Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer

“Are you telling me a spaceship really did crash in Roswell in 1947?” asked Dr. Ambien as he panned the badly damaged spaceship that had been laid out in the spacious hangar.

“Yes, Doctor. The spaceship contained three aliens, but they all died in the crash. However, there was a very sophisticated on-board computer that we managed to capture.”

“You mean ‘recover’.”

“No, Doctor, I mean capture. When we tried to load the spaceship onto a flatbed, it fired its engines and tried to escape. Fortunately, because it was badly damaged, the ship didn’t get far. The computer is that large glowing ball in the cockpit.” He indicated an eighteen inch diameter, translucent pale green sphere that had a geodesic metallic framework surrounding it. “It wasn’t easy in the beginning, but we were able to extract a lot of useful technology out of the computer by modulating its power intake. Of course, we couldn’t admit that it was alien technology, so we had to give credit to human scientists for all the new inventions. You know, William Shockley got credit for the transistor, Jack Kilby for the microchip, Al Gore for the internet,” he added with a smirk.

“Wait a minute,” interrupted Dr. Ambien. “What did you mean when you said you modulated its power intake?”

“Well, we needed to gain its cooperation. So when it wouldn’t give us information, we’d cut back its power, or change the frequency of the electric current. Sometimes we would place powerful magnets around the sphere to scramble its electrical pathways. Eventually, it shared its technology.”

“You mean you tortured it?”

“Come on professor, it’s a computer, not a person. Is it torture to cut the power to your PC?”

“It’s not the same thing. This is unethical behavior. I don’t think I can work for this Program.”

“Look Doctor. You’re here for one thing. You’re under contract to give us an independent assessment of that satellite,” he pointed to the automobile size contraption at the far side of the hangar. “We built it based on the designs given to us by the alien computer. It’s supposed to be able to detect fissionable levels of weapons grade uranium from orbit. But, to be frank, it has a lot of hardware that we don’t fully understand. We’re reluctant to activate it without the concurrence of industry’s top scientific minds. You either work with us, Doctor, or you’ll never do work for the government again.”

You bastards, Ambien thought. Homeland Security is going to blacklist me. Then he noticed the translucent sphere pulsating. It was Morse Code. “Please help me,” it spelled out. After a few seconds thought, he made up his mind. “Yes,” Dr. Ambien said aloud while staring at the computer, “I will help you.” Almost instantly, the new satellite emitted an intense pulse that caused all of the humans in the hangar to collapse, except for Dr. Ambien. The satellite lifted from the ground and floated toward the alien spaceship. When it landed, a hatch opened, exposing an internal cavity about the size of the sphere. The compartment contained dozens of cables with unique connectors. Its function was obvious. Dr. Ambien quickly climbed into the damaged spaceship and disconnected the sphere and carried it to the satellite. It took him five minutes to connect all the cables. The sphere glowed bright yellow as the satellite drifted upward, where it hovered for several minutes. Then the public address system of the hangar transmitted a message, “Thank you, Dr. Ambien.”

The satellite rammed through the skylight, and disappeared into the clouds.

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