How Would First Contact Really Go?

How Would First Contact Really Go?

Postby Sionnach Glic » Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:37 am

One day, an astronaut on the International Space Station looks out a window and gets a hell of a surprise. There's a small craft about half the size of a space shuttle floating around outside the station. As he looks out, it begins flashing its lights in some form of alien morse code. After a moment or so it opens a hatch in the side of the craft and sends a small object drifting towards the station, at which point the shuttle flies off.

The crew bring the object on board, and it's discovered to be a recorded message. Speaking with one hell of an accent, an alien identifying itself as the leader of an exploration fleet sent out to search for habitable worlds announces that they're planning to stop by Earth for a detour. A probe discovered the inhabited Earth several months ago, and the fleet has spent the time hanging around out of sight on the other side of the moon. They've spent those months learning about our language and culture by tapping into our satalites, so they've had access to our TV, radio and internet. They have a number of linguists who have managed to learn a handful of human languages. The alien leader says that they're going to bring their fleet into orbit the next day to say hi in person.

So a day later the alien fleet, comprising of a mix of civilian and military vessels, pulls up in orbit and starts dispatching shuttles. These shuttles will land outside places like the White House, the UN building, the Kremlin, and other residences of major world leaders. The aliens are fairly benevolent, and are interested in studying humanity and have no interest in killing or conquering us. Their leader reveals that Mars is rich in a material that's very precious to the aliens, and they'd like to get our permission (since we own the system) to break out the drills and go mining. To pay for this, they're willing to trade some technology, but not military tech or FTL engines. They're willing to deal with individual nations seperately, but they also say that if the UN (who they see as speaking for humanity as a whole) tells them to go they'll be happy to leave and never return.

The aliens are mammalian, but recognisably not human. Their tech is somewhat like that of nBSG, so they can't attempt to invade and occupy the Earth without horendous losses, but they can nuke us into oblivion if we push them too far. The alien nation has a dozen inhabited worlds and colonies, with varying population levels, under a fairly left-wing governing body. They're mostly atheistic, with only a few small cults here and there, but have no real problem with religious worship in general. We are the first inteligent species they've encountered to this date.

So how does humanity react to a fleet full of aliens pulling up in orbit? How does the UN react? What do the leaders of major countries do? How do religions world wide deal with this new revelation?

Also, to add in a few more possibilities, how would the situation change if...
1) They mention that there's about a half dozen other races of varying power and size in this part of the galaxy as well.
2) They're at war with one of these races.
3) They look like horrific monsters from the darkest depths of our imagination.
4) They're a highly militaristic society under an authoritarian government.
5) Something goes horribly wrong when they turn up, like one of their ships FTLing in and smashing the ISS, or a shuttle losing power and leveling the White House in the crash.
6) The aliens are an incredibly pacifistic race (so they've no warships in this case) and start preaching about how violent and barbaric we humans are. They say that they'll be happy to trade tech with us, including starship technology, but only if we disband our militaries and get rid of our nukes.

Well, that's probably more than enough to get people thinking. But let's throw a couple more developments into the mix.

A few months after first making contact with us (assuming they haven't been told to bugger off or haven't nuked us all yet) the alien fleet's leader comes back with a request. It seems that the Earth is about half-way between two of their planets, and they'd like to construct a large space station in orbit to use it as a refueling depot for their freighters. Does humanity go for it, or tell them where they can stick their station?

And a final scenario. It's about a year since first contact and a few Earth nations start receiving a few odd requests. It seems that some of the aliens quite like Earth, and want to live here permanantly. Would countries actually let them live here? If so, how would the populace react to the chance of having an alien move in next door?

Well, that's certainly enough to keep people busy pondering the possibilities for a while, so I'll leave it here. :P
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Re: How Would First Contact Really Go?

Postby shran » Sun Jan 03, 2010 6:18 pm

First reaction would be mass hysteria and euphoria at the same time, which will gradually becomesome sort of background noise amongst humans. Many religions will probably lose considerable amounts of followers, several new will spring up. Several voices start wtih saying to eradicate these 'unnatural creations' from our Earth, similar to racist theories about 'polluting' humanity.
As for the reception of the shuttles, I suppose many anation which is rather hostile towards the world might actually attack some shuttles, believing it to be a hoax or something similar.
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I suppose for like 6 months there is a general feeling of great excitement, as if Christ would have come to Earth again or like the Apocalypswould take place.
Public appearances of the extra-terrestrials will be very difficult, I suppose several of them will be shot, or hugged to death. Personally, I think extra-terrestrials wouldn't survive us 'filthy barbarians'.
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Re: How Would First Contact Really Go?

