If you were able to tell any sci-fi movie director what an alien invasion actually looked like, you were pretty sure they’d straight up shit their pants.
While most envisioned alien invasion to consist of giant ships and people being killed and kidnapped, it was far from how things actually happened. Aliens did in fact decide to drop down from a giant ship completely unexpected, but, instead of the expected formalities or “take me to your leader, Earthling,” kind of introductions, they practically waltzed onto the soil like it was completely normal. In fact, it was something more like an old friend dropping in on you at your own home -- casual and ready to catch up. Needless to say, humans weren’t so receptive to their new guests. The aliens were almost immediately questioned and taken into custody by the US Government. No one heard of them for weeks after their arrival, the news hidden from the public eyes.
Oddly enough, the aliens later re-emerged from their holding alive and very much not dissected like theorists expected. It was only then that popular news casts were allowed to cover their arrival, exposing who they were and their motives. You personally would of expected maybe natural resources or maybe even to share technology, but that was far from the reality of it. There was a large community of aliens far from Earth, and now that they had discovered life on Earth capable of communicating complex ideas and creating technology fit for space, they were inviting an Earthling to the community. Starting with an ambassador, one human would travel back with these aliens under their protection, but in return, they’d have to serve under a Sparti royal line. Not as a servant or maid or anything, more like an apprentice or student. At least, that was the English translation. From what you could understand from the news broadcasts, the aliens just knew enough to communicate a general message to humans.
Despite the language gap, the aliens got clearance to travel the United States in search of someone that would fit the role. Actual political figures offered themselves up, from mayors to senators to former presidents, but they were all denied under one single reason.
“They just weren’t right for the job.”
Many grew fond of the idea that their search was a hoax with ulterior motives, but there was no proof to stop their search. They had managed to go through 5 states before they landed in your own; New Jersey. They had started at Washington D.C. and made their way up, traveling through Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York before landing near you. With plenty of other states to roam through, you doubted they’d choose anyone from here, much less anyone you knew. Jersey didn’t have a lot to offer, other than spectacular produce and great vacation areas. Nevertheless, you were excited for the opportunity to see aliens first hand. Sure, you were more of a history buff than anything, but you weren’t so dull as to be uninterested by this.
Walking into a large stadium, you could see it was packed with people. Entry was free, but people were at the door checking to make sure that those entering were actual Jersey residents, and no one trying to get a second shot at the “ambassador” position away from their own state. From what you understood, residents would go through a number of short interviews, which would eventually determine if you got to be screened by the royal line or not. A lot of people were thrown out for simply being the wrong age, temper, having conflicting interest with the mission, or for simply being unfit for space travel. At the tender age of 19 with no real knowledge of space beyond what you learned in a simple science class, you didn’t expect to get very far.
As soon as you entered, you were swept into a line to meet with a counselor. You expected to be waiting longer, but in no time at all you were sat down in front of a woman with dark crimson skin, horns, multiple arms, and a tail. She resembled something like a cliche demon you might see depicted in religious art, but this was no time to judge. Feeling slightly self conscious, you looked down just slightly at the table in front of you. She made a few notes on a paper pad in front of you before addressing you directly.
“I, um, work at a grocery store.”
“Yeah. I’m attending college soon.”
“3 months or so.”
Her questions made you nervous, like you were being interrogated by police. Then again, if you made it through, you could have the chance to meet some very important people, so the intense questioning was probably necessary for their safety. You tried to force yourself to relax.
“How much do you know about space?”
“Uh, not much?” You reply, hand on your neck anxiously. “I know some stuff about the planets, how the sun works, and that we’re part of the Virgo supercluster, but that’s about it.”
She hums slightly, “And what about politics?”
“I keep up with it. I planned to study American History in college, so it’s important to know how our government works and whatnot. I could probably tell you anything about the Nixon presidency.”
That seems to please her a little, the formality on her tongue melting away just the slightest bit. “That’s good. Have you ever thought about joining the government?”
“If I’m lucky, I’d like to run to be a representative of Maryland.”
“Why Maryland and not Jersey?”
You shrug, “I have more of a chance there. It doesn’t matter if I’m actually from there or not.”
She jots some more notes down on her notepad and pauses for a moment, silent. Eventually, she puts it down and gives you a polite smile.
