Author : Dr. Alexanders
Hundreds of years of exploration, trillions of dollars into research on space travel, all culminating in the single most astounding and miraculous discovery in all of human history, and the only tangible result of that effort was the Unity Dome. Gerald shook his head as he walked through the padded corridor that cut across the barren surface of the moon, “Seems like a waste to me”.
His companion was noticeably more enthusiastic. “I can’t believe I was selected for the fifth viewing! I mean, you were there, the first to make contact but I almost had a heart attack when I got the hyperwave. It’s been such a rush. First class flight from Europa, a suite in the Tranquility Hilton! God above, I can’t believe I am this lucky!”
Gerald bristled at the unbridled enthusiasm, “Look, man, you don’t know what you are talking about. Like you said, I have done this before! It’s nothing to look forward to.”
Cameron seemed not to hear him, “A chance to watch an alien play, to see how they think and feel. An opportunity to view a mind so different than ours that communication is basically impossible! And it only happens once a year! Aren’t you excited?”
Gerald took a moment to remember how it had started. Humanity had been visiting alien worlds for almost a thousand years and discovered the galaxy to be a barren and boring place. Occasionally some rock would have pools of water on it and maybe some bacteria or some microscopic shrimp-like creatures, but nothing intelligent. The galaxy was nothing more than an empty space suitable for mining, dumping, and esoteric research. He had been hauling a load of toxic waste with a three man crew out into the middle of nowhere. Who would have thought that would have bought him a place in the history books? As the one manning the cockpit, he had seen it first, the smooth, black sphere hovering mere feet from their bow.
After that singular moment of elation, things had quickly gone downhill. Millions of minds had bent their efforts towards communication with the aliens but there were just too many differences. As far as anyone could tell, the aliens were just as confused and frustrated as they were. As beings of mostly light and energy, though they did have an organic core, they seemed to communicate through flashes of electromagnetic energy, in the visible through the microwave range of the spectrum, but no one could make any sense of it. At some point, Dr. Vandrashir had come up with the idea of the Unity Dome, and somehow had managed to communicate its purpose to the aliens, or at least we thought he had. And now, once a year, they came to the moon and met with humanity.
Cameron took Gerald’s long pause as an opportunity to ask another question, “Do you know what we are performing this time?”
Gerald was started out of his remembrance, “Oh… King Lear, I think. Who knows what they’ll make of that. Just remember that afterwards, when they take the stage, to put on your goggles. Otherwise the radiation they emit will blind you. Even with them on it’ll probably just be a confusing hour of flashing lights and low moaning, it just gives me a headache.”
Cameron didn’t seem to hear him, and as he stepped through the threshold at the end of the corridor into the darkness of the performing hall he said, “God, this is going to be the most exciting moment of my life.”
Gerald wished he could have shared his enthusiasm.
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows