First and foremost, The Quiet Invasion is a first contact story. What would we do if we actually found evidence of alien life out there? It’s also about politics.
This month the National Geographic Channel(NGC) debuted a new special on alien invasion titled, “When Aliens Attack”. It involved a scenario in which Earth makes First Contact with an alien race and how the human race would respond if they turn hostile. I will pretty much follow their outline for the events, but add a little more detail to certain points I found interesting. It seems like a silly subject to discuss but believe me when I say that the governments of the world take it seriously. Especially America, England, and Mexico. In the last decade, with the discovery of many possible life bearing planets close to our own solar system, government agencies have begun the serious work of planning for an alien invasion force. It may never come, but the consequences are serious and must be planned for.
Why get so strung out about alien contact? Many people believe that such an advanced and enlightened species would have long ago moved past the problems leading to conflict and aggression. That they would come in peace and share their advanced knowledge with us. Don’t be so sure. It has never been the case on Earth. In fact, the most technologically and socially advanced cultures on Earth have most often been the aggressors. These great advances, and the ability to sustain them, require resources and labor that are not infinite on any planet or in any solar system that we know of. The most likely scenario on the books involve a species looking for new resources. Perhaps a nomadic civilization that roams from planet to planet refilling it’s coffers. This scenario has come into question in recent years though. Astronomers know now that water is looking like one of the most abundant elements in the universe. At first we couldn’t find it anywhere, now, with better technology, we can’t miss it. There is more gold, iron, and other valuable minerals in a single asteroid than there is on all of Earth. An alien race probably wouldn’t have to come all the way to Earth to find these things in great abundance.
The NGC special suggests they are here for something they can possibly only get on Earth, chlorophyll and protein. Our plants and animals. In the tv special, they are shown basically stripping our land of trees, plants, and animals. Pulling them all up into their collection ships.
It is a good reason for coming here. Those are two things we don’t find anywhere else in the universe. At least not so far. Everything else worth having has been accounted for. Resources are most definitely what they are here for. Why they need them could possibly remain a mystery. Perhaps they need protein like we do but they don’t process it the same way. Perhaps they have a partially plant like biology and need the chlorophyll to produce energy. Unless we actually took prisoners, we’d probably never know. But we’re not gonna take prisoners. Let’s be real. A species capable of traveling between the stars is so far beyond us technologically that it’s silly to think we could match them.
Let’s back up to first contact. As soon as we realize the object in orbit is exhibiting intelligence, we will begin attempting to communicate with them. This may not work though, whether they were friendly or not. Think of how hard it is for two different cultures on Earth to communicate. This would be a whole ‘nother species. We think that sending mathematical codes may work since math is a universal language, but what do we know? Perhaps they have a math and physics we can’t even begin to comprehend. If they are hostile, it’s all meaningless anyways. They’re not here to communicate, they’re here to conquer. What is one of the first things an army does when attacking a target? They disrupt the enemy’s communications. The invaders first strike will most likely be against our satellites. Without them our military infrastructure is all but blind. After that, they will most likely immediately send in forward assault teams.
The appearance of giant spaceships all across the world will most likely lead to a tempered panic. Many will flee and fear the worst, but many more will remain to see what happens. It’ s human nature. We HAVE to know. The ships will most likely mass over the densest population points. Any place that lights up real bright at night. When you attack someone, you want to cripple their military infrastructure. This means destroying their factories and means of production. These are located in civilian populations. We didn’t drop atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki because they were full of military bases. They had none. We bombed them because they were manufacturing centers. At first, America and other countries, will scramble jets to get a closer look at the ships. It’s standard procedure for any craft entering our airspace that doesn’t identify itself.
The ships most likely contain a mechanized armada for air and land combat. Robots are the most likely force we will face in an invasion. In our own short history of exploring other planets, we see that robots lead the way. Our own military is becoming more mechanized with each passing decade. Traveling such great distances in space can be very taxing on an organic being. There’s no reason to believe this isn’t a mechanized assault being controlled from a distance. Int he NGC special, it turns out to be just that. Our fighter jets are quickly met by a swarm of alien aircraft moving with incredible speed and agility. Missile locks prove useless since the alien craft use propulsion systems far beyond our own. It is easy for them to dodge the missile, even at point blank range. Air superiority is crucial in any conflict. If you own the sky, you basically dictate the battle. Once air superiority is achieved, the ground assault will begin. This too will most likely include mechanized units, as was displayed in the NGC special.
