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First contact

PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 12:53 am
by RickLewis
First draft of my first sci-fi story. Lacks a title and an ending...


The President stared out of the helicopter window over the planes on the tarmac below. Beside him his chief of protocol was saying something to one of his other aides, but he barely heard them. In his head the phrases and cliches were dancing as he tried to piece together the rudiments of his speech. "This is an historic occasion..." was completely accurate for once, but rather worn from overuse. Maybe something humbler-sounding? He felt the excitement rise inside him again like bubbles in champagne. First alien contact, and it was happening on his watch! One of the great moments of human history, to be marked for ever by his words, by him... oh, and by that other guy. He interrupted his aides:
"Has the Secretary-General landed yet?"
"Yes sir. He arrived four minutes ago."
"Oh, good.... Because otherwise we might have had to start without him..."
"Yes sir. That would have been a pity."
The aide gave him a sympathetic grimace. They understood each other.


The President and the UN Secretary-General emerged from the shuttle bus into the clammy warmth of the Florida evening. Their brief meeting had gone well and all outstanding questions of precedent and protocol had been swiftly settled, partly thanks to the continuous cellphone conversations between their staff which had preceded it. They also seemed to see eye to eye about tactics for the encounter ahead of them. Things looked good. It was already known that the aliens could communicate in English and were well-disposed, even friendly. What could go wrong?

They strode across the concrete to the police barriers surrounding the startling spacecraft, which was perched at an unlikely angle on the roofs of a row of vans in the visitors' carpark. They waited with the police chief as a white-clad technician pressed some buttons on a communicator. A door in the side of the craft opened, amber light poured out and a ladder extended smoothly down to the ground.

Two spindly figures clad in flowing robes shimmied down to the ground and stood before the men. Both of the aliens were surrounded by a faint sparkly glow. They had five arms each, and three eyes stared from each fat but faintly reptilian face. The President glanced at the Secretary General and wondered if he should break the silence first, but at that moment the taller of the figures before them began to mew softly, like a kitten. After a few seconds, the other figure tentatively touched one of the arms of the first figure. The first figure stopped mewing, raised a small box in front of his face and began to mew again. This time a deep, sonorous voice came from the box. "Greetings from the civilized races of the galaxy! We come bearing congratulations and gifts! Across the vast reaches of space, we have espied the first brave efforts of the inhabitants of this world to escape its gravitational clutches and set forth upon new adventures among the stars!"

An expectant silence followed.

"Er, thanks very much..." said the Secretary General, narrowly beating the President to the punch. "We are jolly pleased to see you. We come in peace." The President nudged his arm. "You. I mean YOU come in peace."

The two aliens looked at each other uncertainly.

"When a new race ventures into space for the first time, it is the honour and privilege of we, the XGGHaaaaarGH, to greet and welcome them on behalf of the galactic community. We observed the first orbital flight carrying an inhabitant of this planet fifty of your years ago, and even though that flight ended in tragedy..." the other alien bowed his head solemnly "...we prepared to set out to bring this embassy."

"So the light must have taken quite a few years to reach you?" said the President, keenly.

"No, we don't rely on optical telescopes", said the second alien with a slight shaking of all its arms. "We knew at once when a primitive spacecraft reached orbit from this planet, and immediately began preparations for our journey. We were a little delayed..."

The other alien shifted impatiently.

"Yes, our spacecraft suffered a catastrophic deflation of one of its rear toroids. We had to call at an uninhabited world for repairs. Which took many of your years, as my colleague had neglected to pack the photonic spanners."

There was an awkward silence which the Secretary General rushed to fill. "Well, you're here now and we are deeply honoured by your visit!"

"Quite. We must congratulate this star system's first space-going species...."

"Thank you!"

".... so where are they?"

"... Excuse me?"

The President and the Secretary General looked at each other, still wreathed in broad grins but with just a hint of puzzlement.

"Where are the kinsfolk of this first, heroic, tragic space traveller from your planet?"

The second alien held up a small box and from it came a pinkish hologram, shaky and distorted by static but unmistakably depicting a small, hairy creature in a spacesuit.


Re: First contact

PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:53 pm
by Intranaut
I can't give you a title, but I can tell you what you shouldn't use! Contact, as that's a book by Carl Sagan already!
Sounding interesting so far, keep posting!

Re: First contact

PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 3:24 pm
by RickLewis
Thanks for the encouraging feedback. There, now I knew that the title "Contact" sounded familiar from somewhere! :lol:

I haven't written any more yet. I'm in two minds whether to extend it or not. I do have some more ideas, but if I extend it I can't think of a good punch line to end it with.

Re: First contact

PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 4:13 am
by Intranaut
Aah, well, so far when I write I know where I want to end it and basically wing it from there. Perhaps you could try writing in a way that's probably more like real life; things pop up and you have to figure out what to do about it there and then!
All the best with it though!

Re: First contact

PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 1:18 pm
by Darth Kevin
Intranaut's right that you need a new title. How about "the Ambassadors"? (OK, not very good, I know, but better than First Contact and doesn't have the problem of having already been used).

Rick, I'd end the story just exactly where you already have. It's funnier that way. I think it is good material for a short piece like this but I don't think the idea would stretch to a whole novel!

Re: First contact

PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:35 pm
by Spaced
How about "Monkey Business" as a title? :lol:

OK, yea, I know that one's already been done as well.

btw, "small, hairy creature" in your story sounds like maybe a chimpanzee, but I thought Laika the dog went into space first, before any of the monkeys?