It is a known fact that humanity made first contact with extra-terrestrials on June 13th, 20XX when an enormous spacecraft appeared over the United Nations Secretariat Building, and a group of twelve alien delegates spoke to the Earth, inviting us to join the Galactic Commonwealth.
This was inarguably the most historic moment in human history. The day we stepped over the threshold to a larger, more advanced civilization.
Except it’s not true. First contact happened about a year before. At a secret meeting at an abandoned military base in Utah.
This is what really happened.
The US President arrived surrounded by a cadre of Secret Service agents and Marine Special Forces. Each group eyeing each other, confident in the fact that they were best suited to protect POTUS against any danger from beyond the stars. In retrospect, this was adorable.
POTUS strode into the hanger that the meeting was to take place.
“Mr. President, the Secret Service has secured the area, all clear,” said the Lead Agent.
“My people have made the area even more secure, sir,” added the Marine Major who wanted to make sure her people were represented.
“How can an area be even more secure?” hissed the Lead Agent, “An area is either secure or it’s not!”
“If you were in the Corp, you’d understand.”
“That’s just bullsh-”
“Alrighty!” said POTUS with a smile, “I know you both have done outstanding work. Just keep your eyes peeled and your ears open and we’ll come through this right as rain!”
Inwardly, POTUS was not as confident. This whole business was making his ulcer act up. If this went well it would cement his legacy. But if it didn’t, he might be the last president of the U S of A. He chewed an antacid and ran his hands over his hair.
He stood there and listened to the low wind that made the hanger creak. It occurred to him, and not for the first time, that this might be a prank.
Suddenly, with a burst of bright green light, three figures appeared along with a massive table, a tall robed insect figure with the octopus arms, an undulating pillar of luminous pink sparkles, and a creature that might be described as a muscular centaur with a Tiger-Man upper body and reptilian back half.
The distinctive sound of automatic weapons being cocked was heard.
“Everyone stand down,” said POTUS, and weapons were lowered.
Stepping forward, POTUS held his arms open and said, “Greetings, beings from the stars. From all the people of the United States of America, I welcome you to our planet.”
“Hey Mr. President,” said the Octopus Bug, “How ya doing?”
POTUS did not react immediately. Partially because the tone was so… casual. That and the fact this alien sounded a lot like Jon Hamm.
“I am doing well. Thanks for asking?” he replied.
“Let me introduce myself, I am Bahb Smisss, from the planet Gorbo,” said the Octopus Bug.
“Excuse me, did you just say your name is Bob Smith?” asked POTUS, “Are you yankin’ my chain?”
“No, no, no! It’s Bahb Smisss,” the alien repeated slowly, “It sounds a lot like a Human name but it’s spelled differently.”
“Back to introductions, to my right is Luuuupppurrrn, she’s from the planet Suvooooooo.”
“Nice to meet ya!” purred the column of rosy-colored lights.
“And last, but certainly not least, Mung-Torp of the planet Ventahkus.”
“Charmed,” said the Tiger-Lizard Centaur.
POTUS looked these aliens straight in where he figured their eyes would be and stated, “You all seem to know who I am, so let me say again, welcome to Earth.”
This made the aliens laugh.
“What the H E double hockey sticks are you all playing at?!” said POTUS who was not at all comfortable being on his back heel.
“I apologize,” said Bahb Smisss, “It just that… WE’RE ALL FROM EARTH!”
“Are you Planet of the Apeing me Jack?” sputtered POTUS.
There was a pause, followed immediately by gales of laughter from the ETs.
“It’s kinda an inside joke,” Luuuupppurrrn said as she tried to stop laughing.”
“The name of everyone’s planet translates to ‘Earth’ in their native language. An odd universal truth.”
“That is odd,” added POTUS who felt as though he was not just on his back heels but tumbling ass over teakettle.
“Usually, it gets a bigger laugh,” added Bahb Smisss, “I think my timing was off.”
“Ooo!” warbled Luuuupppurrrn, “I totally spaced on the refreshments.”
With a smaller green flash of light the table filled with food and drink.
“Let’s sit and chat. Sounds good?” inquired Bahb Smisss.
