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Tension

Submitted by skrapmetal at 2012-07-29 10:28:52 EDT
Rating: 1.88 on 11 ratings (14 reviews) (V)

Frequency (Part 1) https://www.ubersite.com/m/126250 
Wavelength (Part 2) https://www.ubersite.com/m/126295 
Amplitude (Part 3) https://www.ubersite.com/m/128225
Phase (Part 4) https://www.ubersite.com/m/128227

-----
Tension

Out in the desert, Armstrong and Rhodes again set up their equipment. This time the moon was not the target; this time the target was a space ship. The space ship was the source of 'The Message'. The memos Dr. Armstrong had seen in the past few days concerning it had begun to use capitals for emphasis: The Message. Earlier that very day, one of the Generals had brought the scientists printed copies of photographs and composite images that had at once caused in them both a deep fear and a deep wonder.

Several telescopes that weren't supposed to be in orbit or even exist at all had as one peered in the same direction, and for once in their operational existences that direction was not at something on Earth. The images of the craft were poor quality, and not a lot of detail could be determined even with the overlain data sets from all the spectral sweeps. There were some data that were known, though. The ship was roughly 4 kilometers wide and 500 meters tall in the direction facing Earth. It reflected visible light and emitted brightly in the infrared. It was obviously equipped with a UVLE-like device since it was transmitting the encoded Message with that technology. Presumably it would have a UVLD-like device for decoding as well. It was about 1000 AU from Earth, and still approaching very rapidly. New estimates of it's arrival based on more accurate tracking of The Message gave it's arrival at Earth in about 13 days.

Those few who had heard the recordings had engaged in discussions concerning whether it was a hoax or real, and if real, who could be sending the dire warning. “We are near. Death is coming for you. There is no hope. You who abandoned war will be spared. You who embraced war will be destroyed.” Now that there were visual images as confirmation of the existence of a ship located at the origin of The Message, those discussions had ceased. Now, the talk was of what if anything might be done about the approaching ship.

-----
Dr. Rhodes busied himself with accessing the directional data on the ship to hone the aim of the UVLE's tracking controls. If the tight-beam communication missed the target, it would do no one any good. After several hours, while Dr. Armstrong had a shower and short period of sleep, Rhodes was sure the UVLE was tracking the space ship well enough to send several repetitions. He woke Dr. Armstrong and gave him an update, after which they both went to the conference room to speak with the General.

“General, we are ready to send our reply to the ship. Have you decided what you will say?”

“Dr. Armstrong, you will record the reply and you will send it with your UVLE. It will be your voice they receive. You will say the words that are written on this paper and nothing else. Am I clear?”

“I understand. Can I see these momentous words?” Dr. Armstrong looked over the script, and read the three sentences silently. 'Your Message has been received. Who are you? What do you seek?' Armstrong thought that it needed to be so much more than those few paltry noncommittal phrases.

Sensing the scientist's worries, the General said, “We've used this language to convey several points without appearing to pose a threat. This says that we know they're approaching and that they are sending a message. It says we're interested in them and are not unwilling to be of help. So, if you would, please record our reply. Much more thought than you know has gone into it.”

It took five tries before Dr. Armstrong managed to say the twelve words without the wavering of emotion in his voice. Once done, the file was loaded into the UVLE. With a complete lack of the fanfare due mankind's first words to an alien being, a button was pressed and the reply was sent.

-----

The scientists and the General sat at the conference table. Dr. Armstrong said, “General, assuming we aimed and tracked the UVLE properly, it will take about five days for the message to reach the ship and a bit less than that further for them to let us know they received it and provide a response. I'd suggest we let the crew go home for a couple days. We'll make sure the monitors stay and track the ship and listen to The Message, and they can quickly recall everyone if anything changes.”

“I don't see why we cannot accommodate that request”, said the General. “We could all use a break from this. I will remind you that your work on the UVLE and even moreso the Message we've received is absolutely secret and must not be mentioned. Not to anyone. Am I clear?”

“Of course, General” Armstrong replied, nodding.

“I will stay and monitor the recording, and let you know if anything changes”, Dr. Rhodes said. “I would rather do that than go home and think about all this spaceship stuff.” He smiled in a tired and weak manner.

Dr. Armstrong looked at the other scientist. “Rhodes, you can at least get some sleep. Nothing will likely happen for a few days anyway.”

“Yes, that will probably help.”