The projectiles used by these “mechs” will most likely be an energy weapon of some kind. Laser based weaponry is already being researched on Earth, but the application to weapons is proving difficult. We cannot produce the energy right now to make a field ready laser weapon. A far advanced alien race that travels in space has no such limitations. It is apparent they have access to an incredible energy source and learned to use it to power their machines and weapons. They could be laser based or even plasma based. Most of the ordinary matter in the universe is in a plasma state, such as in stars. Plasma is capable of conducting tremendous amounts of energy, and any weapon based on this tech would be formidable indeed.
Immediately, our armies would be overwhelmed. The invading air force would have moved on from the cities and begun bombing every military installation they can find while the ground force continues to decimate the cities and the people. It would be a large, well coordinated, and incredibly violent strike. We call it “Shock and Awe”. You basically try to throw a knockout punch on the first swing. Decimate the target so suddenly and severely that they lose the will to fight back. It’s a tactic that existed long before we called it “shock and awe”. It was a hallmark of the Roman and Persian armies. Sun Tzu even used it: “selective, instant decapitation of military or societal targets to achieve shock and awe.” The carpet bombings of Vietnam and WW2. The A-bombs in Japan. All meant to destroy on a large scale and weaken the morale of the opposing force. It has had varying degrees of success. Often it proves quite difficult to break the human spirit, and that may be our key weapon against an overwhelming alien invasion, dogged determination.
Most likely, the aliens will win the opening battles. And probably quite convincingly. We literally pay people to do NOTHING but come to a room and devise new ways to kill tons of people. There are secret and semi-secret weapons programs being carried out right now. According to the NGC special, and my personal opinion as well, the Railgun could be a tide turning weapon. A railgun is a device much like a regular gun. A “bullet” is loaded into the chamber and fired. What is different is the way the object is launched. In a gun, the bullet is propelled by the force of combustion from exploding gunpowder. In a railgun, the object is pulled along a tract by magnets. Railguns can propel objects to tremendous speeds. Speed is the key to all impacts. Speed produces energy and this energy is transferred all at once to the impacted target resulting in forces many, MANY times greater than the mass of the object. For all the damage a cannonball does, fired from a railgun, a similar sized object could destroy a tank quite easily.
The problem is that it is still very much in developmental stages. Denting solid steel with a pebble is a far cry from bringing down a spaceship. Also, even if they were field ready, our manufacturing sector is history, remember. We simply can’t mass produce them and we don’t have enough to stage an effective counter attack. Without air support, rapid deployment is a no go anyways. Human civilization will be destroyed. There is just really no way around it. Before we can even begin to comprehend what is happening, our major cities will be smoldering ruins. Society will collapse, and NO ONE will be coming to help. Mass rioting and looting will be prevalent for days, even weeks.The casualties will be catastrophic. Some predictions have at least 70% of the world’s population being wiped out. Most won’t know how to deal with it. They are so dependent on the society that doesn’t exist anymore they will be paralyzed with fear and doubt. It is a survival of the fittest situation and the odds say a great many of us are not fit. Just look at the great natural disasters we’ve had. As much as we want to be, we just aren’t equipped to deal with devastation on this scale. The mind can only absorb so much before it shuts down.
People will escape though. Pockets of men and women who are ready, mentally and physically, to deal with the collapse of human civilization will make it out. At some point, armies will be ordered to retreat and leave the cities. Told to separate and hide as well as they can until they are ordered differently. It’s not that we’ve given up, we just realize it is pointless to have a head on conflict. Following this exodus is when the real war will begin. To be serious, any alien race that thinks Earth to be an easy target is fooling themselves. Humans, like all living things, have an intense, natural drive to survive. Most people do not easily accept their own demise. It is not odd to think that the invaders would know this. Surely we are not their first conquest. What if we aren’t even their only war? If they follow military strategy like we do, they wouldn’t commit their entire force to this invasion either way.
Anyways, after the armies have dispersed, world leaders will assess their last possible means of attack. Nuclear weapons. In the NGC special, President Obama is portrayed in a secret underground bunker making the decision to use nukes against the aliens. Bil Pullman’s character, in the movie Independence Day, was faced with the same decision. He eventually ordered the strike as did Obama in the NGC special. It’s a weighty decision to make. Our bombs are far stronger now a days. A single nuke could wipe out all of London or Washington. But what else is there to do? The most agony will be in knowing that there are still people alive out there in the cities. Hiding and hoping help will come. In the movie, the nukes have no affect. The alien ships are using force fields. The ones invading us may well use them too, as they did on the NGC special. The nuke strike in their scenario failed as well. Force field technology is in the earliest stages here on Earth, so it makes sense the invading force has mastered them. This may have not been invented for purely military purposes though.As the NGC special pointed out, whether it’s force fields or some sort of metallurgy we don’t know yet, alien ships will have to be protected for travel through space. Not just from radiation and other cosmic rays but from the impact of micro meteors and other debris. These objects travel at insane speeds through space, and like the railgun example, it wouldn’t take a very large object to cause problems. Any species that may use plasma based weapons could also have mastered the use of plasma shielding. With it’s intense electrical charge, plasma could repel most all matter it comes in contact with, solid or energy. Another reason a “war” with aliens would be short and bitter. Can’t touch them.
