The personal blog of the cultural ambassador to the newly discovered planet of the Ant-people (the Myrmeiods).

Friday, December 2, 2011


I should probably explain a bit about this planet to begin with—I’m not sure how much about this new planet and its people has percolated out to the public yet, and it’s likely a lot of what has gotten out is wrong. Having been at my post for about six months already, I obviously have a great deal more to learn, but I’m starting to understand these people well enough to perhaps say something useful.

The most important thing to understand is that the Myrmeoids themselves are not really ants; they merely resemble them physically. They are about six to ten inches long, have the familiar three body parts and six segmented legs, and some adults also have two pairs of clear, membranous wings. However, they do not live in colonies the way social insects do, and they certainly don’t have a “hive mind.” They have as much personal and cultural diversity as we do. Their planet has its own equivalent of real ants, and the Myrmeoids don’t identify with them any more than we identify with frogs (frogs, of course, have four limbs with several digits each, two eyes, and an internal skeleton, just like we do; but so what, right?).

The second “myth” to bust is that the Myrmeoids are technologically primitive. Certainly, some of their cultures are, but others are nearly our equals, lacking only the capacity for practical inter-stellar travel and communication. They have chosen not to use fossil fuels, which has slowed their development in certain ways (and saved their planet much of the damage that ours has suffered). For the same reason, energy costs for them are too high for certain technologies to be commercially practical. However, they make much more nuanced use of chemistry than we do, and the way they live is the result of choice, not ignorance.

As an ambassador, I am atypical in that I do not have an office, and I do not spend my time interacting mostly with the members of government. I do communicate periodically with representatives of many of their governments, but since they have declined any interplanetary trade agreements, aid, or other formal treaties, a traditional ambassador is unnecessary. Rather, my job is to be an example of a human being—there are ten of us in total, scattered over their planet—and also to get to know them well. I therefore have a small house on land I rent from a middle-class farm family, people who are entirely normal except for the fact that they kindly host me. Since we have no trade agreements with their planet, there is no way to exchange our currency for theirs, so though I am paid for being an ambassador, I can’t access my money here. Instead, I have a second job—two, in fact; I’m a part-time construction worker and also I have a delivery route, I’ll tell you more about both of those later. I am paid quite well, since I’m big enough to do the work of dozens of them, and they are unwilling to pay me less than they would pay the dozens of workers I replace. They are afraid I would bring down local wages otherwise. Also, I eat as much as dozens of them do, so my basic expenses are much higher. It evens out.

There are, of course, ten Myrmeoids headed to Earth on an equivalent mission; that was in the news even before I left Earth, and since they traveled on the return trip of the same spraft (space-craft) that brought me, they should be arriving soon. My agent, who edits this blog for me, has agreed to ask them to contribute as well. Hopefully, some of them will.

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