Postby Graham Kennedy » Sun Jan 03, 2010 6:44 pm

Sionnach Glic wrote:So how does humanity react to a fleet full of aliens pulling up in orbit? How does the UN react? What do the leaders of major countries do? How do religions world wide deal with this new revelation?


There would be every reaction imaginable, I would think. Some would think it the most joyous day in history, some would be terrified to the point of suicide, and everything in between. Markets would soar and crash horribly as rumours of new technologies spread. New religions would spring up, old ones would be thrown into turmoil, but I imagine that eventually they would adapt and continue. The major religions haven't lasted as long as they have without being able to absorb and adapt to change.

Ditto society as a whole, really. Eventually it would settle down, and people would just get on with their lives. Except we'd get a huge boost to our understanding of science, which would no doubt revolutionise our lives in many ways.

1) They mention that there's about a half dozen other races of varying power and size in this part of the galaxy as well.
2) They're at war with one of these races.


Not much change except we'd obviously want to know about the other races. We'd want to know about the causes of the war, I hope. Make sure we're not dealing with interstellar Hitlers, or at least make sure we're not pissing off some much more powerful species by talking to this lot. But with only their word for anything, what could we really do but trust them?

3) They look like horrific monsters from the darkest depths of our imagination.


I suspect it would make their arrival more chaotic. More fear, more disruption. I hope we'd get over it.

4) They're a highly militaristic society under an authoritarian government.


Not much difference.

5) Something goes horribly wrong when they turn up, like one of their ships FTLing in and smashing the ISS, or a shuttle losing power and leveling the White House in the crash.


Depends on the personalities in charge. My HOPE would be that that person is level headed enough to realise that we couldn't win a war, and so the sensible thing to do is ride out the apparent attack and hope for a negotiated peace. When it did turn out to be an accident, the hopefully contrite aliens would presumably offer a good deal of compensation.

6) The aliens are an incredibly pacifistic race (so they've no warships in this case) and start preaching about how violent and barbaric we humans are. They say that they'll be happy to trade tech with us, including starship technology, but only if we disband our militaries and get rid of our nukes.


We wouldn't do it. And if some did, they'd just get attacked by other countries.

A few months after first making contact with us (assuming they haven't been told to bugger off or haven't nuked us all yet) the alien fleet's leader comes back with a request. It seems that the Earth is about half-way between two of their planets, and they'd like to construct a large space station in orbit to use it as a refueling depot for their freighters. Does humanity go for it, or tell them where they can stick their station?


Go for it, whilst charging a suitable fee. Designs for an industrial fusion power plant, say, and help in constructing the first five...

And a final scenario. It's about a year since first contact and a few Earth nations start receiving a few odd requests. It seems that some of the aliens quite like Earth, and want to live here permanantly. Would countries actually let them live here? If so, how would the populace react to the chance of having an alien move in next door?


I think we'd ultimately let them, yes. Ties like that would cement the alliance.

Just to throw out a wacky alternative to all that... one of the most intriguing sci fi stories I ever read had an alien fleet arrive at Earth and make contact. The aliens were utterly inhuman in shape. They had a spoken langunage... but we were unable to learn it, and they were unable to learn ours. After something like a year of all day every day meetings between them and teams of Earth's greatest linguists, neither side was one inch closer to understanding the other. Eventually the aliens simply left, with neither side gaining anything at all from the encounter. If we do meet real aliens, I suspect it may go rather more like that... :)
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Re: How Would First Contact Really Go?

Postby stitch626 » Mon Jan 04, 2010 12:31 pm

Besides the initial problem of mass hysteria...

I'll have to think on it.

I could see it working for a while, and then someone (US probly) getting greedy.
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Re: How Would First Contact Really Go?

