They came in peace. There’s the answer to the question so many people were asking, “Is there intelligent life somewhere else in the universe?” Yes there is, and they came in peace. No one even knows, though, if they came intentionally. I don’t assume so. Coming to our planet voluntarily precludes the descriptor “intelligent”. Who the fuck wants to visit Earth?
The area was quarantined and the media blackout was in effect within hours. Word was out, though the word of hysterical idiots was terribly unreliable. Neither the government nor the people knew what was going on worth a damn. News reports came flying off the press, hurdling from the well worn lips of television journalists, and blogged about by every deluded sap that thought his opinions relevant. All was just as quickly redacted. Newspapers issued reprints with unheard of efficiency. Reporters apologized for their hasty and ill-conceived suppositions. Big-time bloggers deleted posts with little to no explanations. No one really cared what Joe Everyman had to say about the matter. I figured they were allowed to keep their posts up for comic relief; no one paid them any real attention anyway.
I don’t much care for all the cover-up, hush-hush shit, regardless of the arrogant, egocentric reasons behind it. People are afraid of the unknown; it’s a well documented deal. The less people know the more they tend toward hysteria. I hate hysteria. It’s pointless. It enables stupidity. Why think or act with any modicum of rationality when you can panic and scream and place blame and beg people to “think of the children!” That short period between landing and colonizing was the most infuriating time of my life. No one knew the first thing about what had landed in the playground during an otherwise uneventful Tuesday evening. No one knew, but everyone was an expert in the coming apocalypse that was sure to follow. For a short time people forgot all about the man-made fallacy that had occupied the minds of superstitious simpletons everywhere. Many people howled that 2012 was never to come to light, the damned space invaders would see to that.
The government released periodic information care packages out to the people through the newspapers to keep them well-fed.
“…The Visitors appear to have arrived upon our planet peacefully. They do not communicate with us in any verbal manner, but we have deduced a means of communicating simple messages back and forth between parties…”
“RUMORS OF LANDINGS IN OTHER NATIONS CONFIRMED BY VISITORS”
“…The Visitors’ bio-technological craft has been brought into a government facility today. We are hoping to begin studying their technology in full by week’s end…”
One of the last care packages received by the people was not an officially sanctioned release. It was off-the-books and quietly circulated at first. The quiet entrance let the news get spread around a bit before the government locked down on it. The slow spread let people know about the lab accident in the government facility.
“The Visitors are insect-like creatures and the ship, a Hive of sorts. The Visitors had shown no signs of hostility but have not acted with overpowering friendliness, they seem almost indifferent. They seemed anxious only to leave. The most interest they have shown in the planet is their slight difficulty interacting with our oxygen-rich atmosphere, a problem we had been attempting to alleviate. Recently, the Visitors shed a chitinous outer shell. The shell was collected and studied, but before it could be fully examined, the shell began to break down. The broken down shell released a gas into the facility that killed the researchers. Within days the building was uninhabitable. All attempts to enter the building again were met with failure. Personal protection suits were insufficient to keep out the gaseous contagion. The team that entered the facility was instructed to give constant reports of what they saw. What little they were able to report back painted a grim picture. The building was overgrown. Vines, moss, and squat plant life that were unidentifiable but appeared to be leaking the same contagion as the decomposing chitin shells, had taken hold within and the atmosphere had become so humid as to leave a constant layer of fog over their protection suit visors. All further reports were unintelligible and the men are believed to have suffocated shortly after. No further attempts were made to breach the facility and the building has been sealed indefinitely until a time when studies can safely be preformed.”
People now had a reason to panic and no one needed to be told twice. No amount of government high-handedness could stem the tide at this point. There was now a mortality rate associated with the aliens (they were no longer Visitors, they were aliens). Everyone was demanding that the aliens be forced to leave before they spread their death across the nation. God only knows what was going to happen in the other nations they had landed in. Maybe the same fate was awaiting the men and women in Russia, Spain, Turkey, and any other nation that had the misfortune of playing host to these otherworldly fleece-coated wolves. While it was not human nature to look after the interests of people hundreds and thousands of miles away, the prospect of other countries being assaulted in such a manner was enough to bring intense goodwill to the forefront of human thought. It also offered more reasons for panic. What most people would not think of until later was what would become of the gaseous discharge within the facility? What was it doing inside the building? Would it eventually breakdown? Would it spread? What no one thought about was the ship.
The ship was partially organic and gave off the same gas as the aliens did and in proportional amounts which is to say, in dangerously high doses. If the gas from the discarded shells wasn’t enough to end the world and the facility was a potentially isolated incident, that ship certainly put things over the top. The original invasion site (people were too ignorant and arrogant to believe the aliens had no real interest in taking over our planet, they simply didn’t get along well with the climate) continued to give off the gas, even after winds had pushed through the area thoroughly enough to clear out the original contagion. The organic growth within the building was enough to sustain its surrounding environment sufficiently for alien habitation and the gases produced by the ship and the carapaces were blown out from ground zero and began the same process anew. New infection sites cropped up across America just as similar processes were occurring across the globe.
Humanity’s loss of Earth would have been a fight if we understood anything about the contagion or had any means of defending ourselves against it, but for all our touted military might, scientific progress, and resolve to survive we were faced with something of which we had no comprehension. Fear quickly took hold as people across the board began to realize that no one could defend themselves. It was beyond the United States, no one was able to muster the slightest bit of resistance. Terror took hold as people were forced into Evacuation Zones (no one really knew why the term evacuation was used, maybe we thought we could evacuate the aliens back into space) where we believed it would take the contagion more time to reach, geographically remote and as well-fortified as anyone could muster in such a short time. It was a futile gesture of course; we were simply trying to comfort ourselves with the thought of resistance. People were flooding into these makeshift vaults that may or may not offer any protection. We huddled up and pretended shared bodily warmth was a means of self-defense. Maybe someday these mass graves would be analyzed like the elephant graves across the African Savannah.
The last ditch research centers fared no better than the Evacuation Zones. Unsurprising though, futile efforts based on our own individual and overwhelming superiority was a specialty of the human race. The contagion spread and humanity’s grasp on Earth fell. There were no alien extermination squads, the planet wasn’t turned to glass from space by super-advanced energy weapons, and I doubt the Visitors cared much for our departure one way or another. They were simply trying to make themselves at home. They came in peace and I firmly believe they came by accident. The mind works much more efficiently after it’s been separated from the sluggish meat-sack that it must carry around with it in life and I’ve spent quite a bit of time since then thinking over the circumstances of humanity’s eradication. I don’t know if my theories are correct, but they do hold an amusing ring of truth. I’ve always seen life as a bit of a cosmic joke and the heightened clarity of thought that comes with death has done nothing to dull the funny side of life.