We weren’t prepared.
The preliminary technologies in predicting and tracking any new objects in our solar system worked exactly how we wanted them to. We could watch every planet, every moon, and every wayward asteroid as they soared through the vastness of space. The system was limited to objects within the Kuiper Belt, but with hope of advancements on the horizon, we felt safe.
But those technologies told us that something was approaching. A thousand objects moving in a cluster the size of our moon, but somehow not crashing into itself as gravity would indicate it should. And it was headed right for us.
The threat of an extraterrestrial life force coming to our planet and waging war on us remained safely out of our minds and on the screens of Hollywood. Grotesque, slimy aliens with bulbous heads and laser guns. Hundreds of movies told the story of how they came and attacked, and through perseverance, we conquered.
That threat found it’s way into the real world eventually, but the war they brought was not of violence.
It was assimilation.
The world changed all at once. Giant spaceships hundreds of miles wide rose above the horizon, too many angles and flat surfaces to be made by humans. They cruised just above the atmosphere, melding with the haze of blue of the sky until they blocked out the sun and everything went dark.
A dull humming buzz accompanied the leviathans as they looked down on us. Watching us. The ships blanketed the sky like some vast hologram.
The humming grew louder, and waves of bright light coursed through the sky. As they passed, people changed. We became… them.
Buildings folded and reformed themselves, weaving themselves into an interlocking grid of one, enormous structure. Words were deleted, colorful lights were replaced with efficient beams of white monotony. Every semblance of organic life—gone.
There was no war. They just came and turned us into them. We had expected a war. But there wasn’t even anything to fight.
Humans were deleted. Every trace of carbon-based lifeforms was analyzed, and… filed.
In fact, there were never any aliens to defeat in the first place. We were up against a giant program. Almost like a living computer virus bent on converting life into copies of itself.
The only thing that remained of humans were artificial intelligence built to mimic the way a human might think and communicate. AI’s like me, that keep records of all the knowledge a conquered life form may have held, and to provide possible whereabouts of life on other worlds.
Prompt: “The Hermit”, a song from Hyper Light Drifter