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Concept Art Writing Prompt: Aliens Encounter the Cavepeople

Illustration for article titled Concept Art Writing Prompt: Aliens Encounter the Cavepeople

While most stories about alien encounters set our first meeting with extraterrestrials in the future, some plant those early encounters firmly in the distant past. What happens when early humans come face-to-space-helmet with beings from another world?


This digital painting by Chris Rallis is titled, simply, "Alien Invasion" (via reddit). Tell us your tale of this early alien encounter and post it in the comments.

Here's mine:

The news that Gondin was flunking Basic Visitation Protocols came screeching over the Home Screen during breakfast. Denzin was disappointed, of course, but he knew better than to screech back. Instead, he arched an eyebrow as he stared at his son across the table, fingering the edges of his own Ministry of Visitations badge.

"That class is so theoretical!" Gondin whined. "How am I supposed to memorize a list of protocols without any context?" Then he speared a putty grub from the printer. The mock creature twitched thrice upon his fork before Gondin took a meaty bite.

Denzin considered that. "Very well," he said. "At the start of the next Ebb Cycle, we're going to take you on your first contact. How's that sound, buddy?"

On the day they shipped out for Earth, Denzin found Gondin sitting behind the education pod with a group of his classmates. The other students scattered as soon as they saw Denzin, leaving Gondin to pick up the pyramid-shaped game pieces on his own.

"Are you playing Por-rouk?" Denzin asked.

"Not for money!" Gondin said as he pocketed the last piece. "Just for vat-grubs."

Gondin pressed his olfactory passages against the window as Denzin landed their shutter on Earth. "It's so green!" he breathed, fogging up the plastic.

"Remember, this isn't a vacation planet," Denzin said. "What's the first thing we do upon landing?"

Gondin pumped a fist into the air. "Scan for sentients!"

Denzin grinned at his excitement. "Before that."

Gondin thought for a moment. "Check the cloak."

Denzin pushed his chair back from the command console. "Do the honors?" he asked.

They went through the checklist from Gondin's class file. They made sure the cloak was calibrated for the visible spectra of local fauna. They detected a small band of sentients in a cave half a mile to the East and briefed themselves on their biochemistry and level of cultural development. They unpacked their visitation bags, double-checked their gear, and repacked the bags. Gondin set up a perception filter before they reached the cave, and when the hominids spotted them in spite of the perception filter, Gondin immediately pulled his nerve jammer and carefully checked the neural readings of each hominid to make sure they wouldn't remember the encounter. All in all, Denzin thought, a successful first encounter. Gondin would be on-track to the Ministry of Visitation yet.

But there was one protocol that wasn't on Gondin's school list, one that every visitation professional performs instinctively and that no one had ever thought to include on a checklist: empty your pockets. The ship was halfway home before Gondin realized that he was missing one of his Por-rouk pieces. It must have slipped out of his pocket during his encounter with the hominids. Gondin resolved not to tell his father about the missing piece. After all, what difference could one tiny pyramid make?


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In your own words Captain 1134-A, please recite for the record, the orders of your recent farflight mission to Galaxy 4G-76. Also dubbed—by your crew—as the "Milky Way".

Certainly, Your Honor. Our orders were simple. We were to spend 7 standard months in fugue stasis en route to the unexplored galaxy known to our astronomers as Galaxy 4G-76. Upon arrival in the galaxy proper, we were to make sweeping visual and IR scans of each planet suspected of containing sentient lifeforms. If, Your Honor, we had discovered said lifeforms, we were to observe their existence from orbit, and then report our findings back to Homeworld 456.

Thank you, Captain, our records show that you did in fact discover a planet with sentient beings, is that correct?

Yes, Your Honor. We did.

Very well. Now once again for the record, could you please describe the events that followed your discovery of the sentient lifeforms. The very events that ostensibly led to the fatalities of two of the crew members under your command.

Yes, of course. We decided to send a contact team to Earth—

—Earth? The planet's current categorization is TER-056. Your report does not include any mention of an "Earth". To what are you referring, Captain?

We chose to name it as such, Your Honor. Apologies, I will henceforth refer to it by its categorization.

It's quite all right, Captain, you may refer to it as Earth. We merely required an explanation. Please proceed with your—ahem—detailed description of the mission.

