Visiting the Worldbuilding site plays with my creativity and imagination. So I am going to describe the dream I had:

I am member of a different (alien) culture, from a different star system. Also, I am an explorer. Living on the edge, adventure seeker.

The other day, I made a trip around the galaxy, but the hyperspace engine crashed in disastrous way (probably forgot to change oil after 20 000 light years). My on-ship computer did emergency hyperspace leave at the edge of star system, which can support my biological needs. Yes, you guessed it right, it is this star system.

I was able to send "SOS" signal and the rescue mission is on their way. But talk about "speed" ... it will take 30 Earth-years for the rescue mission to come and save me.

I told them, that my on-board systems claim, that it can keep me alive for 2 years, if I keep everything turned on; 5 years, if I keep living at the absolute power saving mode. To make things worse, my on-board computer realized, that Earth is survivable for me, but it has Humans. And they are on technological level high enough to ask them for "clearance to land."

Also, the rescue mission told me clearly: Leave humans as least tech, as possible, do not allow them to disassemble your stuff to jump uncontrollably to higher tech level.

I am in pretty bad situation, am I?

  • I need to land on Earth. No other planet in the solar system is suitable for my survival
  • I can land in a manner, that only the stuff I wear will remain. I can program my ship to go directly to the Sun, thus disallowing Humans to work on my tech
  • I look like human, but for whatever reason, my skin color is blue. So, my looks could be comparable to how god Krishna looks like
  • I need to survive on Earth at least 30 years. Earth has compatible biosphere, however, I am not able to eat meat. I can eat only vegetarian.
  • My biology is comparable to Human one. I need to sleep, to drink, to eat. I bleed and whatever can kill ordinary human, can kill also me.
  • But I want to live
  • I am not allowed to offer any technology advances to humans
  • But legally, I am required to ask for landing
  • My ship can communicate with Earth on the same manner as we are used to (I have radio antenna and my ship computer could decipher any communication incoming from Earth)
  • I posses "universal translator" which can make me sound fluent English, German and (for no good reason) Czech
  • I am "common traveler". So my knowledge about faster than light travel is the same, as your top from the head knowledge about nuclear power or cancer treatment.
  • At this moment, my ship is on level of planet* Pluto. It will take me one year to approach Earth
  • Knowing Earth "countries" system, I am allowed to land if one country says "yes". In such case, if there is no common decision (100% votes yes on UN level), I am allowed to stay only in countries which said yes to my landing
  • I am law abiding citizen. Behaving against the law is not compatible with my morale. However, I will "push the limits" if my survival depends on it.
  • My on board computer tells me, that most of Earth recognizes today as "20th December 2014"

How am I going to make sure that humans will accept me and not kill me in next 30 years?

Also, I do not want to end up in jail, or in Area 51 being interrogated about my glorious technology.

*My onboard maps claim that Pluto is a planet

  • $\begingroup$ land in manner? You might edit that. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Dec 20, 2014 at 22:11
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ I want to give you a +1 just for the last statement about your computer claiming pluto is a planet. It is, it's just a dwarf planet. You know, it loves beards and tends to get in fights with elf planets $\endgroup$
    – dsollen
    Dec 21, 2014 at 17:29
  • $\begingroup$ I am loving this question! Awesome! $\endgroup$
    – user3509
    Dec 21, 2014 at 18:09
  • $\begingroup$ planet Pluto, star maps, flip phone ;-) $\endgroup$ Dec 22, 2014 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ @FreeConsulting flip phones are amazing though. Just... Not in most countries where they're underdeveloped. $\endgroup$
    – Linkyu
    Dec 22, 2014 at 20:35

3 Answers 3


You are a representative of an alien species, with friends coming. No government will dare do anything harsh with you, because they don't want their first contact with an entire species to be "we killed your people"; that way tends to lead to wars and lots of death, considering the other species has a vast technological advantage.

Make yourself known to all the governments. Tell them you will be happy to answer questions without giving away your technology, but only if you're given fair treatment. In particular stress that you want to be available to all countries, no one country hogs your attention. This both keeps any rogue country from trying to hold you (not that most non-dictators would even consider it) and keeps countries from fighting over you.

Yes you won't give away technology, but you still have a lot to offer. Scientists would kill just to be able to ask you about your home planet and culture. The sociological answers you could give us are fascinating, and likely don't violate your oath to not elevate our technology. If your tell them about your species, the planet you evolved on, and how your species works that will keep them happy and busy for many decades. You make it clear you won't give away any real secrets of technology though from the beginning, in fact tell them you don't know any; I would go so far as to downplay your understanding of your tech some to make them think you are not useful.

Still, the point is countries would never try to force you into anything. It wouldn't get them much, and if all the other countries knew what they were doing it would end badly. Imagine any 1st world country holding your favorite musician hostage to hear them sing. The world would NOT take kindly to it. You've immediately got 10 times the celebrity of anyone else on the planet, and will be treated as such. You will get the royal treatment, and since you're known to all the countries and move between them you're safe from the governments causing you harm.

