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Stay with the Aliens

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The aliens arrive, and they want an earthling to come with them. This is not anything harmful, like To Serve Man. They actually want a human to come with them to show all their wonders. Often this is an old man, who saw the aliens once and was called crazy ever since. So the old man not only gets proven right, but also gets to complete the trip he didn't finish the last time. Yet just as often, it's just someone whom the aliens make their Chosen One. If they return, they may be — different.

Much like the Undead Tax Exemption with people spontaneously appearing in the records, there never seems to be any legal investigation into someone literally vanishing off the face of the Earth.

Compare I Choose to Stay.

As this can be an Ending Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Gundam Build Fighters, it becomes apparent that both Reiji and Chairman Mashita really are from another dimension. At the end of the series, Mashita's Power Crystal that allowed him to jump dimensions is failing, but his assistant Baker grabs onto him at the last second and is taken along with him. In the Epilogue, after Reiji is pulled back home as well, Aila uses the last Arista to follow him.
  • In MegaMan NT Warrior (2002), Baryl opts to go with Duo.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Nanoha Takamachi, by the third season, is living on the planet Midchilda and pursuing a career in their military. One wonders if she still has an Earth identity and specifically a Japanese citizenship; does her family still pay her taxes, or did she get disappeared paperwork-wise? (The TSAB has shown they'd probably be able to do that.)
    • Hayate Yagami of the same series also does this. Given she was a nine-year-old living alone and then suddenly has four people living with her who appeared out of nowhere, there was likely less paperwork.
    • Subverted by Gil Graham. Like Nanoha and Hayate, he moved to Midchilda when he joined the TSAB, but he moved back to Earth when he retired.
    • Inverted by the Harlaown family (including Amy, who married into the family during the Time Skip). After the events of the second season, they moved to Earth full time so Fate could keep going to school with her friends (that, and Lindy is an Occidental Otaku). Fate would later move back to Midchilda with Nanoha and Hayate.
  • The main protagonist in DearS in the end.
  • Masaru/Marcus Daimon at the end of Digimon Data Squad.

    Comic Books 
  • In Nextwave, we see that Aaron Stack wanted to stay... but the cosmic supergods kicked him out, on account of him being a giant #%@#.
  • This happens at the end of the first arc in the Aliens vs. Predator comics. A later arc returns to the idea and shows the human distanced from the Predators, and eventually returning to the humans when she finds out they're going to kill a bunch of them.

