They had found the Voyager probes and decoded the messages inside. Their great silver ships filled the sky, scudding through the atmosphere like shiny storm clouds. All planes that approached them, no matter from what nation, were shot down.
They called themselves the Arbiters. Their demands were simple: one person from every nation on Earth needed to come forward, of their own free will, and offer themselves up for experimentation. If they did, they would gift Earth with technology beyond knowing. If not, they would cleanse the Earth of every trace of humanity.
Most people panicked. Governments fell, people killed and looted, and chaos reigned. But even as the worst of humanity came forth, so did the best, and the one person per nation quota was met easily with people to spare.
All the ships withdrew but one. A great voice filled the sky. Humanity had passed their test. All those who had offered themselves up were safe on the ships in orbit and they would not be experimented on. Rather, they were to be rewarded beyond measure. Rejoicing filled the streets. The Earth had been spared! The last ship drew back into orbit. A great white light filled the sky and lanced down. No buildings were touched. Not a blade of grass was harmed, and both the lion and the lamb lay down without fear. But every person on the planet, down to a man, was gone.
The people on the ship looked down in horror. They turned to the Arbiters, questioning. They merely smiled. “Come ye meek,” they said. “The Earth is now yours.”
Written by Star Kindler