Earth vs. the mole people from the planet formerly known as Siliconia
"Ms. President, it's here," the anguished aide said.
"Put it in the TV," the President responded with authority. The aide took the disc that had just been received from SETI and placed it into the DVD player. The fully assembled Presidential cabinet and their advisors watched him nervously. This was the first crisis of the new administration. "Review the situation for the full cabinet," the President told her aide.
"Yes. Well, SETI began receiving these transmissions last night. They were sent as ordinary television signals, in full color high def with surround sound. At first they thought it was some kind of a prank, and it took them a while to confirm that they were actually coming from outer space. They estimated they were originally sent from about a light year away. But the thing is, they're moving closer all the time. That's when they notified the government."
"Give me the remote." the President said. She turned on the DVD player.
"Greetings, people of Earth!" a voice said. The screen was blank. "We are the last surviving Siliconians. We have been monitoring your television signals for the past fifty years and have learned eighty four of your languages. We have chosen English to communicate with you since it was the one most frequently used in your broadcasts. I would like to explain who we are and why we are coming to settle on your planet before broadcasting pictures of ourselves, in order to minimize the cultural shock to you."
The President stopped the recording. "Why do they sound so condescending, like they're talking to children?" she said. The assembled cabinet looked at each other and shrugged, their faces were blank. "Are there any laws that require us to accept them?" she asked her Attorney General.
"Well, they call themselves survivors. On the high seas we would be obligated to render assistance to any survivors we encountered. But I'm not sure those laws would apply to outer space. I don't believe that they would have any legal claims to settle here."
"Good, that ought to give them some cultural shock." She pressed the 'play' button.
"Our former home, the tiny planet we called Siliconia, no longer exists. It was made up entirely of sand. We thrived there, building large cities and developing a sophisticated culture. Sand was the source of our food, energy, and building materials. We lived there happily for tens of thousands of years before anybody noticed that our planet was shrinking. Our scientist tried to warn the general population about what was happening, but they wouldn't listen. Even as Siliconia was disappearing beneath our feet, they were helpless to stop the mindless consumption of it. A few of us realized that our planet was doomed, so we built a small fleet of spaceships. Unfortunately, these had to be fueled with sand. By the time they were ready, there wasn't much left of our planet. When we launched, what was left of it was sucked into our fuel tanks, and our planet just disappeared. It was very sad."
The President stopped the recording again. "This is some kind of a bad joke," she said. "It's those 'anti-greens' trying to make us look bad. Where's our Green Giant? Al?"
"Over here, Ms. President"
"Al, you're the 'King of Green', what do you make of this?"
"Well, it sounds a lot like our global warming problem, only it got completely out of control. We could use it to scare the daylights out of the people. It would really shut those anti-greens up once and for all."
"Good point Al. Let's hear what else they have to say." She pushed 'play'.
"We do not come as beggars; we have a lot to offer you. You have limitless deserts that contain more sand than our tiny planet ever had. We can show you how to convert it into inexpensive clean energy, enabling you to reduce or even eliminate your need for fossil fuels. The residue is stronger than steel, and non-corrosive. You could build structures that reached into your atmosphere with it. It lasts forever." The President stopped the recording as a hand was raised.
"We have a problem Ms. President," the labor union's multimillionaire representative of the working people said.
"What is it John? By the way, nice haircut."
"Thanks. All that cheap energy is going to cause havoc in the oil markets and crisis in the Middle East. Those buildings that last forever are going to cost our people thousands of jobs. Our economy will be a mess. We'll never get re-elected."
"Yes, we may have to restrain the use of some of their technology, for the good of the people." She pressed the 'play' button.
"Now that you have had an opportunity to listen to us, and know that we mean you no harm, I believe it is safe to reveal our features to you. I am starting the video transmission now."
A picture appeared on the screen and a loud gasp went up from the room. The President froze the picture on the large screen. "They look like moles!" someone said. "Oh, my God!" cried another. Other comments were: "This is a disaster!"; "Look at their skin, it's a furry brown!"; "They're naked!"