They sat. POTUS sniffed the food, it smelled delicious. He was about to take a bite when the Lead Agent leaned in.
“I wouldn’t advise it sir. We don’t even know if these things eat the same food as us.”
“Nothing to fret over, it’s Earth food,” interjected Mung-Torp.
“It smells like chicken pot pie,” said POTUS who found himself getting hungry.
“Allow me to taste it Mr. President,” said the Major who leaned in on POTUS’s other side, “Just to make sure.”
“Back off Leatherneck! It’s our job to protect the President!”
“Isn’t there some counterfeiting you should be dealing with?”
“That’s only one of the areas the Secret Service covers! If anyone is going to get poisoned by aliens is us!”
“It’s not poisoned,” stated Luuuupppurrrn.
“No disrespect, but that’s just what a poisoner would say,” disrespectfully said the Major.
“I hate to agree with her but she’s right,” grudgingly added the Lead Agent.
“You think we traveled hundreds of light-years, set up a secret meeting with your president, just to poison him?” asked Mung-Torp.
“That’s a long way to go to spit in someone’s soup. Agent, Major, relax.”
They did so. Reluctantly. POTUS picked up a fork and took a bite. It was…
“Delicious!” exclaimed the leader of the free world.
“So glad you liked it! We’ve been working on Earth recipes and we knew chicken pot pie was your favorite!”
“How did you know that!” shouted the Lead Agent and the Major at once.
“That interview you did with Robin Roberts,” said Bahb Smisss.
“I just adore her,” burbled Luuuupppurrrn, “So charming!”
“But she’s also an excellent journalist,” commented Mung-Torp.
The three aliens agreed.
“So you’ve been monitoring us?” asked POTUS.
“Ever since you started radio broadcasts,” remarked Bahb Smisss.
“Those early broadcasts were so creative! You all did so much with just sound!” Mung-Torp said with reverence, “That War of Worlds broadcast was outstanding. Thank Glorp that we didn’t show up right after that!”
POTUS wiped his mouth and said, “That’s some top-notch chicken pot pie, tasted like it was made by someone’s momma.”
“Please Mr. President,” said Luuuupppurrrn, whose pink sparkles got brighter, “You’ll make me fulgurate.”
“But I have to ask you, why are you here?”
“That is an excellent question. There is something that your Earth has that we very much desire,” said Bahb Smisss, “A particular resource.”
“Water,” said POTUS.
The ETs tittered.
“No, we don’t need water.”
“It is one of Earth’s largest natural resources. Heck, seventy-one percent of our surface is water!” declared POTUS.
“Please don’t take this as a knock but we have faster than light travel,” stated Mung-Torp, “We know how to make water. All it is two hydrogen and one oxygen. It’s pretty basic.”
“Then what? Minerals? Petroleum? People?” demanded POTUS.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa! Slow down there. We don’t want any of that stuff!” said Luuuupppurrrn in a soothing tone.
“Why the heck not?”
Bahb Smisss held his tentacles and said, “First, we no longer use petroleum. Haven’t for millions of years. It’s rife with problems. Second, we don’t eat people. Well, the Zorrbinians do. But only other Zorrbinians. It’s a cultural thing.”
Leaning in, he whispered to POTUS, “Everybody thinks they’re weirdoes, but it’s none of our business.”
“Okay. But what about minerals or metals and that sort of stuff?” asked POTUS who was curious why they breezed past that part.
With patience, Luuuupppurrrn explained.
“Mr. President, do you know how many uninhabited planets there are, just chock full of iron, heavy metals, and Delvinte?”
“What’s Delvinite?” he asked.
“Oh, you haven’t discovered it yet. It’s a very versatile element, you’ll find near the core of a planet. Sorry, I got a little off track here. There are literally billions of worlds that cannot sustain life. Invasion is not cost-effective.”
“Like any good leader, I prefer peace to war but-”
“You don’t think it’s actually possible,” speculated Bahb Smiss.
“A hard lesson from our history,” POTUS grimly said.
“Let me put it this way, let’s say you want a…” Luuuupppurrrn looked around the table, “A pizza. So you have two ways of getting it. You could go to the place where pizza is. You call them pizza parlors, right?”
