One cannot help but wonder what's out there when looking at the stars.
Each star could have a number of planets, and some of those planets- they might hold life.
Or at least, that's what my mother would say when we stargazed on top of the hill outside our home.
During clear nights, we would grab our sleeping bags and spread them out as the stars twinkled above us.
As we sat, we'd talk. About my day, about her job, all the normal things. But then we'd talk about more interesting things.
My mother loved to theorize about alien life, and I always loved to hear her ideas.
We used to imagine what it would look like. I hoped they'd end up sort of like us- like how they appear in shows.
Different and utterly otherworldly, but close enough to our shape and size that actors could play them.
Mother disagreed. She said that alien life would have to evolve differently to survive the different atmospheres and pressures of other planets.
Deep down I knew she was right, but I didn't have to like it. Imagining micro organisms and sentient goo just wasn't as fun to do.
Years passed and we would still find the time to sit together under the stars.
Mother had an old brass telescope that we'd peer at the moon and planets with when we remembered to bring it out.
It was on such a night that they first arrived.
I remember it clearly. Mother had just reconfigured the telescope so that we could see a planetary convergence. I had run inside to grab my coat on the cold night.
There was a weird flash of light, and I heard my mother shout my name in excitement.
When I came back out, she was staring through the brass telescope with a gleam in her eyes. She gestured for me to come over and said that she found something amazing.
When I looked through, all I could see was the moon. Mother adjusted it and told me to look again.
Green. I saw the color green.
I hadn't understood at the time, green light didn't just naturally appear in space.
I remember telling my mom that I didn't understand. She got excited again. It wasn't something from our planet, she had said.
She said that it was too far away to be a craft from here, and it wasn't natural. Therefore, it was made by somebody else.
I got excited then. Looking once more through the telescope I could see that the light was flickering just a bit.
Mother said that it still looked pretty far out, but that we'd make the time to come out every night and watch as the craft creeped ever closer to us.
If my memory serves, it was about an hour later that mother told me that I had to go to bed.
I did so begrudgingly, but only because I knew she stayed up; I could here her calling father and some of her colleagues from work.
She was very upbeat on the phone, hopeful for potential contact. I was too.
Nothing could have prepared us for when they arrived, however.
Mother spent the last few weeks before their arrival trying to guess where they'd make first contact.
According to her, our city wasn't a likely choice because there was to small of a population density. She figured that whoever they were would want to arrive in the big cities first.
That made sense to me, but I was still a little disappointed, I wanted to see them.
Around the time they got extremely close- a little out past our moon close- the news stations began to hone in on the story.
Mom was a little annoyed by it, saying that they were painting the aliens as a serious threat, when in all actuality, they were probably here for observation or diplomacy.
I wanted to agree with her, and I did a little, but I didn't think it was so out of line to be cautious. I'd seen alien invasion films in the past, after all.
Finally, they arrived. A massive ship- a quarter the size of our own moon- began to orbit our planet. It was big enough to effect our seas, even!
Stories from across the globe began to surface: higher tides, floods, and droughts in certain areas along the coast.
My mother maintained that it wasn't malicious on the part of the aliens, however. Their ship was very large, and they'd yet to do anything that was anything purposefully harmful.
I agreed. After locking into orbit, no one had yet to hear anything from the craft itself. There were people all over claiming a sighting, but nothing could be proven.
After about a week of this, our cameras managed to get a shot of something coming from the ship. A series of smaller crafts had ejected, headed for the surface.
I don't remember what happened next with too much clarity- far to much political jargon coming from the news for a child like myself to understand at the time- but I distinctly remember the fear.
For some reason, the smaller ships scared us. Not my mother- never my mother- but our friends and neighbors had been on edge.
'We don't know their purpose', and 'they could be here to kill us', had been the primary arguments. Mother fought that assumption, but she was only one woman.
Even with the surface hoppers- our name for the crafts that had the tendency to come and go from the mothership to the surface- everything was quiet. We didn't hear a peep from the larger craft.
After a couple weeks of silence, I remember going into class one day. We had a substitute teacher. Apparently my normal one had been taken to the hospital because of a panic attack.
I didn't understand why everyone was so scared. The aliens hadn't done a single threatening thing to us, and yet, we had primed our missiles and had them pointed on the unknown.
My mother and I still made the time to sit underneath the blanket of stars though, even with the paranoia towards the aliens.
There was a noticible shift in our conversations after they arrived, however. We didn't talk as much about school and work, now it was all business.
I'd listen to my mom vent about the 'idiocy of the alien fear', and in return she'd nod sympathetically when I expressed my own wish to finally meet the people in the alien craft.
It hadn't happened yet, but the news reported that government spy planes from across the world were trying to track the surface hoppers, to no avail. They were simply too advanced to track.
When that was reported, the fears ramped up. The best our world had to offer couldn't even track these things? Just how advanced were they!
How much danger were we in?
My mother remained adamant that unless they did something openly aggressive, we should consider them peaceful visitors. The surface hoppers were scientific in nature, she argued.
I remember this time well, because she made the national news with her opinions. I was really proud- she'd dreamed of getting her point of view heard since the first night we saw the craft.
Making the news had unintended consequences though, apparently it wasn't a good thing to be the town that raised the 'alien lover'.
