Alien invasion is a favorite topic of science-fiction movies.
A protagonist is going about his often unremarkable daily life, until one day gigantic spaceships appear in the sky and the attack begins.
Invaders from the outer space are relentless, technologically and biologically superior, and the situation looks bleak until our hero saves the day, either by blowing up the alien mother ship, killing the alien queen or a similar feat.
Here’s what I think could happen during a real alien invasion.
First things first
Although there aren’t any (publicly available) government procedures for responding to an alien attack, it’s not hard to imagine what form they would take. Civilians would most likely be instructed to stay in their homes or closest shelters and await further developments. Instructions and news would be broadcast via TV and radio and also through social media such as Twitter TWTR, -2.07% and Facebook FB, -0.83%.
Following precautionary measures, the next course of action would be to assess the threat and organize a two-pronged response. First, we’d attempt to communicate with the aliens to understand their motive for entering the Earth’s atmosphere.
Specially equipped emissaries would go to locations where clear contact with the aliens could be made. These experts in linguistics, psychology, biology and combat would attempt to get a non-violent response from the alien entities using non-aggressive gestures such as images projected on large screens or drawn on the ground using heavy machinery.
We’d also try wireless communication as well as radio signal broadcasts. Each of those measures would have to be assessed individually and would not be used if aliens might consider them threatening. (For example, screens broadcasting imagery could be mistaken for an energy weapon.)
An alien entity sending a non-aggressive gesture in return would be considered a successful communication attempt. This gesture, whether auditory, visual or in a form of energy or vibration, would be recorded by a series of mobile sensory arrays that emissaries would wear at all times.
Artificial intelligence and human experts all over the globe would then process the recorded data and attempt to translate it as quickly and precisely as possible, since the fate of humanity might depend on a timely response. This data would be accompanied by video feeds, biometric information and in situ commentary from the team biologists and psychologists. They would provide scientific description of the events, the alien morphology and the demeanor in which they delivered their responses.
In case aliens did not offer any kind of response and remained docile, global satellite systems would monitor movements of their fleet, trying to gauge their intentions.
Preliminary threat assessments, weaponry data and basic biological data on aliens would be available, offering answers to questions such as:
• What does the alien arsenal consist of?
• What kind of technology and materials do they use for their vehicles?
• What kind of creatures are the aliens? How do they communicate? What kind of armor — if any — do they use?
• Are there any weaknesses in their technology that we could use to our advantage?
• Does humanity stand a chance against the alien invaders?
At the same time, the second part of the response — mobilization of military land and air units and preparation of weapons of mass destruction — would be silently executed. Leaders of world governments would meet in secret to discuss various scenarios based on preliminary assessment reports. A special Earth Defense Council (EDC) might be formed with the task of defending the planet in case all attempts to communicate with the aliens fail or if they turn hostile.
The human factor
This is where things would get complicated. Some countries would undoubtedly feel left out by the EDC. Others would expect it to use the aliens as an excuse to invade their territory and would prefer to be left out. Finally, some countries would consider aligning themselves with the aliens if this would guarantee their survival.
How things would go on from there would depend on aliens and humans alike. There is a high chance that one or both sides could misjudge the other’s action as an act of violence, which could escalate to all-out war. It’s easy to assume what would happen next. A global task force would be formed with the goal of defeating the space invaders in the most effective and quickest way possible. All rules of war would be ignored at this point. However, the fight would be anything but easy.
Their weaponry notwithstanding, the aliens would have other “allies” on Earth, such as chaos among civilians. When the streets are empty and the military is mobilized to defend the perimeters, crime flourishes. It’s easy to rob a home, a store or a pharmacy when there’s no one around, and criminals would use this opportunity whenever they could. This would put additional strain on civilians, as families in their bunkers and shelters would also become targets.
The other ally would be infighting among countries. Global chaos can be an excellent opportunity to attack a weakened neighbor, especially one that has mobilized the majority of its forces to combat the alien threat. These opportunities wouldn’t last long, so attacks would have to be swift, merciless and effective. Countries under attack would have to withdraw their forces from the EDC and defend what’s left of their sovereignty.
Divide and conquer
While many movies depict alien technology as the superior one, I don’t think this needs to be the case for them to win. All they need to do is help fuel global conflict so that the EDC gets destabilized in such a way it can’t provide a coordinated response to alien threats. At this point, aliens would fight to hold the status quo against the most powerful countries, all the while decimating the weakest.
But not all alien conquests would be violent. In their attempt to weaken the human collective, they would aid countries locked in conflict, perhaps by dropping caches of advanced weaponry, or even sending in their own troops. They would then make allies of the winners and draw further resources from conquered territories, using it to fuel their war machinery (assuming they attack the Earth for its resources).
As the alien invasion progresses, their war against world’s most powerful countries would convert to a war of attrition. Cutting off major supply routes, destroying resource caches and causing public disarray would be a far more effective weapon than destroying the planet they came to conquer.
Finally, humans would be forced to either use nuclear weapons or negotiate with aliens. My guess is that both options would be used in the end. Depending on the success of the nukes, negotiations would either become unnecessary or result in utter defeat.
Technology, weaponry or superpowers aren’t always the be-all and end-all. In war, whether it’s fought on land, air or in space, strategy reigns supreme.
Would humans stand a chance against alien invaders? Please let me know what you think in the comment section below.