Saturday, 17 April 2021

They Came

     

by Pete Pitman

Alpha Centauri cocktail

 

The spaceship draws close to our Solar System.

   On board, the Commander is in conversation with his First Officer.

   “This is a momentous day,” states the Commander, pacing up and down the deck, two of his arms folded behind his back, the other pointing at the viewing screen. “We have travelled for forty years, at a little below the speed of light, and at last we’ve reached a star system that is home to intelligent life.”

   “It’s been a long journey, Sir. Surely, it will be worth it,” said the Officer, his antennae bouncing about his large cranium. “The dominant life forms - known as ‘humans’ -  have built cities, they use mechanical methods of transport and have even explored their neighbouring planets.”

   “True,” said the Commander, his tail thumping the deck. “We have a good understanding of these humans. And now that they’ve built computers with universal communication systems, we will be able to monitor their systems and learn what to do in order to guide them.”

   “Yes, Sir. I’ve heard they are able to send packets of digital information that can be viewed by the recipient.”

   “True,” said the Commander. “This gives us the opportunity to understand them more fully. To gather more detail. We plan to ‘listen’ to two platforms in particular. They’ve named them Facebook and Twitter.

   “Imagine their joy when we impart all our secrets.”

   “Oh yes,” said the Commander. “We’ve spent so long searching and waiting for someone to pass on our knowledge to...” He halted as he fought back the tears cascading from his two outer eyes, before continuing. “We can reveal to them all the secrets of the Universe. Answer all the questions our distant ancestors struggled with for so long.”

   “They are very fortunate, Sir.”

   “Indeed, they are,” said the Commander, staring out into space. “We can increase their life-span a thousandfold. Encourage them to live long, happy and meaningful lives. Introduce them to our code of--”

   There was a bleeping noise coming from a device attached to one of the Officer’s antennae.

   “Sorry to interrupt, Commander,” said the Officer, waving his middle arm. “I’ve just been told, we are now able to listen to and view their communications.

 

“What!”

   “Erk!”

   “Aaargh!”

   “Yuk!”

   “I don’t believe ...”

   “Right. Turn the ship around, we’re going home.”

About the author

The author is a retired computer programmer who writes short stories across a number of genres. He’s had a number of stories published in various magazines. He’s currently redrafting his children’s adventure novel from the point-of-view of a pensioner looking back. 

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