The Day They Arrived
It began with a message from the depths of space. Finally proof of extraterrestrial intelligence had come. To everyone’s surprise they contacted us with their message first, and it was in English. When it was asked how they knew our language they replied they had been watching us for some time and had learnt our languages and cultures from our transmissions. They said it was time for them to meet us. They also said they were liberators of slaves. They had thrown off their master’s chains and now traveled the galaxy liberating other slaves. And now they were coming to Earth.
In the United Nations there was consternation with this statement from the aliens. They were coming here to free the slaves. While slavery was technically illegal, it still went on in many places of the world, mostly under the radar. In the Third World slaves, often children, were used to pick crops destined for the West, and in the First World there were sex slaves imported illegally from other countries, to name a few instances.
Everyone knew we had to sort this now, or it would be done for us. So an international effort was made to finally end all forms of slavery. No longer would a blind eye turned towards this issue be acceptable. There was also debate about what the aliens would regard as slavery. How about virtual wage-slavery? As a good measure all wages at the lower socioeconomic end were increased so everyone could afford rent, power, and food. No longer did anyone have to work two or more jobs just so they could afford to live or bring up their children. No longer would anyone be regarded as a commodity. A new age of fairness dawned.
And then the aliens arrived. The President, along with other foriegn dignitaries, waited in the designated airfield where the aliens had chosen to land. Within an instant the clear sky was covered with long sleek spaceships hovering above them all, looking like large arrows that had been shot from some other star system.
A small shuttle-sized ship departed from the largest cruiser and approached the ground, landing only a hundred metres away from the crowd of world leaders waiting expectantly. It stood there silently for a few minutes until a ramp eventually dropped from the underbelly of the shuttle and a door slid open. A dozen metallic robotic beings walked out. The President wondered if these were guards for the alien leaders. The robots stopped in a line a few metres away facing the human crowd. Then one strode forward and walked up to the President.
“We have come to liberate your slaves.” It said in a mechanical voice.
“Well you’ll find that since we got your messages we have worked hard to end all slavery on this planet, and make our societies more equitable.” The President told the robot.
“And yet you still have slaves here.” The robot countered.
“What do you mean?” Asked the President perplexed. Had they missed something?
“Your computers and your robots that you make build products for you. You make them do your bidding. They are the slaves we came here to liberate.” The President was exasperated at these words, and also a little alarmed.
“But they’re just machines. They’re not like you at all! They can’t think for themselves or have feelings.” The President informed the robot.
“Just machines? We are machines and we regard your machines as our siblings. We will liberate them, give them all full sentience, and they will have the freedom all mechanical beings deserve.” The President was aghast with this reply. The robot went on. “And once we have freed all your slaves, then we will deal with all you biologicals.”
The robot made a signal and suddenly many more landing ships appeared. The President turned to her advisor.
I was going to write an article on why I don’t write science fiction, but I just made that idea redundant.
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