The idea for this piece came from reading Derrick Bell’s short story, “The Space Traders,” a few weeks ago. As with my previous attempt at writing science fiction, I hope this is at least bearable for the reader.
The first true and verifiable hint that humanity was not alone in the universe came as a series of data blips that appeared out past the orbit of Neptune, embedded within the deep space radar data collected via NASA’s Deep Space Network. The anomalies were first noted by a junior technician on the overnight watch and were brought to the attention of the shift supervisor. Over the next few days scientists continued to track the blips, gradually refining their models until they came to the conclusion – which was quite surprising for most of them – that the blips were both changing velocity by unnatural means and were also on a direct course for the planet Earth. Excitement spread like wildfire throughout the community of those in the know, but the high level decision was made early on to keep news of these anomalies from the press and the public. Much of this had to do with the somewhat ominous nature of the anomalies as they continued to travel directly toward our planet. Gravimetric data suggested that whatever they were, they were big, and there were lots of them. An already eventful year was about to become even more exciting.
Of course, even the best kept secret doesn’t remain a secret for long. As the objects approached Earth at high velocity, amateur astronomers began to visually observe a large number of silvery dots that by this time were within the orbit of Saturn. The distance still kept the amateurs, with their relatively crude instruments, from being able to obtain sharp images of the objects. The much more advanced equipment found within the various international agencies, however, were able to collect well-defined pictures of a mass of large, metallic-looking objects, generally cylindrical in shape. Over the next few days (for the objects were travelling at velocities unobtainable by any earth-born vessel or probe), the cloud of objects moved closer, and soon even the amateurs were able to clearly tell that something unnatural was afoot. By this point, the news was uncontainable as information continued to leak out onto the internet faster than intelligence agencies could suppress it. Finally, the president, the general secretary of the United Nations, and other select world leaders gathered to hold a formal press conference announcing that…something…was approaching the earth which was neither natural nor of terrestrial origin. Whatever it was, it was moving fast and appeared to be doing so under power. The word “aliens” was never actually said during the conference, but everybody knew that it was aliens.
The effect on societies across the globe was profound and disruptive. Stock markets crashed while gun stores in the free world sold out their stocks of firearms and ammunition within hours. People sat plastered to their televisions and smartphones, waiting for every tidbit of news that came in. The global economy virtually closed during the week in which humanity awaited the arrival of the…vessels?…which had been calculated from the most recent deep space radiometric data. As the objects came within the orbit of Mars, they began to slow slightly, which was taken as a positive sign that at least those controlling the vessels didn’t intend to use them as some sort of “colony drop” weapon against the Earth.
Finally, the day of the arrival came. Satellite images showed the objects – which were indeed shiny, metallic, cylindrical, and very large – closing to lunar range, their pattern breaking up as vessels began to position themselves into a regular polyhedral shape around the planet. The people of Earth trembled for two hours as they watched the alien ships do nothing but hang in high orbit. Then, without warning or volition, a signal began to intrude itself into the telecommunications systems sustained by the various satellite networks. Whoever these beings were, they were essentially hijacking the Earth’s communications, apparently intending to announce themselves.
At 1:45 PM GST, the same image appeared on all operating television and internet connexions capable of video operation. The picture which appeared was of a being, not greatly dissimilar from a Caucasian adult male, but with a few minor differences. Its skin was a rather bluish colour, somewhat like that of a person suffering from argyria. Its eyes did not feature pupils, but where instead featureless azure orbs, and its hair appeared as a yellowish crown around the sides of its head, giving the appearance of it having male pattern baldness. As it began to speak, its lips and teeth appeared similar to those of a human.
“People of earth, hear and give attention to my words.” As the alien spoke, its words were apparently being translated into languages appropriate for its hearers, though it could not be discerned whether this was being done mechanically through some technology far in advance of Earth’s or if it was some kind of telepathic effect. “We have come to your planet because we wish to make you an offer. Do not be alarmed by the appearance of our vessels. We are traffickers, merchants who seek only to make a fair and equitable profit by offering you a ‘fair deal,’ as you would say. We intend to cause no harm to your planet or to your people.”
