Then – without warning, without prelude, without even a minute to try to wrap a terrestrial head around the idea – Earth found itself in the middle of a galactic war. It was like neanderthals finding themselves on the beach at Normandy. Alien ships were suddenly surrounding the planet – resistance would have been not just futile, but hilarious – and representatives from the Orion Alliance were talking to the G10, trying as best they could to get 21st-century politicos up to speed in the broad strokes of interplanetary border disputes that had been flaring for hundreds of thousands of solar years. Clearly, Earth’s best bet was with the Alliance (said the Alliance), and no one was in any position to argue. But what could human beings contribute? How could they be of any use –whatsofreakinever?
The president of the United States made the first move, offering up everything he could. “We have advanced nuclear weaponry, anti-missile laser technology, a fleet of stealth submarines. We have a fighting force that is ready to take down anyone, anywhere, anytime. We have the most sophisticated intelligence sweeps on the planet. We can …”
“I know everything you have,” the Alliance fleet admiral interrupted. “Believe me, our ‘sweeps,’ as you call them, tell us more than you can imagine.”
“Then how can we help you?” asked the president.
“I don’t need your tech,” growled the admiral. “I need your nerds.”