Author : Brian McDermott
“This could be the single most important event in the history of our planet,” Jake leaned over the formica. “I think I’ve been friended by an Alien,”
Amir’s stunned silence was broken by the sounds of his legs peeling off the vinyl bench. Jake slowly lowered his Triple Bacon and Sausage Burrito and leaned closer to Amir.
“Extraterrestrials. First contact. This changes everything.”
Jake and Amir had been sci-fi fans, physics savants and best friends since fourth grade. They met every Saturday at Tito’s Pork Corral to discuss issues of great scientific importance. Recent topics including whether the babes of Star Trek were hotter than Next Generation’s and ‘HAL vs. Yoda – The Ultimate Scrabble Showdown.’
“Do they have a profile pic?” Amir asked looking around to see if anyone was listening.
“It’s an alien. It’s not like they’d have a black and white yearbook shot from Epsilon Eridani Senior High” Jake said between swallows. “Their profile has virtually no information.”
“But why you?” Amir could speak and chew simultaneously.
“I think it’s because of my association with the NASA Exoplanet Program. They sent me three messages. Each one was an oddly worded question about my work.”
“You’re an intern.” Amir leaned in. “You don’t have work.”
“Last week I started compiling data on the Ruprecht 147 cluster. This creature not only figured that out, it knows way too much about Ruprecht 147. The kind of stuff you would know only if you were part of a serious research program… or actually from Ruprecht 147.” Jake paused for the waitress to pass. “And some of the questions are so advanced they imply answers beyond our current technologies and understanding of space travel.”
Amir was now completely ignoring his Chorizo and Ham Patty Melt. Jake pressed on.
“I think it’s no coincidence that it’s using a social media site to make first contact. My theory is that this alien must be part of a collective intelligence. A social media site would be the Earth phenomena that most resembles a collective intelligence. So instead of landing a ship and physically looking for contact, they connected with a massive network.”
Amir paused to consider everything. “We need to think this out.” He sat up. “Have you answered any of their messages?”
“Good. Since you haven’t contacted them in any way…”
“Um, I may have.” Jake said sheepishly. “Sort of.”
“What do you mean ‘sort of’? Did you give them any specific work information? Any relevant life details? Any knowledge that could be used against us?”
Jake hesitated. “I asked them to join me in Mafia Wars.”
“WHAT?” Amir was nearly standing now.
“I was desperate. You have to reach level 17 to expand your crime family from New York to Vegas. They were so helpful. Together we’re running guns in Cuba now.”
Amir sunk back into the sparkly red vinyl.
“And they love Farmville.”
As Amir shook his head, Jake’s smart phone beeped. Jake looked at the screen.
“It’s a status update from the aliens. Ohhh they just planted a rainbow tree!”
And thus with the help of an unwitting intern on the world’s largest social media site, the first invasion of earth began.
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