27 Dec 95%
I’ve been thinking for a while. Time is running out and there is no good way out of this. We will have to leave with Ed, or we risk losing the alien contact opportunity of the millennium. All we have to rely on in that decision is Ed’s word, when we know that the aliens are proven manipulators of human psyche. So the Campbell’s version is entirely possible. We could have been played for the fools we are, for whatever unknown goals aliens may have. Yet believing Theo and Ed is everything I have to go on.
But is there really a chance I refuse to go on to the stars and return to Earth instead, tail between my legs? No way in hell! I’m leaving. Whatever the aliens want with us, if they wanted us dead, we’d be dead already. If what Ed is saying is true, we could help convince them not to abandon Earth. We need them, like children need adults. God knows we need help cleaning up our room, and fixing our broken toys. We are certainly not very good at that.
Meanwhile, it’s not right to leave while only the military knows about the aliens’ existence. They always want to keep everything secret, and there is no reason to expect they decide to do otherwise. People need to know. They have a right to know. If nothing else, even when in doubt about the authenticity of the information, realizing that aliens might have actually been among us for a long time now would mean less panic when it finally becomes official. People could start thinking aloud about how to manage that, start exercising their political will, creating a demand for developing xenodiplomacy, xenopsychology, other xenosciences and mechanisms of coping and building relations with alien civilizations, along with some method of generating and coordinating policy and communications for humanity as a whole. Maybe the UN will cease to be a grotesque parody on world cooperation it is now, and start being useful again. Alien contact just stopped being a Sci-Fi fan’s dream and became a harsh reality.
People must know. Of course many would not believe it: anything can be easily faked now, deepfake audio and video recordings are so prevalent it’s not even funny anymore. Besides, nothing I can film with my phone in a few minutes would look very impressive, even here, in space. But there will be a heated discussion about it, and that’s a start.
I have decided that I am going to do two things, and I am going to make those things a condition for our agreement to represent Earth. From what I understood in Ed’s explanations about their political process, he and his AI colleagues are in a deep shit reputation-wise, for letting these scandalous activities happen right under their noses. Now they need to create the appearance of the most transparent and fair deliberation possible, so the appropriate decision would be made and the issue could be put to rest. They need us for that. That’s not much of a leverage, but I’m hoping I can make it work.
First I will ask Ed to send this text that you’ve been struggling to get through, to Marc. I’m going to ask him to try and publish it. If nothing else, as a Sci-Fi novel. There is no need to prove that everything you have read is real. Not after what I’m going to do next.
Right after I send away this hybrid of a diary and a confession, I’m going to ask Ed to hijack all of the Earth communication channels he can get his virtual hands on, and broadcast a video that I’m going to record now. There is nothing that I can actually prove, or convincingly show in the video itself – but deepfake or not, the mere fact that that video would be inserted into most global TV and communication networks, unrelated to each other and supposedly hacker-proof, will get me some street cred. Nobody is that good in hacking.
People will have to take me seriously. I’m betting on this shenanigan to be just plausible enough to hit a nerve and provoke a serious discussion so humans would be psychologically ready to accept the aliens when they return, but yet not to be enough of a concrete proof to start a mass panic. If I get a reaction in between these extremes, that would be a good start, something to build on.
So, there and back again. Just like a hobbit. My task every bit as unimaginably immense and difficult, and I am just as unprepared and clueless. I sincerely hope there is a good ending to this one.
Now for the video, before we run out of time. I will probably ruin it with my scratchy voice, trembling and stammering from the sheer pressure of speaking to the whole of humanity. It will not be impressive to look at, that’s for sure. Just another crappy YouTube video by an uncertain and inexperienced public speaker. But this thing will play on every phone, every TV, every net-connected fridge, car, airplane, watch and billboard. Everywhere.
And here is how I am going to start it.
“People of Earth. My name is Art, and it just so happens that along with Tia here, I am your ambassador, representing humanity before an alien civilization, one among many. I am leaving for their homeworld now, but I hope to be back soon with good news. Try to behave while I’m gone. I should not be long…”