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Our future, our universe, and other weighty topics

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Unwelcome Visitors: A Science Fiction Story

It happened with no warning, like a bolt out of the blue. One morning a UFO appeared in the sky over Washington, D.C. It moved to the center of the Ellipse, a huge expanse of grass near the White House. For one day it hovered in the sky at that spot. Then it slowly descended to the ground, and landed in the middle of the Ellipse. At the same time, astronomers noticed that a gigantic spaceship had started to orbit Earth. Pundits speculated that the small UFO had come from the much larger spaceship that orbited the planet.

The US military responded promptly. A ring of awesome firepower assembled around the perimeter of the Ellipse. It included Apache helicopters, M1 Abrams tanks, and companies of infantry armed with laser-guided missiles. The President of the United States walked the short distance from the White House to the Ellipse, to take charge of the situation.

Upon reaching the Ellipse, the President asked a general for a briefing.

So what are these guys – friends or foes?” asked the President.

We have no idea,” said General Holsen. “We've received no radio communication whatsoever.”

Finally a lone figure emerged out of the UFO, and stood next to it. It was rather clear that the visitor was expecting someone to walk toward the center of the Ellipse, so that a meeting could take place.

General Holsen suggested that an armed soldier walk up to greet the alien visitor, but the President would have none of it.

I'm going out there myself,” said the President. “And I'm going alone.” The President knew that if he survived the meeting, he would be hailed for his courage, and it would help him win re-election.

The President walked slowly toward the center of the Ellipse. He saw next to the spaceship a figure about one meter larger than a man. The creature had a brain far larger than a man's. The extraterrestrial had huge blue eyes, a tiny slit for a nose, and a small mouth without lips.

We come in peace,” said the alien. “We are here to welcome you into the galactic society of civilizations. Do not worry, our society abolished all traces of war 500,000 years ago, so there is no chance that we will harm you.”

Welcome to our planet,” said the President. “We greet you as equals.”

You greet us as equals?” said the alien, suppressing a giggle. “No, you've got it all wrong. You see our society is eons older and more advanced than yours. We come here to help you, like a human might help a little puppy lost on the street. And we come here to teach you a few great cosmic truths that your tiny little minds can understand. But almost all of what we have learned is far beyond the grasp of your minimal intelligence.”

So your race is much smarter than ours?” asked the President.

Yes, we are to you as you are to the bugs at your feet,” said the alien. “But don't worry, we can still teach you some tiny fraction of the mighty truths we have learned over the eons. But only if you give up all of your preconceptions, and sit down before us like a little child on its first day in kindergarten. If you do that, you can learn from us some of the greatest truths of the ages, secrets of time and space that took us many thousands of years to learn.”

I understand exactly,” said the President. He walked away from the spaceship, and returned to the perimeter of the Ellipse.

What happened?” asked General Holsen.

They're invaders!” screamed the President. “Destroy them!”

The full military power of the mighty ring of weapons was unleashed on the UFO at the center of the Ellipse. All the M1 Abrams tanks fired their uranium-tipped shells All the Apache helicopters launched their Hellfire missiles. The soldiers launched their laser-guided missiles. The UFO was shattered into a thousand smoldering pieces. The damage was so great that biologists who later examined the wreckage were unable to find any trace of biological material that had not been burned to a cinder.

The large spaceship orbiting Earth then departed, never to be seen again.

The President was hailed as a hero, and won re-election in a landslide. The human race stumbled onward in its benighted ignorance.