First Contact

My delve into the world of sci-fi, inspired by the works of Isaac Asimov and contemporary writers. Experimenting with a sort of storyteller style, which I've read several times and thoroughly enjoyed, so decided to recreate it here.
This is part of a collection of short stories I'm compiling and posting on a blog. Contact me if interested in this project.

So, you kids want to hear the story of The First Invasion, do you? That day of reckoning, when the skies darkened and an alien race, hideous and cruel beyond measure, brought our people to their knees? The first time that we, as a species, came face-to-face with beings as intelligent as ourselves, but absolutely devoid of love and peace, and possessed of insatiable greed, blood-lust, and the desire to conquer everything they saw?

Then pull up a chair, young ones! I am an old man now, but my memory of that day burns brighter with each passing year, like the fire of the invaders’ weapons. Listen carefully while I tell The Tale! Perhaps you will survive long enough to have your own children, and you will be able to tell them The Tale as well.

Yes, I remember. Back when I was young, we were far more powerful than the group of pathetic scavengers we are now. The cities, those ruined, bombed out collections of houses that you see now? Nothing compared to the days of my youth! We had buildings that were gleaming and immaculate and touched the sky! Machines that lifted us off the ground and allowed us to fly, although not nearly as fast as the alien ships. We had mountains of military might, or so we thought. The animals of our wilderness had been domesticated, and even the plants obeyed our will, used to grow food for us. We had asserted ourselves as the dominant species of the planet! At least, until that day of First Contact, almost fifty years ago now.

I was a young man, much like your fathers. I had a beautiful wife and two lovely children (far better behaved that you lot!). I worked as a mechanic.

Ah, that’s a good question. Forgive me, I forget sometimes that you are too young to remember these things. A mechanic is one who works to maintain the great machines of the past. You see, just as your fathers and mothers give you food and love you every day to keep you from returning to the earth, these machines needed skilled men to ensure that the same did not happen to them! Machines were not like us, you see. When a machine is hurt, it’s wounds do not heal, and that is where labourers like myself found our living.

It’s the truth, you little rascal! Talk back to me again and I’ll tell your father to give you a hiding!

Where was I? Ah, yes. On the day of our defeat, I was walking home from the machine shop in which I worked. Suddenly, a deafening boom filled the air with such ferocity that many of us in the city just stood still in shock. The massive thunderclap began to fade after a few seconds, and everyone continued walking, but more hurriedly to avoid the coming storm.

If only we had known just what kind of storm we were facing.

Of course, no one thought anything about the clouds that came over and veiled the sun after that. With clouds come thunder, correct? And like thunder, they came.

For many years, I have tried to describe what happened next. I have failed. I had even tried to seek out the few surviving witnesses of this phenomenon to form some sort of conclusion. To this day, none of us can say what exactly happened, but one person came close. To use his words, it was as if the sky just … opened up.

And then they were upon us. At first we saw strange alien ships, about the size of our own planes, made of a reflective metal that scattered light into different, dazzling colours. Behind them were others, almost as large as our sea-borne battleships, that sailed through the air like a glacier cutting a path through the ocean.

The entire alien fleet simply stopped as we gazed upwards. One of the larger ships hovered closer to an office building. No doubt the workers were just as scared as those of us on the ground, possibly more so.

The ship fired it’s cannon.

A massive chunk of the office building was blasted off. I cannot begin to tell you how I felt, standing beneath all of that power.

The debris rained down on us, and nobody spoke a word. And then there was a scream of a woman. The sound of that scream cut through the tension in the air like a knife.

Suddenly we were running. Everyone was running in a different direction! You could not imagine the chaos. Some were running to their homes, some were taking cover in the nearest buildings, and there were even those who ran towards our invaders, hoping to surrender! Those poor people were vapourised instantly.

You, little girl! Sit down, I’m not finished yet! Your mother will understand! And you too must understand. You must understand why we have been reduced to picking at the remaining scraps of a planet that no longer belongs to us.

My first thought was to get to my family. My home was but a long walk from where I was standing, but if I ran quickly, I might be able to reach my wife and children and get them to safety before the invaders arrived. I had no other choice.

