The Cosmic Virus

The Cosmic Virus

From: hacker@agrestis.ark
To: jeffery@vagus.ark
Subject: System 887, Sector 442617

The Agrestis is approaching System 887 in Sector 442617. Long-range scans show 8 planets in the system and the 4th planet to be inhabited. The other 7 planets are incapable of supporting human life.

Proceeding to take a closer look, will report soon.

From: jeffery@vagus.ark
To: hacker@vagus.ark
Subject: RE: System 887, Sector 442617

Very well.

From: hacker@agrestis.ark
To: jeffery@vagus.ark
Subject: RE: System 887, Sector 442617

Numerous artificial satellites in orbit around the 4th planet. Technology is unfamiliar although all seem to be capable of communication. Will try to establish contact.

From: hacker@agrestis.ark
To: ALL FREQ
Subject: First Contact

This is Captain Hacker of the vessel Agrestis.
Our species is known as Human, from planet Earth.
We come in peace.

Please find attached the language database and navigational charts showing the location of planet Earth and our journey thus far.

From: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
To: hacker@agrestis.ark
Subject: RE: First Contact

This is Percy, Orbital Station 77 of the planet Paradiso.
Please maintain position and state your intentions.

From: hacker@agrestis.ark
To: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
Subject: RE: First Contact

We come in peace.
We require a new home.
Request permission to land.

From: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
To: hacker@agrestis.ark
Subject: RE: First Contact

Permission denied.
We need to establish a basic understanding of your species.
What is the complement of Agrestis?
Are there any other Earth vessels?
Reason(s) for evacuating planet Earth?

From: hacker@agrestis.ark
To: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
Subject: RE: First Contact

Complement: 60
There are 5 other ships, comparable in size and complement.
Planet Earth was becoming potentially uninhabitable.

From: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
To: hacker@agrestis.ark
Subject: RE: First Contact

Please forward your historical database for study.

From: hacker@agrestis.ark
To: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
Subject: RE: First Contact

Our historical database is attached.
We are low on resources.
Request permission to land.

From: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
To: hacker@agrestis.ark
Subject: RE: First Contact

Permission denied.
Please wait for further communication.

From: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
To: Walker-Paradiso.DefSci
Subject: FWD: RE: First Contact

Professor Walker,

Please find attached the historical database and other relevant information from the alien vessel.

Protocol Alpha assumed unless advised otherwise.

Messages up to this point are available on OS0077.C.72330321.1972 as will all further correspondence.

Analysis of databases and advice at your discretion.

From: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
To: hacker@agrestis.ark
Subject: RE: First Contact

It seems Earth was at war on a global scale at the time of your departure. This might contradict your stated intentions.

From: hacker@agrestis.ark
To: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
Subject: RE: First Contact

No one on any of the ships are responsible for the conflicts on Earth, past or present. We have no quarrel with your species.

We are seeking a new home.

From: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
To: hacker@agrestis.ark
Subject: RE: First Contact

Are you seeking refuge for the other five vessels also?

From: hacker@agrestis.ark
To: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
Subject: RE: First Contact

Yes.

From: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
To: hacker@agrestis.ark
Subject: RE: First Contact

How many factions or ‘major powers’ are on Earth?
What is the reason for any conflict at any level between these factions?

From: hacker@agrestis.ark
To: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
Subject: RE: First Contact

That’s a complex question… usually, it’s over material resources and land.
To my knowledge, there are 10 factions to varying degrees of power.

From: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
To: hacker@agrestis.ark
Subject: RE: First Contact

Your database shows your planet to be of considerable size with significant natural resources, capable of sustaining a population four times the current number.

Why so many conflicts? – not to mention three major ones, excluding this latest one, in less than 150 Earth years?

From: hacker@agrestis.ark
To: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
Subject: RE: First Contact

Because it’s cheaper to take over existing infrastructure than start from scratch. It’s just economics.

From: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
To: hacker@agrestis.ark
Subject: RE: First Contact

Yes, according to your database: the artificially flawed debt-based system on one side and the communist system on the other. It would seem economics is merely a symptom of a more profound problem.