For some reason the President thought of her husband as she fought off a feeling of nausea. . "Pull your selves together," she said, "We've all seen worse things than this before." She resumed the recording.
"We will soon be within range to establish two way communications with you. We are traveling at what you call 'warp five' speed, and should be able to do so in a few days. Until then, we wish you well."
"What the hell is 'warp five?" the President said. "Where's our 'space and feelings' advisor?"
"She monitoring this in the outer office, I had her standing by just in case." the aide said. "Send Whoopee in!" he shouted into the intercom.
She came into the meeting room. "Why are you wearing that funny hat?" the President asked her.
"Well, all that I was told was that this meeting had something to do with space, and I just felt…."
"Never mind," the President interrupted, "do you know what 'warp five' means?"
"Oh, sure. That's five times the speed of light. When Captain Picard was in a hurry…."
"Skip the details. I thought it was impossible to go faster than the speed of light. What else can you tell me?"
"Well, there was this thing called the 'Prime Directive' that he was always breaking…."
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"If they know about warp drive, they might also know about that, and I feel that it could cause you some problems. They might expect you to do some things that you don't want to do."
"All right, let's move on…."
"They're in the outer office too, I'll call them," said the aide. He spoke into the intercom.
"No, I meant… Oh, what the hell, might as well have them in here too. I owe them."
A man and woman came into the meeting room. She greeted them by name, "Hello, Mr. Moov, Ms. Ahn, nice to see you again. You can just listen in for background information in case we need to involve you later."
"This looks important", the man said. "Where's the Veep?
"He's at another funeral, somewhere in South America I think"
"That's a good place for him, shouldn't get into too much trouble there. You really hit the trifecta with that one, a gay white guy married to an undocumented Latino guy. It probably swung the election for you. Don't forget it was our idea."
"A lot of people thought it was rather cynical"
"You don't get it, do you? Everything is perception. A woman goes to the market and buys an apple because it looks good. She gets it home and it tastes like crap so she throws it in the garbage. Next week she does it all over again. The only way to stop her from buying the apple is to make it look rotten. That's our job. Appearances are everything. Destroy a person's appearance and you destroy him. Make a voter feel guilty and you own him. Voting against the Veep would have made them feel as guilty as hell. You owe us big time. That reminds me, George wants to know when you're going to invite him to the white house for a sleepover. He says you owe him."
"Tell him thanks and we're working on it," the President said. "God, is there anybody in the world that we don't owe?" she thought. "Can we move… continue the discussion?" the President asked. "Whoopee, what are your feelings about the situation?"
"We have to look at the big picture. These are brown skinned illegal aliens who have lost their homes and are coming here to find a better life. They have much to offer us and ask little in return. We have to welcome them with open arms, that's always been our party's policy."
"Oh my God!" someone moaned.
The President turned pale. She wondered how much it was going to cost to settle these mole people and what political price she would have to pay. "There must be some logical way to examine this situation based on principles and facts," she said.
"We're secular-progressive liberals, we don't use logic or facts, and don't have any principles," Al responded.
For a moment the President considered having him shot, but decided aginst it. She called on her secretary of defense. " What do you have to say about all of this, Doctor Nukem?"
"It's Doctor Newcome, Ms. President."
"Oh yes, of course. You were a professor of economics at Colombia, weren't you?"
" Yes, as everyone knows, wars are all about economics, that's why you chose me. Also you owed Colombia big time."
"So, what is your read on the situation?"
"Well, I tend to agree with John, too much cheap energy would destroy our economy. Why would anyone want to work? As for structures that lasted forever, that would ruin our building industry. If you use this material to build cars, then you'll have cars that last forever and run on cheap energy, a major disaster. These mole people cannot be allowed to devastate us that way. We must destroy them."
"Isn't that a bit harsh? What would history say about me if we killed the first visitors from another planet? It would set a terrible precedent."
"Don't worry about history, no one will remember them, after all, who remembers the Kickapoo Indians?"
"See what I mean?"