    Fan Works 
  • In If Wishes Were Ponies, Harry Potter ends up in Equestria by complete accident, and finds himself turned into a unicorn colt. He reveals his mistreatment at the hands of the Dursleys to the ponies, who all agree that he's never going to be left in their care again. He's taken in by Twilight Sparkle (with the rest of the Mane 6 keeping an eye on him as well) and befriends the CMC. By the time his Hogwarts letter comes, he makes it very clear that he feels more at home and safe in Equestria than he does with wizards.
  • New Stars shows a clone trooper (CT-5599, or Maxx) be sent to another galaxy via a prototype teleporter. He ends up aboard the Orville, and befriends the crew (who are all horrified at how the Republic treats clones). It's no surprise that he chooses to stay with them in the end.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind: At the climax, Roy Neary enters the alien ship, disappears into the light and the ship departs Earth...which is kind of awkward for his wife and kids. note 
  • The end of Stargate, with Daniel. (It's one of the things that sticks between the film and the series, when he comes back.)
  • At the end of Muppets from Space, after Gonzo decides I Choose to Stay, his people take the head of the extraterrestrial investigation agency who had been chasing after Gonzo with them.
  • Mission to Mars. Gary Sinise's character stays behind to go off with the Martians. It helps that he has no one to come back to on Earth, as his wife died several years before.
  • Avatar: Jake Sully and a handful of his human companions remain on Pandora to aid the Na'vi after the climactic mutiny. In Jake's case, he not only stays with the aliens, he becomes one of them after transferring his consciousness into his Na'vi avatar.
  • In Flight of the Navigator, it was accidental, or at least unavoidable, as the ship just was keeping the hero for study, but warping space and time kept him away for eight years.
  • In The Last Starfighter, Alex and Maggie leave Earth so Alex can lead a rebuilt Starfighter squadron.
  • In Dude, Where's My Car?, the human "Space Nerds", led by their leader "Zoltan", have been intercepting alien transmissions for years and have arranged to leave Earth with them.
  • While the final script of AVP: Alien vs. Predator ended with the other Predators giving the human protagonist the weapon of the fallen Predator who she had fought alongside and then leaving, an earlier script had them inviting her to join them instead. In that script, she accepted.
  • Charlie from the Critters films. Subverted in that it's implied he pestered the alien bounty hunters into letting him tag along, although we don't actually see them make up their minds to do so.
  • The children in the 2009 film Knowing. Although they used a godawful Adam and Eve ending with shitty CGI to boot.
  • Paul: In what is presumably a Shout-Out to Close Encounters, at the end of the film Paul invites the little girl that saved him from the wreckage of his spacecraft, now an old woman, to come with him. Made easier since she was seen as crazy by everyone and her house was blown up earlier, so it's not like she had anything keeping her here on earth.
  • While technically not dealing with aliens (although it does concern supernatural beings), the same basic concept is used at the end of Field of Dreams. The author Terrence Mann (played by James Earl Jones) is invited by Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta) to come with him and the other ghostly ballplayers and vanish into the cornfield. This causes the protagonist Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) to become somewhat jealous that he too wasn't invited until he realizes he has to stay behind so he can play catch with his dad.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King sends Bilbo and Frodo to the Western Shore - the land from which the Elves hail - with the Elves - who finally bid Middle-Earth a farewell - in recognition of a life /lives spent in humble wonder of their essence and unabashed longing for a view of the unearthly and beautiful land.
  • This happens at the end of Philip Jackson's 1984 experimental film The Music Of The Spheres. Telepathic scientist Melody (Anne Dansereau) is contacted by benevolent, poetic aliens who try (and fail) to stop a dangerous Earth project. The last shot in the film has Melody, invited to join them, standing alone, gazing up into brilliant light.
  • In My Stepmother Is an Alien, Steven Mills's brother Ron chooses to go to Celeste's home planet, when he sees that the all-female crew of the alien ship looks like his dream woman - Princess Stéphanie of Monaco. It's implied that his job will be to help the aliens understand things like emotions. Given their complete lack of knowledge about such things as sex, it can be assumed that Ron will have a lot of fun teaching them.
  • At the end of Suburban Commando, the tangential love interest tags along with Shep on his ship.

