Doctor Spencer’s Fallen Star

Standard
Digital drawing: A mask-like face at center that with sharp angled eye holes, a mouthpiece shaped like jagged teeth, and a beak-like nose. Instead of a body, an amorphous form flows out and up from where the neck would be expected. A wake of glowing light flows out from the face’s jaw, indicating movement at great speeds. Below the face, bottom half of image, the translucent partial view of a planet and a large continent.

From the depths of the cosmos they come…warping all around them as they go.

Time.  Matter.  Energy.

Will.

Falling and flying.

Shifting between the unknowable and the knowable.

Ordinary.

Dark.

Circular.

Inverted.

Spinning.

Existing simultaneously.

Existing not at all.

~***~

Personal Log, S. Spencer, 14 July 2039

Per our current understanding, the entity moves through the cosmos and through dimensions, through all levels of existence, differentiating like a cell, gaining specific characteristics, (maybe gaining awareness, if it didn’t have that already?), making choices that are layered upon previous choices.

Does that make sense?  It needs some revision, but could I put that in the final report?

I’ve started writing my section of the report already.  So I’ve been reviewing these, my personal logs.  It’s been strange switching between the two, between objective observation and subjective leaps, between logical conjecture and philosophical musings.

All these musings are fine for my personal logs.  But the report has to be thorough and instructive.  The language has to be direct and precise.  No figurative speech.  No creative comparisons.  We can’t take the chance that there might be misunderstandings of a centuries-old idiom.

Whatever I include, whatever I write, I need to make sure that whoever reads it, 5000 years from now, will be able to understand it, and act on it.

Before it’s too late, for us all.

***

Draft of Final Report
Level 1 Extraterrestrial Event, Southern Continent, 2039 (1X-2039)
Section 5, Authored by
Sonora Spencer, Doctor of Philosophy: Astrobiology and Astrolinguistics

As of the writing of this report, the entity designated Keter-2039 was still alive, but had ceased communicating.  Either they were unable to, or they had conveyed all they could and in every way they could. Though they and we attempted communication through multiple methods, language and syntax barriers prevented anything more than rudimentary understanding, at least on our part. Methods of communication are detailed in Section 4.5.2 of this report and are summarized here: hand and digit movements, vocalizations, facial expressions, limited telepathy…

***

Personal Log, S. Spencer, 11 January 2039

As a descendant of one of the only people to witness the “idol”—as it was then called—and to witness the process of disabling the idol, I have a unique contribution to make.  Only my great-grandfather was a direct eye witness, having gone into the jungle with his mentor, the now-forgotten Professor Gadston (we still can’t locate his descendants, if there are any). Nevertheless, both my great-grandparents bequeathed their personal journals to their descendants, and arranged for that process to continue even if those journals should end up in the hands of someone who forgot about them, or just ignored them.  I already had notes from those journals.  But once the crash occurred, I began reviewing them again in the hopes of avoiding what happened last time, and the two times before that. 

They didn’t know how long it would be before the idol crashed on Earth again.  They didn’t have enough data to make the calculations.  But we do now.

Why should we worry about what happens in the year 7000?  Because what happens then will happen now.  What happens then will have already happened.

We missed our chance to change it ourselves.  But we haven’t yet missed our chance to gather the information and intelligence that our descendants will need so that they can change it.

This is a disaster not of our own making…for once.  But there’s not much comfort in that fact, considering it is the ultimate disaster.

The end of everything.

***

Report 1X-2039, Section 5:

Professor Gadston had not revealed to his colleague and student, Doctor Steven Spencer, or to any of the men who accompanied him into the jungle that he possessed special information about the idol he was seeking.  He did not reveal how he came about this information, written on a slip of paper that he did not retain.  On it were written instructions for accessing some kind of control on the idol.  This object was not an idol made by human hands, but was the pod in which the entity traveled to Earth, designated Keter-Vessel-1921 (hereafter referred to as KV-1921).  According to Doctor Spencer’s official account, his mentor claimed to have broken the machine in order to dissipate a temporal variance in that section of jungle.  This temporal variance had resulted in time moving much slower within a particular irregular radius around KV-1921.  This temporal variance was being caused by a malfunction in the crashed vessel’s systems.  Unbeknownst to Professor Gadston, his manipulation also resulted in the death of the entity, designated Keter-1921, and the disappearance of the idol. 

***

Personal Log, S. Spencer, 1 February 2039

It begins where it ends and it ends where it begins.  On Earth. The idol has always been here since before the planet was here. Long before any being on our planet had the sense to perceive it, it sat, patiently, throbbing with life that was fading even as life around it was arising. 

***

Report 1X-2039, Section 5:

Human beings typically experience time linearly.  As such, we can synchronize multiple actions at the same time.  But we cannot synchronize the same action at multiple times.  The Keter entity can do so, because the entity begins outside of our known cosmos.  The entity is undefined and acquires identity in what humans perceive as a non-sequential process that culminates in increasing levels of complexity and specificity, resulting in the manifestation of a living entity within a non-living craft.

