It was, as would be later said by some of the most celebrated historians in the galaxy, a perfect storm of bad circumstance. On the side of the humans, this latest species to arrive at sentience had reached the level of advanced telecommunications where falsehoods can spread as easily a truth but not the level of societal wisdom needed to deal with it safely. The Galactic representative was unfortunately from the Dra’Hel, an avian species tending towards fanatical literalism.
When the embassy ship arrived in orbit it flooded the airwaves with the standard galactic greeting. Translated into seventy of the most common local dialects, the message was the usual script of peace and love and offerings to help with some of the more pressing problems the locals seemed to be dealing with.
Within about seven minutes the contact team were shifting through the thousands of messages being sent both at the embassy ship and amongst the local political groups. Many were promising, offers of welcome, genuine discussions about how these new arrivals could help the onward development. However; almost as soon as the promising communications arose there was, in the darkest parts of the internet, some very disturbing signals.
The Illuminati knew about the alien threat. Agreed to sell your children as slaves. See the proof here. said one. Another was: The “Alien Ambassador” is a person in costume, special effects guru lays down the evidence here. There were thousands like that and they were growing at an exponential rate. As minutes turned to hours the official narratives which seemed so promising had been overshadowed by words of fear and distrust.
It all came to head when President Carl Wilson came on to address the World. He was a controversial figure. Formerly a shock jock and conspiracy theorist, he had entered the White House on the back of shocking rumours about his rival that had never been verified and was well-known for not thoroughly thinking through his statements. “These Aliens, who have come from so very, very far away” he said “We don’t know why…. Some people say good reasons. Other’s say bad reasons. I can only say that we in the United States would rather die than permit them free rein on our great nation.
Maybe the president should have picked his words better, maybe the translators on the embassy ship should have done more research about the context of particular human idioms. There could have been a whole host of things that may have been done better. All we know is that the Dra’Hel got the impression that the people of Earth wanted to die and figuring it takes all kinds to make a galaxy ordered the ships weapons to full.
There wasn’t much that could have been done after that.