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Dawn Sperber's stories have appeared in Bourbon Penn, NANO Fiction, PANK Magazine, Luna Station Quarterly, Hunger Mountain, and elsewhere. Her story, "Ravenous Mermaids," was listed as a notable story of 2019 by The Best Horror of the Year. She's a writer and editor in New Mexico, and you can find more of her work at dawnsperber.com.

Raise your antenna. Pause motion.
Journeymen have an announcement: Their mission to the blue-green planet was successful.
Indeed, the planet is populated. Six main entities dominate the surface area, on both land and liquid. They are hungry beings who quickly adapt and reproduce and become more of themselves. Most exist within the stomachs and cellular systems of hosts, who vary in shape and type, yet each host eats when the entity inside them demands it and goes where it tells them to go.
Two entities are bacteria forms and three are viruses. They elicit total global control and have since they first entered their hosts' digestive systems. The sixth entity is a form of light.
An interesting addendum: The planet's physical entities partially control some hosts by means of power delusions, particularly the host-type that walks upright. These upright-walking hosts focus their actions on their meaningless distractions, believing themselves to be superior on the planet. Meanwhile, the powerful entities in their stomachs compel their hosts to congregate or isolate as they demand, to mate, and to eat the sugar, proteins, and fats that make them stronger.
Each host-body on the planet is part of the fractal expression of the viruses and bacteria within their digestive corridors. Still, many hosts fight each other for the recognition of being a distinct and better expression of the overarching fractal expression. Which is a little funny. [Sidenote: har har.]
The sixth entity is our own ancestor. The conscious light that sizzles our antenna also inhabits that planet. This confirms that we are distant kin. Within each host-being on the blue-green planet, the conscious light glows inside their cells in undulating vibrancy, increasing radiance in proportion to the host's alignment with their own inherent design. Likewise, the conscious light darkens in the hosts' cells with their fear of disconnection with the fractal whole. This is fully misunderstood by the host-beings, who remain devoted to their created distractions of control.
Journeymen traded cells and frequency patterns with the blue-green planet's entities, which should effectively inoculate our planet's tribe from the next season of cosmic plague.
Mission: Complete.
Resume motion.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, March 18th, 2021

Author Comments

I think about our microbiomes a lot, and how the bacteria and viruses in our stomachs can affect our emotions and inclinations and encourage us to make particular choices. How much of our personalities and actions are determined by our guts?

When I answered a writing prompt to describe Earth from an alien point of view, it seemed obvious that, on this planet, bacteria and viruses outrank human culture by far. I got a kick out of bumping humans out of their egocentrism and drawing attention to the cellular, intimate view of life. And I do really think we glow when we're in alignment with our own inherent design. A certain kind of glow, you know what I mean.

- Dawn Sperber
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