May 5th 2025
They came in different ways, but all spectacular.
In China, a three mile wide spaceship blotted out the sun over Beijing and the ambassador flew down in a small craft. In Moscow a ship landed in red square. In London, a beam of light shot down from a ship in stationary orbit and the ambassador transported down it.
In Washington a ship landed, and the ambassador got out and walked to the Whitehouse. The ambassador seemed human, about six feet six inches tall, with short cropped blond hair. He was dressed normally in slacks and a short sleeved green shirt.
Of course they tried to stop him. They tried very hard. Individuals were deflected when they got within a couple of meters. Cars and even tanks were pushed aside with no apparent effort from the ambassador. Bullets and missiles were either deflected or simply disappeared.
They realized quite quickly that he was walking to the Whitehouse and they desperately tried to get the president out. But the Oval office was sealed with the president inside. Even explosives on the door and the windows had no effect.
Finally the order was given to stop trying to impede him and just let him go. When he reached the oval office 150 army officers were packed shoulder to shoulder and 5 deep in front of the door preparing to give their lives to defend the president. A hale of automatic fire was directed at the ambassador – with no effect. There was no where for the soldiers to go, and if the ambassador continued his walk they would be crushed to death against the walls. But he disappeared.
And re-appeared in a chair opposite the president.
“That was one hell of an entrance” said the president.
The ambassador smiled. “The purpose was simply to establish technological superiority” he said. “We could have done much more, but we are trying not to cause any casualties”
“Well what do you want, I’m a busy man” said the president.
The attempt at levity was lost on the ambassador. He said “Your race has established space travel within your solar system and we have detected that you are on the threshold of developing technology to enable inter-stellar travel. This must stop.”
“Why?” said the president
“You are a predatory ecology” said the ambassador simply.
“What the…..! I don’t understand”
“Your entire ecology is based on predation. Even your microbes fight and devour each other. Your plants compete for land and minerals, and almost every living thing on your planet thrives at the expense of others.”
“I don’t understand” said the president again. “What would you expect?”
“Predatory ecologies, are quite common but very rarely reach your state. Usually as soon as intelligence develops, technology follows quite quickly, and the ecology usually wipes itself out.
“Hmm, I can believe that” said the president thinking back over the last few decades. “But that’s how evolution works.”
“No, that’s all you can imagine, as you are part of a predatory ecology. All of the highly advanced species in the galaxy have evolved from symbiotic ecologies. Those where the organisms work together for mutual benefit. They have had billions of years to develop their technology, you have only had a few thousand years. Species that have evolved from symbiotic ecologies are the only ones that we allow to leave their planets.
“But you have managed to reach the stage where interstellar travel is becoming a possibility, and we cannot allow you to proliferate your aberration across the galaxy or beyond.
“How can you stop us” said the president
“Many ways” said the ambassador, “we can push your planet closer to the sun, we can switch off you gravity for a few seconds, or we can just rain down nuclear bombs, one a minute for a hundred years.”
“You would actually do that?” the president was wide eyed, shocked.
“Yes” said the ambassador simply, with no emotion
“Bastard” said the president”
The ambassador tilted his head to one side, and looked puzzled
The president regained his composure. “It’s a term of abuse, usually used for people we detest when we have no other way to express ourselves” he said stiffly. “What are asking us to do?”
“We are not asking. We require you to abandon all of your craft and bases that are not on your planet and confine yourselves to earth for the remainder of the life of your species”.
“That’s monstrous; we rely on minerals from the asteroid belt.”
“We will return in ten years and if your culture is not confined to the planet we will destroy it”.
It is physically impossible to get all of our people back to earth in ten years. We would need to build extra ships and that will take time.
The ambassador was silent for a moment. “Very well, you can shuttle them back. You have twenty years”.
“Now wait a minute…” said the president, but the ambassador was now transparent and was fading from view.
May 5th 2045
The world president raised her head and what had been an empty seat was now occupied by the ambassador.
“You are very punctual” she said
“And you are very unwise” he (or it) said. “Your species is still crawling all around your system, and we have detected some interstellar vehicles. Did you not believe me when I said we would destroy your civilization?”
“We did assume that there would be some compassion.”
“You think we would exercise compassion when the well being of the entire galaxy is at stake?” He was silent for a moment.
“We can give you further time, but to show our seriousness we will destroy one of your major cities to a radius of 200 miles. You must pick the city, if you do not choose, than it will be this one.”
“You wouldn’t” cried the president, eyes wide, shocked.
“Choose now” said the ambassador simply
The president regained her composure, and her voice was low and measured. “If you do this, trillions of beings will die”.
“There are not trillions on the planet.” said the ambassador
“I know” said the president
“The interstellar craft you detected were only a few of tens of thousand probes we have launched. They are programmed to search the galaxy for intelligence and destroy it by means of disease, or atomic explosions. We have stations in all of cities which send out regular codes to keep the probes inactive, if they do not receive the signal they will activate. If you destroy any city, then the codes cannot be sent.”
“But your technology is insufficient for this task, some will fail.”
“Yes, I am truly sorry.”
“You have not done this terrible thing”
“You think we would exercise compassion when our entire race is at stake?”
There was silence for a moment
The president said “We will need access to some of your technology if we are to find and destroy these probes across the galaxy”
“Bastard!” said the ambassador and vanished, this time with a loud crack as the air rushed in to fill the space he had occupied.
The president smiled to herself. She was looking forward to the time when Humanity would be spread across the entire galaxy and interacting with other civilizations on the back of alien technology.
“Fucking amateurs!” she said softly.
A short story by Dave Atherfold