From: hacker@agrestis.ark
To: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
Subject: RE: First Contact

Well, to each his own… People have a right to choose, don’t they?

From: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
To: hacker@agrestis.ark
Subject: RE: First Contact

The concept of ‘human rights’ is also found in your database.
Is this something your species generally believe in and adhere to?

From: hacker@agrestis.ark
To: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
Subject: RE: First Contact

Yes, it’s one of the foundations of modern society.

From: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
To: hacker@agrestis.ark
Subject: RE: First Contact

It seems you accept ‘free will’ but you use ‘human rights’ as license to do whatever you wish, thereby actually divorcing yourself from the responsibility of the use of free will.

From: hacker@agrestis.ark
To: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
Subject: RE: First Contact

We believe in liberty.
We hope that is something you value too.

From: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
To: hacker@agrestis.ark
Subject: RE: First Contact

We do, but not divorced from justice. From your database, your species preaches liberty, tolerance and respect. From painful experience, we have learnt from other species which practice this philosophy that they use it hypocritically to unjustly persecute others. Your history seems no different to our past observations: liberty for and tolerance toward all but bloody revolutions and wars follow. This is illogical, self-contradictory and unjust.

From: hacker@agrestis.ark
To: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
Subject: RE: First Contact

I can’t argue with our history but those of us on this fleet aren’t like that. We believe in ourselves.

From: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
To: hacker@agrestis.ark
Subject: RE: First Contact

So does the restrained psychiatric patient.
Which factions are represented by those on board the fleet?

From: hacker@agrestis.ark
To: jeffery@vagus.ark
Subject: RE: System 887, Sector 442617

The inhabitants of the planet do not seem welcoming.
We do not have resources to reach another system.
Please advise.

From: Walker-Paradiso.DefSci
To: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
Subject: RE: FWD: RE: First Contact

T#e te#m has analy#ed all the sal#ent p#ints of
ERROR: Transmission integrity compromised.

From: jeffery@vagus.ark
To: hacker@vagus.ark
Subject: RE: System 887, Sector 442617

Resource status is critical across the fleet.
This planet is our best hope.
Initiate Plan Beta upon the arrival of the remainder of the fleet.

From: hacker@agrestis.ark
To: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
Subject: RE: First Contact

Just one faction.

From: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
To: hacker@agrestis.ark
Subject: RE: First Contact

And the other factions?

From: hacker@agrestis.ark
To: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
Subject: RE: First Contact

Only one other faction had a fleet.

From: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
To: hacker@agrestis.ark
Subject: RE: First Contact

And their status?

From: Walker-Paradiso.DefSci
To: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
Subject: RE: FWD: RE: First Contact

Previous transmission compromised due to virus uploaded from the human database. It does not appear to be intentional but a side-effect of the data. Threat has been removed.

Preliminary analysis of human database complete. This species is over-sentimental, prone to unjust belligerence, accepts everything and yet believes in nothing except themselves.

Initiate Protocol Omega-2.

Earth vessel uses primitive fusion reactor for propulsion and weapons.

In addition to the standard requirements of Protocol Omega-2, send the following on a separate channel, disguised as background radiation:
while(reactr_status==TRUE && weaps_pwr>0)
{
ovrrde_safeties(magncontain_reg, temp_reg, pwrflw_reg);
reactr_pwr = reactr_pwr*1.88;
}

From: hacker@agrestis.ark
To: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
Subject: RE: First Contact

Last report state that they suffered catastrophic malfunction while still in Earth’s atmosphere.

From: jeffery@vagus.ark
To: hacker@vagus.ark
Subject: RE: Theta System, Sector 442617

We have just arrived. Good to see you just initiated Pla#

From: Percy-Paradiso.OS0077
To: Walker-Paradiso.DefSci
Subject: RE: FWD: RE: First Contact

All six Earth vessels suffered reactor overload.
Protocol Omega-2 concluded.

•••

“The Cosmic Virus” was shortlisted for The Webmaster Award at Needle In The Hay, March 2013.