  • In Robert J. Sawyer's "Calculating God," the aliens take with them the main character, who happens to be dying of cancer.
  • This is totally subverted in the story "Alien Promises" by Janni Lee Simner, because thanks to someone forcing the narrator to tell her if the aliens come and that someone telling others... next thing you know, everyone wants to go and the ship can't hold 'em all.
  • Bruce Coville:
    • Deconstructed in the My Teacher Is an Alien series. The first book ends with Peter deciding to go with Bloxholm, since his father seems indifferent to him and he doesn't really have other friends. In later books, we see how much his father misses him and blames himself for his disappearance. The series ends with Peter choosing to return to Earth with him, while it's Susan and Duncan who go with the aliens.
    • In the Sixth Grade Alien series, Linnsy chooses not to return to Earth after undergoing Mental Fusion with an alien symbiont, deciding instead to travel the galaxy.
  • Dorothy returns home at the end of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but in the sequels she eventually decides to stay in Oz and become a Princess. (She brings Aunt Em and Uncle Henry with her.)
  • At the end of Ghostmaker, a Gaunt's Ghosts novel, an Inquisitor is invited by a group of Eldar to return with them to their Craftworld, as she is the only one present at the time who can close their Webway Gate and prevent its discovery by the attacking Chaos troops.
  • In Andre Norton's Star Ka'at, aliens have been living on Earth disguised as domestic cats. When they decide that humans are about to destroy the world in a war, they all leave; one of them has gotten fond enough of the orphaned boy who's his "owner" that he takes the boy with them, to the disgust of his fellow aliens.
  • In Francis Carsac's Those From Nowhere, a young doctor encounters Humanoid Aliens in a forest and, after helping them fix their ship, agrees to go with them to their homeworld. There, he finds out that they are fighting a losing war against a race of Cosmic Horrors. They need his help to defeat them, as "those with red blood" are the only ones capable of resisting the enemy. After defeating them, the doctor goes home with his Love Interest (from a race of red-blooded Humanoid Aliens with four fingers) in order to put his affairs in order before leaving Earth forever to live on her planet, and gather and offer a group of open-minded people, including the writer, the chance to join him and help out his new friends in their war.
  • In Dana Stabenow's Second Star, the aliens—a race of ultimate knowledge-collectors nicknamed The Librarians—were initially attracted by their discovery of a newly-sentient computer system, but when he turns down the offer to go with them, they extend it to the protagonist's Teen Genius niece; she accepts in a heartbeat.
  • In the novel Aliens vs. Predator: Prey, the main character is marked (on the forehead, not the cheek) and taken aboard the ship. They treat her horribly, even after being key in the capture of a queen, so she decides to leave. The mark still works in her favor in subsequent encounters with the predators.
  • In Fred Hoyle's "The Black Cloud" the scientist protagonist decides to leave Earth with the alien entity of the title (an intelligent nebula) apparently because he's estranged from his wife — at least that's how he explains it.
  • In Decency by Robert Reed, a crippled alien Solar Sail vessel crash lands in Minnesota and the mortally wounded pilot is studied by a team of scientists desperately trying to stabilize the creature. When a security guard enters the medical chamber and realizes the alien is in absolute misery, he pulls out his gun and blows out its brains, serving five years hard labor for it. Twenty years later, a flotilla of similar vessels enter solar orbit and want the guard to join them as humanity's representative - and as the only person to show them heartfelt decency.
  • In Oleg Divov's Trail of the Zombie trilogy, the protagonist of the first book, an incredibly powerful telepath created using Soviet Superscience, uses his powers to call out into the interstellar void. His call is answered by aliens, who take him with him. He settles on their planet, marries one of them, and lives a fulfilling life with his family. He periodically returns to Earth. At first, it's a part of his adaptation treatment. After that, it's mostly due to nostalgia and to visit the grave of his dead Love Interest. He has very little left on Earth. After the second book, he takes his dying friend (also a telepath) to his planet in order to allow him to survive for a few more years. The guy ends up dying eventually, but he is happy until that point. At the end of the third book, it's implied that he has decided to leave Earth for good. When he offers this book's protagonist a chance to leave with him, the guy refuses, explaining that he has a lot to do here.
  • In the climax to On the Steel Breeze, several characters must go somewhere with the Watchkeepers - vast and unbelievably powerful Mechanical Lifeforms - to fulfill a humanity's side to an arrangement. The third and final novel, Poseidon's Wake, details why: The Watchkeepers, being post-sentient - they are effectively an entire race of philosophical zombies - are unable to approach an ancient Big Dumb Object without being blown to smithereens, so they want to use the characters as their agents to explore it. During this arrangement, the characters are made more intelligent and practically ageless.
  • Sholan Alliance: Carrie starts to do this in the first book but finishes by flying off to Shola in the second book. More characters join the Sholans later.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The companions of Doctor Who. The Doctor, who is a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, seems to have a thing for picking up random humans from Earth who travel with him through time and space.
    • First Doctor companion Steven Taylor elects to stay behind on a planet of Human Aliens at the end of "The Savages". Sixth Doctor companion Peri Brown leaves the Doctor when she marries King Yrcanos of the planet Thordon during the Trial of a Time Lord arc. In an inverted sense, the Doctor's granddaughter 'Susan Foreman' stays behind with human Rebel Leader David Campbell on future Earth at the end of "The Dalek Invasion of Earth".
    • Gets a perspective flip in the Expanded Universe. In one story, after the Doctor stops a time-traveling alien tourist business that was mucking about in Ancient Greece and he sends them home in the last portal their machine could make, one of them decides to Stay with the Aliens (said aliens being us) instead.