Now, the natives are another story. The realization that alien life exists is going to drastically change human existence. There will be all kinds of responses, from praise and near-worship of you to people who call you a demon. Like any celebrity your need your own bodyguards to save you from the crazy stalkers. Most of humanity will be fine, but there are some crazies everywhere, someone will claim you're using mind control powers to manipulate our president or something like that. Still, this won't be too much of a problem. All the governments will likely be willing to offer you some bodyguards. Celebrities have to worry about stalkers, but they don't usually get killed by them. You just won't want to walk around alone.

The more interesting story is what happens to Earth due to your existence. What kind of a figure head do you become to various ideological battles about humanity and its role in the universe? How many people try to make you love them so your tell your people to treat us well when they arrive (yeah, sounds like your people plain to ditch humanity after saving you, but humans will be insistent that they can open up contact anyways if they try hard enough). Others will hate you, others will see you neither with hatred or loathing, but still as a representation that their world view or philosophies must change.

You're Joe Schmo, everyday explorer, and suddenly you have an entire world's politics and intrigue surrounding you. How do you handle so many people treating you as the most important person on the plant (which ideologically speaking you arguably are). How do you handle someone bowing down to you and asking you to forgive how horrible humanity is and begging you to understand that we're trying to become better, like you're here to pass judgement? How do you handle hostile people accusing you of trying to manipulate the governments, or for refusing to side with their government like it's the only one that matters? How do you speak to those who lost their loved ones who ask you why you wouldn't share your technologies which could have saved them? What about the people who come to you in secret and offer you bribes and wealth if you just slip them some technology under the table? How do you keep people from trying to steal your universal translator, even temporarily 'just for a look'? When you get to earth and are asked to make a speech in front of all of humanity, the most important speech humans will ever hear, what do you say to the world? Do you get stage fright? How will you hold up under the weight of responsibility that the world is placing on an average guy who just had car trouble?

Survival won't be a problem, but you're going to live an interesting 30 years.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ +1 for "The more interesting story is what happens to Earth due to your existence." Excellent point $\endgroup$ Dec 22, 2014 at 20:31
  • $\begingroup$ I have to partially disagree with this. The alien won't be safe for 30 years...which is a long time. Earth will be developing a lot of better tech in 30 years. What if this alien came in 1990? By 2015, everyone will suspect that the iPhone and other such things will have come from the alien and his influence on whichever country he's staying in. These suspicions will be enough to start another Cold War at the very least. $\endgroup$
    – DrZ214
    Jun 11, 2015 at 0:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "countries would never" most countries will not, dictatorial countries will have a large incentive try and get information out of you whether you want it or not, dictatorial countries are generally not focused on long term repercussions. worse if you were captured other countries may well go to war to protect you. So ideally you would want scientists to come to you most of the time, you want to agree on some neutral ground with the UN instead of wandering around constantly. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Apr 8, 2019 at 13:55

Make yourself known to the population in general. That way you avoid government keeping a lid on you. Hire an agent and make plans while approaching. Become the latest Reality TV star, just because you are a celebrity. No skill or talent needed, for a few years while the public is fascinated. Then, tell jokes based on your outsider perspective and years living in the TMZ crowd; get a late night talk show.

  • $\begingroup$ This seems to be more of a joke answer than a serious response to the question. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868
    Dec 20, 2014 at 23:01
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Not at all. It's a perfectly good plot for a story. SF often reflects issues in our society, either disguised or simply to show what it looks like from a distance. Now what skills can blue dude use to make a living? Not allowed to share anything he knows, he can make a living just by being here. Throw in the public debut to prevent being spirited away (and he wants to live among us anyway), and the public's natural reaction, and you have a plan. Exploit what's happening anwaynto your own advantage. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Dec 20, 2014 at 23:13
  • $\begingroup$ Groan. Fair point. I still think the government would get him eventually, being as he would be so high-profile. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868
    Dec 20, 2014 at 23:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think this is a completely accruate and best answer. Perhaps the last bit about reality tv is a bit over the top, but the strategy is accurate. If the general people know about you they won't let anything harsh done to you. Your be a curiosity like a celeberty, probably asked (but not forced) to answer all kinds of questions, but your also probably get the royal treatment. After all your friends are coming and they want to make contact with THEM even more! $\endgroup$
    – dsollen
    Dec 21, 2014 at 17:31

I suspect that whilst you still had knowledge of advanced technology such as Hyperdrives, you would not be killed. You would be too valuable.

That said, if you've only got 30 years to lives, the various governments of the world would become increasingly desperate to get the information from you.

I think it's unlikely you'd be allowed to mingle with regular people - at least for several years. You'd be analysed in-depth (at the least) for foreign bacteria or anything that could wipe out Earth's life. This depends largely on the country who 'obtains' you.

Ideally you'd need to land in a country who are fairly forgiving and value your life, but also in one with enough military strength that you couldn't be taken by force.

The human population would likely want to contact the race you can from. Would that count as giving them advanced tech?

Apologies for the scattered nature of this answer.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .