by G. O. Clark
The message arrived on July 4, 2051. It came from deep space, thirty light years distant, picked up by radio telescopes around the world. It wasn't the first message Earth had received confirming the fact of alien life out there, but it was different, not the usual set of random numbers. This new alien message was crystal clear, and it blatantly stated in plain English, "We are coming to annihilate you." The "you" of course being the human race. Earth had a cosmic bulls eye painted on it, and bloodthirsty alien monsters had us within their sites.
It was assumed they were more technologically advanced than us, which meant bigger and better weapons, and presumably faster than light drive to freely roam the galaxy. The message was precise; total annihilation, no prisoners, no why or wherefore. No details on how they intended to do so, or even a date to mark on our calendars for the end of the world. The message lasted five days, then went silent.
After being kept under wraps while our government tried to come up with a defense plan, the message was leaked to the media, and the predictable happened. Mass rioting, looting, suicide, all the usual responses to news of the end of the world until countries around the globe reigned in the madness through martial law, and selective genocide. Things finally more or less stabilized when the rest of the world banded together to face the alien threat, those countries with the most advanced technology and military might in the lead.
Worldwide missile defenses were beefed up. The space stations were turned into armed fortresses in space, and our Moon and Mars colonies were outfitted with nuclear warheads and laser cannons. Humankind armed itself to the teeth, and waited. Observatories, radio telescopes, and amateur astronomers all trained their ears and eyes on the night sky, and waited. The big question on everyone's mind, when would the alien monsters finally appear. And mankind waited.