Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Land Leave: Alien Satellite 2/4

short story cont'd

“Millions of years?”

“With the right source of energy, a satellite could exist for billions of years without burning out. There is almost no way of telling how old or what it is without getting closer.”

Cmdr Tam leaned back in his chair and watched the green lawn. He felt alien. He felt like the cars and the trees were not his own. He saw the world and its strangeness with new eyes. For a moment, he was the satellite; alone in its journey, searching for something more in the universe. He turned back to Neil, “can we keep this classified?”

“Yes, but--”

“How long?”

“A while. Maybe even years, but nothing stays classified sir.”

“I know. But we have to figure out what the hell to do. Other nations?”

“Our team checked and no one is looking anywhere near that location for anything. We have some time sir.”

“Alright. Pending the findings of a committee of higher rank than mine, you and your team are immediately classified. You will be assigned a special agent that will look over your case and advise you on matters of national security. All reports will now go to me and the committee. Dismissed.”

Neil exited silently. He had hoped there wouldn't be a maze of red tape, that a discovery like this could be shared with all of mankind.

But he also knew the risks. If this thing had malicious intent, humanity could easily end up as little more than parasites that could be easily eradicated. That night he told his team, and they all nodded solemnly. They were just as aware of the potential consequences. They sat in silence for several minutes. Eventually they went back to work trying to decode the signal.

They worked, barely speaking to each other. Their work was the most exciting thing to happen to man kind. Ever. One of the engineers made the first discovery; the first string was pi using a base 6 numbering system. The second breakthrough was that the lines were 36 characters long.