The Probe.

It started as a speck in space, an insignificant sphere amongst the vastness of the galaxy, hurtling towards the tiny blue planet. The Sphere was small; only one and a half meters in diameter however its repercussions on its people and those it was about to visit would be enormous. Though it travelled through space at a tremendous speed, its journey still took many years, but at last it had reached its final destination. The little ball started to glow as it entered the atmosphere of the blue planet, leaving a trail of flames behind it.

The beings below saw it as a falling star in the night sky, a hunk of rock or a piece of debris which was sucked in by the planets gravitational pull. It wasn't anything special as such things were common throughout the night sky. They failed to realize however that this shooting star was different from the others that normally visited the night sky. It was very different indeed. As stargazers watched the meteorite plummet to the surface, they noticed to their amazement that it was slowing down. In fact it was landing!

The little Sphere fired its engines to slow its descent. Its speed dropped dramatically as it neared the surface of the blue planet until finally it came to rest. The gauges told it that the night air out side was cool though the surface of its shell was still too hot for it to continue its mission at this time. It needed to wait. It just sat there in the same spot as it slowly cooled down to that of the outside temperature.

Though the small Sphere could not deploy its sensors, it still knew that it was no longer alone. There were strange creatures out side watching it from a safe distance. It could tell that they were scared of the new visitor. Hundreds of eyes peered onto the little Sphere, gazing at the strange object. It could hear voices too, and although it couldn't be sure of what was being said, it was definitely a language. Had it finally found what it was looking for?

The creatures watched in awe as the Sphere started to move. It split vertically along an invisible axis allowing metallic tentacles to extend from its innards. There were six in all, each carrying a different tool of some kind. The crowd grew silent as one of the arms produced a green light. The light panned across the crowd, shinning on every individual it could. Although some ran away most stayed in an attempt to discover the meaning of the weird visitor.

The tiny Sphere could now see what was around it. The sensors on its arms were gathering information from its surroundings. It studied the creatures that curiously observed it in return. They were bipedal and stood on average 175 crenoms tall. They also had only two arms and a single head that was erected from their body on a stout neck. They spoke in short bursts of chatter; the Sphere's creators would be pleased indeed. The Sphere knew all to well the significance of its discovery; intelligent life does exist beyond its own planet!

The Sphere continued to gather information; Nitrogen was the main component of the atmosphere with small amounts of Oxygen and other gases. The soil was rich in microbial life forms in fact life was everywhere. The moisture content of the soil was plentiful indicating the presence of frequent rain. The mission was going extremely well.

Then a noise, a loud mechanical sound as the air pressure and wind speed increased dramatically. Above, the Sphere noticed a flying machine unlike anything it had seen before. Instead of relying on anti-gravitation plates, it used a series of rotating blades to keep it hovering in the air. On closer inspection it noticed that the creatures were inside operating the flying machine. They were intelligent indeed.

The Sphere continued to survey the surrounding action. This mission is proceeding far beyond expectations. Probes had been sent to planets throughout the galaxy with no results, until now. Readings continued to be collected by the various computers. This planet was fascinating, life was everywhere and it co-existed with each other just like it did on its home world. The trip was definitely worth it. The Sphere then paid attention to its power supply, which was getting low; it needed to shut down in order to regenerate. It took in one more panoramic view of the world around it then shut down.

The light from the planets star activated the Sphere to wake from its sleep. Day light added new sights to the already over stimulated computers. There were more creatures now, and more machines both in the air and on the ground. Though the flying machines looked different from one-another they still relied on the same principle to stay air borne. It studied the creatures around it in greater detail; they were different individuals from the ones who were there the previous night. They also brought a number of other creatures with them, these were small and had four legs and no arms. Their elongated snout harbored many sharp teeth. They were covered in hair and although they were independent from the original creatures, they seemed to be under their control. There was also something strange about the bipeds as they were all wearing the same clothing and some carried what appeared to be; weapons?

