We’re all familiar with alien invasion stories. They all start the same way, and they all end the same way. Earthlings are going about their everyday lives, some guy notices something weird, and six hours later every major city in America is being evacuated because the aliens are coming to wipe us out. Then the fighting starts – it’s in orbit with lasers and thrusters or downtown with explosions and crumbling buildings. The Earthlings wait, and then panic, and then resign themselves to the fact that they’re all going to die. Finally, a miracle happens: the button is pushed, or the program is activated, or the timer runs out, and all the alien ships explode, break in half, and litter the landscape of every politically accepted country with whom we’re comfortable sharing our victory. Earth is saved, the guy with the plan is congratulated (and probably kisses the girl), and we roll credits.
There’s a reason we roll the credits when we do: no one wants to talk about what happens next.
THE LESSON – A Short Story by Jack Cusick
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