First Assessments:

A1) Immediate Impact of Encounter: Assess two-way threat potential. Does the alien life form/entity (whether singular or collective in number or structure) and/or its accompanying technology, appear to pose an imminent threat or possibly cause harm to human life? Conversely, does human life and/or its accompanying technology appear to pose a threat or cause harm to the alien life form/entity? (Hereafter, the initials 'AE' will designate the alien entity, 'HE' will designate the human entity).

A1a) Course of Action:

If it is perceived or verified that harmful impact, whether mutual or unilateral, is imminent or likely, action must be taken to separate the HE from the AE. Practicality must dictate efficiency: if it is more practical to retreat from the AE, then it should be done. In general, withdrawing from the AE is the best option. (It is always advised to treat any AE as a potential source of unknown micro-organisms and/or pathogens. Conversely, it is advisable to assume that any HE is a potential source of said contaminants.). [1]

If it is more practical to separate the AE from the HE, then this must be done. If the AE is/appears to be cellular/multi-cellular, constructing an artificial environment for it may be required. (To this end, anti-contamination/prophylactic {radiation, toxin, contagion, etc} procedures must be utilized.) However, any action intended to separate the AE from the HE could cause harm to the AE or possibly be interpreted as hostile or threatening. Perturbation of an unknown AE should only occur as a last strategy. [2]

If conditions do not permit a retreat, or, alternately, if separation and/or isolation of the AE is not possible, and a potential impact/threat arises, a defensive posture or formation may be necessary. In such an event, self-preservation tends to dictate action. However, it is imperative to long-term survival advantage to exercise extreme discipline in choosing to take any defensive course. Action taken to cease a life-threatening attack should always follow the martial art dictum: Hurt rather than maim. Maim rather than kill. [3]

If injury or death of an HE occurs as a result of contact, and upon withdrawal no more injuries/deaths occur, then the incident was most likely accidental and/or a self-defense response. In which case, retaliatory actions are excluded from consideration. [4]

It is presumed that aggressive and/or martial engagement of any AE, or collective of AE's, is fundamentally excluded from consideration, except where the absolute survival of all involved HE's is imminently actionable [see A1 notes]. If, however, a long-term threat is perceived/assessed, then the HE should suspend contact indefinitely, but may be advised to monitor (remotely) the AE. [5]

Assessments of a long-term threat may prove difficult/problematic in that a long-term threat may be operant but not apparent. This will remain true in all human/alien encounters. In general, we may presume that if a cooperative relationship or mutualism emerges after initial contact, this will tend to promote the survival/evolutionary needs of both the HE and AE, and should be preserved if possible, until such future assessments can be made again. [1]

If first contact occurs on the 'home' or native world of the HE [earth or established colony], and the contact has been assessed to be threatening to the HE, then clearly survival must be the primary determinant of action, but always tempered with the previously stated protocols. [2]

All perception is limited, imperfect, and subject to error and illusion. Thus, assessments made on the basis of this perception are similarly qualified, and must be tempered with re-consideration and oversight. Truthful apprehension of the phenomena of nature begins with the thought: it appears to me. For, it is often true that things are not as they first seem. [3]

A1b) The impact of separation must now be assessed.

Is there any change in the status of the AE? (Does the AE possess motility? What is its morphology? {static, dynamic, periodic changes, etc.} Is there any organic/technologic functioning operant? Does the potential for further contact/research/observation still exist?) [1]

If there appears to be no immediate impact upon first encounter, and the impact of separation is low or nil, then proceed to the next assessment. [2]

It is possible that, in the process of exploration, a site may be discovered that appears to have been occupied by one or more AE's. This is a problematic situation. The drive to explore/study must be weighed against the imperative of minimal impact/interference, as well as the potential for danger to the HE. [1]

In such an event, one should always look for signs of recent occupancy/activity. (waste products, artifacts, etc.) Forensic evidence may be collected with great caution (see: A1a [2], A3b). If the physical dimensions of the site are extensive, exploratory efforts may be divided at significant risk. Reliable remote communications capability is mandatory in any such exploratory efforts. [2]

