The being known simply as "we", both to itself, and the few others that encountered it, needed something from them.
We always dreaded interacting with them. They didn't get simple concepts. Simple to we, anyway. We had to remind itself to be patient. We found it surprisingly difficult to be patient with them. We sighed and began.
"What?" we thought, "How?", "Did?". Confused, a little dazed, we thought for a moment and realized what had happened. We wasn't used to being this way. It was an all too frequent necessity, even though they didn't see it that way. "What is they call them? Centuries?" we thought. Still, the necessary was completed, and now we just had to wait. Wait for them to understand, wait for them to make it, wait for them to deliver it. This is the most irritating part, we thought. If only they could see things the way we do.
We almost didn't notice it at first. They communicated so strangely. So quietly, compared to the other beings we knew of. They also always asked the same stupid question: "Are you ok?" We ignored the question. It never led anywhere useful with them. They just couldn't understand. "Well?" we asked. They sputtered something about centuries - "That is what they call that unit. " we thought with some mild satisfaction - we missed the rest of it, they always managed to say a lot without saying much at all. "No matter." We thought, "Waiting is always enough to get it from them."
We thought about trying to explain the idea to them again. After all, it had been a few centuries, or a dozen, we couldn't remember.
Lila couldn't believe her luck. It had been nearly 600 years since it had shown up. Most people didn't think it existed anymore. A holdover from a more superstitious time.
And she got to be the one to communicate with it. "We", she remembered. Suddenly it - "we" - was looking - "is that even the right word?" - right at her. Suddenly, hit with the notion they might have hurt "we" when they collected their sample, she asked "Are you ok?" Then, nearly forgetting to introduce herself, she said "Hello we, I'm honored to meet you. I'm Lila. It's been 6 centuries since you were last seen. We've learned a lot since you were here last!" Lila showed we the new theories they'd come up with about the nature of the universe. Lila thought that maybe she'd be the one to finally understand what we truly wanted. The best researchers of the last 10 generations had tried to figure out the purpose of we's strange requests. "Still", Lila thought, "it's worth it. Before running out, of the sample last time, our best made dozens of new medicines, advanced our understanding biology, physics, and even mathematics. Maybe this time we'll finally understand how 'we' travels."
The stories were true, too, when she collected some of "we", and analyzed it, sure enough, even 600 years later there were components they still couldn't identify. Elements that didn't seem to obey any of the physical laws they were aware of. Lila was confident she would be the one.
Time marched on. Lila grew old and passed away. Annoyed that the one of them who had just started to communicate properly, and not require 3 or 4 explanations, had suddenly disappeared, we asked "Soon?".
Mike, Lila's apprentice and eventual successor, was flabbergasted. "How could it ask that?!" He thought, "'we' had been communicating for three and a half decades with Lila! And all it wants to know is if it'll be done soon?" Mike took a breath. He remembered what Lila had told him. "'We' doesn't seem to notice time the way we do." "Not, experience - notice", he remembered. Mike carefully operated the machine that allowed them to communicate with it - "we", and went back to work.
They finally delivered it. Several different variations of them had been involved in making it. And, they always seemed so upset whenever one of them went away. We could hardly keep track, there were so many of them. "Doesn't matter." We thought. "They made it, that's all that matters."