A Common Enemy

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.

The Earth seen from Apollo 17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Earth sparkled in the sunlight, a blue and white ball gliding through space in the orbit determined millennia ago.

The ship hovered above, listening to the babel of voices detected by the sound sensors. Leader Rosna shook her lateral tendrils in horror.

“How does this planet survive?”

The sound technician was battling to isolate the various sound patterns, to determine any intelligible communication patterns. Never in all their eons of exploration had the team seen anything like this. This planet sustained life, that much they knew.  Would it sustain them? Could they live with the natives? Where the natives controllable? Could they be worked?

First the team needed to understand the degree of evolution.  From what could be determined so far, this was a primitive planet. There were no space ships arriving or leaving, although there was a strange looking building orbiting the planet.  Primitive weapons had been detected, mostly in isolated areas of the planet. Clearly these would need to be subdued first.

Rosna stared down at this blue and white ball. It looked so peaceful from her vantage point, yet the sounds, the sounds told a different story. So sad. It was the standard practice of the Elengia to peacefully co-habit with the natives of the planets they colonised. To share the technology, solve any problems they found and gently enhance the lives of the natives. So far, this planet was sounding like a disaster.

Rosna considered turning the ship around and leaving this rabble to their own destructive devices. But there was water on this planet and the Elengia needed water. Planets with such water supplies were few and far between in the universe and there were no others in this solar system.

Rosna turned to Palenda, reaching out to touch his dome with her leftmost tendril. Their minds joined and he heard her concern. He sent her soothing rhythms to calm her thoughts.

“We don’t take planets by force. It is not our way.”

“No,” Palenda soothed, “it is not. Yet listen to that rabble. We will likely be saving them from destroying themselves.”

Rosna turned back to the sound technician. Gradually she was isolating sound sets, deciphering different languages. Thousands of them. It would take the Elengia months to be able to translate all these languages. Months they did not have.

“Determine the predominant communication patterns,” Rosna ordered.  Food and water were already being rationed. 10,000 Elengia were on this ship and she felt the responsibility for these beings heavily.

“Call me when we can communicate with them. I need to rest.”

Rationing food and water meant less energy for all. It was important rest was taken regularly.

Palenda was concentrating on trying to determine the types of living creatures on this planet. He had already determined there were many different species and he had witnessed one species seemed to kill other species, including itself, for pleasure. This was unheard of in the rest of the universe. Clearly this was a primitive species.

The visuals engineer had managed to get a clearer picture of activity on the surface. Suddenly differences became clear to Palenda. This superior species (and Palenda labelled them superior only because they seemed to be able to kill everything) came in different varieties.  There were a few white ones, maybe 20% of the population, even less black ones, many brown ones with a different eye shape than the black and white varieties.  Palenda pondered this situation. Were these variations what lead to the violence on the planet? The Elengia would need to understand this very well before they invaded.

Invaded. Palenda hated that word. Elengians never invaded. It was against their objectives. He shuddered and noticed his right tendrils turning a dark shade of yellow, almost orange.  Inner conflict caused the Elengia illnesses for which sometimes there was no cure. How could they reconcile what most be done with their beliefs?

He left the command centre and took the slide car down twenty levels to the nursery. The twins had been born three months ago and were growing rapidly. Growing children needed food and water. He noticed the dark yellow fading.

Palenda realised his love for the survival of his children would control the ill feelings caused by invading this unruly planet.

Below, the unruly rabble had no idea. They continued to kill each other, driven by greed, madness, who knew. Would facing a common enemy bring them together?

* * * * *

Yesterday I had a conversation about alien invasion of earth being perhaps the only event that would bring us all together. I said I would write about it. So I did. 


10 comments on “A Common Enemy

  1. Being a cynic about human nature I figure the aliens would bring us together until they were defeated…or we started arguing among ourselves anyway (Though they might turn up here and ignore us completely while they pursued a war of extermination against their own kind, amoeba… :-))

    Joking aside, though,it seems to me you’ve hit on a key part of the human condition – that ‘us and them’ problem. I see it all the time in the NZ historical community – there are a couple of military historians in particular who loathe each other with a passion, but who gang up occasionally to attack anybody intruding on the territory they are fighting over themselves (used to be me, until I gave up in their field and left them to their petty little struggles).

    Emblematic of a wider problem with human nature – and the good side of the human condition tends to get buried by it. Damn.


    • Thank you for the kind words, Matthew. I whipped it up, literally in an hour, as a bit of fun. People seem to quite like it, so I wonder what a few thousand hours might do to the concept.

      However, one book at a time. This one will have to wait, plus I also have “The Encounter” to finish if I ever get to it.

      Personally, I think there are just way to many of us on this planet and that is the main problem. Not to mention our materialism with no thought for the future generations. But if I start that, I’ll end up on my soapbox and I can’t do that tonight!


  2. I LOVE this!!!! Can’t wait for more 🙂


  3. Haha, very good! It all depends what kind of aliens we get, doesn’t it? Have you read Carl Sagen’s ‘Contact?’ His premise is that, for good or ill, we’ve been advertising our presense in all directions for a while now. We’ve also been looking for signs of extra-terrestrial life on the assumption that they, like us, will send out radio signals advertising their existence and intelligence.

    But what if that’s not a good idea? What if we’re the only ones stupid enough to be doing it? You see, if we get detected by aliens from another galaxy with fantastically advanced knowlege and technology to get around relativity and travel faster than light, then they are probably serene beings of sweetness and light and all will be well. On the other hand, radio waves also travel at the speed of light, and only since television have we generated signals strong enough to escape our atmosphere and find their way into space, so what’s most likely?

    Well, the first powerful TV signals were in 1936. There were two. One was the coronation of George VI, the other was the Nuremberg rallies. So anyone within 76 light years could have picked them up by now. There weren’t any more for about a decade, wasn’t a high priority during the war. Anyway, any really advanced aliens within that distance would probably have found us long ago, but what if they’re a bit like us, maybe 50-100 years ahead of us technologically? Just far enough ahead to get them here. They could lob nukes at us from just out of range, there’s not a thing we could do. With the end of the shuttle program we don’t even have the ability to put a decent payload into low Earth orbit anymore. They didn’t even keep one mothballed, just in case. If a passing asteroid comes our way (which is actually much more likely) we’re screwed.

    Of course, we are doing quite a job of ignoring the common enemy we are already facing, climate change. We seem to have a great deal of trouble conceptualising anything more subtle than a punch in the head.


    • Well, you see, there is the problem, isn’t it? Our visitors have only just started exploring from a safe point. Wait until they delve a little deeper.

      Glad you liked it! Makes a bit of a change. I might have to do more! 🙂


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