“I do,” said POTUS who was a bit on the old-fashioned side.
“Great! Now you could either go to the pizza parlor, where you can get as much pizza as you like, for free. OR you go to your neighbor’s home to take his pizza, which he does NOT want to give you. In fact, many beings will die before you get his pizza and many ask, ‘Why didn’t we just go to the free pizza parlor in the first place?’ That’s why no one invades anyone else anymore. At least in the Galactic Commonwealth.”
“So, if you’re not here to invade, what exactly are you here for?” asked POTUS who was wondering where this all was going.
“Yes!” exclaimed Bahb Smiss, “Let’s get to the hearts of the matter. We want Beyoncé.”
Whatever POTUS thought they were going to ask for, it was not this.
“What kinda malarky are you shoveling?” shouted POTUS.
“It’s just that we all love Beyoncé,” sighed Luuuupppurrrn.
“Everyone loves her!” declared Mung-Torp.
“The United States of America does NOT trade human beings! I oughta take you behind the gym and woop your keister for suggesting it!” said POTUS as he took off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves.
“Hold on! I think we weren’t clear about what we meant!” hurriedly said Bahb Smiss, “We don’t want Beyoncé the being. We want her music.”
“Are you telling me that you came halfway across the universe for music?”
“Not that far exactly, more like three hundred and fifty-seven lightyears, but essentially… Yes,” replied Bahb Smisss.
“That sounds like grade A bullplop!” insisted POTUS.
“Remember how we said we first intercepted your broadcasts?” said Mung-Torp.
“Well, we were very impressed by your planet’s creativity. For years we listened and watched your broadcasts. Such remarkable and innovative artistry,” said Luuuupppurrrn with absolute sincerity.
“That’s why you’re here? Because you like our TV shows?” sputtered POTUS.
“And your music,” said Mung-Torp.
“Animation, movies, and even your commercials,” said Bahb Smisss, “That old lady who was looking for the beef! Classic.”
POTUS looked at these ETs with disbelief.
“Are you all serious?”
“Hundreds of civilizations can travel faster than light. Only you, had a Lucille Ball,” reverently intoned Bahb Smiss.
Tapping his fingers on the table, the President considered this.
“So, what do we get from all this?”
“Of course the artists will be compensated,” interjected Mung-Torp.
“But everyone will benefit. We can supply you with advanced technology,” suggested Luuuupppurrrn.
“What? Like space ships and ray guns?” asked POTUS.
“Maybe work up to that,” chuckled Bahb Smiss, “But for a start, we can offer cures for all diseases.”
“We’ve had that worked out a long time ago,” said Mung-Torp casually.
“Free clean energy as well,” mentioned Luuuupppurrrn.
“Now that is something twice over,” said POTUS.
POTUS was grinning. This would not just cement his legacy, it would be carved out of diamond. Then it occurred to him.
“What about everyone else? I pretty sure the Russians won’t be tickled pink about America getting VIP tickets to Future World!”
“Representatives are conferring with other world leaders as we speak,” said Bahb Smiss.
“Well… That makes sense,” POTUS admitted. “I sincerely hope they take you up on your offer.”
He could share credit.
“We’re pretty confident they will,” said Mung-Torp with assurance.
“Are you in, Mr. President?” asked Bahb Smiss.
POTUS stroked his chin. If this was on the level, it would change everything. The Joint Chiefs would have puppies over this. Congress too. But the public would support the end of all disease and free energy. It was, as his grandchildren would say, a no-brainer.
“I’m in like Flynn!”
A series of pings were heard and each of the aliens looked at their devices.
“It looks like everybody is in!” said Bahb Smiss.
“That’s amazing!” said POTUS, “Even Pu-”
“Yep, even him!” confirmed Luuuupppurrrn.
“Well if don’t beat all,” murmured POTUS.
“Now comes the boring part. The legal stuff,” said Bahb Smiss.
“You have lawyers?”
“They are inevitable, like the heat death of the universe,” snarked Mung-Torp.
“Be nice!” chided Luuuupppurrrn.
