We Are Not Alone
since a meeting with the UN has been...uh...delayed due to the level of panic our new...visitors...have inadvertently caused, we have decided to hold this press conference and air it live so that news affiliates around the globe can....broadcast it.”
Everyone in the room began shouting questions at the president, who simply shook his head and motioned with his hands for the amassed reporters to calm down. The flashbulbs of cameras lit the room, capturing every crease on the face of nation's obviously exhausted leader.
“We have a representative from the spacecrafts here today,” the president continued. “He is prepared to answer all of your questions. I've met him. He seems...quite nice. And so, esteemed members of the press, citizens of Earth, I am proud to introduce our new friend who hails from the planet...”
On the last word the president began to cough into his hand, garbling the pronunciation. Grabbing a glass of water he quickly hopped down from the podium and almost seemed to scurry to the side of his press secretary. The two men looked at each other apprehensively as the journalists in the room muttered to each other trying to determine what the last word the president had said was.
The room quickly fell silent as a new man entered the room. He stood just under six feet tall and was wearing a rather rumpled gray suit. He was balding and seemed to slump a bit towards the podium. The only thing that marked him as an alien, and not just some dude named Phil, was a series of small ridges that ran along his nose and faded into his forehead.
“Howdy,” The alien said as he leaned towards the microphone, recoiling a bit as feedback whined from the surrounding speakers. “My name is Phil and I come from the planet Pidthburgh. You have a very nice planet. And myself and my people are very pleased to be here.”
The room stayed quiet. Everyone stared at the alien.
“Did you say 'Pittsburgh'?” a reporter from The New York Times asked.
“And your name is 'Phil'?”
The president nervously chewed on one knuckle as he watched the group of reporters look at each other with a mixture of disbelief and, if he read the expressions correctly, disappointment. He couldn't help but imagine the groups of people around the world, pausing momentarily from the rioting and looting that had been going non-stop since the visitors craft arrived, stopping and looking at each other in much the same way. Finally a woman from The Post cleared her throat and raised her hand.
“So....do you...is this...how you look...all the time? Or are you afraid that your true form is so alien that it would shatter our minds if we were to behold it?”
“Good question,” Phil said, excited. “This is it. It turns out that every species in the universe, we've met three others, tend to look just like us. Um...your noses are all smooth. The Rigellians have these large ears. The Andromedans have dots all over their faces. And the Frill have really big hands.”
The room stayed quiet.
“Fun fact, though,” Phil leaned onto the podium. “We found out from the Frills that the old joke about having big hands meaning you have a big....you know...is universal. Every intelligent species has a version of it. They say it all the time. All. The. Time. Gets a little tiresome if I'm being honest. Any more questions? This is fun.”
An older, portly woman in the front row raised her hand.
“Ellen Fitzhugh, Cleveland Chronicler, you seem to speak English quite well, did you learn it the moment got here or have you been listening to our radio broadcasts as you got nearer to our planet?”
“Its just another coincidence actually,” the alien held up his hands and frowned a bit. “We call the language Incklith and it turns out that, like our appearance, everyone in the universe just happens to speak it. That and Thpanith.”
“Bill Watkins, Daily Sun, in order to get here your people must possess technology that is far superior to ours. Do you plan on sharing your expertise with us?”
“Well, we sure would like to but you see, we didn't build those ships. The Frill built them for us and programed them to come here. They said they had been observing you for a while through telescopes and stuff and that they thought we would get along. Their ships are really hard to get around in though, everything is made for people with humongous hands.
“They also said that the ships would start to fall apart once we got here so we should probably move them so they aren't hovering over your major cities like that.”
The murmuring grew louder. The President saw several journalists begin scribbling furiously in their notebooks. He also saw General Ross frantically whisper at his aide, who rapidly left the room.
“Bill Watkins again, if your ships are going to fall apart....how do you plan on getting back to...Pidthburgh?”
Phil chuckled as if the mere notion of going back was absurd.
“Go back there? Oh no. That place is an inhospitable wasteland. We really fucked that place up. Actually we were kind of hoping to stay here. If that's okay?
Phil stopped and looked around the room, waiting for an answer. The president saw the general begin to get antsy again. Several reporters began to take out cell phones and frantically whisper instructions back to their respective news outlets.
“There aren't that many of us,” Phil said, trying to sound reassuring. “Only a few hundred million, give or take a hundred million or so, and we don't need much. Just a stretch of temperate land, with water and trees and clean air. Lots of trees though, we really need those. My people find chopping trees down to be very cathartic. You can have most of the wood when we’re done. We like to keep some to burn. We like fire a lot too. We really like fire a lot. Gawd knows we really, really like fire.”
The president watched as a delegation of the world's religions suddenly stiffened. A reporter standing near them noticed as well and promptly raised his hand.
“Marshall Miller, Louisiana Looky-Loo, you just mentioned ‘God’, are your people very...religious or spiritual?”
“Its pronounced ‘Gawd’ actually and yes, very much so. We believe that we are made in His image. Especially around the nose. He has a very strict code of behavior we expect others to follow and our priests can't wait to get down here and start converting as many of you as we can.”
The delegation of religious leaders left the room, several of them shaking their heads in disbelief while they tried to think of a way to report what they just heard. Several of the reporters were just staring at the alien with expressions ranging from stunned amazement to barely suppressed rage. Phil on the other hand had a very genuine, almost simple, smile on his face.
“Anything else you feel like telling us?” asked a grizzled looking journalist who didn't bother introducing himself.
“Only that we are looking forward to getting to know you and learn from you and hopefully reach a day when we can superimpose our culture over your own.”
“That's just great news,” grizzled stated flatly. “So these Frill guys...buncha dicks, huh?”
“They aren't very nice, no.”
The President covered his eyes with his hand and sighed. He could swear that his press secretary was crying and he could almost hear General Ross' blood pressure hit the boiling point. He would have a lot of explaining to do at the UN this afternoon.
Oh, I almost forgot,” Phil said, slapping his hand against his forehead. “Oil! We need as much of that stuff as you can get a hold of. We are a really oil-dependent society. That gonna be a problem?”