    • In one of the new Who episodes, the Doctor took Rose with him for a year of "our time", though it was hardly any time for them. (The Doctor simply made a mistake in his calculations.) When they came back, Rose's boyfriend said he'd been interrogated five times by police who believed he had kidnapped or murdered her (but let go for lack of evidence), and her mother had put up Missing posters. Other people react realistically to someone simply vanishing for a year, with her mother not buying Rose's weak explanation that she was "travelling". Unfortunately, the Doctor couldn't correct the mistake by simply taking Rose back to shortly after she left like he originally intended because that would mean going back over his own personal timeline after it had already been established that she'd been missing for a year, which is a no-no that can cause a deadly paradox.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • Inverted in "Who Watches the Watchers", in which the natives get the idea that "the Picard" is a god. Not wanting to be the object of some silly Prime Directive-breaking religion, he invites one of them for a brief stay on the ship to show that the Enterprise crew are just ordinary people with advanced technology.
    • Inverted again in another botched first contact, in "First Contact"; the aliens refuse to join the galactic community, but the main alien from the episode decides to go with the humans.
    • A third time, in "Homeward", Worf and his brother try to smuggle an entire community to another planet without revealing that they've ever left their home planet. One of the people discovers the truth and is given the option to stay aboard the Enterprise or go back to his people with knowledge he can never share. He chooses a third option.
    • Finally played straight in "Journey's End" — Wesley Crusher ascends to a higher plane of existence to join the Traveler in exploring the universe.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: In "The Corbomite Maneuver", after the alien reveals that it was all a Secret Test of Character, he asks for a human to teach him about humans. Kirk sends the crewmember who was pushing for the alien's death earlier.
  • Babylon 5: Several characters encounter this trope.
    • Captain John Sheridan (the station commander in Seasons 2-4) ultimately marries Minbari ambassador Delenn, and after he becomes President of the new Interstellar Alliance, they move from Babylon 5 to the ISA facilities on Minbar at the end of Season 5. The Grand Finale "Sleeping in Light" implies that he ascended and went with Lorien beyond the Rim of the galaxy to join the First Ones.
    • Soon after the end of the first season, original station commander Jeffrey Sinclair became Ranger One, the leader of the Rangers, a Minbari organization dedicated to fighting the Shadows and preparing for their return, after the Rangers' ranks were expanded to include humans. He ultimately used several bits of Applied Phlebotinum to be transformed into a Minbari, and get sent back a thousand years in the past to the First Shadow War as Valen, the Rangers' founder and the Minbari's messiah figure.
    • Sebastian the Inquisitor and Mr. Morden are the best examples because the aliens they stayed with (the Vorlons and Shadows, respectively) were far more "alien" to humans than Minbari were.
    • Lt Commander Susan Ivanova threatens to run off and sign on with the Minbari during the episode "Eyes" owing to having to deal with factions in Earthforce and the Psi Corps questioning Sinclair's loyalty and integrity in a Kangaroo Court where he and the other command staff might have to submit to telepathic scan, 'cause at least the Minbari had a sense of honor. It was more a statement of how bad the situation was than a face-value threat, since Earth and Minbar had been at war within recent memory.
  • The first episode of The Greatest American Hero has FBI Agent Bill Maxwell's old partner saying he's doing this with the aliens that gave Ralph the superhero suit. However, he clearly died earlier in the episode, so it's ambiguous if he was simply re-animated or if his lifeless body was being controlled by the aliens so they would have some way of communicating beyond their bizarre radio trick.
  • This trope is wholeheartedly embraced by Cassandra Spender from The X-Files, Agent Spender's mom, multiple alien abductee, and Cigarette-Smoking Man's ex-wife: she is convinced that the aliens preparing to colonize Earth wish only the best for humanity and that they will take a select few (including herself) to their world just before it begins. It ends very badly for her. Like, "burned alive by eyeless, mouthless aliens" badly.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Daniel Jackson's granddad Nick Ballard stays with the GIANT ALIENS! at the end of the episode "Crystal Skull".
    • Daniel Jackson's own example from the film section above received a Happy Ending Override in the show's pilot.
    • Inverted with Martin Lloyd, who chooses to stay on Earth rather than leave with his fellow Human Aliens. From his viewpoint, this trope is still true.
    • Colonel Harold Maybourne chooses to live among primitive Human Aliens. He ends up becoming their king by claiming to predict the future (in fact, he's using his knowledge of written Ancient language to translate future knowledge inscribed by a time-traveling Ancient). Even after his revelation that he's been lying about his powers, his people still want to keep him as their king, as he actually did a lot of good things for them (e.g. built a windmill, wrote a code of laws).
  • In the Haven episode "301", the town gets hit by an alien invasion. Eventually, the heroes realize that an alien fanatic named Wesley is a Reality Warper and unknowingly created the aliens from his imagination. They try and fail to convince him of his powers (Wesley believes in aliens, but not in the Troubles). Running out of time (the mothership is charging up its weapons), Nathan convinces Wesley to offer to go with the aliens, and that Wesley's missing grandfather may be with the aliens too. The mothership beams Wesley aboard and the aliens leave. Duke calls Nathan out on this. For all they know, Nathan could have sent Wesley to his death or worse.
  • Taken: In the final episode "Taken", Allie decides to go with the aliens as she realizes that The World Is Not Ready for her and that it is the only way to protect Charlie and Lisa and prevent anyone from being killed.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "The Little People of Killany Woods", Liam O'Shaughnessy decides to go with the Little Green Men after their ship is repaired instead of remaining in Ireland, where he is the laughingstock of his town. According to the closing narration, he brings shamrocks with him and plants them on the aliens' home planet, which humanity will find when it explores space in the future.

  • Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill" seems to deal with the idea of alien contact and leaving this planet in the company of enlightened aliens. He says in interviews it's actually about starting his new life in a solo career apart from Genesis. But Solsbury Hill is a legendary place that may have once had a temple to the Greek god Apollo. Fans have interpreted it very personally with hundreds of meanings.
  • Carpenters get into leaving this world today in the song "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft".
  • A great part of Hawkwind'''s output concerns this idea.
  • The Underground Zero song "Canes Venaticii" concerns an alien visitor arriving who isn't exactly enchanted at what she sees.
  • Styx: "Come Sail Away" has a ship's crew encounter Angelic Aliens that they leave the Earth with.

    Music Videos 
  • Blue Öyster Cult's video to the song Take Me Away opens with a metallic human voice inviting members of the human race to leave the planet with us; the song and the video explore this concept. The song The Vigil on the Mirrors album also deals with the yearning of UFO nuts to make contact, and possibly leave with the alien visitors.
  • The Cog Is Dead in I Don't Want To Live on This Planet Anymore!

    Video Games 
  • Hanako of Disgaea 2 was born after her parents were turned into demons due to Zenon's curse, so she has been a demon all her life. Adell's success turned her into a human, but she didn't want to be one, and so she left Veldime with Etna in order to find a way to become a true demon. In the DLC for Disgaea 3, she appears as her previous incarnation, so she apparently succeeded. Though her brother Taro also remained a demon in the same DLC pack and did not travel with her... She uses Time Travel to join the cast as DLC in the PSP remake to show off her becoming a Demon Lord.
  • The entire ending Playable Epilogue of Lunar 2 had Hiro looking for a way to follow Lucia after her But Now I Must Go ending. He succeeds and goes to Earth to be with her as she terraforms the planet.
  • In Soul Nomad & the World Eaters, when Penn is given a chance to return home with his father Thorndyke, he chooses to stay with the Nereids. He's still proud of the fact that his dad is a renowned hero though.
  • At the end of the Space Route in Shin Super Robot Wars, Char Aznable sends a message to Londo Bell, whom he expects to be in a festive mood, yet unjustified by what Char is convinced has been a horrific mistake for mankind. He reckons they got lucky with this victory and points out that Balmar is sure to send a second or third fleet to Earth, without any shortage of firepower. Just how far will Londo Bell's efforts last, he muses, ostentatiously checking himself and claiming sarcastically that sour grapes weren't the intent of the message. Since Char is worried about mankind too, in his fashion, he has chosen to accompany the aliens returning to their own worlds. Therefore, he is entrusting Londo Bell with all the alien technology he has been able to amass, telling them to put it to good use for humanity.
  • Sonic Runners uses this trope to Hand Wave why the Wisps are still present despite their But Now I Must Go moment at the end of Sonic Colors as well as their previously unexplained presence in Sonic Lost World.
  • Subnautica Below Zero: at the end of the game, Robin decides to leave human-controlled space with AL-AN to visit the Architects' civilization... assuming it still exists. The fact that she was on 4546B illegally and had helped destroy Alterra's attempt to study the Kharaa probably had something to do with this.

    Web Comics 
  • Mrs. Primrose, Roofus the Robot, and the giant peanut butter monster in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!. Dean Martin (no, not the singer) asks for the same favor, but Princess Voluptua turns him down.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Invader Zim episode "Vindicated," Dib's "skool" counselor seemingly believes him about Zim, but is actually playing along to try and help him. At the end of the episode, a group of aliens called Plooskians show up, proving that Dib was right about everything. Unfortunately for him, Dwicky decides to live out his dream of exploring space by leaving with the Plooskians, accidentally taking Dib's camera with footage of their existence with him.
  • Sari Sumdac leaves with Autobots at the end of Transformers: Animated to learn more about her Cybertronian heritage. Had the series continued, we would have seen her attend a Cybertronian school.