ALF Columbus

It is Columbus Day, here in the US.  I thought I would have some fun with today's post and speculate on a few things.

For many Americans, especially Italian Americans, Columbus Day is a day of celebration.  When I was a kid, we were taught that Christopher Columbus "discovered America."  These days, kids are taught there may have been other Europeans like Leif Erikson who came to the Western Hemisphere first but Columbus certainly deserves the credit for kicking off the wave of European exploration which brought all people of the world into contact with each other.

Many others have recently taken a more negative view of Columbus.  They say he was a tyrannical ruler of The West Indies who maimed, mutilated, and dismembered his subjects.  He brought disease and oppression to the native people whose land and wealth was later stolen by their European conquerors, while all traces of ancient cultures were stamped out.

Myself, I have mixed feelings.  All of the above information is true.  Can and should we both revere and despise Columbus, for his accomplishments and his atrocities?

Regardless of the answer, the subject is relevant to the discussion of alien contact.  I wonder what will the alien Christopher Columbus be like?  What will his "discovery" of Earth do to the people who live here?  What parallels can we draw from Columbus' experience?


If the alien Columbus, let us call him Alf Columbus, were to directly mirror the life and experiences of the real Christopher Columbus, it might look something like this:

Columbus Day for Aliens
"ALF Columbus"

Young Alf Columbus is ambitious and hard-working.  He leaves home at an early age to work on various interplanetary trading vessels.  In his free time he learns many languages and studies the astronomy and geography of the known universe.  He is not a scholar but has many ideas on how things work and writes about them extensively.  He fathers children on several planets but provides assurances for their care.

About midway through life, Alf Columbus learns that the main route to a popular and lucrative trading partner in another solar system has been compromised by a war which brought new leadership to a few planets along the path.  The journey along this route is now fraught with danger.  The alternate route is long and has its own challenges.  

Columbus hears someone suggest searching for a wormhole to this trading partner but that idea is rejected.  Columbus picks up the idea and is granted audience with the rulers of his adopted planet.  His plan is far-fetched and no ships are available which could carry enough supplies, should the expedition fail to find the wormhole.  However, the planet is running a huge deficit and its rulers are eager to gain a competitive edge over their neighbors in nearby solar systems.  Columbus persuades them to fund a journey to seek out the fabled wormhole to this other system which is rich in items they would like to trade for.

Alien Contact

Alf Columbus quickly traverses many light years through space, utilizing techniques he perfected in his years of over-space trading.  He then more or less bumps into Earth, a then unexplored rock in a remote system.  He believes it to be an outlying planet close to the wormhole he seeks.  

Columbus spends a few years on Earth, waiting for the stars to align correctly before beginning his journey back to his own planet.  He observes our vast wealth and is eager to find its sources.  He writes in his diary that the people of Earth are intelligent and hard-working and could make good workers for his people's own purposes.  He makes note of our guns and other weapons, remarking on how primitive they are, and how he could conquer our entire planet with about fifty men and then rule us as he pleased.

He visits several countries.  In each, he abducts humans to bring back with him so they can learn his language and act as interpreters.  In some countries, he leaves crewmen behind, to gain a foothold on the planet.  Most people are peaceful and easy to capture.  Only one country provides any resistance.  One of his men is injured and several humans are killed in the confrontation.

Columbus departs for home and stops at a few known planets along the way.  Word of his discovery of intelligent life on Earth spreads quickly throughout the galaxy.  Soon, others make their own plans to journey here and check us out.  Meanwhile, Alf Columbus arrives home to great fanfare.  Several of his captives have died en route.  The remaining are paraded around the capital as oddities.

Now emboldened, Alf Columbus requests and receives much greater funding, crewmen, and supplies to return to Earth.  He travels with a large fleet of spaceships with the goal of establishing permanent colonies from which to conquer the planet and to use as launch points to conquer primitive peoples like us, in other nearby solar systems.  He also has the goal of converting the people of Earth to a belief system quite foreign to our own and in stark contrast with every major human religion.  As is his people's practice, he will do this without any reservation and we are forced to comply under penalty of death.

While some in Columbus' entourage are performing The Lord's work most others are here for their own personal gain.  They look upon our resources as their own, waiting to be plundered.  They look upon our people as simple animals to be trained like dogs or horses, to perform duties for them and to take us and do as they please.

As with his namesake, Alf Columbus and his men bring with them a host of new diseases which human bodies have no immunity to and which our primitive medical system is not equipped to fight.  Hundreds of millions die each year in widespread historical pandemics.  Scientists develop vaccines just in time for new diseases to arrive from other planets as the floodgates open to Conquistadors from other planets, each eager to carve out his own foothold on Earth.

Wars are fought between these planets, to gain control over us.  The battles are mostly in deep space, so as not to despoil the planet which they are fighting for and also to preserve their own planets and even those of their opponents.  They have learned through millions of years of battle that life goes on after a war and you will need to leave survivors amongst your adversary, to trade with after the war, and a viable ecosystem for them to live on.

Over time, our conquerors solidify their hold on the planet and eventually break away from their home planet to form a new civilization.  Most humans who were not killed in rebellions or by disease acquiesce to their new alien leaders.  Many interbreed, creating new hybrid races, and pick up the languages and cultures of their leaders.  Those who still resist are packed into reservations where they are permitted to continue their ancient practices of Liberty and Justice for All, as well as many other hokey and outdated principles like monotheism.

Within a few generations, a peace settles in and the new world order is accepted as the right way and the only way.  Life as we know it no longer exists and will never return, though most people consider the new way to be better than our current way.

In the end, Alf Columbus is hailed as a hero by most, though some will only focus on the means by which he took our planet and will drag his name through the mud for all eternity.

Happy Columbus Day!

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Thank you for reading and keep an eye on the sky.