By all indications there have been a total of three previous crashes, one of which was not witnessed, having occurred prior to the advent of hominids to the continent, or possibly prior to the existence of the planet itself.  But these are all the same crash. 

Section 3 contains a full account of the temporal physics involved in what has been designated a “multi-temporal collision event.” 

***

Personal Log, S. Spencer, 13 February 2039

This bears further exploration, but from what we can tell, the entity is like the cosmos, starting with a bang that spews out primordial matter and begins to…come together, until it finally becomes an elegant-looking alien, blasting through space in an equally elegant spacecraft.

A pod, ornate, appearing like a richly crafted idol from an ancient civilization, crashes to Earth.

How?  Why?

Did the pod get damaged?  How?  Was it arrogance, or just an accident of innocent joy?  That’s what Montoya thinks happens based on his recent attempts at communication. 

“Like Icarus flying too close to the sun,” he said.  He shook his head and laughed, but his eyes looked, I don’t know, sad.   

I had no idea who or what “Icarus” was, so he explained.  It was a myth from ancient Greece, about a boy and his father getting trapped in an inescapable maze of his father’s own making.  To escape, they each built wings made of feathers and wax.  His father warned Icarus to fly low enough so that the heat from the sun wouldn’t melt the wax and destroy the wings.  But Icarus was young and excited about escaping and about flying.  I would have been too.

He was so excited that he forgot his father’s warning.  He flew too high.  The wax holding his wings together melted.  Poor Icarus plummeted into the ocean and died.

Montoya and his telepaths tried to convey the story to the entity, when they got some indication that some foolishness or recklessness was involved in the crash.

We’re getting some answers.  We still need to make sense of them, but we’re making progress.

The biggest mystery that remained was one that we now believe we can explain, the paw prints that were found near KV-2039.  At first, we speculated that the entity was shifting shape, attempting to match the wildlife found in the jungle where the vessel crashed.  A jaguar, likely.  Weakened and injured by the crash, the shapeshifting likely failed and the entity resumed their native form. 

But those paw prints were not made by Keter-2039, and they were not made by a jaguar or any other animal native to that jungle—or to this planet. 

There is another entity.  One that followed. 

***

Report 1X-2039, Section 5:
TRANSCRIPT, Private Briefing of International Assembly for Extraterrestrial Affairs (InAXA):

Representative 0314: Gods?

Dr. Spencer: No, more…more like a cosmic primordial force.

Representative 0523: Do you concur with Doctors Montoya, Rockwell, and Lee that there is no danger in exposing our human telepaths to the entity?

Dr. Spencer: I wouldn’t say there’s “no danger.” Some level of risk is inherent in everything we’re doing and every decision we’re making—or not making.

Representative 0523: Understood, Doctor. Let me rephrase “no danger” to “minimal danger.”

Dr. Spencer: Telepathic communication is not my area of expertise, but I have been working closely with Doctor Montoya’s team, and as a somewhat outside observer of their practices, I’d say they’re using an overabundance of caution.  If there is any critique to be leveled against those practices, it is that they may be to the detriment of Keter-2039.  The precautions are slowing down our efforts to establish clear enough communications to potentially help treat their—Keter-2039’s injuries—at least the ones that are biological and detectable by our…uh, equipment.

Representative 0314: Then what is the benefit of even making the attempt and spending the resources?

Dr. Spencer: The benefit is that we have a lot to gain from the entity’s knowledge of their vessel and their origins.  Even with the rudimentary….conversations that the telepaths have had, we’ve uncovered a troubling new piece of information.

Representative 0314: The destruction of the Earth?  I’d say that more than just “troubling,” Doctor. Please don’t soften your language out of worry about panicking us. We need to know the worst case scenarios if we’re going to make the best decisions.

Dr. Spencer: Agreed, Secretary REDACTED. Let me rephrase “troubling” to… “catastrophic.”

***

Report 1X-2039, Section 5:

Objective evidence does not exist. If accounts of all witnesses and corroborated accounts from secondhand witnesses can be believed, Keter-1921 themselves provided the instructions for the disabling of their craft.  The reason given was that the temporal variance would eventually expand and trap the entire solar system in a temporal void, leaving us alone and isolated from all other life in the cosmos.  We would be unable to escape, because we wouldn’t even know we were trapped.

What the Keter entity did not know, until we established solid communication and exchanged information, was that a worse fate awaited us if we did disable their craft and let them die.  These communications combined with the information presented in previous subsections, from field observations, anecdotal accounts, and theoretical calculations, revealed a dire conclusion.

Another entity had arrived on Earth.  This entity would find that Keter-2039 had perished, and in grief would begin to release bursts of residual cosmic forces.  The particle tides created by these unintentional bursts would tear the planet apart and collapse it into itself.

