When the bird first visited us, we were young. We had just developed spaceflight, and the universe seemed so vast. Few among us believed in magic then; what was there to believe in? Magic is only what we call that which science has yet to explain. What the bird does is not magic. It is not technology, which is produced as the result of effort and progress over time. It is biology, it is nature, and it is inevitable.
When the bird first entertained us, we were learning. We learned where it had come from, and why, though it resembled a bird in some respects, it did not in others. Nothing from beyond the stars could be a bird as we knew it. The bird was more reptilian than avian, and unlike the raptors of Earth, who have a screech, the bird did have a song. It would never harmonize with the locals, but it sang.
(The Arrow by Nicola Jones)
When the bird warned us, we were amazed. The markings it left across our beaches, in our mud, and on our trees were nothing short of miraculous to the scientists. An alien life form has arrived, and it was learning to communicate. First with arrows, then with shapes, it built up a lexicon until finally it could draw what it wanted; a flock of “birds”, and a skull and crossbones.
When we first rejected the bird, we were divided. There were some who felt a kinship to the traitor, who abandoned its species to save another. They were given little chance to speak. Though the bird may have cared for us, it never understood how much more we cared for the universe.