The Alien Contact programme is a special Military programme tasked with undertaking peaceful and mutually beneficial first contact with newly discovered intelligent alien species. Once activated, Alien Contact Command is created by the commander-in-chief who chooses its commanding officer.

As a first step in Planet First assessments of so-far unexplored star systems, unmanned probes first listen passively, then send off various greets designed to be universally comprehensible by alien minds and only then actively approach and scan planets for habitability in order to not infringe on potential alien territory. If neo-intelligent lifeforms are found in the scans, the planets are quarantined to not disturb the course of evolution and the early development of an alien society.

Since it had long been mathematically proven that intelligent aliens must exist, the Alien Contact charter had been in place but dormant for centuries until it was first activated in 2789 after an unmanned alien probe approached Earth and began orbiting above Earth Africa. Communicating with this probe proved tricky, but eventually led to the discovery of Fortuna, the home planet of the originating alien civilization.

Philosophy and emergency powers

Encountering an alien species with technology far beyond humanity's capabilities would either be an unprecedented threat to the survival of the human species or the biggest opportunity ever for technological growth. Because of this importance of ensuring a peaceful first contact, Alien Contact has sweeping emergency powers, an unlimited budget and less parliamentary oversight compared to other military commands.

Once activated, Alien Contact uses pre-empts to quickly directly portal vast amounts of materiel and a lot of personnel from one sector to another without the public noticing. With an unlimited budget, every resource needed can be quickly acquired and vital civilian advisers refusing to work can be given increased pay and amenities to make them cooperate.

Alien Contact Command can involuntarily draft anyone they choose for instant duty. To facilitate fast recruitment, the Military constantly update a list of civilian experts. Refusing the draft or disobeying orders is a crime against humanity. Personnel refusing the draft or disobeying orders can be imprisoned indefinitely until the first contact is announced to the public to prevent leaks.

By default everything related to Alien Contact is classified code black. Not even Parliament of Planets is notified of it being activated, only Joint Sector High Congress Committee, which can elect to not inform the Parliament, giving the Military a huge leeway in handling the situation as long as the Committee is satisfied with their work. If necessary, Psych Division will create cover stories for anything they cannot hide from the public, such as unusual redeployments of ships and people.

Actions violating the protection of humanity laws can be taken and people working against Alien Contact can be tortured, vital assets and personnel can be defended with lethal force, including on the spot executions if deemed necessary for the survival of humanity.

If, however, Alien Contact Command abuses those sweeping powers, Joint Sector High Congress Committee can force the commanding officer to resign to force a different approach. The Committee can also veto decisions made by Alien Contact such as staff hirings. Once the public is made aware of the first contact, a vote of the full Parliament of Planet can even override tactical decisions. Now that the Parliament is aware of the activation, it can also intervene in Alien Contact in all the ways the Committee can.