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July 04, 2022

Gray

By Dan Mulhollen

We were few in numbers at first. Children hidden from other children, home-schooled, eventually going to work for our parents. But we had brothers and sisters, cousins, nephews and nieces. We began entering the general population to find normal prejudices still ruled. We were shunned; those who dared leave the safety of their extended families were usually consigned to jobs nobody else wanted.

But a second generation arrived, and despite the outcries of self-proclaimed moral guardians, and our assimilation into human society became widespread.

We are the result of aliens mating with humans. Slightly shorter and thinner than our human parent, our features are not that different from any other sentient biped in the galaxy. And while our hair might be any natural human color, our flesh is invariably gray.

"It's your heritage," my human mother would tell me, herself proud of being a third generation Irish-American. Ah, I would remind her, but anyone with any knowledge of geography knows where Ireland is. Even Earth's top astronomers don't know where Ferisa's World is located.

My father spent the last twenty years of his life vainly struggling to repair the battered communications devices of his spacecraft. Other survivors also toiled to repair the myriad of systems necessary for interstellar flight.

Most of them are dead now; neither their immune systems ready for Earth's multitude of hostile microbes, nor a race used to an average daytime temperature of 150F prepared for winter.

"Humans," my father would explain, "are a strange lot. Most fear what is different, but a few most enthusiastically embrace it." My mother was one of the latter group, enjoying the novelty of her secret alien lover.

But a difference in flesh-tone is the only real difference between my parents. Neither has any special powers. My father's race mastered interstellar flight, and are able to keep a dozen different trains of thought active at any given time. However my mother has a greater sense of subtlety.

If my father saw a painting, he would admire the artist's technique and how past influences were incorporated in the work. My mother would see the passion of the depicted story, able to recreate the artist's inner-struggle.

As our alien parents were all scientists, we were raised to appreciate intellect. As our human parents were all rebels, we are all suspicious of authority and conformity. These traits made us appear threatening to the general population.

For many years we wore makeup to try to fit in with mainstream society. It allowed us to get jobs and go to better colleges. But hiding ones true self is never a good idea. We became angry both at the world and ourselves. Suicide was always a hazard of being half-alien.

Seeing our second generation, as equally gray as the first, triggered something in our psyche. Many threw away their makeup, risking discrimination. Those less brazen empathized with the radicals, wishing they had the nerve to take such a bold step, and often using their positions as teachers, business leaders, and police officers to covertly help their brethren.

And what could our detractors do, anyway? Even half-human, we were still citizens of our native country; something the Supreme Court upheld in a unanimous decision. And this year, with the help of thousands of fully-human sympathizers, I was elected to the United States Congress; the first Alien-American to achieve this honor.

It is still a long road ahead. Some conservatives warn the tans and browns that make up human skin colors will disappear and eventually everyone will be gray. I doubt this as color variation is probably inevitable.

Still, in my private moments among trusted friends, I will joke that our parents were sent to conquer the Earth. And that we are slowly succeeding.

Article © Dan Mulhollen. All rights reserved.
Published on 2009-08-24
2 Reader Comments
GuardianOfTheFronds
08/27/2009
07:39:23 PM
An alien-American congressman? This has the makings of a good Nano story.
Dan Mulhollen
08/29/2009
11:09:57 PM
Thanks for the comment. Nano is still a scary thought at this point of the year.
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