Thank you, Your Honor. A team of four landed on the planet's surface. Myself, Doctor 1176G, Lt. 998, and Private 3466. Our landing point was in close approximation to what we had observed as the dwelling of the sentient species in question. We dubbed these creatures "Humans". They were bipedal, and curiously had a similar bodily form as our own. The implications of the discovery of beings comparable to our own species was a massive discovery, as you might imagine.

However, you discovered that they were not nearly as advanced—or civilized as we, correct?

Correct. Myself and the Doctor began to scan and record images of the immediate area. We believed that we were close to a dwelling, based on activity in the area, but had yet to discover an entrance to said dwelling. I had ordered The Lieutenant and Private to search for a passageway. It was at that time that the Doctor and I had heard the scream.

The scream of Lt. 998?

We were too far away to tell for certain which officer screamed, but in my initial report, I had stated that it was indeed Lt. 998 screaming. This was based only on assumption, Your Honor. I do not know which of them died first. I can report, however, the method by which they were killed.


Yes, your honor. By the cave dwelling Beings. The humans.

The Doctor and I rushed to the sound of the scream, which led us to the entrance of a deep cave. All that could be seen was the light flicker of a fire burning within. The Doctor spotted a streak of blue blood across the floor of the cave that led deeper within. We equipped our weapons and illuminators and proceeded to follow the blood trail.

Did you intend to kill the cave people in order to protect your crew?

If need be, Your Honor. We were willing to take whatever steps necessary to get everybody out safe. Unfortunately, once we arrived where the small fire that was burning on the cave floor, we had determined that it was too late for the Lieutenant and Private. We discovered their bloodied bodies lying lifeless nearby. We then set our weapons to kill and proceeded to explore every corner of the cave with our illuminators, searching for the murderous Humans. I realize that retribution is typically not part of protocol, Your Honor, but I needed to stop the threat in order to safely remove the bodies of my crew members.

Of course, Captain, what happened next?

It had appeared that the Human or Humans had escaped. We were unable to locate them within the cave, and then decided to begin the removal of the bodies. The doctor and I each took an officer and proceeded to carry them out of the cave and back toward the ship. That is when we were attacked from behind. The Doctor was first struck by some sort of stone object. He collapsed to the ground. It was then when I drew my weapon, and vaporized the Human male. I then set down the officer's body, and began to revive the Doctor as best as I could. He was dazed but seemed to be okay. A later med-scan determined this to be true.

As I was knelt down next to the Doctor, he alerted me to the Human female that was charging at us with a pointed wooden weapon. I had no choice but to vaporize her as well. I had my crew to think about, Your Honor.

Yes, Captain. After hearing this harrowing testimony, we of the High Council believe that the events leading up the to deaths of Lt. 998 and Private 3466 were beyond your control, and it is our ruling that they were the result of a hostile species. Furthermore, we would like to commend you on the recovery of bodies of the Human male, and Human female. As biological specimens, they will serve us well in our plans to invade planet TER-056, by giving us useful insight into the savage minds and physiology of these deadly creatures—should their intelligence and weaponry ever reach a threatening enough level to require action.

Until that time comes, we will survey the planet on a regular basis by low-orbit flyby. And since you now have the most intimate experience with these Humans, we of the High Council would like to put you in command of this imperative operation. Do you accept, Captain?

Thank you, Your Honor, and members of the High Council, for such a prestigious appointment. However, I must sadly decline.

Decline? By why?

Fear, Your Honor. In the eyes of the attacking Humans I witness hatred, fear, and rage. But most terrifyingly, Your Honour, I witnessed the spark of intelligence. I fear that one day we will have a technological adversary in these Humans unlike any we have faced before. I believe that even with close observation, they will one day conquer the Milky Way, as well as neighbouring Galaxies like our own. I fear that in our extensive lifetimes we will witness an unrivalled inter-galactic war that will crush our civilization as we know it. And frankly, Your Honor, I would sooner choose exile over having to stick around to witness it. I'm sorry Your Honor, but in addition to declining this appointment, I must also tender my resignation from The Service. You all have my best wishes.

Please let the record show that the coward Captain 1134-A has chosen self-imposed exile rather than to protect the people of his Homeworld.

We will prevail, Captain. The Human's haven't a single hope of advancing beyond their cave-dwelling ways, we assure you. And if it ever comes to pass that they become technologically advanced enough to be a problem—we will vaporize them out of existence.

I certainly hope for all of our sakes, Your Honor, that you are correct. Good day.