The starship winked into existence in the void between planets. Disregarding all laws of physics it decelerated from near light speed to a mere 50 km/s. The large ship continued to slow at a more believable pace as it approached the planet. It would take only a few simple calculations to discover that the giant ship was preparing to enter a medium orbit around the planet at about 10,000 km above the surface, just above the inner Van Alan Belt. Being over six km long, the starship was spotted by the planet’s inhabitants long before it had past the planet’s single large moon.
I couldn’t believe the news. Not only was extraterrestrial life discovered, it was orbiting Earth. It was up there, I had seen it. The usual conspiracy theories sprung up about what the object we could all see in the night sky really was, but even a good pair of binoculars could make out details that proved the ship was not of this Earth. My eight inch refractor gave me an amazing view.
The government had been silent about the ship and the news could only speculate. Why was it there? What were we doing about it? Were they going to invade? Were we to be made slaves to some strange bug-eyed aliens? Some on the news speculated what rockets at the government’s disposal would be able to launch a nuclear attack on the ship. It was assumed by all that a typical ICBM wouldn’t be able to reach it. I even heard a few radio commentators say we need to do a preemptive strike on it before the invasion.
Why were they even talking about destroying it? Anyone with half a brain could tell that the energies it took that ship to get here would be enough to wipe the Earth clean. To think they wouldn’t be able to take out a missile is ludicrous. Sure, we must defend ourselves if attacked, but we have to be careful not to instigate. And what message do we want to send, that we are a rabid people only thinking of violence or that we are a sophisticated society?
I took out a satellite TV antenna and have been trying to figure out how to use it to transmit. I mean, it should be the same principle, right? A transmitter placed where the receiver is should be able to beam a message in a straight line, or at least I would think it should. I’ve recorded a message of welcoming and peace. I filled it with some of our greatest works of art and music. I’ll use my computer and the known orbit of the ship to beam the message as it passes over. I’m sure I can aim it close enough that it will receive it. Well, if it’s open to receiving, I guess.
I do hope it hears some messages of peace and welcome instead of just the saber rattling that has filled the news.
After only five rotations of the planet below, the massive ship slipped out of orbit, spiraling up a few turns before accelerating back out in the same direction that it had entered. When the planet was little more than a dot in the background of stars the starship had an impossible burst of acceleration, going from 50 km/s to near light speed in less than a minute. As it approached light speed it winked out of existence. The planetary system was back to normal once again.
Or was it?
Just a whiff of a story, perhaps a fragment. The line, “The starship winked into existence” came unbidden to mind and knew I had to write something, anything.