So the cities are in ruins and mankind is regrouping in the forests and caves of the world. Any place that provides shelter and low visibility. Months have passed since first contact and humans are adjusting to their new situation. Time to form a resistance group. This means changing everything we know about the “norms of society”. The continuation of the human species is at stake so breeding becomes a very important issue. Modesty has to be thrown out the window. This means any female of birthing age must be pregnant. And pregnant with A LOT of babies form many different fathers. Fertility drugs will most likely become a prized possession. No one is talking about opening rape rooms and chaining women down, but there HAS to be a priority put on breeding. Organized groups with recognized leadership will find it easiest to implement. There’s a lot of trust involved here. Every person 14 and above should be armed. Even females unable or unwilling to breed, must be armed and put on the front lines. I keep using the word “breed” because there is nothing fancy about this. This is sexual reproduction with only one purpose, producing as many humans as possible in the shortest amount of time. Sounds crude, sounds barbaric, but it is necessary for the survival of the human race, post invasion.
Now, moving away from that dreary but necessary prospect, we get back to the military side of our resistance movement. With the armies broken and people fearing the worst, the NGC special treats us to a mock radio address from President Obama to anyone still listening. It’s what you would expect a President to say. We are down but not out. He encourages everyone to have hope, and hearing any voice, especially the President , would probably be enough to lift the spirits of many. It lets them know that they are not alone and that someone still cares. Rallied by the President’s words, the various insurgent groups around the globe begin a series of guerrilla attacks against alien targets. This is most likely how the war would be won for our side. We can probably never beat them but, if we hurt them enough, maybe they’ll leave and think long and hard about coming back.
This is the scenario that plays out in the NGC special. Unable to damage the outside of the ships, they devise ways to get explosives inside the ships. This culminates in a coordinated “suicide bombing”. Hundreds of people fly up into the flagships around the world on explosive devices lifted by balloons. A simple tech that winds up destroying the much more advanced tech. We see this in Iraq with the various I.E.D.’s we encounter. Low tech handing high tech it’s ass. Dozens of alien flagships all around the world are racked by huge internal explosions. They plummet to the ground, en masse. At this point the aliens have to make a decision: Is this worth it? Russia only lost about 4% of their fighting force before deciding Afghanistan wasn’t worth it. America has taken similar casualty rates in Iraq and Afghanistan but we kept on chugging. Eventually though, we are leaving. I think any advanced race would see that the losses are outweighing the gains. They could probably find someone weaker than us very easily. And by the time they brought theoretical reinforcements,our numbers and strength would have significantly increased, while theirs have fallen. It would all depend on how bad they need what they came for. Most likely it’s not that bad. Just because we can’t find chlorophyll and protein anywhere else doesn’t mean it isn’t there and in great abundance. We haven’t even really begun to look. We said the same about water not too long ago.
The aliens are retreating. The remaining ships return to the mother ship and it departs for greener pastures. Mankind has “won”. Now, this scenario is for an alien race looking for something. It would take priority over eradicating our species. If an alien species shows up seeking nothing but our destruction, we’re probably fucked. One thing they don’t really get into in the special is all the alien tech the invading force leaves behind when it retreats. Dozens of alien flagships are laying broken across the world. The next time the aliens come back, we may be a lot closer to them technologically. OR, most likely, used it to kill ourselves. That is a big concern for me, left behind alien tech. People think an alien invasion would unite humanity as one. And it would, until the invasion was over. We pretend. Consort when it benefits us. What happened to all that talk of anew American dialogue and a new dawn of awareness after the Giffords shooting? It was fake. Temporary. Once the aliens leave, the most powerful human armies left will want ALL of that alien tech. We will kill each other for it. I guarantee it.
That is what will be the lasting legacy of an alien invasion, in my opinion. Even if we survive it, it will wind up killing us in the end. We overstep with the technology we produce on our own. Imagine an unfamiliar, far advanced tech in our hands. I shudder thinking about it. Maybe it would unite our species as it carried us into space. a shared perspective that we are not alone and we could be wiped out at any moment. Common enemies have very rarely led to lasting peace on this planet. Only temporary truces to be later exploited. Whether we win or not, I don’t want the invaders coming here. One way or another, they will be the death of us.
Well, hope you enjoyed that little read. Really more of a preview and addendum to a very interesting TV show. “When Aliens Attack” will be airing at various times all summer on the National Geographic Channel. I really recommend you check your local listings and watch it. Fascinating stuff.