Postby thelordharry » Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:24 am

A capitalist's wet dream. We're not enlightened enough yet to be able to handle a situation like that without greed getting in the way :)
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Re: How Would First Contact Really Go?

Postby Angharrad » Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:32 pm

thelordharry wrote:A capitalist's wet dream. We're not enlightened enough yet to be able to handle a situation like that without greed getting in the way :)

Ditto
stitch626 wrote:Besides the initial problem of mass hysteria...

I'll have to think on it.

I could see it working for a while, and then someone (US probly) getting greedy.

Ditto again
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Re: How Would First Contact Really Go?

Postby sunnyside » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:06 pm

The populaces will have a large range of reactions.

But for a "fleet" type contact at the international level it'll be all about making buddy buddy and cutting deals. The UN might give mixed signals. But only the foolish amongst the individual nations won't be looking to try and come up with some way to get themselves up to the aliens tech level.
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Re: How Would First Contact Really Go?

Postby Lt. Staplic » Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:38 pm

Sionnach Glic wrote:One day, an astronaut on the International Space Station looks out a window and gets a hell of a surprise. There's a small craft about half the size of a space shuttle floating around outside the station. As he looks out, it begins flashing its lights in some form of alien morse code. After a moment or so it opens a hatch in the side of the craft and sends a small object drifting towards the station, at which point the shuttle flies off.

The crew bring the object on board, and it's discovered to be a recorded message. Speaking with one hell of an accent, an alien identifying itself as the leader of an exploration fleet sent out to search for habitable worlds announces that they're planning to stop by Earth for a detour. A probe discovered the inhabited Earth several months ago, and the fleet has spent the time hanging around out of sight on the other side of the moon. They've spent those months learning about our language and culture by tapping into our satalites, so they've had access to our TV, radio and internet. They have a number of linguists who have managed to learn a handful of human languages. The alien leader says that they're going to bring their fleet into orbit the next day to say hi in person.

So a day later the alien fleet, comprising of a mix of civilian and military vessels, pulls up in orbit and starts dispatching shuttles. These shuttles will land outside places like the White House, the UN building, the Kremlin, and other residences of major world leaders. The aliens are fairly benevolent, and are interested in studying humanity and have no interest in killing or conquering us. Their leader reveals that Mars is rich in a material that's very precious to the aliens, and they'd like to get our permission (since we own the system) to break out the drills and go mining. To pay for this, they're willing to trade some technology, but not military tech or FTL engines. They're willing to deal with individual nations seperately, but they also say that if the UN (who they see as speaking for humanity as a whole) tells them to go they'll be happy to leave and never return.

The aliens are mammalian, but recognisably not human. Their tech is somewhat like that of nBSG, so they can't attempt to invade and occupy the Earth without horendous losses, but they can nuke us into oblivion if we push them too far. The alien nation has a dozen inhabited worlds and colonies, with varying population levels, under a fairly left-wing governing body. They're mostly atheistic, with only a few small cults here and there, but have no real problem with religious worship in general. We are the first inteligent species they've encountered to this date.

So how does humanity react to a fleet full of aliens pulling up in orbit? How does the UN react? What do the leaders of major countries do? How do religions world wide deal with this new revelation?


What I'd like to say is that with the discovery of life outside our own little rock, the nations of Earth would unite to join the intergalactic community [/dreammode]

Back to reality now. There would be mass public hystaria, in most cases I think National Guard (and the other countries equivelants) would have to be called in. There would be thousands of people convinced the end of the world is upon us, and/or that the aliens are here to conquer us and would try to stop them.

The US, UK, Russia, and other nations that had teams on the ISS/do work on the ISS would be able to get a day's notice and would probably be able to shield the aliens until things started calming down. I could see the Middle-eastern nations/North Korea thinking it was some kind of hoax or even going so far as to say that its a US invasion scheme and attacking them, which could turn out badly, at least for those nations.

I think the governments of the world (other than those mentioned above) would welcome the delegations and would begin negotiations with the alien race over the martian mining colony. I can see the leaders trying to get as much as they can for the rights to mine there, but I don't think greed will necessarily sour the deal.