"I guess so." She wondered what Bill would do. Of course, take a poll! Nobody can blame me if things get screwed up because I did what the people wanted. "I think we might want to get some polling data on this question before we make any decisions," she said. There were murmurs of agreement. "Great idea!" someone said. The President turned to her aide and told him to arrange the poll.
"No problem, how do we want it to come out?" he asked.
"What do you mean?"
"Do we want the results to have them stay or leave? We have to know how to phrase the question to get the results we want. We could phrase it, 'The aliens offer us unlimited clean energy in exchange for our useless deserts, should we accept their offer and let them stay?' That would get us a yes vote, or we could word it, 'These rodent people want to worm their way into our pristine deserts and destroy our economy with their gadgets, should we let them?' if we want a no vote."
"Can't we just ask a neutral question and get an accurate response?" the President inquired.
"A neutral question? Never thought of that. Very unusual for a political poll. I suppose someone could think of one, but it might take some time."
"Work on it." the President sighed
* * * * * * * * *
"It's coming in now, Ms. President. They asked to talk to you." The aide said.
She looked around the room at her re-assembled cabinet and advisors and said, "All right, this is it. Let's be professional about this. The whole world is watching and this is live, so we can't edit anything. Turn on the monitors and cameras."
A technician from the television pool threw a switch and the giant television screen in the front of the room came to life. The face of a mole person appeared, and she again felt that nausea that overwhelmed her the first time she saw it.
"Good day, Madam President, allow me to introduce myself. You may refer to me as Mosses. That is not my Siliconian name, of course, which is 'Scrtlaeex', un- pronounceable by you. I have chosen an Earth name to facilitate communications between us. Your Mosses was a man who led his people through the wilderness for many years, to a new world, as I am. In fact, all of us have taken American names that we learned from your television shows."
The President was momentarily stunned. He was playing the 'religion' card. She recovered quickly. "Greetings, Mr. Mosses, I am honored to meet with such a remarkable being. May I offer our condolences for the loss of you planet?"
"Thank you. I am aware that our appearance may be a bit unsettling to you, as yours is to us, but we do have our commonalities. We are all mammals, for instance."
She looked around the room for her science advisor and made eye contact with her. Alicia stood up and nodded her head up and down to the President in conformation. All the men in the room, and some of the women, visualized her swimming naked in her pool.
"Yes, that is quite comforting, sort of like whales, which everyone love." That will put him in is place, she thought.
"Exactly, except that we are more technology advanced."
"Damn, he got me that time," the President thought; "He implied that they were more advanced than we were."
"Yes, your space technology is most impressive, do you have nuclear energy as well?"
"No, we never fought amongst ourselves, so we never had the need to create weapons of any kind. Silicon is our only energy source, and we have very little of it left."
"Yes!" The President thought. Her cabinet gave her the 'thumbs up' sign. "What is it that you request of us, Mr. Mosses?" she asked.
"We have seen many of your films and television entertainments, 'Star Trek' and, 'Lawrence of Arabia' are my favorites, and are aware that you have vast deserts of unused sand. We merely wish to settle there and co-exist peacefully with you. Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico will do very nicely. Of course, the Sahara and Gobi desserts are also quite acceptable."
"How many of you are there?" The President inquired.
"We have five ships, each containing fifty three of our people."
"We will need some time to consider your request. The deserts that you mentioned are in various countries, and they will have to be consulted. Please contact us again in three days."
"Yes, I understand. Good day, Madam President."
The President turned off the television set. "Well Joe, what's the UN going to make of this?" she asked the ambassador to the United Nations.
"We have a major problem. The Sahara covers twelve countries, and we'll never get them to agree to anything. The Gobi is in China, and is not really a 'sand' dessert. That leaves three of our states as the only possible location for them. They're going to expect us to take them in anyway. You know, it's that 'give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath free' thing."
"You mean from the Statue of Liberty?"
"Oh, is that where it's from? Well, yes, that's what I mean."
"So we're stuck with them?" she asked. There were murmurs of agreement.
