived in a bunker somewhere. But I have yet to find anyone. Survival while trekking through the abandoned planet has not been very challenging. Gess is able to convince wild animals to stay away and humans have produced so much packaged and processed food that I always have enough to eat.

There is one little problem, however. As Edgar, my last remaining crow, has recently informed me, Gess is dying. (I asked Gess how they were doing, and Edgar landed on a tombstone. I tried multiple times over many days and Edgar has endlessly creative ways to express death. Smart bird.) Their physiology seems to depend on some sort of chemical swapping mechanism with another of their species to survive. Gess estimates that they’ll be dead in one or two years.

We’re currently trekking back to Westphalia, Kansas to see if there is anything we can salvage from the two other ships to help Gess survive. I have also been informed that Gess is reproductively compatible with me and would be able to effortlessly and painlessly impregnate me. This would ultimately create an alien and human hybrid that hopefully

  1. will not kill me during child/alien birth
  2. will help Gess survive.

The red light is blinking which hopefully means it’s running out of battery and not broken. Nothing much to see around here but fields and farmland. I’m sitting on a cow that Gess is having a pleasant conversation with, or so I think. Sure beats walking. I’ll make another recording entry once I find a store with batteries.

God, I hope this doesn’t end up like Twilight.

Signing off.