-----

Dr. Armstrong received the call after only two days at home. He had not seen his wife and young child for several weeks, with the work on the UVLE and UVLD, and in the days since they'd received The Message, he had not even spoken with them. And now, after barely catching up on sleep and the schoolday adventures of his daughter, he was packing a bag and on his way back to the laboratory. The General had made the call himself, but he would not give a reason for it. Armstrong knew enough to not press for details on the telephone, so he'd just have to roll over the possibilities in his mind until he got back to the lab. Further communication? The UVLE had failed? What could it be? It was going to be a long flight.


somewhereoutthere.jpg
somewhereoutthere.jpg


Reviews


Submitted by Anglophile at 2012-09-26 14:46:31 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

Under pressure.

Submitted by RoadSong at 2012-09-26 12:40:26 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

still good :)

Submitted by Anglophile at 2012-08-05 16:53:41 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

Submitted by (Brotherbabycakes) at 2012-08-04 22:13:53 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

“General, we are ready to send our reply to the ship. Have you decided what you will say?”
-------------------------------------------------------------
"Beam down a pizza, Scotty"

Submitted by BranDo at 2012-08-04 05:17:37 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

As long as they pas the Oort Cloud they'll make it.

Submitted by Poots at 2012-08-03 09:52:29 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

I read all of them and they are all equally interesting. I get tripped up on some of the technical jargon but think, " well I could look it up if I really wanted to know." Then never do.do.

I was wondering if you could write the out takes, like a Jackie Chan movie, during the ending credits of this story.

Also, I was wondering if this and previous sentence should have a question mark at the end of them. Just wondering and all.

Submitted by JonnyX at 2012-07-30 16:21:22 EDT (#)
Rating: 1

whom killed him, and why?

Submitted by skrapmetal at 2012-07-30 10:26:10 EDT (#)

Matt Nathanson probably does need someone to defend his delicate sensibilities, but you may regret taking up your role as Sir Fallalot on this one. Not because you couldn't rescue that princess, but because of the attention from Matt Nathanson you might get by doing so. Still, if you need to -2 my post to make a point about how you feel about the minstrel Matt Nathanson, FALLEN, then do what you have to do. You're probably aware that doing so will change neither a) my firm opinion that Matt Nathanson is a spineless weak girlyboy whose songs all sound like the musical version of the Twilight Saga and who would actually write Twilight Saga - The Musical if he could for stop daydreaming of being Dave Matthews in high drag for long enough to do it, nor b) the undeniable fact that Matt Nathanson is a spineless weak girlyboy whose songs all sound like the musical version of the Twilight Saga and who would actually write Twilight Saga - The Musical if he could for stop daydreaming of being Dave Matthews in high drag for long enough to do it.

Submitted by FALLEN at 2012-07-30 09:41:18 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

IF YOU DON'T STOP HATING ON MATT NATHANSON I WILL BE FORCED TO -2 YOU.
STICK TO THE STORY.

Submitted by RoadSong at 2012-07-29 21:03:44 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

“We are near. Death is coming for you. There is no hope. You who abandoned war will be spared. You who embraced war will be destroyed.”

Kickass illustration

Submitted by SilvrWolf at 2012-07-29 11:09:43 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

Bask in the glory, skrap.

You're good at letting just enough happen in each installment to keep me wanting more.
11 days to zero hour...

Submitted by skrapmetal at 2012-07-29 11:06:03 EDT (#)

Once again and as ever, whysenheimer cannot resist me. He has even made his screen name an homage to me. How he worships me!

Submitted by Ducky at 2012-07-29 10:46:34 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

on faith...hike time

Submitted by skrapmetal at 2012-07-29 10:28:08 EDT (#)

Seriously though; that faggoty* little gayfaced* pansy Matt Nathanson needs to stop breathing up all that oxygen that could be better used by people who don't suck giant sweaty rhinoceros balls.

*these terms are used in the disparaging sense, not the homosexual sense. Matt Nathanson can be as homosexual as he wants to be - I don't care if he's gay. I don't care if he's really, really, really, like Olympic level, I mean utterly weapons-grade gay. I don't care. Wouldn't surprise me, but I don't care.


Homer: But wait. You can't kill me for being Krusty. I'm not him.
I'm Homer Simpson.

Fat Tony:
The same Homer Simpson who crashed his car through the wall of
out club?

Homer: Uh ... actually my name is Barney. Yeah. Barney Gumble.

Homie the Clown