At least, it sounded like a voice.
It was muffled and indistinct, but the noise had the cadence of language.
And even though every word was incomprehensible, somehow the speaker, as Daniel now thought of it, exuded an air of malice.
This made Daniel nervous.
The voice paused for a moment. Then it uttered a short series of sounds.
“What?” Daniel asked.
The voice repeated the phrase.
“I don’t understand,” he said. Why isn’t my translator working? Daniel wondered.
The voice repeated the phrase five more times.
Before it could repeat the phrase a sixth time, a chime rang softly, and the voice vanished.
A new voice, this one cheery and — thankfully — understandable, began to to speak.
"Welcome to the Containment Facility One!” said the cheery voice, coming from all around him. “We of the —”
What followed sounded like three buckets of water dropped on the floor, one after the other.
“—thank you for volunteering on a project that we know will benefit all life.”
Without coming off fake or forced, the voice radiated joy — the joy that only comes when one is really and truly happy.
This made Daniel more nervous.
“We’re sure you want to get settled in,” the cheery voice continued. “But first let’s turn on the lights.”
The room grew brighter slowly, giving Daniel eyes a chance to adjust.
The first thing he saw was a banner of beautiful white fabric hanging four feet in front of him.
Dotted with vivid spatters of blue, red, and purple, the banner read, “Congratulations!” in three of the four human dialects Daniel understood.