I ran. I ran until my legs screamed at me, pleaded with me to stop. By the time I reached my home, I almost collapsed from exhaustion. My family had seen what was happening on the news. I ordered them into the basement of our home.

Just then, I heard the sound of our own flying machines streaking across the sky. From the safety of my home, through my windows, I watched. I must admit, when I saw my fellow people fighting back, I was excited. Perhaps we would overpower them, I thought! Their raw might and cruelty, their willingness to fire at innocents, it might all be stopped by our bravery, our tenacity!

Oh, children, I pray that you will never think as I did. I saw five of our own planes streak towards one alien fighter. The alien craft dashed through the air at a speed that could not even be matched by our planes. The guns of our planes failed to even scratch it’s armour.

One by one I saw our brave fighters get shot by the invader, or else flee upon their comrade’s deaths, and little by little my hope died. At last, there was only one left.

I do not know this pilot’s name, but he will always be remembered as a hero of the highest order! The first one of our brave race to take down an alien craft! The alien ship was faster, more maneuverable, with far more powerful weapons than the pilot’s own craft! Still the pilot did not flee! He continued to dodge shot after shot from the invader’s cannon, firing his own guns until he was completely out of ammunition. From my home, I saw him aim his own plane at the invader’s craft and soar towards him. This pilot intended to ram into the alien!

The invader obviously did not anticipate this move, for by the time it tried to get away, it was too late. The plane smashed into the enemy craft, sending both of them tumbling down, leaving a great trail of dense, black smoke.

The two aircraft had landed not a hundred paces from my home! I knew I had to make sure this pilot was alive, this brave soul who had decided to make the ultimate sacrifice.

I told my wife that I would be back shortly, and that she had to take care of the children. Due to the events that followed, that was the last time I ever saw my family.

What? Nonsense, I’m not crying at all. Excuse me, my old eyes get tired easily.

I rushed over to the crash site to find the brave pilot’s corpse looking at me from his cockpit. About ten paces to the left I saw the alien craft.

Now, most of you have never even seen an alien, though they’ve been here so long. Let me tell you what the first alien I saw looked like.

It was hideous! It was wearing a red and black jumpsuit, with a helmet made of reflective glass. The faceplate had shattered in the impact, revealing it’s gruesome face.

Now, children, those of you who have just eaten, you should leave now.

It’s face was a bright pink, it’s skin naked, not covered in fur, like our hides. It only had two arms! I tell the truth! Two arms, two eyes, even! They were nothing like us. It looked like a monster in the books I used to read when I was your age. Why, we have four eyes, and even then there are those of us who are always tripping over things. How could these aliens have only two and still be able to see clearly?

Stop laughing! This is a serious matter! They had only two arms, half the number of the average person, yet with those hands they held power far greater than we could imagine!

A small crowd had gathered around the crashed alien. It was beginning to stir. It looked up from the crater it was lying in and saw us staring back.

We were too scared to move, so we could only watch as the alien muttered something in it’s own tongue, then fix some sort of mask over it’s face. The mask lit up, and suddenly the alien was speaking our language.

I am Captain Rick Bannon! I am a member of the human race! it bellowed.We have made first contact with your world! Your planet is now a colonial territory of The United Earth Empire! You will form an orderly line, immediately!

There were maybe ten of us, looking down at this “human”. We all looked at each other, and we were all thinking the same thing.

What were we thinking, you ask? Why, the same thing you must be asking right now! This tiny specimen, ordering us around?

I looked on as three of the bystanders jumped into the crater and closed in on the human.

Back away!” it commanded. The three men did not listen. Before they knew what happened, the human took a knife from a compartment in it’s jumpsuit and hurled it one of it's attackers. The sharp end buried itself into his forehead. He was dead before he hit the ground. The other two stopped.

I said, form a line!” the human yelled, it’s voice rising. The rest of us did not hesitate to throw ourselves at the mercy of this new overlord.

And that, young ones, is how the humans enslaved our race. There still are those who live in their thrall, but there are also those who escaped, like us. Now, we wander a planet that used to be ours, praying that these alien oppressors do not find us. I hope you have learned something from this experience.

Now go! Your mothers are worried about you. Go, and never forget the day of First Contact!

For I can say with confidence that there is no blacker void, no deeper depths than the dark recesses of the human soul.

The End

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