“Could you follow me to the next room, please?”
The woman nods, standing up. “You don’t seem like a threat, and with enough training, I think you could be fit for the part.”
You allow yourself a small sigh of relief. You didn’t fail the first part.
“Don’t get too excited though,” She elaborates, “The next part isn’t based on skills or knowledge. It’s up to my daughter to decide if she could work with you.”
She smiles, “You didn’t think they’d let just anyone hold screenings, did you?”
Feeling like the question was rhetorical, you let yourself be lead from the table to a side room. While you knew what the royal line looked like, you found yourself caught off guard when you walked in. Most of the photos and videos of Earth’s visitors were from the waist up, making them look at least semi-human. You already knew they were absurdly tall and strange, but there was one thing the press neglected to inform the public about.
Instead of having regular legs, both figures sported spider-like abdomens from the waist down. Being around 5’3, both of them towered over you, causing you to shrink back just the slightest bit.
The larger one, a man with dark green skin, black hair, silver eyes, and dragonfly-like wings on his back, began to speak in a language you couldn’t even begin to understand. It sounded like he was a cicada from hell, but his body language was relaxed, so you didn’t let yourself be too worked up by it.
Your interrogator, his wife, you assume, replies, her voice sounding a bit less like a bug and more like a human trying to imitate whatever language he just spoke in. Whatever she says causes the other figure in the room to inch forward, locking eyes with your own.
She heavily resembled her father. She had similar facial features, hair color, and silver eyes, but unlike him, she had light blue skin instead of green, and had no wings on her back that you could see. She also seemed to sprout horns from her head- not quite as large as her mother's, but very prominent- indicating their relation to one another. She seemed almost curious about you, looking at you intensely until a harsh word from her mother caused her to jump and look away. It was very clear they were all trying their best not to make you uncomfortable.
“This is Orotorco and Uros.” Your counselor explained. “Orotorco is the current leader, and Uros is heiress to the throne.”
“U-uh, nice to meet you.” You manage, cursing yourself for coming off as shy. You were never good with strangers, much less alien strangers.
“And to you.” The man, Orotorco, replied, his voice laced with an odd accent. “What is your name?”
“Very nice. Sophia.” He repeated, like he was thinking about it’s pronunciation deeply. “Did you pick it out yourself?”
You blinked, “No, that was my parent’s decision.”
Bewildered by this, Uros next to him said something very quietly, like she was correcting him on something. Eventually, a dawn of understanding comes across his face, and he turns back to you.
“Of course, I had completely forgotten.” He says, “Earthlings have strange habits I’m not understanding of yet. Would you believe you are some of the first regular Earthlings to meet us?”
That didn’t sound right. “What do you mean?”
“He means that we’ve only had 2 other people pass the first round of screenings. Those two were eventually rejected by Uros.” Your counselor clarifies. Uros seemed almost embarrassed by the fact, but she doesn’t protest. In fact, she had barely even spoken at all this entire time. Maybe she didn’t know English as well as the other two did?
“What let them pass the screenings?” You asked, your curiosity getting the best of you. The interview was so short, you think it would've been easy for anyone to pass, especially if you could do it.
Orotorco laughs in response, “If we told you now, you could tell other humans if you get thrown, then they’d try to foil our mission.”
Oh, that was true. It must of been sheer luck you’d managed to say the exact thing they wanted to hear. Or maybe it was what you didn’t say?
“There’s little time for chatter. Uros, how about you take our human and get to know her?”
“Okay.” So, she did speak.
Nudged forward by your counselor, you found yourself invited to sit on a nearby couch while Uros settled down on a beanbag chair. It was obvious with her body she wouldn’t exactly fit anywhere else. With that, the two others left, letting Uros talk to you alone.
“Is that comfortable?” You ask, noting her slightly annoyed facial expression as she tried her best to fit entirely on the beanbag.
“Not real-” Cutting off, she lets out a little scream (at least, you think it’s a scream) as she manages to topple over and onto the floor. The beanbag just wasn’t big enough to fit all of her. Standing from your own chair, you try to help her up, shocked by the icy coldness that practically radiated from her hands.
“Thank you.” She replied, dusting herself off a little as she managed to gain back her balance. “I wish I had brought my own chair, that thing is…”
“Not the word I wanted, but that too.”
