I have been watching and studying the subject intently for several days now. Its ways seem to be non-hostile, though it has not yet shown any signs of noticing me. There's no telling what will happen if it ever does. It's easy for me to blend in unnoticed in these surroundings and observe the creature from a distance. Currently the creature appears to be engaging in fervent conversation with several others of its own kind. Its ways are so strange and foreign to me. I never cease to marvel at the wonderful paradoxes that can be found in every corner of creation. The alien is so beautiful, yet so mysterious. So fascinating and so intimidating. Perhaps one day soon I will attempt to establish contact. For now, though, I will simply continue to observe the alien from the safety of obscurity in my surroundings.

----------

He sat on one of the cushioned seats in the wide open area of the computer lab, appearing nonchalant to the random passersby but secretly struggling with a raging collection of different conflicting thoughts and emotions. His dark blue backpack and a three-ring binder full of tomorrow's homework assignments occupied the seat next to him. Reaching up to adjust his shirt collar for the dozenth time in the past five minutes, he glanced casually down at the binder and the backpack. Naturally, they were in the exact same position that they had been in last time he had checked. He really hadn't needed to glance down at them at all. He pushed his glasses back into place and looked with longing across the room to where the real focus of his attention sat.

A hand on his shoulder interrupted his thoughts. He turned around somewhat nervously and was relieved to see only a friend from class.

"Hey," said his friend. "What's up?"

"Nothing," was his reply. "Just, uh, you know, working on some homework."

"Yeah?" asked his friend.

"Yeah."

"Cool." He paused for a second and then added, "Hey, isn't that that girl from class over there?"

"Oh, is it?" He pretended he had not already noticed, but turned his eyes back over to the girl once again. "Yeah, I guess it is."

"You should go talk to her," his friend said with a grin.

His heart started beating a little harder. "Um, maybe I will…later."

"Nah, you should do it now. She likes you."

He looked up at his friend. "You really think so?"

"Yeah," he said. "Go ahead."

"Well…I don't know…"

----------

I continue to observe the subject from afar. Its beauty and mystery fascinate me. I am intrigued by the concept of establishing communication, but I remain hesitant. Afraid, even. Naturally there is great potential gain, yet there is also great risk, and it is that risk which causes me to fear. What if the creature turns out to be hostile? What if I try to approach and it remains cold and distant? What if my communication skills are insufficient for bridging the gap between our two vastly different species? There are so many factors to consider. The creature is a few mere yards away from me, and yet we are worlds apart.

One of my comrades on this mission is telling me to go approach the creature. He says that its reactions will most likely not be hostile, but it is difficult for me to know for sure. My intellect tells me to trust him; he's had more experience with the aliens than I have, after all. The danger will be great, but that should not stop me. Great advancements for man and mankind have never been made without potential danger. Perhaps I really should go approach the creature and simply brave whatever consequences may follow. Perhaps I will.

----------

"Come on," said the friend. "What's the worst that could happen?"

Several different possible answers to that question began to rush through his mind, and none of them were pleasant. But he tried not to think about those. "Maybe you're right," he said to his friend. "I guess I could go talk to her. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad."

"It won't," his friend promised. "Go ahead. Do it."

Another moment of hesitation. "I can't."

"Yes you can."

"Yes I can."

"It's not that big a deal."

"It's not that big a deal," he repeated, trying to sound confident, slowly and cautiously standing up from the comfort and safety of the cushioned chair in the middle of the computer lab. "No, it's really not."

"Good luck," said his friend, giving him an encouraging pat on the back.

"Thanks," he said. "I'll need it." He turned, faced the direction of where the girl was sitting, and gradually began to walk.

----------

This is it. My mind is made up. It's now or never. Do or die. This is the moment when I will either establish successful contact with the alien creature or fail in my attempt to have done so. I have departed from the safety of my obscure surroundings and am in the process of making my way across the planet's surface to the creature's location. It's only a few small steps, but really such a giant leap. My breathing is deep. This is the moment I have both wished for and dreaded. Here goes nothing.

----------

"Hey." His heart was beating rapidly and he wondered how he had ever managed to get the word out of his mouth. But somehow he had, and there was no going back now.

The girl turned her head from the computer screen she had been studying toward the boy who had just greeted her. She had beautiful brown hair that flowed in waves down to her shoulders, blue eyes that recognized the boy almost as soon as they had seen him, and lips that curved into a slight smile upon recognition. "Hey," she answered in a captivating voice.

"Uh…how's it going?" he asked nervously, making sure to carry on the conversation.

"Pretty good," she said. "Just working on some homework."

"Yeah," said the boy.

"Did you do your paper for class yet?"

"Hmm? Oh…um…I started it. Last night. But, you know, I'm not done yet." He hoped his words didn't sound as stupid to her as they did to himself.

"Yeah, me neither," she said. "I'm hoping to get a lot done tonight."

"Yeah," he replied. "Me too."

He stopped and let a pause hang in the air before realizing that he had done it. They had come to a lull in the conversation, and he was still standing there. He had to make the choice to either keep talking or wrap up and leave, and he had to make it fast. Should he resort to small talk and bring up the weather or other classes or something like that? No, he had never been very good at small talk. And he had already started a nice conversation; even though he was scared, he didn't want to leave. Only one other option came to his mind, but he couldn't possibly do it…

…Could he?

Yes, he could. He had come this far. No use backing down now. Like he had told himself, it was now or never. Do or die. One giant leap. This was it.

"Uh, hey," he began again, his mind screaming at him to back out right away.

"Hmm?" the girl asked. She had begun to tilt her head back to the screen, but now her full attention was on him again.

The boy stammered. "Um, well, I was wondering if, uh, maybe…"

Her expression was curious and patient, but it demanded a conclusion to his sentence. There was no way out.

"Uh, I was wondering if, uh, maybe you would like to go have dinner sometime. With me. Like, with you and me, eating dinner together. If you want."

He had done the impossible, but it wasn't over. This was it indeed. He dreaded her imminent response, having every confidence that it would shatter all of his vain hopes and efforts.

"I'd like that," the girl said with a smile.

The boy looked up. Had he heard her correctly? "You would?" he asked, incredulous.

"Yeah," she said sincerely. "I would."

"Great!" the boy exclaimed after a brief pause of disbelief, which began to give way to overwhelming hope and excitement. "I'd like it too."

She giggled.

The boy realized that the ball was still in his court. "So, uh, how about tomorrow at six? I can pick you up from your dorm and we can go…somewhere. To eat."

"That sounds great," said the girl. "I'll be ready at six."

"Great!" the boy said again. "I'll see you then."

"See you," she said, with one last irresistible smile.

The boy turned and walked away, barely believing what he had just done and how it had turned out. His heart was still pounding heavily and he was wearing the biggest smile he had worn in a long, long time.

----------

I am pleased to report that the communications mission was a complete success. I ventured out earlier today, engaged the alien in conversation, and managed to receive a favorable response. I have set up a further appointment for tomorrow evening so that the alien and I will be able to spend more time together and learn even more about each other. Until then, I greatly look forward to tomorrow night and whatever new opportunities it will bring. Over and out.