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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2315696-Billboard-From-Space
Rated: ASR · Fiction · Sci-fi · #2315696
After traveling the cosmos, the advert finally landed.
"It's so enormous," Cabe said. The nearly four-hundred foot long slab lay in the hole, as it had for the past few days. Nobody would've ever guessed it had fallen from the sky.

"That's affirmative," Agent Peters said. "I've never seen anything leave a crater like that and still be in one piece. I'll have to get pictures. We'll have a flat bed truck take it back to the base, let the specialists look at it."

The G-man took pictures, not wanting to waste time talking to a civilian. He'd already gotten the statement of Cabe Johnson, the farmer who reported a flaming object in the sky followed by an explosion in the field near his home.

Cabe was extremely puzzled. He took the cap off his head and wrung it in his hands. "Headquarters? Specialists?" The farmer asked. "I didn't mean to cause problems. Is this something The Reds built? Are they bombing us?"

Agent Peters finished scribbling something in his notebook. He put it away and held his hands on his hips. "I don't know," Agent Peters said. "Even if I did, Mr. Johnson, I'm afraid that would be classified. You're not in trouble, sir, but I can't stress this enough, you didn't see anything."

The government agents finished documenting the impact site. A massive construction crane was brought in to move the monolithic structure. The truck's chassis groaned and clanked as the weight dropped onto its bed. Once the straps and tarp were in place, the truck got on the road to Amarillo Air Force Base.

Agent Peters resented having to get out of the truck's cab at the guard station. It wasn't even May and the Texas heat was already brutal. The wool suit he was wearing was already damper than a used watering can.

"State your purpose, and show your credentials" the guard ordered. The G-man pulled his badge and ID out to show the personnel.

"Agent Peters," he said. "I'm with Project Blue Book. Have a delivery for the Science boys on site."

After examining the information he'd been handed, the guard nodded. "Understood," he said. "Proceed through, and bring the delivery to Hanger 4."

A small man with a slide rule and pen stood waiting for them. His grey eyes gazed intently as the long thin object was offloaded. "You didn't damage the specimen?" The small man asked.

"I'm sorry who're you?" Agent Peters asked.

"My apologies," the man said. "I am Orson G. Hales PhD, and head of investigative services at Amarillo." Dr. Hales extended a hand which Agent Peters limply clasped.

"Great," Agent Peters said. "Glad to know who's in charge. Take a look at this."

The tarp that had covered the monolith was removed.

"Incredible," Dr. Hales said. "It's not like anything I've seen. There appears to be a caption along one of the sides. I've never seen a script like this. And what is this pictogram?"

Agent Peters heaved a heavy sigh. "Doc," he said. "If we had any clue what this is or what that gobbledygook at the bottom said anything, I wouldn't need your help."

The excited intellectual ignored this gripe. "I'll have to get some linguists in here," Dr. Hale said. "They should be able to help decipher the text. I'll have my team analyze this object. Oh! Um, what's a good way to contact you with our findings?"

Peterson wrote down two numbers on a piece of paper and handed them to the scientist. "I'm staying at the hotel here in town," Peterson said. "I'll be there for another day. The top number's for the room's phone. The second number is for my office in Washington. You'll be able to reach me there in another four days."

Once he'd finished his business, Agent Peterson returned to his room after telling the front desk to get him if anyone called the line and asked for him. Then the tired federal agent retired to the room where he shed his work clothes and waited for news.

Peterson had been napping when a loud knock roused him. Opening it he observed the desk clerk standing on the other side.

"Sorry to disturb your rest, sir," the attendant said. "Some scientist fella called. Asked to speak to you. Better hurry. I told him to hold on but he was powerful agitated. Might be best to talk to him ASAP."

"Yes I'll be right there," Agent Peterson said.

He picked up the receiver. "This is FBI Agent Peterson," he said. "How may I assist you?"

"It's Dr. Hale again," the voice on the line said. "We haven't finished our analysis but there's been some developments I felt you should know about."

This was unexpected. "While we're not sure exactly what material it's made of, the elements the monolith is composed of aren't found on this earth. Linguists analyzing what we believe to be print have confirmed the letters do not match any known written language."

The pen Peters had been playing with stopped wiggling back and forth. "So we're sure this isn't Russian or Chinese?" He asked.

"As certain as Einstein was that E=mc2," Dr. Hale said. "Our current hypothesis is that it's some sort of extra terrestrial sign post for a store or something."

There were no words to express what Peters felt. At least none he knew. How was he going to write a report explaining he'd found an alien advetisement?
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