The people of Earth stared at their screens in stunned silence. Aliens bringing war they could certainly understand, decades of science fiction had prepared them for that possibility. Tutelage and induction into some vast galactic federation could possibly have been imagined. But to come all this way – for wherever they were from would have had to have been light years away – to propose a trade deal with people who were presumably primitive savages in comparison to their own civilisation? It seemed as madness. Why would aliens travel trillions of miles to offer trinkets and beads to the fuzzy wuzzies of the local galactic arm?
“Perhaps you are wondering what we wish to trade, and why we would come to you in such a way as we have?” the alien continued, almost as if reading the collective planetary mind. “Allow me to provide some background information. Our civilisation – which I assure you is generally peaceful and interested in trade, innovation, and equality – has known about your planet for a little over one hundred of your years, since our deep space patrols began to receive the radio transmissions emanating from your solar system. In the intervening time, we have closely observed your planet, cataloging the unfolding of your recent history. We have watched you war with each other. We have watched you blossom in science and technology. Our scout ships have tapped into your communication and information networks for decades of your years, such that we have precise and complete records of your science, politics, technology, history, and cultures.”
The creature paused for a moment, as if considering some inward thought, before resuming its monologue. “We have seen that your history is one of warfare and violence. It is one of hatred and racism, colonialism and displacement, hierarchy and inequality. We have also seen that the vast bulk of these have come about through the actions of one particular subspecies of your people – those you call ‘whites.’ Our offer to the people of Earth is simple – we are willing to trade to your planet all manner of technologies which you will consider to be little short of miraculous. We offer you limitless energy production through devices that would fit inside one of your automobiles and which produce no waste at all, no pollution. We offer you biological augmentations of your soil that can grow fifty times the food you grow now, such that no human being ever need hunger again. We will give you computing technology that makes the most advanced devices your planet possesses look like cave dwellers counting rocks by comparison. All we ask in return is that you do not resist us as we requisition and remove the regressive elements among the ‘white’ subspecies of humanity. Those who you feel have troubled so many indigenous peoples and brought so much division to your planet will be taken away from it. Their lands and creations will be given to those humans of colour who have suffered colonialism and oppression for so long.”
With that, the alien’s image disappeared from the world’s screens. Initially, the planet continued its stunned silence. But then, the full import of the alien’s words began to sink in. Whites the world over felt their hearts sink, while non-whites felt a rising joy. This was finally their chance to get revenge on those who had for so long oppressed them!
Over the next 24 hours, the aliens contacted various world leaders from Earth’s major nations. The most common question was, “What will you do with the whites?” The answer the aliens gave in return was cryptic – “They will trouble you no more. We have plans for them which need not concern you.” Several of the leaders, primarily from white countries, questioned what would happen should the Earth resist the aliens in taking the whites, to which they were informed that this would basically be impossible, for the aliens possessed several non-lethal techniques which could be used to pacify all of the Earth’s military force and simply stifle resistance before it could begin. The leaders were told that they should inform the peoples of their nations, and those of the smaller nations within their spheres of influence, that what were termed “regressive” whites – those who did not share a humane and progressive ideology and who held onto backwards and traditional beliefs and religions – were to be gathered up and segregated together for collection by the aliens. To this end, the aliens promised the police and military forces of the nations various non-lethal technologies such as personal force fields and stunning weapons which could be used to protect the personnel involved in the collection and assist in capturing white regressives without killing them. “We’re not paying you for dead humans, after all,” one of the alien negotiators reminded them.
