The discovery occurred in the least expected manner : they answered. One of the countless machines in the network that filtered and refiltered the results of the vast attempt to pepper the surrounding cosmos with dumb-ish messages identified an anomaly, the scientists in charge became overexcited, pointed the antennas and it shortly became clear we're receiving messages. In code.
A code that was broken by some Russiani five days later, which led to a new algorithm of a hash with checksum. Something entirely banal if you reviewed it written down, but which nevertheless failed to occur during a century's worth of using numeric machines and a bazillion lines of code. It's what it is, shit happens. The algorithm in question brought about significant improvements in the efficiency and efficacity of computing machinesii, the royalties yielding billions for the Western Skies Corporationiii.
And so we answered, six days later, at the other end of a huge effort to construct a special antenna, emplaced in Iceland for orientation considerations. One of the items included in our message was the passing observation that their algo had never occurred. Their answer, five minutes later, entirely consisted of the observation that we're a bunch of idiots. Apparently the eighteen billion aliens didn't need to hold intergovernmental conferences and plebiscites to return an answer to some idiots. 1-0.
The citizen-scientist in charge of the Icelandic echafaudage (as the antenna sat atop a lot of scaffolding) didn't bother asking for anyone's permission, but instead pointed out to the aliens that it hadn't occured to them to make a SETI, so... Apparently the eleven billion humans are capable of adaptation for the better. To the common sense observation the aliens retorted that it's what it is, shit happens. The citizen-scientist in question was requarterted in gaol for terrorism and other extraterestrial crimes, and was replaced with a commission of politruks and aparatchicks, who could be relied on to never apply anything that occurs to them, just like that, by themselves. Apparently adaptation for the better doesn't last long in humans.
The conceptual underpinnings of a functional antenna quickly became public info (de facto, even though various governments'd have classified it all, but fortunately the networkiv couldn't care less about governments) and interspecies bandwidth grew rapidly from kBps at the moment of contact to GBps within the week, passing the PBps in the second week and reaching YBps by the end of the first month. Everyone wanted to discuss things and matters with the aliens, the price of antennas dropped through economy of scale from "a fortune" to "a house" and eventually to "a car", the economies of developed countries exploded with growth in the double digits and everybody spent their time chatroulette-ing with the weirdos.
They were some rather bony fellows, somewhat shorter, entirely hairless and with the general appearance of a bipedal pig on tracks. The penis certainly resembled the suine version, and by all appearances worked exactly in the same manner : you could take a decent nap while the extraterrestrial jacked off. The vulvasv were remarkably similar, and these combined circumstances made private conversations a favoured passtime among earthling females and their males.
The desperate rush subsequent the first few weeks of mutual phonecalls for the science and technology that'd allow a meet recalls, if the matter is coldly regarded, highschool romancevi. It came thus to light that we had made some erroneous assumptions about absolutely everything. In particular, the speed of light is not, as it was believed for a century, any kind of limit in the Universe ; nor is it invariant. Furthermore, and much more serious a matter, cosmic maps did not match. At all. Plain and simple, viewed from the pigglet planet at a distance of approximately eight light-months the stars did not appear at all in the same patterns, nor even vaguely similar. They had never observed Alpha Centauri, the Sun was deemed as five million light years away at the minimum and part of a cluster we had no idea existed and so on.
Nine months later we had everything ready to go, on their side. Once it was more or less understood theoretically how we'd go about getting together, a crazed race for resolving the practicalities engaged. All children, literally all, boys and girls of any age, six to sixty years old suddenly wanted to be engineers, pilots, spaceship builders scl. The number of polytechnic universities on Earth increased by two degrees of magnitude in one year as half a billion people engaged study as seriously as they could. In spite of this immense effort they still beat us to it, and nine months later they had the ships ready. The whole thing had worked as a contest, undeclared but indisputable, let's see who comes first to whom. As we weren't quite ready it was agreed they're coming over, then we'll accompanyvii them back.
At which point the question of the ages took the floor. The wanted to know what'd we like for them to bring ? They could handle about eight tons of cargo after accounting for all the loads, and if we wish they could bring us a little something. So, my dearsviii, what'd you like for daddy the extraterrestrial to bring you ? Hm ?
The public order suffered mightily under such load, it nearly came to blows and generalized warfare. At some point there was a full day of complete silence that made them worry we might have fallen off the dark. Eventually someone explained the matter's delicate and won't they have a little patience.ix There were referendums in most countries. There were calculations, consultations, negotiations and diamonds bought places on the list, ah, what wasn't done! Eventually we forwarded a list, worth about forty-five tons of various crap without counting any recipients or other packaging, in the hope that if 45 won't fit into 8 maybe they'll leave some friends behind or something, but officially with the request to pick whatever's more convenient from their point of view.
A few months later, they arrived. Their planet was slightly larger than ours and the gravity therefore slightly stronger, around 11.5. As such they frolickedx around the teams that came to pick them out of the ocean, they ran on water and other cümbüșlükxi. They were entirely fascinated by the cleanliness of our water, which they drank and spat out like dolphins (that salty ocean water you're not supposed to drink under pain of death). It came out that our atmosphere was perfectly suitable from their point of view (in truth they were close, we've got 80 nitrogen 20 oxygen they have about a third oxygen, nitrogen and ammonia with a minimal supplementation of oxygen and an ample supplement of ammonia. Even though they had prepared some special helmets to recycle their ammonia, they did leak a little, and the leaks kind-of smelled. Of piss. Somewhat stale.