If the site is determined to be a nest or lair of some sort, its location must be noted, and it then becomes imperative at that time to withdraw from the site, until such time that conditions/signs of low-risk are ideal. If the practical possibility and minimal impact exists, remote viewing/monitoring (audio/visual/thermal/motion) should be considered. [3]

A2) The Environment: Assess the nature of the environment in which the contact, or the potential for contact, will occur. Is the initial encounter in space, on surface terrain, liquid, gas, or other/unknown medium? [1]

Is the environment generic (generally conducive to life-support) to human life or alien life, or both? If not, what are its apparent adaptations to this environment? What are yours? What are the geological, biological, chemical, and climatological conditions under which the alien life form currently exists? Is there any change in environmental conditions? Does any such change pose a threat/obstacle to contact? [2]

Does the presence of either the HE or the AE, and/or either's accompanying technology, diminish/augment, interfere/obstruct, or in some way impact upon this environment? (If impact is deemed harmful, revert to A1) Assess the present environmental conditions (and if possible, the optimal conditions) and their influence/impact on human-alien contact. How do present environmental conditions appear to be impacting on the present states {positive + negative} of the alien and human forms (Are life-support demands being imposed by environmental conditions?). [3]

Always consider/assess the impact of waste discharge/disposal upon the environment. EM Field interference (or other force/radiation interference) and its probable impact/effect will need to be determined. (This will require the appropriate technological instruments whose impact will need to be assessed.) What is the long-term environmental impact of the HE/AE presence? Often, these will be subjective, qualified determinations, but one's which must be considered. Whenever it is possible, and to the best of one's capabilities, always minimize one's impact. [4]

A3) The Compatibility of Means of Contact or Communication: In assessing the compatibility of means of contact/communication, it must be understood that one is really assessing one's own consciousness. As such, numerous assumptions come into play. But for the purposes of initial contact/communication, certain fundamental distinctions must be made: does it appear as though the AE possesses means of communication (sensory organs/appendages/interfaces, cerebroid mass, {bio}technological means, other, etc.)? [1]

In general, we may infer that the assessed sophistication of means of communication is a relative gauge of the range of adaptive intelligence of the AE. [2]

Given the immensity of interstellar distances, it is highly probable that first contact will occur via computer, or computer-assisted technology (probe, etc.). Communication therefore will be limited by the structural congruence of the computational systems involved. The AE may be utilizing a technological device that serves the same purpose/function as a computer, yet it may have had an entirely different developmental history. Also, the time lag between sender and receiver, as well as the rate of data exchange/processing, must be assessed to determine the most significant and appropriate message/response/form of communication (language or interface). [1]

It may be presumed that any AE that is of sufficient intelligence and technological capability to anticipate alien contact, would also provide or enable one or more means of bridging the two technological interfaces, e.g., providing a primer, or heuristic for language analysis. [2]

It should be noted that any message sent to any AE will be ambiguous, to some degree. Development of an unambiguous message is highly problematic, with the very notion based upon multiple assumptions. However, it may be argued that any highly advanced AE would be able to understand that a signal/message is an attempt to communicate, and would therefore take steps to understand the message. But this is human logic, not alien logic. [3]

A3a) A distinction must be made concerning rudimentary communicative capabilities. This requires some practical standard against which to gauge. Human communication capabilities must therefore be used as a gauge: does the AE appear to have communication capability less than, equal to/congruent with (visual/audial/chemical sensory modes, etc.), or superior/wholly different to the HE capability that is present? Does the AE appear to be communicating? (Sounds, movements, periodic/sporadic changes). Does the AE utilize/exhibit a spoken/written (audial/visual) language? Can you identify any language key or primer for decoding/translating this language? Conversely, can your language be encoded/translated into the AE's language system?

A3a) NOTE:
There is the possibility that the AE may possess one or more paranormal/telepathic/ "psi" abilities, especially if the AE has been assessed as possessing means of communication that is superior to the HE. The operational potential or presence of any such abilities must be assessed (If necessary, revert to the Immediate Impact protocol, A1).

