The Wise SWEL

Max hated when people called him an amateur. Although he could only play two chords, when it came to guitar confidence was the key, or that’s what he thought anyway. Tall, muscular and black-haired, Max was generally considered attractive by people of his age. People of many other ages found him ravishing too, but we will not discuss it here as it doesn’t really affect our tale. Max’s general ideologies were about to change the destinies of two races, although he would never know that. Unenlightened, Max tuned his guitar, while traveling via the subway thinking about gingerbread.

Several kilometers away (56.5 trillion to be precise), it was a glorious day for another bipedal life form, one that lived in the middle planets of Bernard’s star system. The history of this alien lifeform is one of the most inspiring tales of the spiral. However, this history has nothing to do with the overall theme of the story and it is quite boring, therefore skipping it is preferable and those who want to skip can jump to the asterisk-marked paragraph below.

Since the language of these extra-terrestrials is composed mainly of moans and grunts which is impossible to be replicated in the 26 lettered English alphabets, we would refrain from using it and would call every Bernardian word by its English counterpart.

For most of the part Bernardians (as we would call them) had a history similar to other carbon-based life around the local group, they evolved and civilised slowly over the course of thousands of years, formed peace-preaching violent religions, fought countless wars, committed mass genocides, found the secret of immortality, got bored, colonised other planets of their system, found the theory of everything and then got disappointed by the sheer easiness of all this. They eventually called a meeting back at the homeworld of Bernard-b, where the representatives of all the colonies finally came to a decision.

They needed arts to save the species from boredom. Several factions were set up, each compromising a different form of entertainment. Musicians, writers, actors, dancers, etc from all over the system suddenly rose into prominence, they had to save a species from boredom. However, sooner or later most of them failed. Their works were too repetitive, too predictable, except for one faction.

Poetry. This small group which was previously considered ‘a massive bore’ attained new heights of glory during this time period. While poetry was predictable to some extent, its high scope for surrealism and metaphor allured the immortal commonfolk. Soon, poetry was termed as ‘the passion of the Bernard’ and poets were dubbed as heroes. And thus, at the end of the Poem Revolution, the poets now controlled most of the Bernardian colonies.

But 789,600 years later, even poetry was slowly failing to entertain the masses. As poets realized that their power might be recalled any day, they desperately looked for a way to make the people happy. The president ordered the poets under him to find the solution until one of them proposed that they ask the astronomers for help. To support his proposal, he quoted an ancient poem. We will not go in the details since this poem is incomprehensible to the human mind and it also loses its rhyming scheme in the translation.

Following the surrealist message of the poem, the astronomers were made to construct a large telescope on the atmosphere devoid planet of Bernard-a1. This telescope was constructed especially to focus on the planets of nearby stars, a technology that is eons ahead of that of Earth. It was for a monstrous task – to find an up and coming civilization that the Bernardians can mentor.

Their initials attempts were disheartening, sadly the nearest star Luhman-16 didn’t have any intelligent species. The Alpha Centauri system was huge but every planet in it was sterile. Luckily, Sol had a planet with intelligent life, called Earth. After initial surveys, they found out that the Earthers were perfect for their plan. So, the masses were finally informed of it. Each interested Bernardian would adopt an Earther, make sure he/she is happy and collectively they will change the pitiful symmetrical species for the better. The masses loved this idea, and a plan was set in motion. They took apart 1/3rd of the tiny Bernard-a1 planet, converting it into thousands of reflective surfaces of small areas. Thus, a Dyson Swarm was constructed on Bernard’s Star in which several reflective surfaces focused tremendous amounts of energy for use. They could now have interstellar voyages.

The above information was mostly history and science mumbo-jumbo. It should be noted that the Poem Revolution, Dyson Swarm, etc were unnecessary expository crap. You were warned that this knowledge has nothing to do with the overall theme of the story and Max’s story hasn’t progressed any further. Hence, you might have wasted your time (but in doing so you have also earned the writer’s gratitude.)

*To summarise to the readers who skipped the details, these Bernardians are ruled by poets, and they had decided that they would adapt humanity. To make it work they had large vessels powered by mirrors, capable of traveling near the speed of light. It was a glorious day for the species since they were now on the verge of executing the first stage of the plan. Two of them would go and finally visit the SWEL (Species with Equal Legs, the Bernardians were in fact, asymmetrical. There were two races, one with larger left leg, another with larger right legs. Several eons ago, mass killings were done by the rights as they considered the lefts impure. This might seem absurd to humans, but Bernardians would feel similar after discovering humans fought over different colors.)

Finally, two Bernardians, the Poet President and the project-head arrived at the Earth. They decided that they would observe the SWEL before contacting them. As they waited to find anyone, President Poet felt uncomfortable. They were happy when they carried out the preparations, but now it felt weird. It appeared too easy, and it felt like they were rushing things. They felt empty. If the President were something other than a poet, say a musician, he probably wouldn’t have paid attention to this minute detail.

Max finally arrived at his destination. It was a Subway station in the market. It was early in the morning and the road outside was deserted. Max walked to the edge of the road, near a building named LILYs, the adjacent building was coincidently named MAX. He smiled and unpacked his guitar. Taking a deep breath, he started playing a melody on it completely unaware of the two unsymmetrical beings with larger right legs who were watching him closely.

The Poet President watched curiously as the tall male played a tune on his stringed instrument. Soon, a female SWEL peaked from the balcony of the building named LILYs. She was happy but tried her best to hide it, to look curious. The male SWEL smiled and started singing. Many other SWEL watched them with a loving expression on their faces. Half an hour later Max was happy, Lily would definitely agree for the next date. Imagining her beautiful scarlet head, Max didn’t even notice when the Poet President scanned his brain.

Using their astounding technology, Poet President looked inside Max’s brain. He was surprised when he found out the reason for Max’s bizarre yet strangely poetic ritual. Max felt ‘something special’ for Lily, therefore he wanted to make her as happy as possible, but at the same time rushing things might ruin everything for them. So, he decided to go slowly, flirt with her. Max’s slow flirtations resonated deep within the Poet’s soul.

He finally realized what was wrong with the Bernardians’ plan. They wanted to create an intimate relationship with the SWEL, and this can be achieved only if the Bernardians approach as slowly as possible. Rushing into relationships can prove disastrous, as the wise SWEL with the stringed instruments showed them. So, the Poet decided that they would go slow, leaving behind mysterious appearances, artifacts to stir the SWEL’s interest in them before revealing their existence to them. Max thus drastically altered the destinies of two different bipedal lifeforms, but unfortunately, things didn’t work out with Lily. The Bernardians, however, respect him, they call him the wise SWEL, the being who taught them the art of establishing relationships.

(This story was completely fictional, an attempt by the writer on a romance based theme. The real Bernardians are gaseous lifeforms that never saw the sunrise and mine their planet’s caves for sulfur. Also, Lily eventually called Max and they lived happily ever after.)

-Deepansh Bhargava

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