The Pisspots, because regretfully, it's impossible not to notice for a human, were muchly amused by the circumstance and the nickname it earned them. It stuck to them like postmark to letter, and urolagnia became the third sexual "perversion" to cross into mainstream, after oral and anal sex in this order. McDonalds came up with the new McPiss (synthetic product with identical flavouring, of course) served straight from the fountain, alongside cola, sprite and what other piss they had there.
The distribution of alien gifts came with hair pulling, teeth gnashing, and a whole bunch of museum building, which apparently amused them. Also at this juncture it was discovered the ejaculate of each is very violently carcinogenic for the other, yielding never before seen invasive neoplasms of a shocking aggressivity and with fulminant evolution in both species. It was very fortunate that they were fulminant, because this way only two of the seven visitors (plus approximately a hundred and some women and a few local gays) died. You can imagine the diplomatic task of explaining otherwise that sorry, nobody's coming back because we fucked and they died. On the day of the first death the mourning was universal, people cried in the street from Buenos Aires to Yakutsk as if each had lost a child.
The families of some victims organized themselves (by some lawyer) and sued the CCV for immense sums in compensation, on which occasion the aliens got to participate in a trial on Earth, which apparently also amused them. After a week during which they received everything by the truckload on the military base where they were quartered, such as for instance tons of pizza from every pizza maker in the world, bottled water and natural juices and all the rest of the FMCG crap (financed off marketing budgets, like any other idiocy hence or thereafter) they eventually decided it's time to go home, and as we had seven ships not two like them, plus we could carry fifty or maybe sixty tons without problem, the question was put as to what would they like to take back ?
At which juncture it was discovered that they want a) hot peppers and b) cocaine. Specifically, because the hot peppers gave them some trippage the likes of which one couldn't recount, mushrooms in humans coming well short ; and cocaine because it was practically speaking much better sugar. They didn't have, owing to complex considerations of microbiology and congestion in the space of chemical possibilities, anything like sugar. It didn't exist on their planet, at all. Humanity was a little confounded, because the pisspots also added that they must meet the good fellows who make this cocaine thing, to congratulate them on their epochal discovery and to assure them of eternal extraterrestrial gratitude. Plus, to bestow upon them some sort of thing, in the vein of a knightship or some kind of decoration or such, as they were instructed by some kind of boss back home.
You realise, the first earthling to be decorated by the aliens was going to be the descendent of Pablo Escobar. The UStards were about to have an aneurism en masse, but whatever, what can you do if that's what the guests want ? Some billions were spent to fill the ships with twenty tons of uncut coke along thirty-some tons of dried hot peppers (mostly habaneros and some other species the pisspots chose themselves during a lengthy seance of dancing in manners approximately speaking normal from our perspective) and farewell.
Commerce continued regularly, we wanted everything, all sorts of tchotchkes and widgets they had for sale, from pink iron dicks with lights to cars of alien design. They wanted hot peppers. And cocaine. China adjusted its economy from the production of chinese shit to the production of cocaine. Latin America united and cut down everything, becoming in the process the principal world power. The US declared war to Iran and that's the last time anyone heard of either of them. The Russians made an anti-alien shield and kept threatening everyone at intervals that if further pictures with how short Putin is get published they'll shoot at the ships and so on.
This year global cocaine production will probably exceed the billion tons, and the net imports of goods (which these days occur directly through some kind of portal, of which there's plenty) readily exceeded a hundred million tons. The pisspot community on Earth exceeds one million persons, mostly to be found in South America. The human community on the pisspot planet is only a few tens of thousands (in principal due to the difficulties a 11.5 g and an ammonia-heavy atmosphere pose to humans -- rarely will you see someone there reach fifty -- as the pisspots themselves are very welcoming and were gifted with an entirely demented sense of humour) and that's just about the whole story.———
- The original appeared in 2012, with Perelman fresh in everyone's memory. [↩]
- Romanian has a lot of words to denote a computer. [↩]
- It was arrived at through international negotiations that the best avenue would be to incorporate a company that'd license all the technologies resulting through alien exchange. The funds thus produced were to be used to finance the interstellar communication infrastructure and other scientific efforts to do with the great discovery. The idea was very controversial. The name is a historical reference. [↩]
- No, The Most Serene Republic isn't entirely a novel idea. [↩]
- No, it's not a fucking vagina. The word for the external bits of the woman is vulva. The vagina goes inside. You wouldn't call the doorway "livingroom" now would you. [↩]
- English absolutely needs a better way to say "dirdora indragostelii de liceu". Dirdora's been already discussed to some degree ; indragosteala is a different verbal form from the usual "falling in love" (a se indragosti) and through the physiologic variation denotes a more superficial process, perhaps in the nature of drunkedness : irresistible yet strictly limited in duration. [↩]
- In Romanian this word does not derive of company, a commercial concept, but off wife, a marital notion. Sotie = wife, insoti = to accompany. [↩]
- Feminine, in the original. [↩]
- The "putintica rabdare" thing is a learned reference to the corpus of Romanian classical literature, because I'm a cultivated gentleman and in my culture that means something. [↩]
- The original verb is used to discuss the behaviour of young lambs and naught more. It's a kind of jumping about. [↩]
- The Turkish word means something like "scum", but it is used in Romanian to denote the sort of vaguely amusing, vaguely stupid shit poor people do. Sort-of like what you call drama, but with more slapstick and less observational.
Awww, s'thematter, you imagined epater le bourgeois is a safe bet, a push without a pull ? Tsk tsk. No free lunch in this world, they'll just call you cümbüșlük an' move on.
What nao ?!?!?!!? [↩]