day they came, they came with a bargain, and a contract for us
to sign. The aliens had arrived one summer afternoon, pompous,
gallant and eccentric, their golden ships shining with the light
of our sun. They were all over the news, for no one could miss
their presence. We were confused at first, at their intentions,
but later grew curious. Our people had never seen men from outer
space, only in science fiction films and books about the matter.
This was an odd invasion, if one could have called it that. They
stood silent over our cities, as if expecting us to invite them
in. So we did.
communicated with them, even offered them houses as guests of
our planet. We were so cheerful of having visitors from outer
space at last. We had always expected them to come, but not this
way. We had been trained to Hollywood's view of an alien invasion.
We were trained to see aliens coming from their ships and wreaking
havoc upon mankind, putting man's arrogance to its knees and having
us as slaves. But these were different, these walked down the
ramps of their oval shaped and unmarked ships a week later after
we communicated with them, they walked down the ramps wearing
white robes, long hairs spiked noses and thin faces, very white
skinned in complexion and deep golden eyes. And they offered their
excuses to the crew that awaited them on the ground, the reporters,
the President, many religious authorities and even many of the
rich and famous corporate administrators of that time:
are so sorry we didn't commune before, but we are not a race that
intrudes upon the privacy of other races without asking for permission
to enter," the eldest looking one had said and signaled for
the others to walk down next to him, two more. The bystanders
were shocked and in awe at the majesty and simple ness of the
beings. Several started to press their camera tickers, but the
leader of the men in charge (the President) raised a hand for
them to stop.
take our picture. We are very, as you say
the eldest said with a smile.
they did. The infinite array of camera flashes could be seen from
atop the mountain I was on. The hundreds that were at the private
landing zone were getting their story after all, and pretty soon
the world would know and feel different knowing the identities
of their visitors.
am Kalheel. Leader of Ballesta, a small planet a ways off from
your galaxy," their leader had said in a very omnipotent
voice. This enamored the present and caused confusion in the smart.
not afraid, for there is nothing to fear, we are a variant of
It is true that we possess a somewhat superior
complexity and illumination, but you as our brothers will too
soon, if you listen to us."
then President of the United States walked forward and faced the
man. They both quarreled in size, the alien being a bit taller
than the human. The President smiled eagerly, as presidents do,
and shook his hand. But from where I was I could see that deep
inside that emotive complexion he was worried. He was worried
about what would happen, and he felt like a child facing his father,
or a student his professor. We all felt like that when they came.
aliens wasted no time in saying what they wanted. The world news
shows all tuned to the President's office to see the meeting.
was accompanied by two of his finest crew members and the President
was fully body guarded. Kalheel sat twelve feet across from him
and chewed happily on the Earth food that had been served for
both, a simple basket of fruits. And the President wore a nervous
look, he looked at the stern and serious faces of Kalheel's men
and worried and Kalheel saw this and worried too.
say something Mr. President, why don't we invite our bodyguards
to serve themselves some food, instead of standing there like
They must be tired from all the working
and you and me are grown men."
President nodded at the request and the bodyguards sat down next
to the men silently and unmoving.
was time we talked, as we didn't come here to enjoy the marvelous
views the planet has to offerbeautiful as they arewe
came here to do business." Kalheel said, his voice being
sympathetic and calm. The President raised one of his brows in
confusion and leaned forward to listen.
see Mr. President, there is a law that pertains your side of the
galaxy." He said this smiling and flicked his fingers; one
of the bodyguards brought a small yellow envelope. Kalheel took
the envelope in his hands and opened it with ease, taking out
a single sheet of paper and placing it in front of the President.
I will explain while you read," he cleared
his throat, and with a handkerchief wiped the corners of his mouth.
"The law says that your planet is to participate once a year
in the Galactic Lottery. Your planet is currently not inscribed.
It is required by the Standards of the Universe that all planets
with intelligent races participate. That is why we came; we need
to inscribe your race in the Lottery."
President took the sheet of paper in one hand and put on his reading
glasses. The bald man mouthed the words that were written in the
paper silently, while Kalheel waited with both of his hands encroached
on one another. The men around them, the bodyguards, sat unmovingthe
alien ones of course, for I could see sweat forming on the human
ones' foreheadsand it was then that I asked myself what
was this "Lottery". It was at that moment that I and
the other several billions that watched had their answers.
Lottery is basically that: a lottery. In this lottery, everyone
gets to participate. The prizes for your race are great and abundant,
beneficent one might say for the development of your society,"
Kalheel explained. The President raised his hand.
in clearer terms, Mr. Kalheel," he said, carefully, calculated,
sternly but in fear. "Leave out any ambiguity. What do we
win? And why must everyone participate? Are there prizes for everyone
or just the whole race?"
was the first time any earthling had seen Kalheel bite his bottom
lip. The man was so mysterious and yet so familiar in nature that
one might go mad at the pondering, but we saw him. Kalheel grew
nervous, I saw that, but he offered answers.
members of your race that win the Lottery will find part in our
voyage," he finally said, stressing the word
"voyage". I swear I could hear the gasps of the millions
that were watching at the time, but there was no silence at all
in the meeting room, just a President in awe and confusion.
galactic voyage? Do you mean you are to take several members of
our race in your travels? Serve as cabin boys, perhaps?"
