[WP][PI] Aliens have arrived and are attempting to take over the Earth. The only thing stopping them is the fact that the aliens can't figure out our higher form of language: sarcasm.

Though most of the noise rousing me from the brink of a concussion were screams and cascading sparks, I was particularly invigorating by the blast of cooling liquid designated to trigger after a command console has exploded from an overload. I knew there were friends and allies dead around me, and yet all I could think was that there was a committee of assholes out there that knew these damned things would explode enough to need a built in fire extinguisher, and yet signed off on them being worthy of use. "WE ARE IN CONTROL OF YOUR DEFENSE SYSTEMS. WE ARE IN CONTROL OF YOUR WEAPONRY-" I clasped my hands over ears like a parade was disturbing a hangover. having just 'phased' into existence on the dark side of Jupiter, those damn bastards caught the entire fleet off guard, and now they weren't even sparing us the dignity of a quick or valiant end. Communications with every ship or station nearby were cut off by this non-stop message. I only knew that was the case, because I'd heard this sequence of boasting from the enemy since before I was knocked out. This was probably the fifth time it'd looped around, and that was from my perspective. Groaning my way up to a knee, I was able to lean against the remains of my chair in an attempt to look out the viewscreen. As the charred material gave way under my weight, I decided to thank the shock-dampners for failing and flinging me from my seat before the controls blew up in the face, instead of swearing at the chair profusely in front of what remained of the Bridge crew. "WE ARE IN CONTROL OF YOUR ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE UNITS..." The view, when finally back on my knees, was sobering. It was one thing to be overwhelmed in an Ambassador class vessel; we were only meant to find and communicate with civilizations of various levels of progress. The USF Gravitas and the USF Specter, however, were meant to be our man'o'wars of intra-system defense, and they were, with fires that hadn't been blown out by compression yet blending in to the swirls of Jupiter behind them. Though I couldn't blame them; the 'ship' that lingered before us could have earned a rank in the Jovian Moon chart. "WE ARE IN CONTROL OF YOUR COMMUNICATIONS" And to top all of it off, they were still spouting their looping cycle of victory claims, all while the dramatic colored blinking and dramatically low horns of emergency sirens. I finally cracked and just said to myself, "I really, really wished the Red Alert sirens would just shut off. We are sufficiently aware that we are on the brink of destruction at the moment!" "YOUR TERMS ARE ACCEPTABLE." A surge shifted through the power system, the lights going black for the blink of an eye before shifting back up to half power with an audible surge from the engines. The pilot and the comms officer before me blinked in as much confusion as I had. The first bit of silence that followed afterwards was so refreshing, I recall it inspiring one of my better moments of wit and clarity. "Wait... what?!" You can quote me on that. "Can... can you hear me?" I shakily stood up next to my former console. Even I had enough dignity to not speak to our new alien overlords while cowering behind a glorified shelf when they had tech that could vaporize the whole ship if they really wanted to. "OF COURSE WE CAN. WE ARE IN CONTROL OF YOUR FLEETS HIGHER SYSTEM FUNCTIONS. YOUR SHIP IS THE BEST DESIGNED FOR COMMUNICATION. YOU ARE THE HIGHEST RANKING MEMBER OF YOUR SHIP. IT IS LOGICAL TO SPEAK TO YOU. " "What do you mean I'm-" I glanced over to the ornate commanding officer station that had the unique chairs for each member of rank. Chairs too thick to be shaken out of, complete with their own specialized view screens. I shot my gaze back forward and silently reminded myself to not look left again for as long as this took. Oh dear god, I really am the highest ranking person on this ship. "I-It's true, um..." Comms officer Reyes was as hesitant as I was to call me Captain, I could tell. I didn't blame her. "...Sir." I inwardly applauded her discretion. My own was a bit lacking. "Great! I'm totally the most appropriate and skilled person to negotiate a galactic cease-fire!" I threw my hands up in a mix of desperate denial. "EXCELLENT. IT WAS A CORRECT TACTICAL MOVE TO SPARE YOUR SHIP. YOU ARE NOW THE REPRESENTATIVE OF YOUR PEOPLE. YOU WILL ENSURE PEACEFUL SURRENDER." Once again, a strong desire for a 'wait... what?' welled up within me, but I managed to keep it to myself. I was only beginning to process not only the ramifications of the situation I was in, but just how exactly I'd stumbled my way into it. Comms Officer Reyes helped snap me from the stupor. "...I meant it's true they're talking to us directly because of our advanced relay. They are apparently using our systems to