Author : Bob Newbell

It took most of 20 years to bring the Labeyrie Hypertelescope Satellite Array online. But once the vast network of telescopes were in their various orbits out at the fringes of the solar system, the cosmos was finally opened up for humanity’s inspection. Using astronomical interferometry, the LHSA’s first target was an exoplanet called Gliese 581g. After extensive processing of the data from the telescope array was performed, a series of amazingly detailed pictures of the planet were released. A tidally locked world, half-charred and half-frozen with a narrow band of temperate climate running circumferentially around the planet’s terminator was revealed. It was the golden age of astronomy as what had been blurs and patches were resolved into worlds with oceans and coastlines, worlds with rings and moons, worlds with clouds and ice caps.

When my team’s application for time on the array was finally approved, we began our study of the Fornax Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy. My career had centered around searching for brown dwarf stars. It was my theory that these dark, sub-stellar objects were ubiquitous throughout the universe and might even be the “dark matter” for which physicists and astronomers had been searching for decades.

Shortly after beginning our survey of the Fornax Dwarf, we discovered something incredible. The telescope array detected a dark object we initially thought might be a brown dwarf. I was working alone that night and data from the array was coming in and being processed. Suddenly, a number popped up on the computer screen that made me gasp: the object’s diameter was slightly greater than one astronomical unit; in other words, it was bigger than Earth’s orbit around the Sun!

The days that followed are in my memory a blur of phone calls and emails with astronomers and physicists from around the world. What the hell were we looking at? As the array’s computers made minute adjustments to the distributed telescope and as the incoming data were processed around the clock, a composite image of the object came into focus. The surface was a vast expanse of what appeared to be metal with what might have been ports at irregular intervals. If ports they were, they were large enough to allow the Moon to pass through them. The observed gravitational lensing effect suggested it had a mass comparable to the Sun. What we were seeing was a star encased in a solid shell. The public quickly became acquainted with the term “Dyson Sphere”.

Thus far, we’ve found 192 Dyson Spheres in six different galaxies. While no two are identical, there appear to be at least six distinctive designs, each galaxy’s spheres having their own unique architecture. No spheres have been found so far in the Milky Way.

Did a single race construct them all, or did several civilizations independently develop the technology? Could there be entire undetected galaxies with most of the stars shelled? Is this the “missing” dark matter of the universe? And what’s inside the spheres? Are there beings living inside them? Or are the spheres just massive solar collectors used to power…what?

In ancient times, people looked up at the night sky and thought the stars were gods. We now know the truth. The stars we can see are creation’s backwater, devoid of life or, at best, home to primitive, undeveloped rustics like ourselves. True civilization lies secluded in the darkness. The gods are in the shadows.

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