Monday, May 21, 2012

Spookymilk Turbo: We Come in Peace!

I'm on a cold streak. Time to get turned around.

This week's challenge was as follows...

So many books and movies about extraterrestrial life focus on the silly humans. It’s all fraidy-cat this and don’t-kill-us that.

Your job is to write about the first encounter another species has with Earth and it must entirely be from their perspective. This can be taken many different ways and they’re all okay; just keep the perspective with the alien.

Word Limit: 400 (HARD LIMIT)
Time Limit: One hour

Okay, 'first contact from the aliens' point of view'. Fair enough. Here's my story.

We watched them for a while. After Brimspark, we knew to we had to do that much, at least.
The communications we intercepted indicated a violent race capable of great things, but content to wallow in id-fueled squabbling. Each new time we checked in on them, we felt certain that they’d used their fearsome arsenal to render the planet an uninhabitable mess.

Then things turned around. Slowly, but surely, they began to turn from the death and war that had previously defined them and began to advance themselves, as we had always known they could. They were finally ready.

Our first meeting was nearly disastrous. They may be moving forward as a race, but violence is a part of their nature. We met with their leaders, only to be met by thousands of armed men. We told them that we meant no harm, and that we merely desired to know more about them, but it didn’t allay their fears. As I looked into the crowd, I saw nothing but fear. I had seen this look on Brimspark, and it ended in catastrophe.

Suddenly, a young man dropped his gun and began to walk towards our group. As his friends looked on incredulously, he approached our group. He stood in front of me and extended his hand to me, smiling warmly. I gave my closest approximation of a smile and took his hand and shook it. Instantly, the tension in the crowd dissipated. We spoke to the leaders, who promised to do all that they could to allay the fears of the larger public. We gave them a few good faith gifts. That soldier’s simple gesture seems to have melted the distrust. If only someone had done the same on Brimspark.

We need a new homeworld, but above all, we need a pristine homeworld. Brimspark was a failure because we thought we could simply sweep the primitives out. If we are to colonize Earth, we will need to take a more long term approach. Our ships have been put on long-term standby. This might take years, but we don’t have anything to worry about this time. When this is all over, maybe we’ll build a statue commemorating Handshake Guy. It’s the least we can do, really.

Beau: Nice. This is obviously reminiscent of “To Serve Man,” but I like the approach this one takes a little bit better. It doesn’t have the “gotcha” punch-line like that episode did, but this one feels more realistic and more depressing. SILVER

Stef: Do aliens ever really come in peace? Doesn’t look like it even if it seems like it could. BRONZE

Okay, it's not a golden triple, but it's a start.

First things first, I regret the ending - specifically the 'statue of handshake guy' portion of it. It feels cheesy in what was sort of meant to be deadly serious. It was an absolute last second addition, and I regretted it right away.

The rest of it is...okay. It's better than the stuff I've been coming up with lately, for sure. The payoff might be a little obvious, but that's mostly because - like Stef says - it seems like Aliens never actually come in peace. I was sort of inspired, weirdly enough, by a short story I read on the net (while writing this recap, I tried to find it again, with no success). Basically, the story has aliens watching earth from afar, seeing that they will eventually doom everyone, and deciding to kill off the planet before they can do it. Obviously, that's not the direction I went with, but it laid some of the mental groundwork for the headspace I was in.

Like I said, it's a decent start at getting back on track. Hopefully the next challenge will build off of it.

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