The year was 20XX and it was an unremarkably normal Monday for planet Earth. Oil prices reached a record high of $20 per gallon due to scarcity, the Amazon rainforest was renamed the Amazon quagmire, the ice caps had all melted and submerged the proud state of Florida. The situation looked grim for Earth’s inhabitants, but human beings are an especially tenacious species when it came to things they don’t want to hear. So as everything crumbled around them, the humans chose to worry about who was going to be the next American Idol and if vending machines could stock cheeseburgers, hoping that someone else would eventually step up and save their planet. One day, that someone finally came.
“Attention, attention,” loudly announced a sudden, chipper voice from the sky. “Can everyone hear me? Hello?”
Some people looked up quizzically, but most of the busy inhabitants of Earth continued with their incredibly important daily routine. An audible sigh could be heard from the smog-covered sky, which was then followed by the blaring of an air horn.
The shock induced by the abrupt noise startled everyone, and they immediately dropped whatever they were doing and ducked for cover. The inhabitants of Earth peeked at the gray clouds looming overhead through their fingers. Some took out their smartphones and started filming the sky.
“Now listen, Homo sapiens, I have some big news for you! It is time that you learned the truth of your situation. We of the Cryexios System Federation have been carefully observing you and your planet for thousands and thousands of years. Yes, there is life outside of your galaxy, and yes, aliens exist. We’re happy to finally communicate with you.”
Everyone was speechless. Aliens were real. After arduous decades of searching for some signs of primitive life on Mars, they were suddenly just having a friendly chat with an alien from a distant galaxy. Well, an alien voice that sounded weirdly sunny and buoyant, anyway.
“Now, don’t be afraid. We have seen all that has happened here and we, too, believe that your world is in a bad state. You all should know better than to blindly exploit your planet’s resources so quickly. Hopefully it was all worth it for what you have now, like your Slim Jims and your high-heeled Crocs,” the voice added disdainfully.
“Anyway, it’s become increasingly obvious to us that entrusting you to save the Earth is not going to work. When it comes to environmental causes, you humans never really went beyond liking a status or posting something on Facebook. But don’t worry! We will save the Earth out of the goodness of our hearts.”
The inhabitants of Earth looked at each other with astonishment. The aliens would clean up their mess for them! It was a miracle of epic proportions. People in the streets started celebrating. No more breathing in dense layers of soot, no more toxic oceans full of sludge and no more having to eat only processed factory food. Maybe they could even convince the aliens to drag Florida out of the sea for retirement purposes. The President of the United States addressed the voice as diplomatically as possible.
“We appreciate your help,” said The President. “Humankind will look forward to starting this clean-up process once and for all. We have all dreamt of getting rid of the smog and sludge.”
The voice, having heard the President’s little speech, let out a booming laugh.
“Get rid of it? Why would we do that? It’s a little too late now. The clean-up process has been going on for about 200 years now,” said the voice. The President froze.
“200 years?” he asked. “But that can’t be. The rates of pollution had only gotten worse as years passed!”
“Yeah, that’s our solution,” said the voice matter-of-factly. “Before we reinstall life on the planet, we have to get rid of the source of the destruction. We thought this would be the most humane way of eradicating your species. No need to directly destroy you with lasers or anything like that. Nope, we’re 100% organic.”
“But what about the good news?” cried the President.
“You got to meet us!” said the voice. “We wanted to let you know the truth!”
The President was speechless as everyone else stood in shock.
“Well, I’m glad we could have this chat,” said the voice pleasantly. “Isn’t this great? You don’t need to worry about the planet anymore! We’ll take good care of it after you’re gone.”