Created By: GoldfrithaJune 1, 2013 Last Edited By: GoldfrithaJune 2, 2013

First Contact Qualification

One species will only initiate contact after something

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
There are two intelligent species. One is far more technological advanced than the other, and could make contact at any time. However, it will wait until a specified condition is met, and only then initiate communications.

If the other species figures out it too soon, expect much anguish and attempts to cover up by the more powerful species.

Humanity can be on either side of the equation.

Contrast First Contact Math.

Examples

Literature
  • In Jack Campbell's The Lost Fleet series, they meet a species they end up calling the Dancers, which clearly have been monitoring humanity for some time. Once the fleet meets them in another system, however, they communicate and send back ships to human space.
  • In John C Wright's Count to A Trillion, the alien artifact about an antimatter star proves to be a trap: it was set up to alert aliens to the existence of an intelligent race that had developed far enough to be worth enslaving.

Live-Action TV
  • In Star Trek, you have to achieve space flight on your own. In theory.
  • Stargate SG 1: The Asgard, a race of benevolent Greys who masquerade as the Norse pantheon, include tests in their holy sites to determine when the Transplanted Humans inhabiting worlds they control are ready to see them as they really are. The site on Cimmeria, for example, has a test of selflessness followed by a test to see if you have basic geometry skills.

Webcomic
Community Feedback Replies: 17
  • June 1, 2013
    StarSword
    See also First Contact Math.

    TV:
    • Stargate SG 1: The Asgard, a race of benevolent Greys who masquerade as the Norse pantheon, include tests in their holy sites to determine when the Transplanted Humans inhabiting worlds they control are ready to see them as they really are. The site on Cimmeria, for example, has a test of selflessness followed by a test to see if you have basic geometry skills.
  • June 1, 2013
    zarpaulus
    And how is this not already covered by Alien Non Interference Clause?
  • June 1, 2013
    StarSword
    ^Because this is a condition when the aliens decide the clause no longer applies.
  • June 1, 2013
    NativeJovian
    In Star Trek it was that you have to figure out a warp drive on your own, not just space flight, wasn't it?
  • June 2, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Literature

    In Arthur C Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey, mysterious and unseen aliens left a black rectangular monolith of perfect 1:4:9 proportions buried in the Lunar crust--designed to be found only when humans had a well-established presence on the Moon. When it was unearthed, the Monolith beamed a radio signal in the direction of Saturn's moon Iapetus (Jupiter in the film version), to which humans sent the ship Discovery--finding a much larger Monolith object, which turned out to be a portal for "contact" of sorts with these aliens (or sort of a spiritual communion, however you read into it).
  • June 2, 2013
    Arivne
    ^^ Yes. It was stated in the Star Trek The Next Generation episode "First Contact".

    Literature
    • Universe Ahead: Stories of the Future, edited by Sylvia Louise Engdahl. One of the short stories was written by Ms. Engdahl herself. It concerned a group of astronauts looking for alien life. A group of aliens only allowed them to make contact after they had made a "leap of faith" by risking their own lives.
  • June 2, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    .
  • June 2, 2013
    StarSword
    ^^And I haven't seen that episode but I'm pretty sure they got the idea from the Vulcans, hence half the plot of Star Trek First Contact.
  • June 2, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    @comment 3 (Star Sword) - right now, nothing in the description is unique from Alien Non Interference Clause. The focus is on a different part of the same trope, but still describing a superior technology avoiding contact with a lesser technology.
  • June 2, 2013
    Omeganian
    • In a Soviet novel called The Dolls from Space by Vladimir Malov, an alien starship in need of fuel has made an emergency landing on Earth. The aliens make contact with a group of men, but state that an actual contact requires the civilization level to fit 78 criteria. Currently, we only fit 26. According to them, there were cases of premature contact, and it wasn't pretty.
  • June 2, 2013
    StarSword
    ^^IMHO it's a valid subtrope of ANIC.
  • June 2, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    Then there would be examples in ANIC that belong in the Sub trope. How many? Or the inverse, which example of ANIC is not based on waiting for a criteria before contact?
  • June 2, 2013
    StarSword
    ^ANIC covers a lot more ground than just First Contact situations. In just the examples from Stargate SG 1, the Ancients refuse to act on the lower planes even when directly threatened by lowers, the SGC refuses to give military technology when it would adversely affect the other side's politics, and the Asgard hold back until you've reached a certain level of development, after which they reveal themselves and, if they like you enough, gradually introduce their tech to you.

    For an example of this subtrope currently filed under ANIC, I'll point you to one of my unpublished works. The Evolutionary Noninterference Act outlaws making any contact at all with civilizations that haven't at least achieved spaceflight, and FTL travel is preferred. For a published example, the Prime Directive as originally interpreted: you have to be warp-capable before contact is legal.
  • June 2, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    The Stargate cultures you mentioned are examples of You Are Not Ready, not examples of Alien Non Interference Clause. SGC, specifically, averts ANIC; they are willing to interfere with, and on behalf of, their allies. Ancients have an enforced ANIC (unlike Starfleet, it seems) as long as you are partially corporeal. The Asgard left equipment to test for first contact, and once the SGC used it, the Asgard was willing to work with them (ANIC is over). Over time, Thor convinced the race You Are Not Ready didn't apply to SGC.

    I didn't ask for an example of a trope that would move from ANIC to FCQ. I asked "How many tropes would move?" or the inverse, "What straight example of ANIC does not have a condition for First Contact?". If there's a trope here, I don't think "waiting for criteria for first contact" is it.
  • June 2, 2013
    StarSword
    In that case ANIC is being heavily misused.
  • June 2, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    That belongs in TRS. Didn't read enough examples to decide that myself, but SG-verse entries definitely spends too much time on things that belong on related tropes instead of just linking to them.
  • June 2, 2013
    zarpaulus
    There's at most six straight examples of ANIC that don't have some criteria for when contact is allowed.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable