FROM: THE GALACTIC COUNCIL, MILKY WAY
TO: PEOPLE OF EARTH
SUBJECT: FIRST CONTACT
Dear People of Earth,
We hope you don’t mind being called that. You do have a lot of names for your planet as well as each other, and even the mid-sized yellow star your planet orbits. It gets very confusing. We decided to pick one and go with it.
Now down to business. While this signal may make you say “wow” understand that it is not to be considered a formal first contact. We expect you to carry on as you were, but since a growing number of you accept that you are not alone in the universe we thought we’d make this little courtesy call. We’ve been monitoring your transmissions, although your recent switch to satellites that direct signals directly to locations on your planet, what you call “cellular” communication, rather than broad-range wave-based technology has made this more difficult. We’ve also studied your culture extensively, although almost entirely without your awareness. There have been a few unfortunate incidents when we were sloppy. They were incorporated into what you call “mythology” or “religion”, but since we understand this is a sensitive area for you we won’t go into further detail.
The reason for this message is we’d like to assure you that everything will be fine. Well, perhaps “fine” isn’t the right word, but you can take comfort that your formal first contact with creatures from another planet will be exactly as you’ve predicted.
Your first contactees may be a hostile and scavenging species that is intent on draining your planet’s resources as they sweep through the galaxy.
They may be gentle and enigmatic creatures.
They may be completely carnivorous.
They may see you as food.
They may be vegetarians.
They may be vegetables.
They may make a dramatic appearance in large craft that suddenly appear in your skies.
They may crash land in a small ship.
They may come in large numbers only for you to discover that a small group crash-landed here some time ago.
They may bear such a close resemblance to you that they can and even have passed among you with the aid of little more than hats, socks, or slightly eccentric footwear.
They may be so completely unlike you their forms cannot be contained in anything comprehensible to you.
They may be intimately familiar with your planet and your ways.
They may find you as alien as you find them.
They may land on your planet.
You may land on theirs.
You may encounter each other in space.
They may be bipedal.
They may be mammals, molluscs, cephalopods, insects, avians, fish, amphibians, reptiles, or a form of life that defies all categorization.
They may be machines with an advanced level of intelligence resembling your own.
They may be organic creatures contained within machines.
They may be microscopic, perhaps even viruses, that operate by inhabiting either organic host organisms or specially designed machines.
They may be able to breathe your planet’s atmosphere.
They may require special equipment just to be among you.
They may be gelatinous blobs.
They may communicate, like you, through audible and visual cues.
They may communicate by exuding pheromones, liquids, or by the direct transfer of electrical discharges from one individual to another.
They may not have any interest in you.
They may want to put you in cages and experiment on you.
They may be carbon-based.
They may not.
They may look like giant guinea pigs that wear purple capes and defecate sapphires. This is unlikely, but it’s a big galaxy. A lot of things can happen.
They may have a single planet-wide monoculture.
They may be clones of each other.
They may be at least as culturally diverse as you are.
They may be highly varied, even multiple species working collectively.
They may want you to join their multi-species collective.
They may not.
You may want to have sex with them.
They may want to have sex with you.
They may look like ordinary pets: dogs, cats, ferrets.
They may be arachnids whose enormous size defies the laws of physics.
They may look like creatures from your mythology.
They may merely adopt the look of creatures from your mythology or some other familiar form in order to make you more comfortable.
To sum up, we can say with a high degree with certainty that your predictions are accurate and the first aliens you encounter will look exactly like what you’ve come to expect.
Or they may not.
We hope everything goes well and wish you the very best of luck on your first contact, but ask that when it happens you please at least pretend to be surprised.
The Galactic Council, Milky Way
cc: Andromeda Galaxy, other members, Local Galactic Group