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Basic Trope: Humanity encounters an intelligent alien species for the first time.

  • Straight: The crew of the starship Lazarus arrives in their destination solar system and picks up coherent radio signals from one of the planets.
  • Exaggerated: ...And then from another ... And another ... And another...
  • Downplayed: SETI picks up a radio signal from several light years away, and starts sending radio signals in response.
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  • Justified: The crew exobiologist explains that life is likely to evolve everywhere that human beings would find habitable in the universe.note 
  • Inverted:
    • An alien species completely vanishes from the universe, never to be encountered again.
    • An intelligent alien species encounters humans for the first time.
  • Subverted: As the Lazarus closes in on the planet, they discover that it is actually Earth.
  • Double Subverted: ...Millions of years after World War III, when a new species has replaced humanity.
  • Parodied:
    • A crew of geeks looking to see if intelligent life may be found in a biker bar after they get a response to a message they sent to there in a parody of SETI.
    • The aliens turn out to be extremely stupid, not intelligent at all.
    • It turns out that the humans have met these aliens several times before, but found them so boring they forgot about them.
  • Zig Zagged:
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    • Two Human Subspecies from long-separated lineages encounter for the first time.
    • The Lazarus finds out that the signals are an automatic message sent by machines, whose intelligent creators died out or moved unimaginably far away eons ago.
  • Averted: Absent Aliens.
  • Enforced: The story is being written for a collection of first-contact novellas.
  • Lampshaded: "I don't believe it! To find extraterrestrial life on our first voyage out of the solar system... It's fantastic!"
  • Invoked: The Lazarus was sent to its target solar system because spectral analysis of the planet indicated the presence of life.
  • Exploited: The ship exobiologist uses First Contact as an excuse to seize control of the ship.
  • Defied: The Lazarus immediately leaves the solar system when the signals are discovered.
  • Discussed: "In the event of possible alien contact, starship crews are advised to proceed with extreme caution. Standard protocols are listed in Appendix L of The Terran Science Fleet Manual."
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  • Conversed: "What kind of aliens do you think they'll turn out to be?"
  • Implied: The future Earth in the story has an Alternative Calendar based on years "Since Contact".
  • Deconstructed: The alien species is so radically different from humanity that no communication or understanding is possible.
  • Reconstructed: The radical differences between the humans and the aliens are not unbridgeable thanks to convergent evolution, and so both species can gain great benefits from their interactions.
  • Played For Laughs: The aliens make a ridiculous Cliché Storm upon meeting humans.
  • Played For Drama: The arrival of aliens threatens our place in the universe, leading to existential crises.

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