Inherent Weakness

They materialized in the middle of the night so the only people to notice their arrival were a few geeks working for SETI. There were sixty five ships and each of them were like two mile long daggers set equidistantly from one another in high Earth orbit. It was as if they’d stepped from another dimension because had they traveled in any other way Earth’s outward eyes would have seen them coming  log way off and no one saw anything.

Of course, the media snapped into 24 hour coverage of the event and interviewed hundreds of college professors, science fiction writers and survivalists, all of which shed just as much light on the situation as all of the consultants called to brief military and political leaders, which was absolutely no light at all.

The world, already broken into factions by national boundaries and the internal differences in goals of their members, subdivided again into groups that believed the arrival was good for religion, was bad for religion, was a boon to mankind ushering in an era of peaceful forwards leaps of technology and health, and those who were sure that planet Earth was bout to be sterilized of all of its lifeforms.

Of course these subdivisions created even more subdivisions which were mainly focused on just what the world leaders should do about  the threat/boon in orbit.

“Daddy?” asked tiny Patricia Medling, a five year old who lived with her mother and father in a cute bungalow cottage on the arm of Massachusetts’ Cape Cod, “Are the aliens going to kill us?”

“Oh, yes dear. They are. But don’t you worry about a thing because you know God is watching and caring for you with all His love.” replied the girl’s mother. The family moved together for  a group hug and smiled warmly at each other.

“I want some damn answers!” thundered republican Senator Merlin Pardue, twelve term senator and head of the powerful armed services committee. His aide cringed, only able to give the senator what information there was, which was none.  The same scene was playing out all over the world in all of the capitals, from London to Paris, to Frankfurt, to Moscow and on and on. All anyone knew was that there were sixty five ships ringing the planet and they were large enough they could be seen in the day and nighttime skies with the naked eye. In daylight they looked like little pearls and at night like bright bodies, like Venus or the North Star.

“This is it,” sighed Dave Bonney as he addressed members of the militia. “It’s time to get ready to defend ourselves against the godless vermin in our skies.” His words generated a ripple of agreement through the little group gathered in his living room. “It’s time to bug out.”

Across the country in another living room, Al Cheevers reassured his family. “Don’t let the unknown frighten you. Our government will protect us as it has from the other threats we’ve faced.” His family smiled at him and they all went back to watching American Idol on the television.

Suffice to say, things were in crisis mode all through the halls of government, and of course, the stock market had already lost 200 points and continued to decline. Schools closed their doors and cancelled classes which caused people to take days off from work to stay home and watch over their children.  People had gone shopping mad, making runs on food stores that soon had the shelves emptied. Camping equipment and survival gear was sold as fast as the sales could be processed and gun shops were doing a land office business, many ignoring the waiting periods required  by some national governments. Archery sets, slingshots and even javelins flew off the shelves as the people tried to arm themselves.

First, a week went by without any contact from the off world visitors. And still the people of earth speculated on what they should expect from the aliens. All over, the rule of law was breaking down as the lines of supply withered and food ran short. Already roving gangs in the cities had descended the weaker members of society, beating them mercilessly before taking anything edible or with value. Police response had dwindled into lawlessness as officers stayed home to protect their families and this only emboldened the muggers and thieves to accelerate their dark works. Society was tearing itself apart.

Members of the military, with no enemy force to fight, deserted and went home to help and defend their families. Things just kept spinning more and more out of control. And still the aliens in the ships above remained mute.

Leaders tried to call for calm until a few had been shot or lynched for failing to protect their people. Leaders went into hiding and society took another giant leap towards tone aged anarchy.

In the fourth week, the religious zealots were sure that this was a sign from their God that he wanted them to come to him, this triggering mass murders of children and the suicides of the dead children’s parents.

On the morning of the first day of the fifth week the skies were empty. The aliens, whatever their purpose, had departed as quickly and mysteriously as they came.

On the planet, things did not return to the way they had been before the contact. Markets were in ruin, transportation was in shambles. There were no avenues of food distribution nor foods to distribute. There was no fuel to power transportation and no transportation companies to do transport. The graveyard spiral continued in spite of the departure of the initiating ships. National cohesion was non-existent, it was person against person, conclave against conclave. War lords rose and fell and humanity deteriorated more and more each day. There was no medicines and few doctors, so disease was rampant. Small cuts or bone breaks became life threatening and the weakest of civilization, the children, began to perish at alarming rates. The elderly, although wise and experienced, were affected the same way as the children and died off unable to pass their wisdom and learning to the few who might use it, if only they could take time out from defending and scavenging to survive.

Two years after their first appearance in the skies, the aliens returned. It was different this time because when they came, they landed. It took very little to find and destroy the tiny clusters of wretched humans remaining, and as they had planned, they assumed stewardship of the blue planet, a gemstone among the countless worlds in the universe.  From their observations of the world they had become aware that the billions who populated the planet were not a force to be reckoned with, but prideful and selfish beings who were their own worst enemy. All they had to do was reveal a portion of their ships, none of which was armed in any way, and the people of earth would do all the heavy lifting to clear the world so the aliens could finally stop wandering the stars in search of a replacement for their own planet, destroyed when its sun went supernova some thirty generations past.

They landed their ships and smiled up at the sun and began their lives on their new home world.