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by Garry Dean
Mark Taylor sat with his feet up, contemplating the world through his lounge room window, marveling at how normal everything looked, despite the fact everything had changed. From his vantage point he could see out across the tree lined streets of his neighborhood, to the distance spires of the city.
Not long now, he thought. Soon enough, a shadow fell across the street, and a large disc like object flashed overhead, making its silent way to the city. There were hundreds of them now, thousands around the world, he mused. Out of the blue they had come, catching everyone by surprise, not least the military. Lucky for us, they had come in peace. That was five years ago, Taylor realised.
As it turned out, amongst the much older civilizations of the galaxy, the warring tribes of Earth were something of a curiosity, a rare find indeed. So we were studied and catalogued, poked and prodded – politely of course. For the benefit of the many worlds of the Galactic Council, a full sensory documentary was produced, exploring our music, our obsession with violence and our quaint belief in a supreme being. Fascinating stuff, had gone the interstellar version of Tweets. In no time at all humanity became the galactic equivalent of the lost Amazonian tribe and it wasn't long before the Sociologists, Exobiologists and tourists started to arrive.
Funny how the extraordinary can become commonplace, Taylor mused. These days it's not unusual to see an alien hanging around some iconic human landmark, taking the equivalent of Selfies. For so long we had imagined that meeting an extraterrestrial civilization would change everything, well it has, but perhaps not in the way we had imagined. Oh they have given us things, he admitted, wondrous things, some would say. Yet Taylor was a little suspicious of their generosity. To him, the myriad of alien gadgets being showered upon the Earth were like so many bulbuls or trinkets – a nice way to placate the natives. One of these was a portable VR the size of a matchbox, through which people can see, hear and touch a thousand distant worlds. The irony is we cannot visit them, not yet, not until we humans learn to curb our violent tendencies.
"Good luck with that," Taylor said aloud.
Another ship appeared out of nowhere, carving lazy circles in the clear blue sky. At that moment Taylor realised how much he missed the good old days. Life had seemed simpler then, back when we had been masters of our own destiny.
Enough introspection for one day, he thought. Reaching for the remote, he switched on the TV and saw a string of Ads pop up on screen. It was the usual assortment of offworld stuff. The latest VR cubes with hundreds of games, fully adapted for human eyes of course. A hollo mind projector straight out of Forbidden Planet and the classic hover board, now available in a range of fluro colors. Very popular stated the ad in bright flashing letters. He had to laugh; at least someone was making a buck out of it. He was about to switch channels when an Ad popped up for the Jetsonic 5000 antigravity boots. They were fully customizable to human anatomy and also available in a range of colors. No more aching feet, promise the Ad. Finger poised over the remote, Taylor hesitated a moment, then pressed the Buy button.
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