Radio Silence

Mr. Smith helped us set up a channel to the stars. A proper broadcast system that covered as much of the sky as could be managed and that sent our signals to any aliens who might be listening. Mr. Smith gave us parameters, mathematical combinations, types of encoding, all of it designed to be as visible to alien species as possible. He claimed he knew all of this because he himself was not of this earth, and as long as our bosses believed him, there was precious little we could do about it.

The first extraterrestrial message we got was a request to turn down the music. The ones that followed weren’t any more polite. All of them were variations of instructions not to do stuff. We retaliated.

The aliens responded by marking the entire solar system a no-fly zone and erecting barriers around Earth. Which might actually have been Mr. Smith’s plan in the first place. The trouble is, with him, one can’t really tell.