Title: First Contact
Prompt: Diplomacy (I hope the word doesn't actually have to be mentioned).
Wordcount: 363 words
When the strange ships first appeared in orbit it didn't so much cause panic as unease.
It might have helped if they'd done something other than sit there apparently doing nothing. Both aggression and overtures of peace were things that humans could understand. The lack of either just made people wonder what they were doing.
On the TV the talking heads spoke of invasions and how such a large fleet could only be there for the purpose of colonisation. A few even suggested that the aliens were really demons. One armchair pundit posted a video on Youtube suggesting they were trying to psyche humans into destroying themselves to save them the effort.
When the riots broke after the video went viral out one wag noted that if that was the case perhaps said pundit was being paid by them.
Then someone with too much power for their frayed nerves got twitchy. America claimed it must have been a Chinese satellite that fired the missile since they had no armed satellites, China claimed the opposite. The rest of the world agreed that whoever had given the order was stupid. The aliens clearly had the range of Earth's weapons and were sat just outside it.
Fortunately, the aliens didn't respond, they didn't even shoot the satellite down. The world gave a sigh of relief but continued to watch the sky distrustfully.
Months passed, the ships remained there, and still nothing happened publicly but it became obvious that something was happening behind the scenes. Scientists from NASA, ESA, Roskosmos, CNSA and various other space agencies met with world leaders in a summit at the UN.
"The aliens have been trying to talk to us since they first entered orbit," a nervous looking scientist explained to the press once the discussions were complete. "But they've been doing it carefully, making sure only those they wanted to heard them and we couldn't understand them anyway. It's taken this long to learn to speak to each other enough to understand what they want."
What she said next wasn't just close to the top of the list of things people didn't expect to hear, it was so unexpected that no one had even suggested it.
"It seems they really are colonists but they aren't interested in Earth. They want Venus but consider it ours, so they are offering to pay for it."