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Our future, our universe, and other weighty topics

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Gifts From Another World: A Science Fiction Story

At first they thought an asteroid was going to hit the planet Earth. A worldwide panic ensued. But a few days later, the astronomers changed their story. The object hurtling towards our planet was not an asteroid, but a gigantic alien spaceship. Mankind was about to receive its first extraterrestrial visitors.

The spaceship went into orbit around Earth, and began to make radio contact with scientists. After a rather long period during which the extraterrestrials studied our language, the aliens finally broadcast their intentions to the scientists.

The scientists briefed the President of the United States at the White House.

So is it good news or bad news?” asked President Jill Trenton.

It's good news,” said Barry Tyler, the leader of the scientists. “They like us. They're benevolent. They want to send down a small landing craft from their large spaceship. The small craft will be carrying some of their emissaries.”

Very good,” said President Trenton. “Did you arrange a landing site?”

Sure did,” said Tyler. “They're going to land the craft on a grassy spot near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.”

They're going to present you with gifts,” said Tyler. “Rituals seem to be very important with these extraterrestrials. It's very important that you graciously accept the gifts that they give you, in a way compatible with their ancient rituals and protocols.”

That sounds pretty easy,” said President Trenton. “This should make a great photo-op. What do they look like?”

They're absolutely hideous,” said Tyler. “Their heads are like mutant jellyfish. They have five big slimy tentacles coming out of their heads.”

Yuk!” said President Trenton. “Let's hope I won't have to touch the disgusting things. I get grossed out very easily. I'm the kind of person who loses her appetite if I merely see a fish head.”

On the day of the landing, high officials from Washington came to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, along with an army of reporters and scientists. They watched as the landing craft slowly descended from the sky, and landed in the large grassy area.

President Trenton was flanked by Barry Tyler, who was there to give last minute pointers on the all-important meeting of two different races from two different planets.

After our meeting at the White House, I found out something important,” said Tyler. “Before you accept the gifts that the aliens offer, one of the aliens will approach you, and try to kind of embrace you. It's some kind of hug that is very important in their rituals. By letting the alien hug you, you will show that you regard their race as highly as they regard our race.”

Good heavens,” said President Trenton. “I have to be hugged by the hideous type of creature you described? Well, I'll try my best.”

It's a little more than a hug,” said Tyler. “To conform to their rituals, you will have to let the alien wrap his tentacles around your head. Apparently this is because their tentacles have some way of sensing whether your intentions are friendly.”

Good God, what have you got me into?” asked President Trenton.

Two aliens emerged from the landing craft. One was holding the gifts to be given to the President. The other alien approached the President slowly, wagging its slimy tentacles.

hideous alien

President Trenton was shocked by the hideous appearance of the revolting alien. It was the ugliest and most repulsive thing she had ever seen. At first she thought to herself: I've got to do this. But then she visualized the five slimy tentacles wrapping around her head. The image made her want to vomit.

No!” cried President Trenton. “No, no, I can't go through with it!” She departed the landing area, going back to the White House.

The aliens soon became aware that an unforgivable breach in ritual protocol had occurred. Feeling rebuffed, they returned to their landing craft, which lifted off, and returned to the much larger mother craft orbiting the planet. A few days later, the huge spaceship hurtled off into the voids of space, never to return.

At the White House there was a post-mortem to discuss the diplomatic fiasco that had occurred.

Okay, so I blew it,” confessed President Trenton. “I just freaked out, thinking of that icky creature wrapping those disgusting slimy tentacles around my head.”

Before the aliens left, they told us about what the gifts were, the gifts we're never going to get,” said Tyler.

What were they – some crummy souvenirs from their measly little home world?” asked President Trenton cynically.

No,” said Tyler. “Before we rebuffed them, they were going to give us a machine for making stones into gold, a cure for cancer, a cure for AIDS, a device for stopping global warming, and a recipe for a potion that can provide a little thing called...eternal life.”