It was so easy for them to supplant us as the dominant species of Earth. And they seemed so perfect. So godlike.
We were so busy warring over politics. Supremacy of color. Religion. Greed. Hate. Personal preferences.
They only had to read our thoughts and use them against us. They became the return of Christ to the most religious claiming to be Christian. Or the promised Messiah for those practicing Judaism. Or the returning Mohammed. Or Shiva the Destroyer. Or whichever god the people were hoping for in the region they landed.
Hell. They only had to claim to be the solution to the political corruption we suffered at the hands of our human masters. Or the solution to the world’s greed.
They could have claimed anything and humanity would have fallen in line. After all, the most desperate were the most ignorant. The most hateful were the most ignorant.
Our political systems had failed. The politicians had sold out to corporate religion and corporate slaveholders. Wages were abysmal, so low that a wage earner could not truly live without worry of starvation or eviction. Education was incomplete and obsolete, teaching the old but never remaining relevant.
The only constant in Human life was greed and hate. Those who had greedily hogged assets needed by all and hated those who worked for them. The average man greedily worked his life away and hated those he was told were taking jobs, despite the fact hat corporations had been sending jobs overseas for decades. And the poorer a man was, the more he hated those who weren’t like him because his religion and his political gods told him to hate them.
Amid this, they came. Perfect in every way, from human perception. They came neither feasting nor drinking. Their words, true and pure to the listener but meant to mislead. Meant to deceive.
And they did claim to be the promised return of the gods. The answer to all of the planet’s ills. And we did fall right in line. At first.
Well, most of us did. I did not. Nor did those who were my close associates.
Why I would be thrust into the role of hero was beyond me. I was not the hero type. In fact, I was overweight, over the age, and in ill health. I was, for all intents and purposes, ill suited for the calling.
And my friends and associates were a ragtag group of computer geeks, small business owners, and young entrepreneurs who had not yet fallen to the wiles of greed. Most were, after all, in the arts. Authors. Sculptors. Musicians. Painters. Actors.
But all ran their own businesses. Some were struggling, in the current economy, to rise from the red but all were still in business. And none had been tainted by greed.
And all saw through the illusion. We saw through the disguise the aliens used. They were not human. They were not benevolent.
Most of all, they were not the saviors they claimed to be. They wanted to subjugate. Enslave.
They wanted to use man as their new food source. All but those they felt could be used as their ‘representatives’ who would placate and lull the masses into a numbness that would hide the horrors that awaited. Of course, these ‘representatives’ would also serve as executioners of all who could see through the aliens’ lies and illusions.
I suppose I ought to begin at the beginning. How it happened. Where they came from. Why they came.
It was election year. America was more divided than it had ever been. insecure men ran the streets with automatic rifles on their backs, homegrown terrorist organizations had validation they had never earned through a president who did not win the election four years before, and protests were happening everywhere. Fringe religious groups had backed the worst possible candidate, falling from grace in the public eye….not that they had been in good graces with the public, they had not.
These religious groups wanted to bring on a twisted and demented version of whet they believed the ‘kingdom of God’ would be, where everyone was forced to believe in a lie. Their lie.
The political parties were so corrupt that they no longer did the will of the people. And yet, the people voted for them because they believed the political lies and half-truths. but mostly lies…just like the religiond of the world. All lies.
Science had been probing space for another earthlike planet, one that could possibly sustain human life, and had found a multitude. But one had caught their eye and they probed it with sound beams. And they had received an answer.
We are listening. We are watching. We are waiting.
That had been the answer. Short. Eerie. To the point.
But the team passed it off as a practical joke. They believed it to be a hack. And yet, they could not explain why the source had been located on the planet they had sent the message to.
A few days later, the message was followed by another.
We are ready. We are coming. We will be arriving.
We are here.
five billion light years from Earth lay a planet under siege. The aliens had come, they said, in peace. To bring peace and unity to the planet. They had brought war and more death instead.
The inhabitants of the planet realized, a bit too late, that the aliens intended to use them for food and as slave labor. These aliens had no homeworld. No point of origin that could be pointed to on any map of the known universe.
They had destroyed their own planet through war and overuse. Leaving, they became predatory scavengers. What they couldn’t scavenge, they got through preying on other races.
Once their planet had been destroyed by a supernova, they were forced into interstellar migration. Planet to planet. Galaxy to galaxy. Until they reached the planet Earth’s scientists had sent a transmission to.
There, they had waged a war for over a billion years against a resistance greater than any they had ever experienced. Then opportunity, in the form of a probe message from Earth, knocked. After all, they had always followed what they saw as distress signals from young planets where the occupants sought out intelligent life.
Distress, in the form of a probe. Distress that was not always distress. Distress in the form of curiosity. Deadly curiosity.