A3b) When assessing the possibility of communication, especially in the case of a capability assessed as inferior to the present HE capability, or apparently incongruent with the assessing consciousness, tests must be devised, data collected, records kept. Tests, if any, must be performed with extreme caution (Analysis of non visual spectra, EMF intensity/flux, molecular/chemical analysis {non invasive, if alive, prophylactic, if dead*} see Immediate Impact, "separation...", etc. A1).

*A3b) NOTE:
The determination of what may be described as a "life state" or "death state" natural to any AE may prove difficult. The AE may possess an estivation or hibernatorial stage, or a defensive catatonic response, or a completely different temporal mode of being, making such absolute determinations difficult {review A1 [1-4]}.

An unintentional/accidental communicative event or exchange may occur spontaneously or immediately upon first encounter. In this event, the second assessment (A2), unavoidably, will be by-passed until it is practical or imperative to make such assessments.

A3.1) Consequent Mode of Communication Selection: If means and capacity (i.e., if the AE is not injured/impaired, see A1) for communication are assessed to be congruent* between the HE and AE, the task then becomes identifying the optimum mode of communication. [1]

In the absence of signs or instructive signals from the AE to communicate within a specific mode, and given that it is the HE which desires to communicate (see A5 Motivation And Relationship Forming), it is incumbent upon the HE to adapt its exploratory efforts to the assessed means of contact/communication of the AE. (If the AE appears to have light spectra sensory capability, then forms of visible light-based communication may be explored) This may not be obvious through simple observation in that sensory apparata may be covered, hidden, or unrecognizable. The AE may have comparable visual-sensory apparata, yet it may be adapted to different conditions and may have evolved under different selective pressures (see A2). [2]

A3.1a) If the AE has been assessed as being superior in adaptive intelligence and means of communication, and also having been assessed as benign, then communication might first be initiated by the AE. However, such an AE may be acting upon a similar ethical principle of non-interference or minimal impact and may wait for communication from the HE, or its technological aid (computer messaging system, probe/satellite, robot/AI-form {see A3a,A3b,A3c, etc.). In such a case, the AE may provide a primer for one or more congruent modes of communication (see A3). If not, and if the AE seems to be making no clear instructive signs, then trial and error is the only way of proceeding. [1]

Always bear in mind that any assessed superior life-form may still be harmed and/or impacted by any 'less' intelligent entity, through an accident/mistake in the course of the interaction. On a potentially less severe level, sometimes this will be an error in the use/misuse of language that initiates a negative and/or unhelpful response. This is natural in any case where translation/interpretation of a foreign language is operant. Such an event is also an opportunity to assess the social intelligence of the AE [e.g., its 'sense of humor']. [2]

The term 'congruency' refers to a range of compatibility in communicative potential. The AE may be roughly equivalent to the cognitive capacity of a human child of the age of four, but perhaps lacking auditory (low EM wavelength) perceptual capacity. Alternately, the AE may possess slightly higher cognitive capacities and may possess an additional sensory organ and/or extended range of sensing. One must always be aware that in assessing any new species/life form [assessed as being 'congruent'], said AE will likely be engaged in similar assessments of you, and by extension, your species.

A3.2) Establishing Communication: If a direct form of communication has been established, whether rudimentory or advanced, whether auditory, visual {this includes more sophisticated forms such as symbolic representation or logic}, or tactile {or other sensory modality, see A1a [1]}, and the communicative environment is assessed to be non-threatening/hostile, then the acquiring of basic categories of information about the AE {and presumably the HE} should typically follow the following agenda: a) identity, b)purpose, c)needs, d) plans. [1]

a) 'Identity' means: to establish a basic form of indication {or distinction} enabling reference to both the HE and AE {verbal/visual names, symbols, or signs}. Once such basic indicators have been established, a more complete identification of the AE is necessary. What is the status/role/position of the AE in regards to its own kind? Is the AE a leader or representative of its kind? Alternately, is the AE a 'rogue', 'outcast' [see: A1a [2], or refugee of some kind? Despite the conventional human command posed in science fiction of "take me to your leader", it is advisable to gather as much information about the AE before seeking/requesting contact with its 'leadership'. If, however, the AE has communicated clearly that it is a scout/ambassador or representative of its species/kind, then this issue of leadership should be addressed. It is presumed that the HE is an 'ambassador' for earth. [2]