spread their mass-broadcast to the fleet!" I could only blink rapidly for what felt like too long. Meanwhile, in the dimmed power our ship was being allowed, the comms display began lighting up like a Xandarian wedding, as the dozens of other ships still functional out there were likely calling to congratulate me for my promotion. Reyes was trying to find some way to make sense of the deluge to me when the board went dark almost nearly as instantly. "DEBATE ABOUT THIS IS NOT NECESSARY." I pressed the palm of my hand against my face as the incoming messages of hundreds of more qualified people were muted. I'm mostly sure they weren't able to hear me laughing under my breath, but to make sure, I transitioned it into more of a dramatic sigh as I shook my head, staring at that massive vessel lingering on the screen. "Okay, sure, you got it. Say we want to surrender peacefully-" "YOU WANT TO SURRENDER PEACEFULLY." I'd only ever made the 'jaw hung open' expression to mock something someone was saying to me before now. It would have been an amusing moment to reflect on, if it wasn't happening on the cusp of human extinction. Reyes shot me a meaningful glance, which was the universal symbol for "...Are you kidding me?". That's when it hit me. No. No they were not. From the onset of this, the conquering ship had never brought up visual communications, only seemingly taking over the comm system. However, even if they somehow were visually spying on us, I had enough desperation and faith into my new insight to make a signal to Reyes. Rubbing my fingers together in the symbol of money, tapping my chest twice, and pointing to my watch, I silently mouthed 'Buy me some time!'. Flustered but determined, I saw her dip under her console to get into the internals of it, so I was obliged to match her efforts by playing along. "So the United Space Force is totally ready to surrender to you. However, I want to make sure we can save as many people from the damaged ships as possible." It was the most reasonable thing I could think to say. I almost felt impressed with myself, although I was pretty sure I was up to no good at the moment. "YOUR DESTRUCTION IS NOT NECESSARY. ONLY COMPLIANCE IS NECESSARY. MAKE NO ATTEMPTS TO FLEE, AND ALL WILL BE SPARED." "Okay, that's something,' I sighed, brushing the ash out of my hair. Will you allow our ships to use their teleporation systems to get stranded people into functioning ships?" Even if my deeper scheming didn't pay off, maybe I really could save at least as many of us as possible. They took a moment longer than usual to respond. "YOUR TERMS ARE ACCEPTABLE. MAKE NO ATTEMPTS TO FLEE, AND ALL WILL BE SPARED. INITIALLY." I was about to throw my hands up and yell "Great!" when the ambient sound crackled loudly before turning into a dead hum. Reyes popped back up from the base of her console with a wild look of triumph in her eyes. "...Reyes? What just happened?" I asked tentatively. "I did it!" She responded with out-of-character jubilation. She always kept herself at such an arms length normally being the head of communications for the ship; it gave me a spark of hope to see her so enthused. "I was totally locked out of digital access to the systems. But a lockout couldn't stop me from physically re-wiring the internal comm power into the external! That caused an overload that caused the system to reboot!" "I'm thrilled for you, Reyes, and I'll carve your accolades into the Hall of History myself if we get out this, but how much time do we have?" I of course realized I was also wasting time with the length of my response, but old habits never die. "Oh, yeah, of course. Maybe a few minutes." She shot me a smoldering gaze, but we all let tension drop between us as we realize this was our last stand. "Okay, so, assessment!" I shrugged, leaning against the hollowed out remains of my former console. "They have complete control over our systems." I felt like that was a good place to start. "Not complete control, sir!" The Pilot had gotten more on board with referring to me in rank than Reyes had. I let my eyebrows make my response for me, and he stammered a moment before gesturing to Reyes. "They were able to completely high-jack the comm system, and our drones, but she was still able to short it out manually." "Yeah!" Reyes said in revelation of just what her hack had proven. "They keep mentioning they control our 'higher systems', because that's actually all they control! Things that are analog or that don't rely on the core computer are out of their reach!" My eyes widened as she kept the brainwave shifting between us. "No, it's more than that." I said, shaking my head. "There are more things they don't understand. You guys heard as much as I did how... basic their understanding of our language is. They're not the type for bluffs or deception." We all fumed over the memory of the strangest conversation any of us had been in before, when the answer seemed to wash over all of us.

/r/WritingPrompts Thread