The following is an excerpt of an archived interview with former Earth Marshal Judith Hayers, as part of a retrospective look at life on Earth for the Starscape News Group. This interview revolved around first contact with alien species, and is preserved as a first-hand account in humanity’s data vaults.
Rachel Tobin: I’m here with former Earth Marshal Judith Hayers to talk about possibly the most interesting episode in the series yet: first contact. Thank you for joining us, Judith.
Judith Hayers: It’s a pleasure.
Rachel Tobin: Let’s rewind a bit. It’s been eighty years since first contact with intelligent alien life, can you talk us through what happened in the days leading up to it?
Judith Hayers: Same shit as always happened. There were territory disputes, mineral disputes, water disputes; so-called leaders squabbling like bratty kids over who got what was left on a rock which had been bled dry. All the while, we were dropping like flies and no one did a god damn thing about it.
Rachel Tobin: So what was your role as Earth Marshal? Just for our younger viewers.
Judith Hayers: I had to talk some sense into these idiots whilst being the meanest son-of-a-bitch in the room. Keeping the peace, if you could call it that.
Rachel Tobin: And how did you do that?
Judith Hayers: With threats of violence. As Earth Marshal I was head of the CDF (Central Defence Force), the biggest military force left on Earth. The thing was, it was a bluff. We had the largest force, but it was rotten to the core. Almost all of our vehicles were in disrepair, our soldiers ill-equipped in armour and weapons; it was a shit-show. All I had to rely on was them not calling the bluff.
Rachel Tobin: You’ve got a good poker face I assume?
Judith Hayers: When the stakes were as high as they were, I had to. The planet was scarred enough from previous wars, we couldn’t afford to have another. We were dying quick enough as it was, killing each other wasn’t going to solve anything.
Rachel Tobin: We’ve covered the universal cancer before, in our last episode Poison Planet, but can you tell us briefly about your experience?
Judith Hayers: What do you want me to say?
Rachel Tobin: Maybe tell us about your personal experiences with it?
Judith Hayers: Make the old battleaxe seem a little more human, right? It affected me like it affected everyone. I mean, we all had different symptoms, but we were all dying. I started noticing it before my Earth Marshall days. It’s a slow developing thing, starts the moment you’re born. You’re ingesting shit as soon as you take your first breath, and it snowballs from there. Basically, if you eat, breathe, or drink, you’re fucked.
Rachel Tobin: How about those close to you?
Judith Hayers: I’m not going into that. That’s not what I was brought here to talk about.
Rachel Tobin: It’s obviously a touchy subject, so I won’t push any further down that road. So, the day that first contact was made, tell us what happened. How did you find out initially? How did you react?
Judith Hayers: It was a day like any other. There was no feeling that something was going to happen, no gut instinct. I came to work like any other day and looked at the intelligence reports my officers sent in.
Rachel Tobin: So there was nothing? Not even an early warning?
Judith Hayers: Nothing. Mankind had long abandoned any of its noble intentions of forging a path into space, god knows we’d been trying long enough. All of the old radar and satellite equipment which had been used in previous centuries to monitor any off-Earth activity had been decommissioned; broken down and scrapped into devices either for surveillance or killing.
Rachel Tobin: So how did you find out?
Judith Hayers: I had a panicked communication come through from Erin Datt, leader of the United Eurasian countries. He said there were objects coming down from the sky, large and metallic. Of course, the first thing I thought is that someone had finally had enough of our peacekeeping and decided to go ahead with bombing another territory into dust without telling us. I had my officers check all of our monitoring equipment, but we couldn’t find a launch zone.
Rachel Tobin: When did you realise what was happening?
Judith Hayers: When I saw the objects myself. We know them now, that polished shine of the Harathdan ships, but at the time I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were hundreds of them, from smaller vessels to the large Chapter House ships. They looked magnificent as they cut through the thick smog, their gleaming hulls were beautiful in a way nothing on Earth had been for centuries. I still tear up thinking about it.
Rachel Tobin: And you were chosen to be Earth’s delegate, is that correct? How did that come about?
Judith Hayers: As I said, I’d been playing hardball with all of the territory leaders on the planet, and now they turned to me for the first meeting.
Rachel Tobin: Were you scared?
Judith Hayers: No, I don’t think so. We were already dying, I was already dying. If whatever these things turned out to be wanted to turn me into goop and feed me to their children, then so be it; at least I would have seen intelligent alien life in my lifetime.
Rachel Tobin: I can only imagine the trepidation you felt as you attended that first meeting. Talk us through it.
Judith Hayers: My heart and mind were racing a million miles an hour, I remember that clear as day. They invited myself and five people of my choosing to meet with their Grand Researcher. I chose my closest officers, naturally. We met in the open, on neutral ground. God, I still get shivers when I remember first seeing them.
Rachel Tobin: What was the biggest surprise for you?
Judith Hayers: That they could speak our language! Think about it, a space-faring race comes down to our dying rock and speaks to us fluently; what are the odds? Now that we know more it makes sense, that they had studied our species for hundreds of thousands of years, plenty of time to decipher our ramblings I’d say.
Rachel Tobin: Can you remember the first words they said to you?
Judith Hayers: They’ll be burned into my mind until the day I die. We come to offer a hand to humanity, to help you reach the stars. This planet and its people are doomed to dust, but there is an alternative. Death or destiny, that is the choice we offer.
Rachel Tobin: Incredible. We’re running out of time now, but thank you for speaking with us today. Before you go I have just one last question; do you miss Earth?
Judith Hayers: No. And anyone who says otherwise is a liar.