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Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
A Felony of Birds

by Harris Tobias
The Greer Agency

by Harris Tobias
Assisted

by Harris Tobias
Hold The Anchovies

by Harris Tobias
Alien Fruit

by Harris Tobias
Peaceful Intent--Stories of human/Alien Interaction

by Harris Tobias
CHRONON--Time Travel

by Harris Tobias
The Stang

by Harris Tobias


The Arrival

by Harris Tobias


The Arrival

At first there was a great deal of confusion as you might well imagine. People running from one place to another; people crying; people looting. You’d have thought they were out of their minds and I suppose they were, we all were. I mean what with that enormous object hanging above us. We thought it was the end of the world but no one knew anything for sure. Was it an invasion? If it was an invasion, it was a strange one. The alien ship just hung there suspended 60 miles above Detroit. Close enough to see but too far to touch. Our scientists agreed it was built by an intelligence far more advanced than anything we could muster. God only knew what weapons they had. We didn’t dare do anything to provoke it.

Fortunately, the military held its fire and satisfied itself with surveillance and electronic probes rather than trying to shoot the damn thing down. Besides the alien craft was enormous. You could have fit a medium sized city inside and still have room for small town or two. I’d hate to think what might have happened to Detroit if we actually succeeded in bringing it down.

The uncertainty of the alien’s intensions drove us all a little nuts. Religious leaders said it was a sign from the almighty. But upon whether it was a sign of hope and salvation or of doom and punishment they could not agree. Some of the more superstitious among us began to revere the ship itself and several alien worshipping cults sprang up seemingly overnight.

The initial panic subsided after a few weeks when nothing terrible happened. People calmed down and the speculating began. There was wild talk of new technologies that could save our poor beleaguered planet. Wonders and marvels waiting just beyond reach. All that promise just hanging there fueled dreams of a golden age of prosperity. But of the alien’s true intensions, we had no clue. What did the aliens want? All we could do was wonder. All this speculation has spawned an entire industry of writers, pundits, specialists and philosophers. Because, when all is said and done, speculation is all we have been given.

Speculation grew that perhaps the great ship was empty. How else to explain the absolute silence? Why would anyone travel all that way for nothing? There were almost as many theories as there are people. Perhaps the aliens all succumbed to disease like those invaders in War of the Worlds; or perhaps the aliens experienced a malfunction in their life support system and the ship had been operating on auto-pilot for aeons. Wondering about the aliens has become our number one preoccupation.

Facts are difficult to come by. The alien vessel defies all attempts at contact. Nothing we have can penetrate to the ship itself—not radio, x-rays, radar, lasers—nothing. Everything we try is deflected by some kind of shield that makes a mockery of our best efforts. I bet the military would love to get its hands on a shield like that. As far as our instruments are concerned, the huge ship might as well not even be there. Maybe it’s not really there. Maybe it’s a hologram or some other form of projection. But it casts a shadow and that puts a lie to the mirage theory. All we can do is see it with our eyes and only then, I suppose, because the aliens allow it. They could just as easily make the huge ship completely invisible if they wanted to. You have to admit, it’s a curious state of affairs.


Time passed as time will. Weeks turned into months and months became years. It's been thirty years now that the great ship has hung in the sky over Detroit. An entire generation has grown up under that ominous presence. That presence has had both positive and negative effects on the world. For one, it has profoundly changed the way we think of ourselves. We are a more unified world now, less tribal. There are almost no wars or petty conflicts. Somehow mankind views the craft as a threat that we should confront together rather than as a squabbling bunch of savages. That is generally regarded as a good thing.

Another good thing is what the visitors have done for the city of Detroit. Looking at the ship has become the number one tourist attraction on the planet. The influx of tourists has brought wealth to a dying city. This make the citizens of Detroit happy and everyone else jealous.

On the negative side, just seeing the proof that we are not alone in the universe has shocked us into a profound malaise. Not only are we not alone but we are obviously not the top of the heap as far as intelligence is concerned. It’s not easy getting knocked off our pedestal as the crown of creation.

This  realization has had a debilitating effect on us socially especially among the young. People’s attitudes began to change in regards to our collective future. What was the point of studying an outmoded and primitive science when these visitors from the stars can change everything in an instant? The presence of the ship had the perverse effect of stifling innovation. We felt like ignorant and petulant children waiting for candy.

Speaking of jobs and responsibilities, this is another area where the alien presence has had a chilling effect. The very value of work has been thrown into question. What, after all, is the point? Progress? Don’t make me laugh. Some people continued to work but many saw work as a waste of time. The saying “When the ship lands,” was all the excuse a large chunk of the populace needed to quit working altogether. Those who quit were branded “quitters” and, as the years dragged on, when they tried to rejoin society they were met with rejection and discrimination by those who kept the world functioning. It’s almost comical to think that the aliens could cause so much disruption without doing a thing.

If the aliens wished to discourage and disillusion us, they were doing a heck of a job. If confusion and uncertainty are weapons and if this is the alien idea of an invasion then without firing a shot they have managed to tear us apart. If only we could, find out what it is they want. It’s the not knowing that’s killing us, the uncertainty. This is what happens when a people are robbed of their future.
       
     
      
      
     
   



2014-08-01 19:16:35
I would like to think that, after 30 years, SOMEone -- entrepreneur, rogue general, ambitious politician, righteous zealot -- would fund/support an attempt to take up a plane and land top of the thing and attempt physical entry. Fear, curiosity, the potential for financial exploitation -- any or all of those would fuel someone's effort at contact. Have we really become that passive? THAT is scary...

2014-07-29 07:30:21
Interesting reference to Detroit as a tourist city, nice way to paint a picture. The last sentence is great and certainly echoes how civilizations have treated each other throughout history. Love it!


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Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
A Felony of Birds

by Harris Tobias
The Greer Agency

by Harris Tobias
Assisted

by Harris Tobias
Hold The Anchovies

by Harris Tobias
Alien Fruit

by Harris Tobias
Peaceful Intent--Stories of human/Alien Interaction

by Harris Tobias
CHRONON--Time Travel

by Harris Tobias
The Stang

by Harris Tobias


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