Deanna stopped to listen, she had never heard such a high sweet sound in all her life. It was like a flute had turned to butter while being played. Notes floated like syrup as they covered her ears. It was the prettiest sound she had ever listened to.
“I wonder what kind of bird makes that sound? Or if it is even a bird?” She wondered out loud.
“I don’t know if they have birds here. The scan only said that their were signs of intelligent beings, and living things, but not which kind of living things.” Said Mark.
“Oh, I know Mark. That is why we are not carrying weapons. If we meet the locals (and this made her smile- as if someone who lives more than 12,000 light years from your home planet could be considered a “local.”) we meet them in peace. We can’t accidentally start a war, you know how strict that policy is. First contact, no matter how it turns out, cannot involve the use of weapons, even if we have to lose our lives to prove we are peaceful.”
“Deanna, that is why we were chosen. We are all empaths. Not one of us is capable of pulling a trigger, even if we thought our lives were in danger. Listen! There it is again…boy, it sure is pretty.”
A moment later, two beings stepped out of the line of tall plants. Plants that waved like grass, but were as tall as small trees, and as thick as marble pillars. They looked both solid and supple at the same time. The two beings that came out of the shelter of those plants, looked a lot like the plants, supple and solid. Maybe two meters tall, a powder blue skin, and faces with bright red marking around the eyes, like a raccoon had gone crazy in a Mascara application frenzy. The effect was instantaneous. In fact, Mark spoke for all of them, when he exclaimed out loud:
“My God! They look like bipedal parrots with human features. “
Deanna thought the same thing, and was very glad she didn’t say it out loud, just in case these beings could understand Galactic. They couldn’t.
The beings looked at the Humans bereft of any fear, or surprise, or trepidation. They simple stared at the humans for a while. Then one of the creatures pursed its lips…out came that beautiful sound. Not quite a whistle, not quite a song, not quite a wind instrument, but so close as to be cousins. It was spell binding to hear.
There was a pause, when the Humans did not respond, the other Parrot Being, rang out another series of notes, this time making it seem like a clarinet had mated with a soprano singer, and the child had perfect pitch. There was no way to resist, the humans all cried when the “song” ended. Still the Parrot people waited patiently.
“Deanna, what do we do?”
“Well, I think we need to find a Flute, and answer them.”
And that, is exactly what they did. Oh, of course they didn’t find a Flute, they just brought the tones, undertones, and overtones of a flute to life through their translators. Within a few minutes, the Parrot People and the Survey team were speaking in gentle flowing soft songs. The Survey team found out that the two being they met in that field, were hunters. Not hunters in the Human meaning, but simply hunting for the Harmony Bird.
It turns out that the Harmony Birds (and that is what the translator said the song meant) only respond to perfect pitched whistles. Somewhere around the double high C of a trained Opera singer, and the high notes of the flute, clarinet and soprano sax. If you couldn’t make the subtle shifts of tone, in exact pitch, the Harmony birds would not land near you. If you got it right, well they flew right into your hands.
When holding a Harmony bird, the other “hunter” would hold a small container under its belly. Then the hunter holding the Harmony bird, would gently squeeze the bird, milking about a quart or so of what looked like (to the Humans anyway) golden honey or Amber. The bird would then just fly away as soon as the hunter relaxed his grip. Not much later, the Humans learned that the nectar from the Harmony Birds was the sole food for the Parrot People.
Years later, the Parrot People; the name stuck- much to the Chagrin of Mark- and the amusement of the Parrot People themselves, would become the Galaxy’s favorite musicians. When a hundred or so Parrot People whistled together, in perfect harmony, and pitch, it was not a wall of sound, it was a well of sound. One that covered you completely and drowned out any other senses. No one did anything but listen during a Parrot People concert. Or they cried, or they laughed, from the power, beauty, and grace. Never from sadness. For the Parrot People had no sad songs. They didn’t even have a word for sad. Or depressed. Or Anxious. Or jealous. Or envy.
The Scientists from the Survey team, think it was some kind of affect caused by the nectar of the Harmony bird. Other’s think that evolution weeded out those emotions, because you cannot call a Harmony bird to you with any of those emotions in your whistles. It was in a very real sense, the most positive of positive feed back loops. The Parrot People did understand kindness, love, and companionship. You never saw a Parrot Person alone, even just two by themselves were a rare sight.
If you did see only two, then they were a hunting pair. One to whistle, one to hold the Harmony bird when it landed. Harmony birds did not like large groups.
Humans tried to taste the nectar of the Harmony birds, but it almost always made them ill. Only the survey team empaths seemed to be able to tolerate the nectar. If they drank it to often, well, they couldn’t go back to Earth. They became to gentle to put up with any emotion north of contented, or south of wishing you well.
A few Survey members, including Mark and Deanna, had asked to remain with the Parrot People after having tasted to much of the nectar from the Harmony bird. They were welcomed by the Parrot People , and encouraged by the Humans to stay with the Parrot People when the ship left for Earth a few years later.
A month or so after the ship left, Mark and Deanna stood in a clump of Twinkle trees (Yes, that is what the Parrot People called those funny plants where the Harmony birds live). Deanna whistled. A high pretty flute sound. Mark held the Harmony Bird when it nestled in his hands to listen some more to Deanna. The two Parrot People looked at each other and smiled, then looked back at Deanna and Mark. They whistled a song that sang:
“Welcome. The Harmony birds have accepted you. Now, finally, we can name you.”
Deanna was pleased with her new name: “Soft enclosure.” Mark was thrilled with his new name: “Peaceful grip.” It took another century for Mark and Deanna to transform into Parrot People. The only difference being the bright blue rings around their eyes, that looked like a raccoon had gone crazy in a mascara application frenzy.
They sang their names often- for they liked both the sound and the meaning of them. They were the first, but not the last humans to become Parrot People. The only race ever discovered that had no war, no fear, no negativity, and no technology. No wonder the Survey team named their planet: Eden.