Kalheel said and added sharply, "precisely that."
would explain why we haven't seen only but three of his race,
I thought. The other crew members must be composed of a myriad
of races. How much would one give for such an opportunity to socialize
and learn! I leaned close to my television set.
President smiled at Kalheel's comment and Kalheel smiled back.
for that, we get what?"
technologies, the secrets of the universe, you name it
for a few members of your race," Kalheel said, his voice
poetically infused and enamored with passion. The President cleared
his throat as if in doubt. He raised his voice to say something
but Kalheel interrupted:
race has ever failed to comply with the Lottery. The benefits
are great, Mr. President. But it's your choice. Accept and we
will inscribe your race; deny and we will leave your planet and
Mr. Kalheel, I will run a voting campaign, a ballot, perhaps
Those in favor and those against the Lottery. It is called democracy
and it is what we do best on this planet."
lied, of course. Democracy was but a word. But I heard nevertheless.
And I grew anxious.
sighed loud enough to be heard, his men unmoving, the President's
men shifting in their seats.
contract stands, then. Have your decision within a week, please,
Mr. President. The Lottery is a great opportunity for growth."
both nodded at one another and shook hands smiling, then Kalheel
rose from his seathis white robe fleeting in the airand
left the office. Then the transmission ended and all was silent.
next day the voting had started.
against and those in favor was the call of the day for Kalheel's
America stands with the Lottery, leaders of third world countries
stand with the Lottery
members of several religious groups voted 'No' against the Lottery,
for they fear the coming of the anti-Christ through it and the
damnation of the human race. They are a minority among favorers
Catholic Church has declared that the Lottery is a premonition
of the end of times, as said in the Bible quote that no man shall
play with their destiny as their destiny is set upon by God. A
quickly done world census has thought this to be another way for
the church to control our lives
voted yes. We all voted yes. Actually, 90% of us did, and as we
all know, the majority wins over the minority. This pleased Kalheel,
for the next transmission from the President's office was that
of the signing. They both bore a smile upon their faces. There
were no bodyguards to be seen.
agree with the Lottery, Mr. Kalheel, and expect to participate
in it soon," the President said, his hand working his way,
his signature on paper.
too look forward to your participation, Mr. President. This is
the first time humans will join our
ranks." With this,
he shook the President's hand and took away the contract. Humanity's
fate was sealed in just a scribble of a name.
week went by and no one spoke of the Lottery until it hit us.
The Lottery had been decided several days before and letters had
arrived at our mailboxes.
had won along with one hundred thousand others. The President
had lost. All of Earth's leaders had lost, in fact
seemed strange, as Kalheel had said everyone had an equal opportunity
saw the third transmission while packing for my long trip.
time Kalheel had entered the President's office a bit commanding,
a stern look upon his golden face.
winners shall assemble in small groups. Family members are allowed
at the landing sites for final goodbyes, but they are not allowed
inside the ships. Nor are they allowed at the ramps
safety measures. Oh, and we will release the cure for cancer,
AIDS, and the ability of interstellar travel for your help."
said this and smiled. The President nodded, awestruck. They shook
hands and the transmission ended with the United States Hymn.
packed my stuff tightly and headed for the landing site.
landing site was fully prepared. An oval ship, golden, the sun
shining on its hull, was parked in the middle of a fenced field.
the ship we are going to take," I said to myself. There were
women and children, old men and young men, artists, poets, famous
singers, confirmed bums, doctors and lawyers, members from every
race and every nation there. Family members hugged parents, grandparents,
sisters, sons and daughters, giving them a last goodbye between
shed tears and screams of pain and agony. The Lottery was fair,
but it was also unfair for the ones who stayed behind. All as
me, waiting for the unknown to have a look at us, and trusting
the goodwill of an alien. The Ballestians had released wonders
to mankind though; it was now known that there were at least one
thousand different intelligent races in the vicinity of our solar
system and coordinates to their planets. It was know known that
the universe indeed had no end. Cancer was curable and AIDS was
no longer feared. Interstellar travel was underway and mankind
would soon lift their views towards the stars, all for the sake
of a handful
one hundred thousand beings.
bad we were not going to see this at all, but maybe we were going
to see other things that would interest us, and if we ever did
return once more to our planet, we would tell our stories to the
ancestors of these men and women that stayed behind. My turn had
come quickly; I walked up the ramp and saw my first Ballestian.
He asked me my name, my age, my social security number, any allergies
or diseases. I provided the information, but then curiosity hit
me and I found myself holding the line to ask:
happens if I don't want the prize?"
man at the door very sternly bit his bottom lip, nodded his head
one refuses the prize," he said and added, "please do
not hold the line."
answer, what happens if I ever refuse the prize? What happens
if the prize is refused?" I kept on sharply, stabbing him.
that ever happens, the directive says that we will be forced to
exterminate the race in question." He said casually, a bit
annoyed perhaps, but strong words. My eyes opened wide and I was
left speechless. The others at the line were shouting at me to
move on and I did with a surprised visage upon me, not because
of the extermination, but because of what the alien said next:
to the greatest Intergalactic Zoo, Specimen 23132b."