The Seekers were an ancient species who had been scouring the universe almost as long as there had been a universe. Theirs was a curiosity beyond measure and they would travel any distance, spend eons on any quest, if there was a chance they could find the answer. They did not quest for riches, for mere knowledge, for living space; they sought their origin.
Even though they had existed for uncounted ages, they were only transplants, living on a new world, come from who knew where. At some time in the far, dim past they had been the ‘baby on the doorstep’. Now, they burned with the question: who had dropped them off? And why?
Their search method had been distilled to a simple system: visit as many ‘habitable’ planets as they could find. There was no hurry; they’d find their answer eventually. As each new candidate planet was discovered they dispatched an exploratory robotic ship to measure its development, find its dominant, or at least most intelligent species.
The third planet from this particular minor star showed promise; it had liquid water, a forgiving atmosphere, temperatures without terrible extremes. The probe was jettisoned from the mother ship as the huge craft slowed briefly during its transit of the solar system. The probe would never return, only its data would be transmitted.
This was the first time that any alien craft had come to this blue planet; there would be no complications from a previously deposited species. The probe had no intentions of depositing anything; its raison d’etre was to gather information about the indigenous fauna.
It dropped down through the thick clouds, down through the giant trees of the forest, eventually settling on the spongy green surface, its waffle shaped landing pads easily supporting its weight. The event was hardly noticed by the small group of diplodocus grazing nearby. The Seekers had little reason to measure or even notice time, but the automatic systems on board the craft noted that it was 3.47e745, late in the afternoon (had there been a human nearby with a predictive calendar, he might have recorded it as 65,821,901BC – this imaginary human would likely have noted that he had just witnessed the arrival of a UFO).
The craft began its observations and began the standard set of experiments designed to lure and measure life forms. Soon, strange vibrations and sounds were emanating from the newly arrived visitor. The forest creatures came, they saw, they lost interest and wandered away, but during their time of drawing near they were scanned and evaluated. The huge lumbering lizards were of miniscule intelligence and were of no consequence to the instruments within the mechanism. Only the leathery flying creatures we now call pterodactyls were of note; they displayed amazing curiosity and were able to easily solve the puzzles set before them. The onboard systems began to record the strange chittering noises made by the beasts.
The largest of the pterodactyls was able to reach the input keypad and was just starting to type out a preliminary message, attempting to communicate with this stupid being resting on the forest floor before them. It was if they were at school and the magnificent flying creature was trying to teach the newcomer. It might be worth the effort; the newly-landed craft looked very much like themselves, with wide grasping wings and a leather-like surface.
The keypad inputs caused a stirring within the craft, data was written, the transmit subroutine was called, power started to flow. Then the meteor struck.