The Sphere became alarmed at the new developments. It never anticipated that intelligent life forms could have weapons. Not even the creators thought this was possible. This indeed was disturbing. Are they hostile? What if they attack? The Sphere calculated the possibilities; it must deliver these findings to the Creators, hence the best thing to do was leave. The only problem being that there was still insufficient power to conduct a launch. It started to recharge its engines. More time was needed.

A number of creatures started to approach the Sphere. They were wearing what appeared to be protective suits. One of them even carried a strange box, was it also a weapon? Maybe it should close it self up, protecting its innards. This would easily protect the Sphere, but it would also hamper its mission. It observed the situation closely; it could not see the faces of the aliens as a dark shield obscured them from view.

The four aliens continued communicating with one another as they slowly approached the Sphere. The Sphere studied the box that one of the aliens was carrying; a beam of light from the sphere penetrated the box causing the aliens to stop in their tracks. The sphere read the information gathered from the scans, the box is only a set a sensors! At last the Sphere could relax. They only wanted to know what the Sphere was.

The aliens started to approach again, this time the Sphere stretched open its innards for them to see. The aliens peered inside to see that the arms protruded from a black box. The Sphere sat still allowing the aliens to study the case of its artificial brain. The sound of the aliens chatter intensified with excitement as they continued to study the Sphere. They are only scientists the Sphere realized. It was once again excited about the possibilities.

Slowly the aliens turned and walked away from the Sphere and disappeared into a shelter made of cloth. The Sphere was very pleased at how well the first encounter had proceeded; the Creators will be very pleased. When the alien scientists left, the Sphere went back to work collecting samples of the surrounding environment, after all the Sphere was a scientist to. The aliens weren't the only ones who were excited, the Sphere gathered more information about them as well, as they studied the Sphere. They were organic with several organs inside their bodies, similar to those of the Creators. The skin colours of the aliens were different to that of the Creators, they were even different amongst themselves. One of the aliens was brown in colour and another was a slight yellow, whilst the other two were lighter still. This was very exciting as it realised that the aliens could be classified into sub-species.

The Sphere studied a building in the distance; it was made of compressed soil made into rectangular blocks and fastened together with a different composite of soil used as glue. The sky was still full of flying machines; this could make take off a little more difficult than expected. The land machines were fascinating as well, they moved on solidified plant sap made into wheels, a primitive but effective method of transportation. It was becoming clear that the new aliens were not as advanced as the Creators but still they certainly were intelligent.

As the Sphere continued to take samples, it noticed that the aliens were becoming more excited in their actions. They were busily traveling from one point to another. Then it noticed that one of their wheeled machines was heading towards it. This concerned the Sphere once again as it watched the machine edge closer and closer to it. It was a large machine with a big hollow box on the back of it; it would be ideal for carrying large objects around in.

The Sphere suddenly realised what was happening, they are trying to take it! This could not happen the information it had was too important. The Sphere had no choice but to cut short its experiments. It started to retract its arms, as the machine got closer. The aliens became aware of what the Sphere was trying to do, it quickly became a race, a race that neither wanted to lose. The Sphere had finally closed back together, it had enough power to reach orbit but there it had to wait for some time to gather enough power for the trip home.

The aliens rushed the Sphere, throwing nets over it, but it was too late. The Sphere soared into the sky leaving a trail of steam behind it. That was too close. Though the mission only lasted several hours, it still gathered more than enough information on the Blue planet below. It had the answers that the Creators had yearned for. Now it had to endure the voyage back to its home planet, a trip that would take many more years.

On the surface the aliens looked into the heavens after the little Sphere, the strange visitor had gone. They had missed their chance. Though they still had many questions, such as who were they? Where did it come from? They did however have one important answer to a question that had plagued them for centuries. It was the same question that the Creators wanted answered: Are we alone? We have been sending probes to every corner of the Solar System and used our telescopes to observe worlds beyond for the answer, in the end the answer found us.