Monday, 16 November 2015

Writing prompt 1

I joined Reddit last week, after some gentle persuasion from number two son and found the writing prompt section. I used a pseudonym for the week and have thoroughly enjoyed some of the prompts. I will close down the account with the false name and open one with my own name but here is the first response to a prompt.

 [WP] You are the President of the United States, and NASA has just informed you that the leader of an alien civilization wishes to speak with you via video. When you establish a connection, Abraham Lincoln is on the other end. by Mojo884ever in WritingPrompts

There he was in all his former glory, right down to the sepia shading on every screen in the room. Untrimmed eyebrows, deeply lined face, scruffy salt and pepper beard framing his jaw, big ears and that incredible hat adding an excess of height to his tall thin frame. He stared intensely at me and I shuffled my feel like a school child facing the principal. I tugged my suit sleeve straight and stiffened my spine. The image remained and when the eyebrows lifted in a question my own brow furrowed. I was not expecting Abraham Lincoln as the first face of our first official contact with an Alien species.
“What is going on here?” I turned to address the nearest NASA tech. His hands shook a little over the keyboard and I smiled to reassure him. A pat on the shoulder often helps but I refrained from making contact.
“Sir, this is the signal we are receiving. The channel is open for you to speak. Sir.”
I stared back at the image of that earlier president and studied it closely until my aide quietly cleared her throat and others around me signaled for me to begin.
“On behalf of the United States of America and all the peoples of the world, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to this communication. It is an auspicious day for both of our, er, people’s to be able to make contact and further our understanding of each othe…”
Abe looked away from his screen and frowned. Garbled sound filtered through the bank of speakers. “…ancient tech…image inconsistent with…myth…what? it…”
Abe turned back to the screen and his lip lifted into a slight smile on the left side of his face. His eyes seemed to twinkle and I felt unexpectedly calm. I noticed other postures relaxing around the room and smiles lifting in response.
Is it good or bad that we are all buying into the Lincoln mythology here?
“Mr President, we are experiencing difficulties synchronising our technology with yours. We have not encountered such ancient- what?” again Abe turned away from his screen and the sounds broke into small chunks that made little sense. “inconsist…colour…keep the hat…they use what?...” Abe returned his smiling face to the screen. The sepia melted under an onslaught of intense colours that muted, after our flinches and blinking, into a calmer full colour version of Abe as he must have looked in real life, blemishes and all. “We have updated our data. Shall we begin again?”
“er yes, Welcome to our first official communications. The people of Earth bid you a welcome and…”
The stern face of Abraham Lincoln is etched into the psych of every school child in the land, completely recognisable from the green of every monetary exchange, staring out from giant statues and portraits in every official building but none of it can compare to the reality of a living breathing angry Abraham with a thunderous expression on his face as he turned again to his companions off screen.
“This is the face they trust…what do you mean we are a century and a half out of sync…well who did the research…no I won’t give up the hat…no, let me keep the hat…” Abe snatched at his hat as something unseen attempted to lift it off his head.
More than one mouth gaped open in the room around me, including mine. I popped my mouth closed as he straightened up in the screen. He tipped the brim of his hat and chuckled.
“Well young fellow, we are certainly off to fine beginnings. Where were we? Oh yes that’s right. We are a flagstaff ship on a voyage of discovery of low technology planets and yours is especially intriguing. Our scientists wish to study you and we assure you we will be unobtrusive and discrete. We come in peace. We mean you no harm. We wish to offer gifts and an exchange of technology and to learn about your primitive cultures. Have I left anything out? Oh yes, it says here you like blankets and clay artefacts for personal decoration?” Abe kept smiling and looking around the room.
None of us moved or spoke.