Whimper, Not Bang
Yes, yes, we all get the TS Eliot reference
The most surprising thing to everyone turned out to be how mundane the end of the world was. You would think that an alien invasion from outer space, complete with reptilian Masters of the Universe equipped with laser emitting talons would have been more fraught, and frankly, more dramatic.
The first hints of something unusual happening were a few cryptic tweets on Twitter, which were rapidly suppressed by our government. But of course, more surfaced and then more and more until the censors could no longer continue their Whack A Mole strategy. Facebook and Instagram were also all over it and then finally cable and network news caught up. Most of the initial reporting was quite circumspect, as no one wanted to be accused of creating a mass panic or “getting ahead of their skis” as the talking heads kept relentlessly minding us. Also, there was rampant fear that the entire thing was a hoax, designed by some agenda driven terrorist group in order to crash the global markets and to cause worldwide instability.
But, aliens had actually landed on Earth. Not in any huge numbers and not in any concentrated locations, just scattered about here and there, about ten landings per continent. Each spaceship contained approximately one hundred invaders, who all looked identical — tall, elongated bodies, over-sized heads, large fly-like eyes, about 7 ft. height on average. Their dermis was dark grey and leathery and as mentioned previously, they had talons that emitted a vaporizing laser which they demonstrated to the initial human approachers. They tried hard not to annihilate any humans at first, focusing instead on vehicles and plant-life, but the humans kept advancing on them with flame throwers and grenade launchers and the like until the frustrated aliens were forced to evaporate a few individuals in order to make the point that in terms of weaponry, they held all the cards.
They did not speak, but possessed some kind of universal communication whereby they made their wishes known through mental telepathy that cut through all language barriers. What they desired was to be left alone to fulfill their reconnaissance mission of Earth exploration. They did not wish to speak to any leaders of any nations, they wanted simply to observe the flora, the fauna, the humans, the cities and the countryside of the planet. No one saw them eat or ingest anything although on a very few occasions they appeared to anoint one another in their joints with small pouches of some kind of lubricant, much like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz. The fact that they appeared free of carnivore or even herbivore impulses was naturally a great relief to all, since after the landings there had been far too many references to The Twilight Zone and To Serve Mankind. “It’s a cookbook!” became universally reviled as an overused comedic tagline with no vestigial value to society, humorous or otherwise.
The Presidents of nations addressed their populations individually, advising calm since so far the invaders had shown no hostile intent. The US President insisted he had a “beautiful” relationship with the leaders of the space delegation and was exploring preliminary trade agreements with them and hoped that they would employ Americans in their future venture. He seemed to imply that he would be happy to form an alliance with the extraterrestrials even at the expense of other nations, including long-term allies and mentioned how no one did detention and imprisonment better than the United States. This speech touched off an international furor and ended up isolating the United States as a pariah country after volunteering to become in effect the Trustee Nation in service to the invaders. The President said other countries were mad only because he had made the first overture.
As the weeks passed, life unremarkably chugged on. There were no riots or demonstrations or mass suicides or revolutions. Church attendance went neither up nor down. The stock market was predictably volatile with wild swings as the volume went bear or bull seemingly by the minute based on whatever the latest rumor was. There was a surge in YouTube videos and podcasts about the extraterrestrials plus a number of first person unverified accounts of abductions and experimentation all of which lacked any physical substantiating evidence.
A number of women worldwide reported themselves to be impregnated by nighttime bedroom alien visitors who would simply sit on the foot of their bed and stare intently at them. Once again, although these reports were numerous and practically identical in detail, there was no way to confirm or deny their veracity. No zygotes or embryos were detected, but no one knew what they were looking for either, or what the gestation period might be. The women who claimed this shared experience called themselves Brides of the Galaxy and formed convent/communes to await together the eventual emergence of their offspring.
The ETs popped up unexpectedly in odd places; some turned up on Prince Edward Island for an Anne of Green Gables tour for instance, and posed for pictures with Japanese tourists in front of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s birthplace. They were also seen at The San Diego Zoo and on the Galapagos Islands and at both Chernobyl and Hiroshima; their tourist sensibilities seemed like an amalgamation between Fodor’s and some kind atomic disaster map they had maintained from outer space.
It has been over two years since they landed and the anxiety and expectation is literally killing us as all of mankind on Earth waits for the next shoe to drop.
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