"What are you?" blurbled Gluarik.
The creature sat before him seemed at ease but old, so very old, so old that the word ancient felt young and barely able to crawl in comparison. To use the word old as a descriptor here was to be a failure.
The creature did something not terribly pleasant with its face. It made Gluarik queasy. Whatever eon this creature had come from, it had not been a pretty one. In fact, it was almost a Lose Your Lunch moment. This thing was not something it would be safe to broadcast amongst Gluarik's people.
The thing opened its mouth and sound came out. Gluarik's machinery took in the sounds, the harsh, guttural sounds were not pleasant. No auditory broadcasts either for this species. This was going to be a purely academic paper then. The popularizers would be sorely disappointed.
The Great Mystery of the Mote of the Galactic Eye SOLVED! But no one would be able to hold their meals in to watch the event. Gluarik's stomachs heaved.
The alien did something equally disturbing with its face. It cocked its head to one side. No telling what it was doing. Gluarik might be a xenologist, but this was an unprecedented race. Nothing like it existed out in the galaxy.
The long strands, silvery white in the light, fell to one side. It looked like fungus had sprouted from a rotten fruit. Gluarik was really glad he'd not eaten before entering the Mote.
And the smell. Gluarik closed its orbs for a moment. It cleared its olfactory organs and opened its orbs once more.
The machines gave blank answers as for what the creature had said, but Gluarik was startled. The creature had done something. Gluarik could not tell what, but something had changed while he had closed his eyes.
It spoke again and this time caused Gluarik to almost jump out its sheemth.
"Do you understand me now?" it said.
Gluarik was stunned. How? How could it speak Glark!
"Stop fretting over how. I am old and know a few tricks. And, yes, I am reading your mind. Though not through some mystical silliness. It merely took me a moment to calibrate and understand. You're an interesting species. The first to have come here and entered the megastructure. Successfully, at least. We have been waiting for close to a billion years, if we didn't miss a zero in our calculations."
Again, something unpleasant with its face. With one of its orbs.
"Waiting and waiting at the edge of the maw of the galactic center's blackhole. Time slowed to a crawl. Even so, entropy wins all wars. Even against immortals such as we. We are few and most are asleep. I am the Guardian and Watcher. I am hear to greet you. Or something like you."
Gluarik was stunned. It was articulate, if disgusting. His chromatophores began to dance a display and he tried to stop, but could not. "What are you, old one?"
"I suppose I ought to have known that would be the first real question. I am a human. And Humans were the First Ones. Now, come, let us wake the others and we will see if the seeds we sewed so long again have sprouted and grown strong."