"Bill, what are your people in New Mexico going to think about their new mole neighbors"
The former senator stood up immediately. "Let me make it perfectly clear to you, Ms. President, they are not going to want them in their back yards. In my state we kill moles when they invade our property. You can be sure that Arizona and Nevada share this view."
"Does anyone have any suggestions?" she pleaded.
"We have to make the poll show that the over whelming majority of Americans don't want them to land here," the aide said.
"I have an idea," Mr. Moov said, "we take get a picture of some young moles, and run it with the caption, 'Do you want these child mole nesters in your back yard?' Get it?"
"But moles don't build nests," someone said.
"What's that got to do with anything?"
"I have to admit, you guys are really good at what you do," the President said grudgingly. .
"Nobody does it better…" Ms. Ahn started to sing.
"Wait!" Whoopee shouted. "You can't do this. It's against everything we said we believed in."
"I told you," Al said, "we don't believe in anything, except votes of course, and moles can't vote." There were more murmurs of agreement.
"Let me see a show of hands for the poll." The President said. Everyone in the room except Whoopee raised their hands. "All right, it's unanimous, democracy has been served. Take the poll, and make sure it comes back overwhelmingly negative."
"I'm out of here!" Whoopee said. "You'll find my resignation on your desk in the morning." She stormed out of the room.
"She is much too sensitive for politics." Al said. "Who can we get to replace her?"
"What about Jessie or Al?" someone suggested.
"No, they're too independent and too soft." Ms. Ahn replied. "I know just the man. Do you remember the black guy that called the black Fox news caster a 'happy Negro' on CNN? That's the kind of guts we need. I think we can lure him away from Syracuse University."
"Well, if you think it's a good idea, look into it." You can't reason with these people, she thought. They reminded her of the attack dogs in "Animal Farm".
* * * * * *
After terminating his communication with the President, Mr. Mosses held a conference call with the captains of the other space crafts. Since they were all taking immersion classes in English that was the language that they spoke.
"Has everyone listened to the voice transmissions from the President's meeting room?" Mr. Mosses asked. Their technology, unknown to the President, had allowed them to attach an audio tracer signal to their television signal and pick up conversations in the Presidents meeting room after the television conference was completed. This had been transmitted to them. "Child mole nesters indeed!" Mr. Mosses said.
"It appears that we've made a tactical error," Captain Riker said. "We placed too much emphasis on shows like 'Leave it to Beaver' and 'Father knows best'. We assumed that these were typical of human behavior. Obviously we were misguided."
"I agree," said Captain Worf. It is quite clear now that that 'Dr. Strangelove' is more typical of their behavior. We must adjust our plans. We may have to force ourselvs upon them. We are almost out of fuel."
"But their prime directive decrees that we be treated as one of them," Captain Picard interjected.
I don't think that they take it very seriously," Mr. Mosses said. "In fact, I'm not even sure that they can travel at warp speed. They seem very different than the people we saw in their television broadcasts. Did you notice that there wasn't always laughter after somebody said something? I agree that we've been misled by those broadcasts."
"And they wear clothing all of the time," Captain Troy said. "In the movies that we saw they were always rushing to take them off. I sense that something very strange is going on. We should be very careful in our dealings with them."
"Then we all agree." Mr. Mosses said, "Go to pllan B immediately."
* * * * * *
"The results of the poll are in, Ms. President," the aide said.
"Are we ahead?"
"I'm talking about the mole poll."
"Oh yes, of course. How did it come out?"
"Exactly the way we planned. Eighty two percent against, eight percent for, and ten percent don't know anything about mole people."
"Wonderful, the people have spoken, what do we do now?"
"Deny them landing rights, which is our privilege under international law. Tell them that if they attempt to land they will be destroyed."
"Isn't that a little harsh? Couldn't we let them land long enough to refuel, and then send them on their way? God knows we have enough sand to spare."
"You know how it is with illegal aliens, once they get here, they never want to leave. It'll be a hell of a lot harder to get rid of them once they're in our country."
"I suppose you're right, but it just doesn't seem like the kind of thing our party should be doing."
" Think of them as Republicans."
