When it was first spotted, hurtling in from beyond Neptune, astronomers had mistaken the alien’s ship for a rogue comet — easily done. It was massive, rocky and appeared to be trailing a gassy ice plume.
Then Prof Clarke, from Mount Stromlo Observatory, pointed out that it was coming in exceptionally fast for a comet and besides, comets don’t usually turn corners.
Immediately the world plunged into a flurry of activity. UN advisors drafted 223 new versions of first contact plans, SETI was consulted, schools were closed and countries that could declare martial law, did.
That night, Trish Kwan’s “Hello ET” Youtube channel garnered 3.2million followers in the first hour. A Californian cult bought prime time advertising on CBS to promote their volcano sacrifice plan, and Norwegian authorities quietly shifted their entire population into underground bunkers.
The next morning, Emily Smith from Watsonia North used her dad’s work computer to send a tweet.
“Dear aliens lets be friends. Come swing with me after school on Thursday at Binnak Park. I’ll bring snacks.”
When a late-night TV host stumbled upon the tweet, he immediately turned it into a segment. By the third night, a host of B-grade celebrities had posted alien invite parodies which Gen X’s thought hilarious, and Gen Y’s mimicked. Soon Emily’s tweet trended number one until Wednesday morning when she was bumped down to second place by a global communication blasted out on all social media channels.
“That would be lovely Emily, it’s been a long trip, and the kids could use a rest stop. See you at 4.”
* Image curtesy of Aussie Speculative Fiction where this flash fiction first appeared.