Now closer to her, your eyes wander to take a better look at her. Her skin varied in shades of blue, getting lighter at her horns, shoulders, and elbows. However, her skin transferred into a dark navy when you reached her torso, her legs also matching in hue. Her clothes, in contrast, were crimson, laced with white and silver accents.
You weren’t the only one staring, apparently. You could begin to feel her gaze prickling on your skin, obviously just as curious as you. A bit nervous, you try to break the silence that has grown between you.
“So...how do you like Earth?”
“It’s...odd.” She replies, “I have never been on a planet so split among itself, but Earth is a big place. Can’t expect you all to get along.”
You hum, unsure how to take the comment. “Other planets aren’t like that?”
“No.” Uros shrugs, “Almost all are uniform. Only new ones are in pieces.”
“We aren’t exactly new.”
“You are, in comparison to us.”
Her tone almost felt condescending in a way, you weren’t exactly a fan of it, but she had a point. Humans were constantly at war with one another -- and human survival itself --collectively destroying their home in order to mine resources for their own benefit. It was embarrassing to think about, but you couldn’t help but be a little annoyed by her attitude.
“How is your planet, then?”
She looks at you with surprise, like she thought you wouldn’t ask. “Mine? I’m not sure what the name is in English.”
“I don’t need to know the name to know about it.” You reply, trying to urge her on.
“Uh, hm.” She taps her chin. “It is not as big as Earth, but we have many moons that others live on, so our population is large. There isn’t a lot of suntime either. We are mostly living in the dark.”
“Kind of like a cavespider?”
“Like a what?”
“You know, like a spider that lives in caves. We have a lot of them, most of them are blind.”
“I...don’t know what ‘spider’ is.”
Oh my god. “Ah, nevermind then. It’s not important.”
She gives you a weird look, but doesn’t press. “Can I ask an important question?”
“Why do you want to go to space? Or are you only here to meet me?”
“I...um.” Shit, you didn’t want to lie, but you don’t want to make it seem like you were here to waste her time. What would happen if you said you wanted to go to space? Would they actually bring you?
You let out a little nervous laugh. “I kind of came here to meet you, sorry. Space isn’t really my forte.”
Unexpectedly, she isn’t as disappointed as you expected her to be. “That’s great!”
“Most people just want to go to space, but you just wanted to meet me, I think that is what I need in a companion.”
“A what now?”
“I think you should come to space with me, be the ambassador for Earth.”
Eyes going wide, you put up your hands, “Whoa whoa whoa, slow down there buddy. I’m 19 and-”
“Your age is perfect, I’m 19 too. At least, in Earth years.” She was practically beaming now. Fuck, what did you just do?
“Don’t you have like, 45 other states to go through? How do you know I’m the right person?”
“It’s something I can just feel. You answered all the questions right, and unlike most humans, you aren’t scared or boring. I don’t think many others are that way.”
Fuck, fuck fuck fuck. “I...uh…”
The door to the room opened again, your counselor and Orotorco walking back in.
“Have we made a decision?” Orotorco called, looking between the two of you.
Before you could speak, Uros began trilling in Sparti, her motions excited. Her father seemed pleased, but your counselor was more or less transfixed on your worried expression.
“Sophia, are you really ready to go to space with us?”
Your tongue felt thick, unsure how to respond. Uros and Orotorco now turn to you, silent as death with gazes filled with anticipation. Your counselor seemed to be the only one without expectations at the moment.
“I...I just don’t know.” You eventually reply. “Would I ever be able to come back?”
“Yes, frequently, if you had to.” She replied, “You’re not our prisoner.”
“And if I don’t like it anymore, could I return for good?”
This sends a shock of anxiety through both Uros and Orotorco, but your counselor seems unfazed.
“Yes. Would it make you more comfortable if we had a trial period, so to speak?”
A trial period. No permanent decisions, no commitments. Hell, as of right now, you weren’t planning on staying whatsoever, but maybe it was worth going, just to try it out. Uros did seem dead set on making you, and you technically did sign up for the opportunity to go. Maybe it would be fun to go. This was your only chance, after all.
“...I think so. Could we do that?”
She nods. “I can arrange that. So do have a deal?”
Hesitating, you let a thick silence settle before letting your head dip in a nod.