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by Pat Hartsfield
The silence felt deafening. The peoples of Earth were accustomed to the earsplitting detonations of Humanitys space vehicles, whether Mars-bound colony vessels or simple, orbital drones. But the silver orb before them descended silently, as though it were attached to a magician's wire.
The craft did not actually land on the grass. It hovered smoothly, two feet above the lawn of the government building, crushing not a single blade.
Melvin Amberdink adjusted his tie nervously. He ran his sandpaper-dry tongue across his lips. His breath came in rapid, irregular pants. He tried to force himself to inhale deeply, fearing that he might black out from lack of oxygen.
Mentally, he went over his speech again and again. Each sentence, each word needed to be perfect as he prepared for his second meeting with The Alien.
* * *
Prior to The Alien's first contact with Humanity, the peoples of Earth had already been gazing toward the stars for many years, hoping that their cosmic neighbors might one day stop by for tea. By the year 2020, the leaders of the planet had realized that any highly evolved aliens probably would not commune with a people bound in perpetual chaos.
So the leaders of the various nations called for a global summit meeting. Envisioning the moment of first contact, the leaders of Earth agreed to model their society after what they concluded the morally advanced aliens must value. In the decades that followed, they sent messages into space, crying out for the advanced beings of the galaxy to come and find them worthy.
In hopes of achieving the highest alien standards, they wrote what was titled the "Canon of the Universe." This set of doctrines for personal and planetary conduct helped guide them in building a better world. With passion and patience, they shaped a society that, compared to any human society in history, could only be likened to heaven.
Wealth became measured in the ability to pay for pleasure, since the necessities of life were available to those in even the poorest countries. All deadly diseases had been conquered, and war was only found in stories. Ball fields replaced battlefields, and weapons factories built only toys.
Once this utopia had reached its highest point yet, the silver ship appeared. It broadcast messages in English, Spanish, Hindi, Russian, and Mandarin, requesting contact with Earths ambassador to other races.
Melvin Amberdink of Roswell, New Mexico, was chosen, since he was the Chairman for the United Nations Alien Contact Task Force. He and the people of Earth were elated. At last, the aliens had come.
During that first contact, Melvin had expressed the passionate desire of the people of Earth: "We wish to be accepted by you. What must we do?"
The black, smooth-skinned Alien seemed to smile from the gaping hole that appeared to serve as its mouth. It declared, "You must cease all use of cold fusion for power and magnetic propulsion for transportation. They create...difficulties."
Melvin stood openmouthed for a moment. "But that would wreak havoc throughout our world. All of our off-world colonies would be in peril. People would die. Cold fusion is necessary. If we are to follow your orders, we need more instructions. Perhaps a new technology to replace what we must relinquish."
The Alien replied, "If you wish to prove yourself worthy, you must follow my instructions implicitly. Then I will provide the technology that you will need."
Humanity dutifully obeyed.
* * *
Melvin swallowed as he retraced the words he would report to The Alien, fearful that the Earth might be rejected as unworthy. With the loss of cheap, abundant energy, the once peaceful planet had begun to fight again. Weapons covered with dust were cleaned and serviced. Ancient, ethnic enemies set aside their peace agreements. New lines of war were drawn over the capped oil fields. Melvin worried that The Alien would be angry and reject his primitive people.
Melvin walked up the ramp, which had extruded itself from a newly formed hole in the wall of the ship. The Alien awaited him inside.
Melvin hung his head, unable to face The Alien as he related the events of the last four months. In such a short time, Humanity had fallen into a state of brutality.
The Alien appeared to smile as he listened. "This is all well," he declared.
"You mean you are not displeased?" Melvin asked, relieved.
The Alien answered, "On the contrary, I am very pleased."
Melvin brightened. "Then you can tell us what we need to do to restore peace to Earth."
"I cannot," The Alien admitted.
Melvin shook his head, confused. "Then why did you have us do all these things? Why would an ambassador of peace put us through such anguish?"
The Alien seemed to chuckle from his gaping mouth as he answered.
"You are mistaken. I am not an ambassador of peace. I am an arms dealer."
Story copyright 2001 by Pat Hartsfield Crosspointyouth@juno.com
Illustration copyright 2001 by Matt Morrow email@example.com
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