b) 'Purpose' means determining the specific and general reasons that the AE has come to be where it is. This can be problematic in that such determinations will often involve the AE's cultural reality {war}, beliefs {religion}, and/or customs. Alternately, the AE may have what is akin to a human scientific agenda/purpose. Such a possibility may provide a valuable opportunity for cooperation/collaboration. [3]

c) 'Needs' means the survival requirements of the AE. Needs assessments will typically follow from purpose assessments. An AE may have need to be where it is due to the presence of one or more resourses upon which it depends. This can also be an important opportunity to establish a cooperative/beneficial 'relationship' and/or trust {see A5}. It is important to be thorough in assessing the needs of the AE to avoid potential sources of conflict {see A4}. [4]

d) 'Plans' means the method{s} or strategies for securing its needs {see A4}. Needs assessments will require more advancement in communication, as well as mutual trust. An AE may be reluctant to communicate its plans, or may be so without communication with others of its kind, or those which it represents. Alternately, the AE may have no such plans in that in may be self-sustaining {via technological or organo-sructural means}, or simply engaged in its version of a 'pleasure trip' or 'vacation'. [5]

Subsequent Assessments

A4) Assessment of Survival Strategies and Priorities: In the event that contact and compatibility of means of communication has been assessed, and whether or not the AE possesses a congruent consciousness and communication has been established {see A3.2,}, more detailed assessments of the AE in question must be made. This is particularly so with AEs that are assessed to be incongruent with the HE's consciousness or ontological structure. It is presumed here that all life-forms, whether possessing an analogous physiologic nature (an analogous genetic "code" or replication-memory system) to the HE, or not, have evolved under selective pressure(s) of some kind (Knowledge of the indigenous conditions of the AE's native world will aid in identifying these evolutionary pressures). Some information in this regard may be collected via the First Assessments Protocol {A1}. However, no such assessments, no matter how thorough/detailed, can accurately ascertain the full and true nature of the AE. [1]

Given the above presumption, what are the survival strategies of the AE? Basic (exo)-biological needs must be determined. It is likewise presumed that all life forms require the intake/extraction/utilization of energy of some kind in order to function, and that all life forms have developed strategies to obtain/secure said energy needs. Given this, what are the energy sources/resources required by the AE? (bio-chemical, thermal, electro-magnetic, nuclear, etc.) What are the AE's strategies for securing its energy needs/resources? [2]

We further presume that all life forms (unitary organisms) possess some means of autopoiesis (self-replication/regulation), although such means may not be obvious or immediately discoverable. What are the reproductive/replication needs of the AE? What strategies does the AE utilize to insure reproduction (e.g., long-term, hetero-morphic cycles)? How do these strategies impact upon the HE? [3]

Can the short and/or long-term survival strategies of the AE be determined? Can advantages/disadvantages to the HE be assessed? If such assessments can not be made at the present time, and communication with the AE is not/no longer operant or possible, then a commitment to long-term study/analysis may be required. Remote viewing/sensing is often the best method of achieving this end (see A1b NOTE, paragraph [3]). [4]

Are the AE/HE strategies for autopoiesis or energy resource appropriation/utilization in conflict or competition with each other? Can this conflict/competition be successfully resolved? (see A2The Environment and A6Legal Considerations) If not, see A1a Course of Action, paragraph [5]). [5]

The above stated presumptions are based upon the high probability of universal evolution, that is, that the mechanisms and processes defined by modern evolutionary biology (such as 'life-data storage unit' [gene] variable/mutative potential, autopoiesis, adaptation [physical/cultural/psychological], and natural/artificial selection) are operant in some analogous manner, whether in aggregate or in part, on all life-sustaining/generating worlds. However, there is always the possibility of encountering/discovering an AE that has originated through entirely different ontological mechanisms/processes (inclusive of second-order or emergent entities akin to human robotic or artificial life-forms) which will warrant critical new study, and possibly the reframing of some or all of the stated assessments in this protocol.


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site protocol last updated: 8/7/2003