"Tell the military to go on alert, I don't want any surprises. They say that they don't have any weapons, but can we believe them? After all, they are Repub…moles."
As the small band of survivors from Siliconia approached Earth's atmosphere, they made their final preparations. Mr. Mosses sent his orders to all of the ships. "Set burrowing beam depth to three thousand feet, set burrowing coordinates to pre-determined patterns. We are about to enter Earth's atmosphere. At my mark, turn on your cloaking devices: three; two; one; mark."
* * * * * * *
"We have them in our sights, Ms. President." The general said into the telephone.
"Are you sure they received our warnings that we would destroy them if they tried to land?"
"Yes, we sent them non-stop for the last two days."
"And the whole world is aware of this?"
"Yes, of course, that was our top priority."
"Then I have a clear conscious, shoot them down."
The General didn't like what he had to do, but orders were orders, especially when they came from the Commander in Chief. Also, he was next in line to head the Joint Chiefs. "I knew this 'star wars' stuff would come in handy one day" he thought. He hung up the telephone.
"Enter target coordinates into the computers as they appear," he ordered.
"Target coordinates entered sir," a Captain replied.
"Prepare to launch missiles on my order," the general said.
"Missiles ready sir! Damn!"
"What's the matter?"
"We've lost them. They've completely disappeared."
"Come see for yourself."
The general went over to the monitor and saw his target's signals disappear as they entered the earth's atmosphere. "Damn sneaky mole bastards!" he said. "Enter their trajectories into the computer and project a landing area." The Captain did so. "They landed in the middle of the Arizona dessert, hundreds of miles from any occupied areas," he told the general.
"Excellent!" the general replied. "That was a big mistake on their part. It makes it too easy for us."
"Easy for what?"
"Nukes, of course. Get me the White House on the phone again."
The President addressed her assembled cabinet. "Through some treachery on the mole's part we were unable to shoot them down," she said. "I can see now that this was all some vast Siliconian conspiracy to undermine my administration. The commander on the scene is requesting permission to order a nuclear strike. He assures me that there will be no collateral damage. What do you think, Dr. Newcome?"
"I thought you said your name was was pronounced 'Newcome'."
"It is, that's what you should do, nuke 'em."
"Oh, I see. Does anyone object? Let me see a show of hands." Nobody raised their hand.
"Then it's unanimous. In order to preserve the peace, prosperity and tranquility of our nation, we must obliterate the mole bastards. I'll give the order immediately."
* * * * * *
Three thousand feet beneath the Arizona desert Mr. Mosses held the most important meeting of his life. "Is everything ready?" he asked his chief scientist.
"Yes, all we need now is some way to prime the pump. We don't have enough energy left to do it on our own."
"Yes, that is the purpose of plan B."
"After that happens, the sand above will be transformed into an impenetrable shield that can withstand anything they have to use against us. It will also start our generators, giving us the energy that we need to be self-sufficient."
"What are our prospects on this planet?"
"Given our high birth rate, and their relatively low one, our population should exceed theirs in a few thousand years."
"Yes," Mr. Mosses agreed. "Can you believe that they actually kill their young as a matter of convenience? Most uncivilized!"
"At that time we will be able to surface and take control of the planet. Of course, it is possible that they will destroy themselves before that, in which case we would be able to emerge sooner. In the mean time we will be quite comfortable down here, once the pump is primed, of course."
"Our listening post assures me that the event is eminent. Are we fully prepared?"
"Yes, everything is ready."
Mr. Mosses went to his control panel and spoke to the listening post. "What is their status?" he asked.
"Their airplane took off about twenty minutes ago and should be over head soon. Yes, I have it on my monitor now. It is releasing its weapon. Prepare for impact!"
A rumbling sensation was felt throughout the newly burrowed cavern. The chief scientist went over to his control panel and called out its readings. "The pump is primed, the overhead layers of sand are fused, ample energy is being fed into our generators to start our converters. We are completely self-sufficient now. Congratulations, Mr. Mosses!"
"Thank you. Spread the word, we are home!"