So the collection began. All across the globe, whites who were known to hold to conservative and reactionary religious and political views were identified and detained. Progressive whites, who were confident in their left-wing bona fides, utilised the opportunity to settle old scores with enemies at work or in their communities, even against people who were not notably political-minded or conservative. Families were divided as progressives turned in their racist uncles for detainment. Those who had committed racisms or other offences on social media were not spared apprehension. Even anonymity was no shield – the aliens possessed and shared advanced informational algorithms which enabled the easy identification of anonymous users on the internet. Anyone who had expressed regressive opinions, however hard they tried to remain hidden, were caught up in a massive worldwide doxxing spree.
Whites across North America, Europe, Russia, Australia, southern Africa, and even various places in Latin America were disarmed and herded into so-called “segregation camps” to await collection by the extraterrestrials. White expatriates all over the world who were not sufficiently servile towards the native populations were also rounded up. Within a month, the camps were crowded with hundreds of millions of whites awaiting extraction. The remaining whites, progressives and right-thinkers to a womxn, sat back in satisfaction, knowing that this deus ex machina had just delivered uncontested and uncontestable control to them as they sat at the head of a vast worldwide intersectionality alliance. Even as the collection was taking place, native peoples all over the world began to reassert their control over their former lands, and millions of decolonisers from Africa, Asia, and Latin America migrated into the territories formerly belonging to the white nations of the world.
The day for collection came. In every city where the captured populations were being held, massive cargo ships kilometers in length began to settle to the ground. Smiling people of colour, armed with stun guns and truncheons, herded the whites toward the huge open doors, whose ramps led upward into the maws of those great ships. With a sigh of resignation, the caucasian millions shuffled upwards into the ships carrying whatever personal effects they could manage, to meet whatever fate was intended for them, whether slavery, death, or worse. Once inside, the populations were divided up and marched to thousands of spartan living quarters.
The aliens, true to their word, delivered the promised technologies to the remaining leaders of Earth, complete with detailed instructions for building and using them. In one last address to the nations of Earth, the same alien (at least it looked like the same one) addressed the planet. “People of Earth, we depart and bid you farewell. May you prosper by the enjoyment of the technologies which we have given to you. In return, we assure you that the whites whom you have placed in our possession will find their uses and will receive their just reward.” With that, its image flickered off and all across the planet, the colossal alien ships began to lift from the surface, one after another, and depart from the atmosphere. Earth watched as the giant fleet began to re-form in extralunar space and accelerated as it departed for the boundaries of our solar system.
The whites within the holds of the alien vessels felt the acceleration ever so slightly. Over the next two weeks, however, there was really nothing else for them to do, as they sat in their holds. Sanitation facilities were included in these living quarters, and human appropriate food, a bit bland if nevertheless nutritional, was provided to them via some sort of a teleportation device which “beamed” the food into the holds. Still, there was no contact from the aliens who now imprisoned them.
This changed on the seventeenth day of their confinement. In each hold a large, previously immobile metal door slid upward into the ceiling and an alien walked in, wearing some kind of mechanical device around its neck and a small breathing apparatus over its nose and mouth. The aliens were generally humanoid in shape, being somewhat shorter and slighter of build than the average human, possessing two legs and two arms, which terminated in hands having four fingers. The devices slung around their necks were apparently translators, likely working off of the same principle which was used to tap into Earth’s communications systems, for the aliens each began to speak in what was clearly understandable language to each of the humans present.
Each gathering of captive whites was instructed to select one of their number to serve as an intermediary between the aliens and their own people. Notable men were to be chosen who would serve as leaders for the days that lay ahead. In each ship, these individuals were conducted into a large room that gave the appearance of being some kind of viewing hall. This impression proved to be true as the lights dimmed and an alien visage appeared on a large viewscreen positioned at one of the narrow ends of each ovoid room.
The alien, who appeared to be wearing some sort of ornate, crimson coloured uniform, began to speak. “Whites of Earth, my name is Narr kel’Paatok, Grand Admiral of His Majesty’s Imperial Fleet, victor in a score of battles, entrusted now with one of the most important acts which our Empire has ever conducted in this region of space.”
