Sentient Meat

…an interesting short story by a science fiction writer named Terry Bison

“They are made out of meat.”
“Meat?”
“There’s no doubt about it. We picked up several from different parts of the planet and took them aboard our recon vessels and probed them all the way through, and they are completely meat.”
“That’s impossible. What about the radio signals, the message to the stars?”
“They use radio waves to talk, but the signals don’t come from them, the signals come from machines.”

 
 

“So who made the machines? That’s who we want to contact.”
“They made the machines. That’s what I am trying to tell you—meat made the machines.
“That’s ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You are asking me to believe in sentient meat?”
“I am not asking you, I am telling you. These creatures are the only sentient race in the sector and they are made out of meat.” “Maybe they are like the orpholia—you know, the carbon based intelligence that goes through a meat stage.”
“Nope. They are born meat and they die meat. We studied them for several of their life spans—which doesn’t take too long. Do you have any idea, the life span of meat?”
“Spare me. Okay, maybe they are part meat, you know, like the werdelie, a meathead with an electron plasma brain inside?”
“Nope. We thought of that. They do have meatheads, like the werdelie, but I told you, we probed them, they are all meat, all the way through.”
“No brain?”
“Oh, there’s a brain, it’s just that the brain is made out of meat.”
“Thinking meat? You are asking me to believe in thinking meat?”
“Yes, thinking meat. Conscious meat. Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal. Are you beginning to get the picture?”
“Oh, my God! You are serious, then? They are really made out of meat?”

“Finally! Yes, they are indeed made out of meat, and they have been trying to get in touch with us for almost one hundred of their years.”
“So what does this meat have in mind?”
“Well, first it wants to talk to us. Then I imagine it wants to explore the universe, contact other sentients, swap ideas and information, the usual.”
“We’re supposed to talk to meat?”
“That’s the idea. That’s the message they are sending out by radio, ‘Hello, anyone out there, anybody home?’ That sort of thing.”
“They actually do talk then? They use words, ideas, and concepts?”
“Oh yes, but they do it with meat.”
“Oh my God, speaking meat! This is altogether too much.”
“So what do you advise?”
“Officially, we are required to contact, welcome, log in, any and all sentient races, multi-beings, in this quadrant, without any prejudice, fear or favor. Unofficially, I advise we erase the records and forget the whole thing.”
“I was hoping you would say that.”
“It seems harsh, but there is a limit. Do we really want to make contact with meat?”
“I agree one hundred percent. What’s there to say? ‘Hello, meat, how’s it going?'”
“I know. Too much.”
“So how many planets are we dealing with?”
“Just one.”
“Do we just pretend there is no one home in the universe?”
“That’s it.”
“Any others? Anyone interesting on that side of the galaxy?”
“Yes, a rather shy but sweet hydrogen core cluster in Class 9 Star G45 that was in contact two galactic rotations ago wants to be friendly again.”
“They always come around, don’t they?”

“Why do they do this? Why do they make little metal projectiles that poke holes in the meat and let fluids spill out so that they die?” “Well, usually it’s about some thing that they are holding on to—land, a position, their religion, or whatever. Then the countries try to get together to make peace. But while they are trying to make peace other members of the same country sell weapons so they can kill each other some more.” “But that doesn’t make sense.”

“Well, they do it for money.” “What’s money?” “It’s power, but in the form of paper, and it is by agreement that it has value.” “And this is why they kill each other off? This is why they spend more time on destroying than on healing?”

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~ by mightyjahj on January 11, 2009.

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