The commute from London to New York felt different, exciting, foreboding, and a little tense. Hal, as he had come to be known by his human colleagues, was only the fourth gurinthé to win employment within a human college since contact was made over 100 years ago. He had learned Earth was a socially troubled planet and that humans were a predatory species with staggering physical strength which had lead to several emergency lock downs of the embassy. Still, he marvelled idly around the train cabin as the hundred or so people around him mostly ignored his presence. How quickly they had come to accept a being from another world as just another normal thing amongst them. Either the species had a hidden depth of understanding or they, as the top of the food chain, simply paid him no mind as he could not pose a threat.
After 45 minutes the train emerged from the dark tunnel into a clear one, bathing the cabin in brilliant sunlight. Hal was completely blinded by the glare and fumbled for his sunglasses, dropping them on the floor in the process.
Panicked and before he could consider how to find them in this state of blindness a deep voice said “Here, you dropped these.”
Feeling his glasses being pressed against his hand he calmly took them and looked toward the voice while putting them on.
“Thank you” he offered meekly to the rather large human male standing directly beside him, holding onto the pole. The human nodded and returned to his handheld device leaving Hal free to catch a glimpse of the school he was heading for.
The New York Industrial Science College in Brooklyn was under construction as first contact was made and had benefited substantially from an early translation error that lead to it receiving a number of technological improvements for the humans to work with. It had even served as the first embassy and still housed a large nest room, empty of course. The building was quite large and adorned with several golden statues of native animals: a bear, a cow, an alligator, and a few others Hal wasn't sure of the human designation for.
Hal suddenly winced at the painfully loud beep and announcement that told him the next stop and began gathering together his bag, placing his smartphone in a side pocket. The humans around him had already moved to provide a somewhat awkward way out of the seat and to the door, he hadn’t said anything to indicate his desire to alight the train and wondered how they knew his intention. Pausing for only a second he assumed they had correctly deduced he was heading for the college as it was the only stop nearby he knew of that had off-world food available. He clumsily extricated himself from the seat designed for human occupation and began to slowly nice, carefully avoiding other passenger’s bags.
Leaving the carriage was a squeeze but he safely arrived on the platform and began walking in the direction of the escalators, glancing around to make sure no one was getting too close. The gurinthé species had spent much of their evolutionary ancestry as a prey to various predators but had developed technology and medication to adapt to almost any environment, still the most primal urges always remained and doctrine refused advancements that could make them too powerful, this ensures they never became a vicious carnivorous race. He spotted a group of three hooded humans sitting on a bench to the left of the escalator as he descended and they each held eye contact with him for longer than he liked but turned back to each other again. He internally questioned the ethics of refusing super-gurinthé abilities when being asked to relocate to a planet with such inherently dangerous natives. Hal looked toward the courtyard and reception area on the right while gripping the strap on his backpack tighter he stepped off and turned, heading straight to reception.
Through large ornate wooden doors a spacious marble area was made to feel even more auspicious than it first looked. Approaching the desk Hal felt the cold, calculating, eyes of the two receptions follow him.
“Hello, I am here for the assistant teaching position. I have been told to seek Mrs. Hale” Hal spoke as clearly as he could to the closer of the two who looked mildly alarmed.
“Oh, oh, ok. I’m sorry but Mrs. Hale isn’t in yet. I didn’t realise you were a… I mean I didn’t realise you were starting today. Is your name Hal?”
“It is the name I use on your planet. My actual name cannot be pronounced by humans, you do not have an olangryx to reproduce the sound”
The receptionist paused blankly for a second then carried on “... right. Well, I will need access to your ID. This will include your bank details for the purpose of paying you a salary and various bits of personal information, a full list you can find in the details section” and she handed him a tablet displaying a form.
Hal quickly scanned the document to see it wanted permission to finance, identity, health concerns, and his social media posts. After considering this for a moment he presented his fingerprint and the document flashed green then displayed a large tick as he laid it back on the desk.
“Great, that’s all sorted now. Your badge will be on your smartphone in the college app, just swipe it on any lock to gain access or payment tab to use your teacher credit. There’s a map on there too, your class is in room 303”
Hal beamed with a smile and the receptionist couldn’t help but smile back, displaying a row of shockingly white sharp teeth. He moved off to but his bag down while he retrieved the smartphone and found the teacher’s app had been installed.
This was it, the first day of teaching on an alien world. There had been hundreds of his kind on Earth for many years but mostly in scientific or medical positions, a few had found the concept of money thrilling and joined in the global trading schemes but today was about Hal, only the fourth of his kind to take on the challenge of teaching philosophy from the galaxy to adolescent humans.
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