Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2289667-Another-Chance
Rated: ASR · Short Story · Sci-fi · #2289667
Aliens have reached Earth, but another visitor claims to know their intent
This is my moment, thought President Dent. Through the tall windows of the International Administration Centre, he could see the now-familiar cluster of blue lights shining high above the Alpine mountain clouds. The bright lights shone with an eerie glow and were visible even in daytime.

His heart thumped. He had drunk too much coffee and had too little sleep these last three days. The earth-shattering events had shaken him away from his usual worries of being President of Earth – the petty civil wars, the endless economic problems and natural disasters.

He looked around the council chamber. Science Chief Kajira pushed her glasses up on her nose and spoke in a low monotone. “We have confirmed that the aliens have faster than light travel. One of our telescopes observed their light trails passing Jupiter's orbit after they arrived. They are technologically far ahead of us.”

“It's a good thing they're peaceful then,” joked the President.

“So we believe,” replied Administrator Ling beside him, smiling back. “Your last message to the aliens was popular with voters. They perceived it as being both diplomatic and professional. We have now received a reply. The aliens have requested to trade. They have offered to share some of their technology with us, but in return they want us to give them some land on Earth to settle on.”

“What?” he said. “Don't they have their own planet to go back to?”

Ling shrugged her thin shoulders.

The President continued. “I guess we could give them Australia, it's mostly desert. How many people live there? Ten million?”

“Approximately,” said General Zundat, frowning. “I wish you would take this more seriously. We shouldn't be so eager to give in to their demands. Let's negotiate with them.” His bushy moustache quivered as he spoke.

“What can I say, I'm a funny guy,” said the President, raising both his hands. “I only meant that if we had to give them some land, then it's not the end of the world.”

“We are still studying their craft,” said the General. “We have no idea what they might be capable of, but you can be certain they are dangerous.”

“I thank you for your caution. Although I wish you'd have something cheerful to say for once.”

The General remained stony faced.

The President continued, “Let's agree in principle to a trade, but let's find out exactly what they want before we promise anything.”

“That sounds reasonable,” said the General. The others murmured in approval.

“I'll get the scriptwriters onto it right away,” said Administrator Ling.

“There is something else I have to report,” said Science Chief Kajira. “About two hours ago, a craft arrived on Earth – a human craft, but not from Mars or our Moon base. It came in from way off the ecliptic. None of our ships ever come from there. The pilot knew all of our security codes, even the ones we gave out this morning.”

“How is that possible?” asked the President.

“He claims to come from the future, and he wants to speak to you.”

Dent shook his head. The aliens were more than enough for him to deal with, and now he had a time traveller to consider too. He was beginning to wonder why he ever agreed to run for President of Earth.


Captain Moon was a short man, with a tired old smile on his youthful face and a lost look in his eyes. He slouched more than stood in front of the council with his hands in his pockets.

“You're from the future?” asked the President. “You certainly don't look like it.”

“Yeah, in a sense,” replied the pilot. “But not your future. When I was sent back, it created a new timeline at the moment I reappeared. In my original timeline, everything has already happened, and nothing can change that. But here those events have not yet happened, which is what I came here to help you with.”

“That sounds confusing but I think I understand,” the President smiled. “Why did you come here?”

“In my timeline, the aliens appeared the same as you saw them. They were friendly to begin with, but after about twenty days they attacked suddenly. They knocked out our big weapons first. After that we were helpless. They destroyed cities and towns around the world. Within three months there was hardly nobody left.”

“How did you escape?”

“The Kairos Project was built deep underground. We were safe there, and then I was sent back to try to undo what had happened.”

“If you were underground, how did you end up in space?”

“I travelled through time not through space. The Earth is not in the same place that it was months ago. I arrived as far out as Neptune but in a different direction, and I've spent the last ten months flying back as quick as I could.”

“That all sounds very far-fetched.”

“I have proof. I got a list of the messages the aliens sent in my timeline, and all the replies you sent back. Also there's details of where and when the aliens attacked, or will attack.”

“We're looking over it,” said the Science Chief. “And he's correct about the Kairos Project. It exists, and it does exactly what he said.”

“What is this Kairos Project?”

“It was started decades ago, intended for use in the event of a nuclear war, as a kind of reset button. It's at the highest level of secrecy. Even you don't get to hear about it except on a need-to-know basis.”

“Let me get this straight,” said the President. “There's a military program out there to be activated in the event of a global disaster, but it can't do anything to help, except create a new timeline where things might be better.”

“That's correct. It's true that the people in the original timeline won't see the benefit, but we will. In fact our timeline wouldn't even exist if they hadn't sent Captain Moon back.”