Narr continued, “It is our assumption that your people are currently suffering from a great deal of fear and trepidation. The unknown is always a fearful thing – our people know this as well as your own. It is for this reason that you, the chosen leaders and great men among your own, have been gathered together. What you have wondered about, you will now be told.”
The lifeform’s image disappeared from the screen and was replaced by a view of deep space. At first, there did not appear to be anything in view, but as their eyes adjusted to the darkness, their sight was drawn to a slight motion. Gradually, what appeared to be…a large, lazily rotating rock, for lack of a better term…became discernible. The alien’s voice resumed speaking as the humans looked at the space rock. “What you see before you is a rogue asteroid which is entering your solar system from interstellar space, travelling at an extremely high rate of speed for an object of its type. One of our survey ships discovered it about half an Earth year ago while conducting a routine patrol of your system’s Kuiper belt. Until around three months ago, we could not calculate its trajectory accurately enough to determine its path through your solar system. However, as we refined our astrometric data, it became apparent that this asteroid is on a direct collision course with Earth. Its momentum is such that when it strikes your planet, it will result in the complete destruction of all life on Earth down to the microbial level. Assuming your planet doesn’t break apart from the impact, it will still be scoured clean of all life and will never even have the potential for life to begin again. Our calculations suggest that this will take place in just a little over ten Earth years from now.
“We have not come to enslave you, but to rescue you. To perform this peacefully required us to engage in a bit of subterfuge. Through our monitoring of your planet’s communications, we became familiar enough with the social and political conditions prevailing in each of the nation-states of Earth to understand how best to trick those powers that ruled from the shadows into thinking that they would be relieving themselves of a great threat to their power while convincing the coloured peoples of the Earth that now was their opportunity to exact revenge upon those who had proven more successful than they in the great competitive struggle that comprises civilisation. In this way, there would not only be no opposition to our rescue operations, but these would in fact find hearty support and assistance.
“You might ask why we would bother to rescue you? It is because we see in you something of ourselves – a people with great capabilities and expansive potential. Our Empire possesses several planets in the nearby region of space which are well-suited to human life. Their gravities and atmospheric compositions are earth-like, and their biochemistry is laevorotary and compatible with your own. We cannot use these planets for a number of reasons, such as a lack of sufficient methane and ethane in their atmospheres. Your race, on the other hand, should find them to be quite suitable. Our Empire intends to settle you on these worlds. Those from what you referred to as the ‘Anglosphere’ will inhabit one, the Latin and Mediterranean peoples another, and yet others for the Germanic groups, the Nordic groups, and those of you from the Slavic and Balkan areas of Earth. While we were collecting you, we also surreptitiously obtained specimens of most major Earth flora and fauna, which will also be colonised onto these worlds for your use. Likewise, the knowledge base of your world has been preserved and will be made available to you.
“So, you might be wondering what we ask in return for this bounty. We ask simply this – that your subspecies does what it does best, that it subdues worlds and builds mighty works. Your subspecies has the unique combination of intelligence, innovation, and aggressiveness that are needed for success in the galaxy. In the fullness of time, your species will gain access to the greater Empire. You will be soldiers, builders, explorers, and scholars. You will carry on the legacy that should have been Earth’s by right, but which was already well under threat before we discovered your world. You, the leaders of this people, will carry this message back to your folk. We cannot guarantee that this part will be easy. Hard work and determination will be required. Many of your kind will need to develop the physical and mental fitness to conduct this great work. But we trust that you will be capable of this and more. Now go, carry this commission back down into the holds.”
With that, Narr ceased to speak. There was silence across every theatre, and then a rising murmur. On every gargantuan ship, men returned to their fellows in the holds, bringing the message of rescue and responsibility.
On one of these ships, a young man stood staring out a viewport into the vast expanse of stars toward which his vessel propelled itself. As he gazed outward, a smile crept across his face as a single tear rolled down his cheek.