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Several years ago, I heard a brief summary of a sci-fi story (though it could be a movie) where humanity is facing (or is warned about) the threat of alien invasion.

A program is set up that is overseen by the president's advisor and a military guy. The advisor promotes a plan for mustering a large group of prominent scientists, engineers, etc, tasked with the goal of promptly creating effective countermeasures.

When they finally assemble for the first meeting, the military guy shoots the advisor who turns out to be an alien and whose intent was to decapitate mankind by killing all of its most capable intellectuals, while they were gathered in one place.

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    I think this may be an episode of The Outer Limits
    – Geneworm
    Commented Oct 17, 2021 at 22:36
  • Almost reminds me of the Posleen War novels.
    – nick012000
    Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 8:32
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    The plot setup is also very similar to Doctor Who's fourth episode of the first series after its revival in 2005, called "Aliens of London".
    – Jorge
    Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 10:23
  • One of Christopher Anvil's "War with the Outs" short stories has a new officer advising the president (or whatever the Federation head of state is) being an alien, as well... Commented Jan 18, 2022 at 19:38

1 Answer 1

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This sounds very similar to the premise of a short story by Asimov, "Let's Get Together", except in that case instead of a conflict between aliens and humanity, it dealt with a cold war between two blocs called "Us" and "Them". It was first published in 1957 in Infinity Science Fiction, but is probably more known from its inclusion in The Rest of the Robots.

From the Wikipedia summary:

A secret agent arrives in America from Moscow with the story that robots identical to humans in appearance and behavior have been developed by Them and that ten have already been infiltrated into America. When they get together, they will trigger a nuclear-level explosion.

A conference of the greatest scientists and engineers is quickly convened to come up with a solution to this. Just in time, the head of the Bureau of Robotics realises this is the entire point of the ploy: the replacements will detonate when they attend the conference. Although the number of lives lost will be low, it will consist of the greatest intellects, so "We" would face fighting a war "with our brains blown out".

Ten of the scientists travelling to the conference immediately detonate themselves, but

the Bureau head wonders how They could have realized and acted upon the discovery of the plan so quickly. The truth dawns on him; he pulls a blaster and blows the secret agent's head off. The body slumps forward leaking "not blood, but high-grade machine oil."

This matches your question almost exactly, except that the agent (and replacements) were robots, rather than aliens.

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  • Thanks! No wonder I couldn't identify the story via a web search.
    – Leon
    Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 7:54
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    I'm rather surprised by this answer, as this sounds like exactly the sort of robot story that Asimov didn't like (and which motivated him to invent the Three Laws).
    – Kevin
    Commented Oct 19, 2021 at 1:24
  • 6
    @Kevin Well, just because We created Three-Laws-compliant robots doesn't mean They had to as well... Commented Oct 19, 2021 at 2:10

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