By the time this information was assembled, KV-2039 had already been disabled.  The temporal variance was dissipating, and Keter-2039 began to die.

However, the Keter entity provided some hope, by indicating confusion about one particular memory.  Being that the entity can “remember” future events, they indicated a dissonance in the memory of their own death.  The entity remembered perishing on Earth, but also remembered dying on another planet in another galaxy.  This memory suggests that humanity may have succeeded in avoiding permanent obliteration.

***

Personal Log, S. Spencer, 1 April 2039

As much as I’d like to blame the Assembly for acting hastily, they, like all the rest of us, are doing their best.  And for those us who have been speaking with 39, who are inclined to believe and trust, the Assembly is serving as a check.  Still…if they’d only given us an extra 30 days, maybe we could have done something ourselves. 

***

Report 1X-2039, Section 5:

The Assembly (InAXA) argues that the very presence of the world proves that its destruction has not occurred.  That is linear thinking.  The world has already been destroyed before.  Three times.  And it will be destroyed again.  However, it has been and will be restored, by the very temporal variance that split the Keter entity across five points in time and resulted in the anomaly discovered in the jungle.  So long as another crash instance exists in the linear timeline, Earth must exist as well, and everyone and everything upon it.  The team of temporal physicists theorize that the planetary destruction and restoration occur instantaneously.  This theory and its alternates are detailed in Sections 3.6. to 3.11.

No accounts of witnessing the destruction exists. That is to be expected.  But our research reveals several accounts of visions and premonitions of the end of the world (see Appendix C), an end that supposedly did not occur, because our observation proves that we are still here.  But those seers were right.

And this will only happen only one more time.  After the next time, the world’s destruction will be permanent.  Earth will not only cease to be, it will cease to ever have been.  Its destruction will expand through all time.  The only chance to save Earth is to ensure we can find a way to disable the temporal variance and keep the Keter entity alive.

Prior to the ceasing of communications with Keter-2039, we were able to identify and begin exploring potential methods of dissipating the temporal variance without endangering the Keter entity (whose future designation will be Keter-7015).  The entity previously rejected the notion that we might be able to repair their vessel, due to the primitive nature of our tools and technology.  But repairing the vessel is the best possible option.  The second best option is to proceed with disabling the vessel, but immediately perform medical treatment on the Keter entity, starting with severing the link between entity and vessel.  A significant period of convalescence would be required.  

We are currently attempting a third option, still available to us, in the hopes that we might still prevent this catastrophe now, and spare our descendants from this heaviest of burdens.  We are attempting to locate the second entity so that we might initiate communication and explain.

***

Personal Log, S. Spencer, 31 October 2039

A few generations before Professor Gadston went into the jungle, the people who lived there saw the sky burst into flame.  At first, they thought the sun had fallen from the sky.  They were afraid their world would come to an end.  So they marched over to where the thought the sun had fallen, so they could talk it back into ascending.  They passed down the legends about the fallen star that became the idol. 

And those legends, I hope, will help us do what they hoped to do.  Preserve the world.  Save the Earth.

There have been four crashes, four fallen stars that are actually the same star.  Four chances that we missed.  Or maybe we didn’t miss anything.  Maybe we’ve been doing what we were supposed to be doing all along.  Gathering information, passing it on. 

We’ve only got one more crash and one more chance to avoid the true end of the world.  One more chance before a mourning cosmic entity consumes our planet with grief.  Maybe the entity will reverse the process of its existence and become all primordial force again.  And maybe that force will swallow even our Sun, our system, our galaxy.  The black hole swirling at the center of the Milky Way, that hole that has been consuming for eons, may itself be consumed.

All will be nothing.

Some seem to think so.

We’ve been trying to find 39’s friend, that second entity whose presence we’ve only seen in the form of paw prints.  But we’ve had no luck so far.  And I don’t know how much time we have left before we’re destroyed and remade.  Maybe it’s already happened.

All I can do is gather all the information we have so far into the finalized report with instructions for the descendants of humanity.  All I can do is help make sure that report is passed on and that it doesn’t fade from record or memory.  Because according to our calculations, the next crash will not happen until 7015.

If we succeed, then maybe someone will read these words and think… “We’re still here!” 

If we don’t succeed…

If we don’t succeed, then it’s been nice to have existed.

I’d like to believe that somehow, some way, we will abide, within some hidden pocket dimension, along some stray thread of spacetime, as the potential energy of a nascent star, or in the memories of a cosmic entity.

But I would much prefer it if our descendants save the alien, the planet, themselves, and all of us who will have ever been.  I would very much like for the story of my species to continue, until we reveal the hidden, focus what now is adrift, and fulfill our potential.  And instead of being swept up in the wakes of their motions, maybe one day, we could properly meet those cosmic entities.

On Earth.


Copyright © 2021  Nila L. Patel

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