The aliens arrived in pyramid-shaped spaceships, not made of stone but instead a glowing metal that set off basement radon detectors area codes away. Historians were delighted, especially Egyptologists, who were suddenly on the speeddial of reporters and decision-making politicians. Everyone was delighted, until the pyramid doors opened and slaughter began.
Humanity fought back, of course, in the messy and nearly futile way it always does — most effective when cornered.
Seemingly at random, a ceasefire was called by the alien emissaries after only 13 days of devastating casualties.
Efforts were made to spy on the aliens, but the aliens were difficult to understand in the best of circumstances. At first humanity had assumed they communicated through telepathy.
The LGBTQ+ community was first to catch on that their stripes shifted colors to relay information — the gays had also been blazoning rainbows for decades. So maybe spying on the aliens might have eventually been feasible, if they hadn’t pretty much remained inside their pyramids since the peace had settled.
Months passed and while homes near the pyramids were abandoned due to the radiation of spaceships life settled into a new normalcy, an uneasy routine.
But cats were disappearing. Everywhere. People stopped letting their cats out at night because “Missing: Cat, not friendly, likes tuna” signs were being posted on every available flat public surface.
Florence, the former librarian with a ginger beehive who had loudly proclaimed herself everyone’s auntie when she moved in down the street, had about 12 cats, all kept safely indoors. She was the first one on the street to see the aliens.
Once everyone started watching also — Flo had caved and bought a bunch of Alexa-powered security cameras and they all tuned in — it became clear that the aliens were nearly always hanging out around Flo’s house. They peered in her windows and flashed small lasers everywhere and aimed tiny metal devices at her house at all hours.
After a few days, the residents of Lark Street realized that the devices were some form of video camera because after the alien would use one, it would pause and watch it for a second, bursting into a cacophony of flashing stripes that Lark Street recognized must be joy. It took them about a week to figure out the aliens were visiting Flo’s cats.
As enamored with the house-safe cats as the aliens were, Flo’s cats HATED the aliens, hissing and spitting and fluffing up so much that Flo couldn’t sleep without earplugs anymore. That’s where the lasers came in, Lark Street surmised. Sure enough, Flo confirmed that her cats were being lured toward windows with the feline hypnosis of tiny wobbling red dots.
Lark Street called a civic meeting-slash-pot luck and over green bean casserole decided how best to relay this information to the rest of humanity. YouTube was of course the answer and a 3-minute montage of Ring footage, cats hissing at windows, and rainbow bright aliens with dancing lasers went viral within hours. When Tommy inserted ads in the video his mother smacked him but let them stay when he told her how much they’d already made. Tommy hung a series of cat play tunnels throughout Flo’s house as a thank you and Tommy’s mom no longer had to worry about her kid’s college funds.
Humanity’s governments latched on to this insight almost immediately, but not before giving the Egyptologists some shit. Humans launched an alien-focused marketing campaign to prove that cats tolerated humans, maybe even liked humans occasionally, and the aliens began to approach the humans for advice.
So aliens took up fishing, though they had to be reined in a bit because of the initial damage done to global tuna populations, and local vets held classes on directional cat stroking, how to make feline-friendly toys, judicious use of catnip, and other useful topics. Some vets balked a bit when it became clear these classes were of a religious nature to the aliens, worried that they had become cult leaders, but after prodding from the CIA and Interpol, the classes remained open.
And so a peace was struck. The aliens stayed, though they toned down the glow on their pyramids out of deference to Earth’s radiation levels, and it turned out that they were great neighbors because they liked solving problems like pollution and Earth’s lack of clean energy sources. And if humans sometimes suspected that the alien’s generosity was actually for the benefit of cats everywhere, that was okay. Humans had dealt with cats for millennia and were therefore used to being treated like second class citizens.