"The Encounter" ... A Writing Challenge
From page to film, stories of extraterrestrial encounters have thrilled our imaginations, while addressing a question humans have been asking for thousands of years: Are we alone in our universe? For decades, alien visitors to our planet have captured readers and audiences, causing them to reflect on real-world crises and what they reveal about humanity. These stories are often a product of the era in which they were created. Some encounters are beautiful and inspirational; others, malevolent and terrifying:
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
The Abyss (The Rescue) (1989)
Independence Day (1996)
The Writing Challenge
How would you perceive an encounter with extraterrestrials coming to earth? Would their intent be peace, discovery and enlightenment, or conquest and annihilation? How would we receive them and attempt to communicate? Do you agree with physicist, Stephen Hawking, in that the METI project (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence) involved in sending signals into space so that extra-terrestrials can pick them up will put us in grave danger? The challenge -- should you decide to accept it -- is to write a story about such an alien-encounter.
Rules of the Challenge
1. You can create a short story; a flash fiction short; an installment series of up to 2-3 installments; fantasy comic strips or illustrations with free verse poetry; a treatment for a screenplay. Write your story from any perspective; for example, as characters within the story-line; as a journalist, etc. Please feel free to use videos, newspaper headline visuals, or other creative elements. You can team up with other hubbers, or write this project on your own.
2. Your story or presentation must follow the Story Background outlined below in order to establish a common denominator and a point in which to begin the story. Be as detailed in your story-line/writing (which can lead into dozens of different directions), or as general as you wish.
3. Have fun!
The year on earth is 2025. METI has been sending unsolicited messages to other worlds for several years. Scientists from across the globe are excited over the launch of the powerful James Webb telescope, an enormous leap forward in our quest to understand the Universe and our origins.
Astronomers are also thrilled to discover a "super earth" located three light years from our solar system. Rather than a lifeless rock or something resembling the fiery gates of hell, "Jate 22c" is an exo-planet which appears to have a similar terrestrial atmosphere, gravity and water, and Earth-like temperatures, albeit with large seasonal shifts.
What is not known is that the mega-civilization of bipedal humanoids inhabiting Jate were facing a crisis. Over time, their C02 emissions had reached critical mass. What remained of their strange cities was encased in giant sea walls. Their oceans had become so acidic, marine life was destroyed, giving way to smaller, poisonous creatures that fed on massive beds of ocean algae throughout the natural selection process. Rain forests took hold in frigid zones as new species of trees evolved, then decomposed on a rapidly dying planet. Natural food sources became scarce; synthetic alternatives were no longer capable of sustaining life.
In desperation, the Jatites launched a fleet of interstellar arks to seek out potentially habitable planets beyond their own system. In doing so, they followed the origins of our METI signals. By using exotic matter, they were able to alter the speed of light surrounding the spacecraft, thereby avoiding light/speed barriers. Despite possessing technology vastly superior to our own, all, save one, perished in the journey.
The surviving ark now orbits our planet. The spacecraft is massive in size, measuring over ten miles in diameter. The world is in panic mode, with military defense systems across the globe on full alert. Probes have yielded little information. The spacecraft leaves no footprint in terms of its power source or emissions. Earth scientists are scrambling to determine if any failures in the ship's support mechanisms destroyed points of the Jatites' collective intelligence, or had somehow created mutations.
All attempts in communicating with the ark's occupants have failed. Until now.
[Your story begins.]
Good luck, and I hope you enjoy the challenge. :-)
Those who have responded to the challenge thus far are:
Always Exploring (Ruby)
- The Return Of The Jatites From The " Super Earth " Planet : With a Bit Of Satire Included.
This is a fun response from a writing challenge, " The Encounter " By Genna East
- Contact With the Jatites - The Coming of the Ark
A poetic response to the science fiction writing challenge "The Encounter" by Genna East.
- The Eagle's Gaze: Cam's Response to the Writing Challenge by Genna East, 1/3
It was 2025, and the world was focused on exciting new energy sources and technological advances. While world leaders watched each other and the bottom line, someone should have been looking up.
More by this Author
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Sometimes when worlds pass by our own, they graze the edges before moving on. All that remains are mysteries that linger in the mind.