“I was,” insisted Mung-Torp.
“Moving on,” said Bahb Smith, “Tomorrow we can begin the, what you like to call the ‘paperwork.’ But tonight, we can celebrate!”
“I don’t suppose you brought any bubbly?” asked POTUS.
Another green flash and iced buckets appeared on the table. POTUS popped a bottle open and poured two glasses for the Lead Agent and the Raider Major.
“Here ya go, drink up you two!”
“We’re still on duty sir,” said the Lead Agent.
“Better to keep sharp Mr. President,” whispered the Major, her eyes darting around the room.
“This is a presidential order, have a drink, eat some food and enjoy yourselves,” POTUS said as he handed them glasses.
“With all due respect-,” began the Lead Agent.
“Son, if these folks were gonna do anything, it would already happened. So make a few memories, you’ll tell your grandchildren about this moment.”
POTUS moved off and began talking to the ETs.
“We might be out of a job soon,” said the Lead Agent as he took a swig of champagne. It was good.
“I think you’re right,” replied the Major who drained her glass.
“I’ve always wanted to learn how to bake.”
“Maybe I can be a barista.”
Both took in the scene.
“You want to make out?” asked the Major.
“Like in high school?”
POTUS was speaking to the aliens, who had an encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture.
“You all really like Beyoncé?”
“No. We all LOVE Beyoncé,” corrected Mung-Torp.
“She’s worshiped on a number of worlds,” revealed Luuuupppurrrn.
“Here on Earth too. Sorry, our planet too,” said POTUS catching himself.
“It’s alright, you can still call your planet Earth. It would be weird if you didn’t,” said Bahb Smiss.
“That makes sense,” replied POTUS as he nodded his head. “Do you mind if I ask you one more question?”
“Ask as many as you like,” said Bahb Smiss.
“You said you’d been observing us for years. Why come here now?”
“Very insightful question Mr. President,” said Mung-Torp, “The fact is since many of your entertainment outlets have gone digital, we’re getting less content.”
“And since you are going digital more and more, it was an indication that you would be at the proper level, technologically speaking, to be open to first contact,” elaborated Luuuupppurrrn.
“Are you saying Netflix is first step into galactic society?” asked POTUS.
“It sends a message,” intoned Bahb Smiss.
“And that brought you all a running?”
Bahb Smiss, Luuuupppurrrn, and Mung-Torp exchanged the briefest of glances and remembered a conversation.
“Read the report again,” said Mung-Torp.
“It hasn’t changed,” sniped Luuuupppurrrn, “The Earth is screwed.”
“Let me see that,” said Bahb Smiss as he expanded the holo-report.
“The human race will survive,” he said as he scanned the formulas, “They will likely be reduced to a pre-industrial level of technology in… Ten to twenty years. Give or take. There’s also a nineteen percent chance of extinction. Yeah. That’s bad.”
“Bad is we have to make a short detour to avoid a singularity. This is a disaster!” Yelled Luuuupppurrrn, “If their society collapses there are going to be a lot of unresolved plot lines. A LOT!”
“I know!” Bahb Smiss spat back.
“Do you know how many billions of beings are waiting for the next season of the Bachelor? I do and it is TERRIFYING!”
“It’s not like it’s going off the air right now,” said Mung-Torp.
“But it’s coming,” said Bahb Smiss.
They all sat in silence.
“We have no choice,” said Bahb Smiss.
“I’m not sure they’re ready,” observed Mung-Torp.
“This is a species that bought rocks as pets. They were just rocks. Not alive. Like the ones they had all over the planet,” said Luuuupppurrrn, “They clearly not ready.”
“Then they better get ready,” said Bahb Smiss.
“It’s going to be very tricky,” warned Mung-Torp.
“If we wanted to live forever, we wouldn’t have gotten into programming,” sighed Bahb Smiss, “Let’s get ready for first contact.”
“It’s all it took,” amiably said Bahb Smiss.
“If that don’t beat all,” said POTUS with a smile.
“Mr. President, as a sign of friendship between Earth and the Galactic Commonwealth, how would you feel about us fixing that little hole in your ozone layer?”