Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer

The Arnen are beautiful people, even more so when they are angry. Consequently, we have been seeing a lot of heartrendingly beautiful people killing us. We are getting slaughtered, and a few people are beginning to fear extinction. The few voices of reconciliation were lost in the trumpeting of ultra-racism – having non-humans to hate and fear turns a lot of supposedly reasonable people into bigots.

My name is Turande Givenchy, and my great-great-great-grandfather was one of the men who helped Carter unearth Tutankhamun. So, in a way, my family is one of the contributing causes to this debacle.

Archaeology loved Ancient Egypt, with its death obsession and plethora of divinities. Everywhere you went, mummies abounded and pyramids peeked from sandy concealment. The treasures were stupefying and the real mysteries easily glossed over. Reputations were made and fortunes founded, either by toil or theft.

Decades later SETI received a polite communiqué from deep space, formally notifying us that the funerary delegations of Arnen would be making planetfall in about five months, here at last to collect their dead. We puzzled over this statement until they arrived.

It seems that the creed “no-one gets left behind” is older than any thought. The Arnen version is: “we shall leave none, alive or dead, to lie alone under cold stars”. The Egyptian diaspora was one of their greatest failures, ruined by a strain of water fever that less than five percent of them had immunity to. Over the centuries, it had come to haunt the Arnen in a similar way that the Two Towers haunt America, but far more deeply seated. So when the Arnen came to collect their fallen and found them looted, discarded, displayed for public spectacle, or having been used for fuel, they became – to put it mildy – rabidly angry.

I have an ex-serviceman friend who lost relatives in 9/11. When I mentioned my puzzlement at the Arnen’s behaviour, he looked at me bleakly and said: “If I found out that my Anna had been yanked out of the ground and put on display as part of some study project, I would burn the place down around her, with the people who did it inside. Then hunt down any survivors.”

He’s fighting to save his remaining loved ones, and with me is doing it the only sensible way we can agree on: retreat, bunker up and wait it out. He and I agree that the Arnen will, eventually, relent.

How much of humanity remains at that point will decide the extinction question shortly thereafter.

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