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In 2024 Several Nations Signed the Protocol. in 2042, It Was Suddenly Applied for the First Time.

I am a writer. I don't often write short stories but from time to time something catches my fancy.

Suddenly orbiting Earth was something. The thing is we didn't know what it was.

Suddenly orbiting Earth was something. The thing is we didn't know what it was.

Initially it appeared that an asteroid was in near Earth orbit.

From a personal perspective, I suspect the moment that hit me the hardest was that first day after the newspaper headline. We, the group I work with, had known for two days. The story and pictures were released to the newspapers early on the second day. I was at work when it was released, and the Insta-papers published it within seconds. I work for the Earth Protection team; we focus on asteroids that might impact the Earth. Our job is to watch the sky so that nothing can fall on Earth. That day the newspapers had published pictures of the asteroid now in a geosynchronous Earth orbit. Well, visually, it appeared to be an asteroid. That night impacted me because my husband was very concerned when I went home. He knew first of all that the group I was with that's what we studied. So he peppered me with a lot of questions. The kids were younger, four years old, and two years old' Honestly, they didn't really understand what mommy and daddy were talking about. It was probably after the 12th or 13th question that I had to say, "I love you, but I cannot share anything else. You know what I am allowed to share now." That led to a very quiet dinner table. I suspect the speculation in my husband's mind was running rampant.

With the signing of the protocol, each nation involved had set up a group like the one I work in. There were four groups globally now, and we worked closely together. We didn't care about national boundaries, just making sure there would be a tomorrow. Those great minds had begun working on this from the moment it was first detected. {er the protocol was seen 48 hours before the photograph's release. First, we had to verify it was not on an earth collision path. Well, then we waited the remaining 47 hours in the protocol before we had to release the picture. It appears visually to be an asteroid. But it can't be an asteroid if you scan it with all the other technologies we have today; it seems to be a sphere. We've scanned the "asteroid" object with space and Earth-based scanners. It is a sphere made of some type of metal. One of the scientists said," it appeared to want to be seen as an asteroid, not a spaceship." We have determined that it is simply some kind of shield around what is it actually is. It's made no hostile or aggressive moves since it began orbiting our planet two days ago. Of course, the warmongers called it an alien invasion spacecraft. The hearings in the U.S. Senate were already raging about we have to attack and defend our nation. We have to be the first to establish our authority over our planet. Luckily, saner heads were managing the response. People are following protocols that were agreed upon 20 years ago. What would we do when something we couldn't identify appeared in Earth's orbit. Once the protocol had kicked in, the first thing that happened was we dried up access to information for the press. All the press would do was fuel the speculation. It seems, and it seems to be, a huge problem now, Senators and Congress people read the conspiracy sites. The conspiracy sites now were having a field day with what was out there. Part of my job was checking the conspiracy sites to see what was being said. My favorite was that an alien civilization had taken all the space junk humans had launched into space and was returning it. I have to admit it made me laugh. It made everybody in the meeting laugh. We were in the initial part of the protocol, where caution drove our actions.

The protocol was designed and made into a functional entity in 2024. In agreement with the European Union, China, the U.S., and Russia signed it. By signing, each group agreed to abide by the protocol in times of crisis. Some 20 years later, the protocol was in place, and we were following it. The simple reality of the protocol is first to identify what we had done. Then you probe and determine what it is. We are working on that as we speak. I would say she is an astrophysicist. The orbit the craft had taken around Earth was perfectly positioned as a geosynchronous object. As if some intelligence had placed whatever it was there. I brought that up in the second meeting we had; of course, that second meeting was the last ad hoc meeting. There were daily standups three times a day, first thing in the morning, at lunch, and right before we all went home. Our project manager was old school, and when he said standup meeting, you stood up for his entire standup meeting. We all stood up. It was meant to keep the forum short, but it also meant to keep the appointments moving daily. At the end of every meeting, a single question was asked. It would be asked for the protocol until we can answer it. What the heck is it?

Sitting on step two, we watched as the press and Congress screamed for action. Action in the protocol was step 18; we were on step two. But, unfortunately, it would be a long time before we would take any action. Poking a technologically advanced bear with a stick was not a good idea, no matter how strong you thought the cage you had around the bear was. If the bear had significant technology, the cage would not stop the technological bear. Instead, it would simply make the bear angry.

People began to panic.

People began to panic.

We had a plan. We had a process. Now we just had to follow it.

Nevertheless, we were to stick to the protocol; we had been practicing for the last 16 years. On day three, we would launch a small previously deployed scanning satellite that had been deployed for just this scenario. One was fairly near whatever it was. We were calling it. We had no idea that it was an alien craft or if it was simply a very odd asteroid.

As our small sensor system approached the object the next day, we all watched in horror as it just disappeared. Initially, the sensors were radio silent for around 20 seconds but then began sending the sensor data back to Earth.

The information about our probe was not released to the press. As with the initial siting, we had around 48 hours before releasing the information to the media. Our probe continued to broadcast the readings it said were at best unintelligible. It was returning battles the likes of which we'd never see. The camera, which was located there, was four in various components of the probe had all been covered. Still, the rest of the sensors continued to function normally. We continued to attempt to read what we were getting as far as information, but nothing made sense. We were no closer now on day three than we had been on day one in determining what was currently orbiting our planet.

On day four, the Congress of the United States, the politburo of Russia, and the Chinese assembly passed bills demanding action. Because of the protocol, the three leaders of those nations stopped the legislation without signing it. It did, however, feel like a very close call. There was rioting in the streets of every major global city. It made getting home at night harder and harder each day. We were informed that we would have to park our cars in a different lot than usual. This was a security requirement, so it did not appear that we were leaving the JPL facility at night so we would not be attacked. Humanity was panicking. I know that my husband was freaking out each night. He pressed me harder and harder with questions, but I was honest when I told him I had no answer.

Most of humanity doesn't know what happened on day 5, although by day 7, they had learned of it. The protocol always had a 48-hour waiting period for releasing new information. But on the 5th day, the craft sent a message via our probe's communication system. It was a message that probably stopped the hearts of everyone in the room. It was in almost every Earth's language and repeated continuously. In fact, it's now day 7. As if the craft knew our protocol, it was currently broadcasting all earth communication systems. The probability of human beings being the only creatures of intelligence in the universe had long been argued. There were so many stars and possible planets where intelligence could have developed that we could not be alone. But, for the first time in more than 2000 years of history, humans knew they weren't alone.

The world heard the message. We come in Peace. Broadcast on every T.V., radio, on all communications systems, including the various emergency cellular broadcast systems. Sent every 11 seconds. It answered the question that had plagued science since humans first walked on the moon. Are we alone? We had an answer to that question. Humanity, on our tiny blue island, is not alone in the universe. The other fear, a hostile Alien invasion, or at least the fear of that, was gone now. These aliens who were circling our planet, Came in Peace. I hope Earth will receive them in Peace.

© 2022 DocAndersen

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