Author : Mark Ingram

He toyed with the hunting knife as he daydreamed; it gave his hands something to do. He was not much of a thinker, but tonight, he allowed his eyes to shift out of focus and his mind to wander . . .

What would we do if aliens came to Earth? Would they come in peace or war; would they already know all that we could teach them; would they want to help us advance our technology; would they get us off this mediocre, blue-green rock . . . ? Start at the beginning: war or peace? The result of war is obvious. We have barely set foot on the moon; they have traveled a gagillion miles to get here. Their technology is far superior to ours.

We would be crushed.

Depressing thought.

He lit another cigarette. He was on his third pack since sitting down, and his five-o’clock-shadow had turned into a three-in-the-morning-overcast. He scratched it and went back to his musings.

Suppose they come in peace? That would be astounding—and very un-humanlike of them. Let’s assume that—after all the formal greetings between the human and alien nations—no one side offended the other. Highly unlikely, but that too would be a breath of fresh air. If they did insult each other (which would be almost a certainty due to both parties’ ignorance of the other’s probably radically different culture), there would be bad blood. Bad blood leads to distrust, leads to prejudice, leads to discrimination, leads to bloodshed . . .

We would be crushed.

Right, anyway, so if they came in peace and we didn’t piss them off, there might be talks . . . or something akin. The world would know of them. Some people would welcome our allies, some would stay at a cautious distance, some would be afraid; it’s inevitable. But there would never be uniformity of opinions among humans. Some groups would always fear the aliens. Even among humans, hatred has lasted between nations so long that they fight each other because they always have. Palestinians versus Israelis. Chinese versus Japanese versus Koreans. Northern Irish versus Britons. No matter how tolerant a culture claims to be, someone—some nation, some state, some planet—will hold prejudice against what’s different. And some subset of that will act on it. Whether the reason is that they don’t like the way the newcomers look or dress, are upset by the visitors’ ignorant disrespect of a specific human culture, feel threatened by them, or have their own way of thinking—perhaps even their own theology—challenged by the aliens’ presence, some people will act out. It might be minutes or days or years after contact. Hard to pacify the entire world’s concerns forever. Violence will ensue. And violence leads to bad blood . . . leads to bloodshed . . .

We would be crushed.

May they never know.

And with that, he thrust his knife deep into the writhing mass on the table in front of him until it went limp.


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