As for the religions:
Islam/Christianity/Judism would probably take a hit to their followers, but they'd recover fast I think, they survived the revelation that the earth isn't the center of the universe, they can survive the discovery that "God created more than one planet with life"
Buddhism will be unaffected I think, they could really care less that there is other life in the universe, their trying to get to the next plane of existence anyway.
Hinduism will be affected in a minor fashion with their Caste system having to be altered, but other than that I think they'll still be fine

And a crap-load of new religions will spring up, I could even see one or two of them becoming really strong, absorbing the others and possibly bumping themselves into the top five world religions.

Also, to add in a few more possibilities, how would the situation change if...
1) They mention that there's about a half dozen other races of varying power and size in this part of the galaxy as well.
2) They're at war with one of these races.
3) They look like horrific monsters from the darkest depths of our imagination.
4) They're a highly militaristic society under an authoritarian government.
5) Something goes horribly wrong when they turn up, like one of their ships FTLing in and smashing the ISS, or a shuttle losing power and leveling the White House in the crash.
6) The aliens are an incredibly pacifistic race (so they've no warships in this case) and start preaching about how violent and barbaric we humans are. They say that they'll be happy to trade tech with us, including starship technology, but only if we disband our militaries and get rid of our nukes.


1. I don't see that changing much other than we'll want info on them, and to try and open up communication with them
2. We'll want to know what the war is about, the threats to earth, and will probably get more adament about aquireing some defensive technology so that we can defend ourselves if they come a knockin
3. Public Histaria will get worse, but the way the governments handle it will remain roughly the same I think
4. No change, although after some months/years with them, the US might try to start pushing democracy on them too
5. If they destroy the white house, the just lost almost every US friend they had....it's possible the US could screw Earth over by launching nukes at them in response, which would spell the end of the US and possibly the world depending on how much the aliens react.
6. I don't see us disarming. I see us countering their view with our history, and how the barbaric nature has been helpful to technological growth and an eventuality of our nature.

Sionnach Glic wrote:A few months after first making contact with us (assuming they haven't been told to bugger off or haven't nuked us all yet) the alien fleet's leader comes back with a request. It seems that the Earth is about half-way between two of their planets, and they'd like to construct a large space station in orbit to use it as a refueling depot for their freighters. Does humanity go for it, or tell them where they can stick their station?


After a few months of peaceful relations I don't see us not letting them have a station in our system...though I think we'd insist that they build it around Mars...I don't know why the aliens wanted it over Earth to begin with....their mining facility is over Mars.

Sionnach Glic wrote:And a final scenario. It's about a year since first contact and a few Earth nations start receiving a few odd requests. It seems that some of the aliens quite like Earth, and want to live here permanantly. Would countries actually let them live here? If so, how would the populace react to the chance of having an alien move in next door?


I don't see any of the initially peaceful governments denying the request. Public concern will have more than likely gone down, but there will always be loonitics. The aliens would have to be warned that there would be risks, and I can see the governments running surveys to find less hostile environments that the aliens could settle into. I can also see the governments requesting additional technological information in return for their admittance, especially if we're operating under the assumption that this race is involved in an interstellar war.
Check this out, Let me know if your interested: viewtopic.php?f=33&t=7385
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Re: How Would First Contact Really Go?

Postby Sionnach Glic » Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:22 pm

Lt. Staplic wrote:.it's possible the US could screw Earth over by launching nukes at them in response, which would spell the end of the US and possibly the world depending on how much the aliens react.


How would the US do that? AFAIK no nukes have been designed to hit starships orbiting the planet, so the best they could do would be to nuke the shuttles as they're coming down to land....in foreign countries.
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Re: How Would First Contact Really Go?

Postby BigJKU316 » Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:12 pm

Sionnach Glic wrote:
Lt. Staplic wrote:.it's possible the US could screw Earth over by launching nukes at them in response, which would spell the end of the US and possibly the world depending on how much the aliens react.


How would the US do that? AFAIK no nukes have been designed to hit starships orbiting the planet, so the best they could do would be to nuke the shuttles as they're coming down to land....in foreign countries.


Shh, don't you know the US is going to ruin everything?

Honestly the US government would react pretty much like the others to things like this because they have the controls in place to actually make a rational response. The ones you worry about at the nations run by one or a small group of insular thinkers, who might try to say hold an alien hostage to get what they want. The bigger, democratic nations have enough people in place to say it is not a good idea to mess with these people, lest they wipe us out.