“Does he exist in our timeline as well? Doesn't that cause a paradox?”

“We have our own version of him. In fact, I met him once. And there is no paradox. The Captain Moon you see here is from the other timeline. He is completely separate from our Captain Moon.”

The President put his head in his hands. “This is a lot to take in. Those timelines are so confusing! And what do you want me to do, Captain? Make a pre-emptive attack on the aliens because in your world they turned violent.”

“Yeah, that's what I was sent here to ask for,” the Captain nodded enthusiastically. “And I'm already late in getting here.”

“I need more time to think. Can we verify his story at least? Let's see him alongside our copy of him. And did you say you had messages from the aliens? Let's see if the next message they send matches it. I don't want to attack a seemingly peaceful fleet without solid proof.”


The next day, President Dent found himself back in the council chamber looking at two Captain Moons. They were not completely identical - one looked older, more tired and frightened, and strangely taller.

“Have you done a DNA test?” he asked.

“Yes,” replied Science Chief Kajira. “They are the same person, with nearly a year's difference in age.”

“Not identical twins?” He eyed the pair curiously.


“So his story is true?”

“Yes. The aliens sent another message this morning, word for word the same as the message from the other timeline.”

The President sighed. “You put me in a difficult situation, Captain Moon.” He pointed at one of them. “You're the one from the other timeline, aren't you?”

The taller Captain nodded. “Yes sir.”

“General, what are our chances of wiping out the alien fleet?”

General Zundat cleared his throat. “High, although not certain,” he declared. “From our most recent simulation analysis, we calculated it would be most effective to launch our high-velocity nuclear devices at them. If there is anything left then we can send in our warships with rail guns and cannon to finish them off.”

“President,” said Administrator Ling. “I should point out that the aliens have a positive approval rating of eighty-three per cent. That's nearly forty points higher than you. People will be angry if we attack, especially without provocation.”

“Thank you, Administrator,” the President sighed.

Science Chief Kajira agreed. “The evidence points to their aggressive intent. We have noticed unusual waves emanating from their ships. They seem to be scanning our military bases in particular.”

The President put his hands on his head, then groaned. “When I decided to run for President of Earth I never thought I'd hold the future of humanity in my hands. That sounds pretty dumb, huh? I mean, I knew there would be serious decisions, but I thought it would mean deciding to help out a famine or a flood, or getting two countries' leaders to talk to each other.

“But this,” he gestured upwards. “This is a heavy responsibility. There's been nothing like this in history. It's too much for me. I'm a comedian by trade. I'm not qualified to choose what to do. Yet here we are. I have to make the decision. Oh I knew this was a mistake.”

He searched around the room desperately. All eyes looked back at him.

“I'd like to do what is right, not just what is popular. History will remember what we do here.” He took a deep breath. “I have to attack, don't I?”

General Zundat and Science Chief Kajira both nodded.

The President turned to the General and swallowed. “Launch the nukes,” he ordered.

Zundat nodded and pressed buttons on his personal device.

The attack took a few minutes to begin. The council watched on a large wall screen as missile after missile fired towards the alien fleet. Hundreds of them shot upwards like a firework display.

One by one they flew harmlessly past the enemy ships. Not one came close to hitting and none of them detonated.

“What happened?” asked the President.

“Reports are still coming in,” said General Zundat. “It seems the aliens hacked our navigation systems.”

“How did they do that?”

“I don't know. They must have learned how to.”

“President,” urged Administrator Ling. “The aliens have launched their own missiles at multiple cities. Beijing, New York, Paris, and many more. Impacts are imminent.”

The President looked at Captain Moon. The pilot was visibly shaking.

“Is this how it happened before, in your timeline?” asked the President.

“Not exactly,” stuttered the Captain. “Close enough.”

“I need options,” the President barked. “What can we do?”

“We waited too long before we attacked,” said the General.

There was silence, until the Science Chief spoke. “We could activate the Kairos Project. At least we would create another timeline where we might have a chance.”

“We can tell the people in the new timeline what happened here,” said General Zundat. “They would have more information than we did, and they may make a better decision.”

“Yes!” said the President. “And this time we'll send our Captain Moon. Give him a chance. And send him further back to give him more time. As long as we can keep sending someone back, we give ourselves another shot."

He began to realise that his own world was coming to an end, yet he felt strangely calm about it with the knowledge that there would be another world where things could be different.

He said, “Let's hope we can get it right in at least one of these damn timelines.”
© Copyright 2023 BrokenPen (brokenpen7 at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2289667-Another-Chance