Mom didn't care, she wore the title like a badge of honor, but it was hard for me, my friends didn't treat me the same.
It got even worse when father finally returned home- you see, he worked in the government, so he was out of town a lot. But an alien lover in the government? Scandalous.
Father always denied any wrongdoing; what could he be doing wrong? He'd say, the spacecraft hadn't done anything threatening to us, after all! But by this point, the fear was far too saturated.
While our town was woefully unsympathetic, I do recall small groups in the neighboring cities sending my mother mail, expressing their interest in her ideas. Needless to say, mother was ecstatic.
I do believe that was the status quo for at least a month. While certainly not a good one, it was far better than the one that would follow, as I'm sure you already know.
Before the Month of Terror, the worst people could say or do to my mother was ridiculing her and blasting her opinions on national TV.
We didn't like it- father especially- but there was noting we could do. At least we still got letters from other 'sympathizers'.
That all changed one night at around, say, three o'clock? I don't remember exactly when the first one dropped, but I remember the panic that immediately followed.
One of the bombs actually fell near our house, you know. Only about a quarter mile from where my family lived.
That bomb was one of ten thousand, if memory serves, and regardless of the number, the results were the same. The aliens were a proven threat, and they needed to go down.
Mother's protests in the following weeks grew quieter and quieter, and father had to leave to get back to work for the whole month.
I was going to go back to school, but it had been shut down because of its proximity to the bomb debris. If the previous month had been hard, this month had been a nightmare.
Conspiracy theorists and religious zealots had taken to the streets, people were looting shops, and others were setting up massive stores of supplies in their storm shelters. It was chaos.
Mother began to teach me contingency plans for if something went wrong—contingency plans! It was a massive turn from her previous attitude towards the visitors.
Not that I could blame her- the bombs went off randomly in every part of the world. No one saw them drop, all we saw were the effects when they went off. It was terribly frightening.
Mother had fought hard for tolerance, but when push came to shove, the aliens hurt us. Everyone was panicking- no one could figure out when or where the next bombs would go off.
Halfway into the month, the leaders of our world finally got their butts into gear and announced that they wanted to fire on the mothership.
The people, who were already scared, clammored for retribution and many wanted the governments with the capability to fire right away. My mother disagreed.
Though she no longer agreed in defending what was clearly not a scientific mission, my mother didn't want the bloodlust of the scared citizens to trump logic.
If the city was bombed then and there, we would all surely die, she said. When our weapons hit, the impact would send parts of the ship sailing into the atmosphere, which would spell disaster.
Many people didn't like that- the alien lover defending the aliens? Suspicious.
Mother didn't quit though, and somehow, her message seemed to get through. The missiles weren't launched, but they were primed.
There was an incredibly tense couple of days following that announcement. If the aliens attacked again, we'd retaliate in kind. Everyone was terrified.
If either one of us attacked, all of us- even the aliens- would certainly be killed. It was a terrifying stalemate with no way out.
Now, it's hazy here. I've honestly tried to forget that week, but I do believe that what happened next was this:
The alien ship released a couple of those surface jumpers, and we fired on them.
The jumpers dodged, and landed near sites of intense urbanization- where we were bound to be.
The jumpers were bigger than we ever thought, and they rose up in the city, with screens to address the people.
The screens came to life, and I- now this i do remember- I finally saw the face of an alien.
It was an odd thing; with tufts of fur in weird locations on it's squarer head. It seemed distressed as it talked through the jumper's speakers. We couldn't understand it, of course.
It had brown eyes and as it continued to speak, it grew far more agitated. As I understand, linguistic scholars have attempted to translate it's speech, but with so little to go on,
The only thing they've been able to confidently translate was the species' name: they were evidently called the 'Hoo-mons' as you well know.
After that transmission, well. The surface jumpers rose back up into the sky, and the mothership just... left.
I didn't quite understand at the time, and I don't pretend to know now. The aliens arrived, bombed us, and left.
It was all very baffling. For months after they departed, we watched the skies. They never reappeared, and we couldn't spot their ship.
Mother studied their arrival for the rest of her life- she just wanted to understand. Father quit his job- said it kept him away from us too often and that he thought of us all the time.
As for me- well. School eventually started back up again and life continued on as normal. I made new friends in a new city- we left our old town when the crisis ended- and I grew up.
Got a job, married a good woman, adopted a child. The aliens came and in the end, nothing they did really affected my life.
I am old now, and you're interviewing me for your school project. It's hard to believe that it's been so long that you can actually do that, surely I'm not that old!
But yes, That's it. That's the story of how I saw the aliens, watched my mother make the national news, and how we were basically kicked out of the town I grew up in.
Hopefully that was interesting enough that your professor gives you an A!
Hi!! This is a piece I wrote three years ago, but I never published it because it was originally going to have a companion piece called 'Life' set from humanity's perspective. That obviously never ended up happening, but with the world like it is right now, I may yet get back around to it :)
All you really need to know from that piece is this: When the screens come down and humanity shows its face— in 'Life' it's revealed that there was a mutiny and that's why the scientific journey turned to bombing the alien planet. hopefully that enriches your reading experience lol. This piece is unedited from how I had it 3 years ago. Hope you enjoyed!!! :)