Nothing makes my neurons glitter more than first contact stories, or stories involving catastrophic relations between humans and aliens.
I always wanted to write about a first contact gone wrong. That’s why The Deep Link begins with a first contact disaster, but not because of some fundamental difference between humans and aliens. Because Taryn, my protagonist, is a reckless fanatic who just can’t do what she’s told and fucks up big time.
So what other reasons are there for a first contact to go south like a sinking U-boot? What could happen that would turn a possible love-at-first-sighting into a RUN FOR THE BUNKERS type of encounter?
1. Incompatible means of communication
We use air passing through our vocal cords to create various combinations of sound that carry meaning we agree upon.
But aliens might use entirely different means of communication, like bioluminescence, pheromones, ultrasound, telepathy. We might not be able to talk to each other for a long, long time, until the brilliant minds of both species find a way to translate between us. And until then… war is a high probability.
Not to mention the raging intolerance that might flare up on our side. We’re not a very accepting species, after all.
Maybe neither are they.
2. Incompatible biological make-up
We’re carbon and hydrogen based. Adapted to Earth. But if the aliens we encounter (or who come here) are… methane based? Silicone based? Plasma based creatures?
We might not even be able to be in the same room together, let alone communicate and negotiate relations properly.
Honestly, I’d love to write a story about such an encounter, and give them completely incompatible communication means too. Now that’s a problem begging to be solved in an explosive plot!
3. Opposite goals
They might want to exterminate us, while we just want to explore. Or the other way around. They may want to enslave us, eat us, or incubate their xenomorph monsters in our bellies.
We might want to harvest them.
If they (or some natural product of their bodies) turn out to be a good replacement for fossil fuels or narcotics, some corporation or another will find a way to rationalize harvesting them. Don’t groan. It’s a distant possibility. That’s what’s scary.
4. External factors
Maybe a superior third party decides to annihilate us both because no inferior species are supposed to contact each other.
Maybe our encoutner causes a rift in space-time, and we destroy the universe just by saying HELLO.
Maybe the aliens come from another dimmension, and their establishing contact with us collapses our dimmension and we just go POOF.
Maybe they come in riding black holes, and sweep our system clean like we would some insignificant insects, without even acknowldging intelligence.
Maybe we turn out to be figments of their sick imagination, and our “reality” collapses when they wake up.
Don’t look at me light that.
Even the craziest ideas are worthy!
5. The aliens are exactly like us — they’re humans
Can you imagine the existential crisis that would throw the whole world into?
What if we made contact with people that came in space-ships, or a civilization occupying another planet, and found out THEY’RE HUMANS? Not humanoid. Not looking like us. They’re US.
Were we both seeded by some ancient humans, long ago?
Are we both experiments of some unknown alien species?
Is the whole Universe populated by just humans? The horror…