I would expect you would see a pretty unified response, at least among the US and Europe, along with Japan.
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Re: How Would First Contact Really Go?

Postby Nutso » Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:10 pm

So how does humanity react to a fleet full of aliens pulling up in orbit?

With fear. We've seen enough movies and TV to know that a fleet of alien vessels lining up at our earth border means to invade us. In the U.S. there will be a alien loving hippie freaks who want us to love the aliens. There'll be their total opposites who wants us to bomb and kill the aliens before they can kill us and take our women. People with mental problems who claimed to be abducted will be vindicated. Some will find that life once meaningless now has meaning. Others will realize just how meaningless their existence truly is since they are just one out of untold bazillions. There will even be people apathetic to this moment. For the most part though, there is trepidation of an alien fleet right above our skies.

How does the UN react?

"..."

What do the leaders of major countries do?

Look to cut deals for themselves and whatever lobby they represent and maybe their country, while cutting down other nations' lobbyists. Only natural to knockout competition.

How do religions world wide deal with this new revelation?

Scientologists will kill themselves rather than surrender to Xenu. Win there. Otherwise peoples of various Faiths find solace in their personal faith. "My God will protect me." This will not shake the believer in his personal belief that there is a God/gods/Buddha. Hell if anything this means God didn't want us to be alone in the universe.
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Re: How Would First Contact Really Go?

Postby Mark » Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:59 am

Plain and simple.

Somebody would attack.


Our problem is a lack of a unified global government. I see it similar to that episode in Stargate where the other powers were finally let in on the big secret. US, England, and France could decide on a peaceful approach, while Russia wants a "get the hell out of here" approach. While everybody argues China attacks.
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Re: How Would First Contact Really Go?

Postby thelordharry » Fri Jan 15, 2010 4:08 pm

Who knows how the world would react if the question of whether we are alone in the universe was catergorially answered? I guess the only way to prove this for sure is for aliens to turn up on our doorstep. I'd like to think it would be just like Trek and just like how Riker described it in ST:FC:

RIKER: Doctor, tomorrow morning when they detect the warp signature from your ship and realise that humans have discovered how to travel faster than light, they decide to alter their course and make first contact with Earth, right here.
COCHRANE: Here?
LAFORGE: Sir, it's actually over there.
RIKER: It is one of the pivotal moments in human history, Doctor. You get to make first contact with an alien race, and after you do, everything begins to change.
LAFORGE: Your theories on warp drive allow fleets of starships to be built and mankind to start exploring the Galaxy.
TROI: It unites humanity in a way no one ever thought possible when they realise they're not alone in the universe. Poverty, disease, war. They'll all be gone within the next fifty years

Sadly, it'll be more like DS9 'Little Green Men' where the superpowers want to buy futuristic weapons off the aliens :)
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Re: How Would First Contact Really Go?

Postby Mark » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:02 pm

thelordharry wrote:Who knows how the world would react if the question of whether we are alone in the universe was catergorially answered? I guess the only way to prove this for sure is for aliens to turn up on our doorstep. I'd like to think it would be just like Trek and just like how Riker described it in ST:FC:

RIKER: Doctor, tomorrow morning when they detect the warp signature from your ship and realise that humans have discovered how to travel faster than light, they decide to alter their course and make first contact with Earth, right here.
COCHRANE: Here?
LAFORGE: Sir, it's actually over there.
RIKER: It is one of the pivotal moments in human history, Doctor. You get to make first contact with an alien race, and after you do, everything begins to change.
LAFORGE: Your theories on warp drive allow fleets of starships to be built and mankind to start exploring the Galaxy.
TROI: It unites humanity in a way no one ever thought possible when they realise they're not alone in the universe. Poverty, disease, war. They'll all be gone within the next fifty years

Sadly, it'll be more like DS9 'Little Green Men' where the superpowers want to buy futuristic weapons off the aliens :)


More likely just try and take them.
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Re: How Would First Contact Really Go?

Postby thelordharry » Sat Jan 16, 2010 9:57 am

So we're saying that FC would more likely be like the beginning of 'In a mirror, darkly'? :)
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