Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Sci-fi · #2285847
What if humans and aliens have already met--and neither realized it...
|“Now, that’s odd,” Quarl thought to his life companion. “There’s some sort of projectile traveling from the third closest planet to the sun on a direct path toward the fourth closest. At first, I thought that it was a routine meteorite, but it’s composition is really quite strange.|
“Yes, it’s really more of a shell than a typical rock, and that shell is made of mostly aluminum and carbon. Inside of the shell, one half is filled with gaseous nitrogen and oxygen, with a few strangely shaped half-solid, half-liquid cylinders of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. The other half of the shell’s interior is filled with liquified hydrogen, which appears to be slowly escaping from a small hole in the shell. It’s quite smooth in shape as well.” He turned, blinking his light detector fields at Qilda. “I’ve never seen a meteorite quite like it in any of the 3,037 other systems we’ve visited.”
Qilda’s photon appendages undulated over the graviton field floor to take a look at Quarl’s energy ripple. “You’re right. It is odd. The movements of the carbon-water cylinders in the gaseous side of the shell don’t seem to follow any known natural patterns.” She paused for a moment, studying the ripple’s readout. “See? There! They stop, then begin their strange movements again. And preceding each movement is a series of chemical reactions that take place in various locations within the carbon cylinder!”
“Do you think it’s a new natural phenomenon that we haven’t seen before? This is our first trip to this solar system.”
“I’m not sure,” thought Qilda, tapping her energy intake tunnel with her photon appendage as she considered the incoming data. “We came here to examine all the wave noise emanating from the third planet, but perhaps this odd meteorite is even more interesting. See there? The projectile is being propelled at increasing speeds by another chemical reaction. This one is taking place just outside a hole in the shell at one side.”
“You’re right! It’s really quite a strange and inefficient manner of propulsion, and one that I’ve never seen before. Isn’t nature grand? We must document this!”
“I told you that this trip would be worthwhile,” thought Qilda with a smug curl of her energy intake tunnel.
“You were right,” Quarl mentally acknowledged. “And it gets even better. There are billions of other carbon-water cylinders and other, smaller shapes made of the same substance roving over the third planet’s surface. Judging by the spray of wave energy coming from the aluminum-carbon shell, I think that the carbon cylinders must be the source of all of the noisy wave energy!”
“This really is quite the discovery,” Qilda agreed. “We’ve never seen collections of carbon and water produce wave energy in these quantities before. Why don’t we simply draw closer to the aluminum carbon shell out here. It seems like an easier place than the planet as a whole to get some isolated readings on this localized wave phenomenon. Then, we’ll go back to Supernova 44 and share these findings with our friends. These new data points really are quite astonishing.”
“Agreed,” Quarl thought back. With the pulse of energy formed by the flick of an ethereal tentacle, their graviton field sped toward the nearby projectile, a scant 2.7 million kilometers away.
As they neared, both life companions were able to discern the lightwaves that bounced off the projectile’s outer shell in greater detail. “There are small, squarish sections of silicon dioxide on the surface of the shell!”
“Indeed! And the carbon-water cylinders seem to be aligning at each silicon dioxide section. What an intriguing phenomenon!” thought Quarl.
“Yes,” Quilda agreed. “Quite interesting. Now that we have more precise readings, however, let’s head back.”
“Okay,” Quarl thought-replied, sounding disappointed. “But promise that we’ll come back soon. Maybe in an eon or two? I’d love to see some more wave-producing carbon cylinders sometime.”
“Fine,” Quilda said, her energy intake tunnel twitching upward. “But for now, we go home.”
With that, the two energy beings set their graviton field on a course toward Supernova 44.
“Hey, Carl. Come here! Check out this weird distortion just outside the window. It’s like someone’s holding up a fun-house mirror to reflect back a ripply, distorted image of Mars.
“Wow! Cool! Did you get a picture?”
“Good, ‘cause it looks like it’s gone.”
“Well that didn’t last long. What a strange phenomenon! I’ve never heard of anything like it before. I wonder if we’re the first ones to ever see something like that. I’ll have to radio it back to Houston. With that new, more powerful radio emitter, it should get there crystal clear.”
“You’re right. It is interesting. But I really hope it’s not the most interesting thing we see on the trip. I mean, I signed up for the first manned trip to Mars in the hopes of finding some alien life. Even if it’s just a mold molecule or something.”
“I know, I know. You and your Martian obsession. Sorry, but given what all of our probes and landers have found, it seems pretty unlikely that we’ll find any alien life on this trip.”
“Yeah, yeah. But I can always dream, right?”
Lilly gave his arm an affectionate squeeze. “Of course, you can, Carl. Of course, you can.”