When the space ship hovered over Earth, everyone feared the worst.
We’d all seen the movies, so many movies about alien invasion. War of the Worlds. Independence Day. Signs. The list went on. They were doing to alien-a-form our planet. They were going to enslave all of us and kill the ones that couldn’t work. They were going to eat us.
When the ship just – stayed there, people started to wonder. The best linguists and the small-stipend-retrainer xeno-specialists started working on communication. Planes circled the ship, trying to find an entrance. The subject of bombing was debated endlessly. Meanwhile, the ship – stayed there, doing nothing.
The scientists went over it with every instrument they could come up with. There was some exhaust, mostly water vapor, but the ship wasn’t sending out radio waves, x-rays, infared – anything. It was just sitting there.
We’d almost started to get used to it. We’d gone back to farming – those of us who farmed – to office crunching – those who worked in offices – to vacations and TV watching and whatever our lives had been like BS, Before Ship. We just didn’t look up, if we lived in the northern hemisphere, or, if we did, we didn’t look too far up.
And then, five months to the day after the ship had appeared, we all heard the noise. It was something like a squeak of a gate, but much louder, and something like the squeal of tires, but lower-pitched. And in the bottom of the ship, ten circles opened up and beams of – oh, I don’t know. Not sure anyone knows, to this day. But we called it steam and it felt like fog, like very thick fog.
Beams of this stuff began sweeping the hemisphere, one three-foot-wide swath at a time. And when they passed by, things had… changed.
My goats were walking on two feet (but only some of them) and I’d found myself with hooves. Cattle farmer down the road had the same problem, and the horse farmer across the street doesn’t really talk right anymore.
Anywhere there were animals, some of them turned out to be a bit anthropomorphised. And anywhere there was humans – everywhere – some of them turned out a bit more animal.
The way I figure it, the aliens had been spending all this time trying to figure out what we wanted – and they’d been doing it by watching anime.
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