The Ping That Changed The Human Race

It’s big, about the size of Manhattan, shore to shore, subway to roof access. The scientists say we can only know their intentions once their within twenty miles. We’ve had time to accept their existence; popular fiction tends to gloss over the immense amount of waiting involved in first contact. For the last five years, we’ve been preparing for them.

We’re still warring, still struggling but everyone is looking up at something we can’t possibly see yet. It’s in the far side of Mar’s elliptical orbit last I heard and I hear pretty well, I’m one of those that are going up soon. There are now five hundred active astronauts, plus five other space agencies across the globe scrambling to get every shuttle and rocket we can to meet them.

It’s the intersection of pride, curiosity and fear. We all want to get up there, we want to be the first to shake a gray man’s hand but we’re also a perimeter. The ship will have to destroy us if it wants to get to Earth without our expressed permission. It’s very possible that one of the hundred and fifty or so ships could get trigger happy and we could end up starting a brand new kind of war.

I’m part of the first line of defense and the welcoming party. We have gift bags sitting next to nuclear missiles and it’s all so damn bipolar. As one of the few deemed worthy of opening a channel, while greeting them I will be listening for a command. This command will directly result in my own death and the death of untold aliens.

All in all though, I’m just hoping they’ve learned our language because I have no idea what their’s is.