Here’s the setup: NORAD discovers a rapidly decelerating object headed for Earth; and predicts atmospheric entry in 15 minutes over the southern U.S., just enough time to call an alert but can take no other reasonable action.
15 minutes later, air traffic control at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, (yes, I am from Atlanta ) having been alerted by NORAD notices a radar contact - the UFO is heading straight for them and is intending to land. ATC frantically waves off all traffic and the bogey comes in.
The ship (what it is is not important - flying saucer, Millennium Falcon, General Products hull, whatever) settles on the tarmac with thousands of airport passengers as witnesses; local news, network news, cable news - they’re all there in a heartbeat. No way can the feds cover this up; it’s all out in the open.
A doorway appears in the ship. A figure steps out.
What happens next?
My only assumption - this is a First Contact, not an invasion. How do you *reasonably * think humanity would react?
It would depend on what the aliens did. The initial crowd at the airport would probably instintively run away from the ship but after that the response would largely be dictated by whatever the ETs did.
The ground crew would therefore take them to see their shift supervisor, but he’s on coffee break, so they make them sit in a waiting room and read old issues of Vanity Fair. After an hour, the aliens give up in disgust and leave.
I have been thinking about this from the alien side. One of the first things I would say – assuming I were outfitted with the proper shielding technology – is, “Go ahead and shoot me. I know that’s what you’re thinking. I think things will go a whole lot smoother once we’ve established that you just can’t hurt me. Go on, get it out of your system. You could even take a swing at me, if you’d like. But it’s gonna hurt your hand.”
I resent that. I, personally, have grown beyond the need for reflexive, unthinking violence and would not automatically try to kill them.
Instead I’d be plotting to take advantage of their obvious naivete by manipulating them into giving me control of their starcraft so that I might use its advanced technology to overthrow all legitimate governments & cast you all into chains. 'Cept Anaamika and Carlyjay.
I came up with the OP after thinking about the movie, “Close Encounters Of The Third Kind”, which is probably the best known First Contact movie.
In it, the government had advance warning that the aliens were coming and where they would land, in time to secure the area and get a contact team in place (it wasn’t their fault that all the aliens seem to want to do is give folks joyrides!)
I thought: what if, buried in a file cabinet in the Pentagon or the CIA somewhere are protocols on What To Do In Case Of Alien Contact, maybe something that a MIT think tank threw together one weekend over Mountain Dew and Doritos and then got filed away.
So I thought about what we might really do The Day The Aliens Landed.
For my scenario, the aliens are aware of human civilization from radio and TV signals, but only a broad idea what we are like. Like I said before, they came in slowly enough to be noticed, but too fast to be shot down.
They decided that a public landing was better than landing in secret; their resources for this expedition are limited and this way wasted less time than landing in farmer Brown’s pasture and convincing the local sheriff that this isn’t a college prank, and then being hauled away to Area 51, never to be seen again.
If the feds did try to hold them in secret, other governments would loudly protest that they were being cut out of a piece of the action.
Their motivation? The usual. Exploration and trade. They would have Xenologists and linguists aboard, ready to establish communication and get some idea of human psychology. What would they trade? Information. The latest edition of Encyclopedia Galactica for a library card. An exchange of molecular biology journals and drug patents. The lost episode of “Single Female Lawyer.”
Mabye they’d like to set up an internet address and an Ebay account.