Booner, ummm…I am very pleased that you are back…and…umm..."
coming back to life," someone shouted over by a group of
scientists and technicians gathered by a vending machine.
bringing up the 90s," another voice called out as people began to
well just follow me Alec," the general smiled curtly as she
motioned for an MP to escort them to his front-row chair.
There was now a larger table next to the chair, with a small TV,
a laptop, today’s edition of the Hawkins Falls Chronicle,
several bottles of beverages, a couple bags of potato chips, and
a tray of pizza.
make yourself comfortable here, Alec. Just tell the guard if you
need anything. All we need is for you to just be here for a
little bit longer. So, watch…ummm some TV and have some snacks
to pass the time." Then the general turned sharply and
headed to the fountain end of the patio where her command
trailer was parked.
studied the Chrome intently. Although it was moving and
again flashing many color sequences, it was clear to Alec that
is was now very physically distressed. The being seemed to be
slowing down, even in Alec’s presence—as if it was losing
energy or will. Alec wondered if it had to leave, or die, soon.
I would like a phone. Please," Alec said suddenly to the
nearby MP. The MP conferred with his headset and then unclipped
a small flat box, flipped it open, and handed it to Alec.
buddy," Alec said as if the guard were an old school chum.
He tapped the keypad quickly as he watched one of the Chrome's
Monty. It’s Alec. Listen, I can’t say much now, but can I
see you as soon as I leave the patio tonight?"
idea, Alec. See you soon!" Monty said with enthusiasm
followed by a sizzle of static as he disconnected.
settled back in his chair and reached for a piece of pizza.
Then he looked up again at the wilted creature that hung on the
pillar of blue light that surged from the sphere. Slowly, he put
down the pizza, and instead picked up his Ancient Philosophy
to concentrate on studying the Meno for his final. He
turned directly to the part where Socrates begins talking with
the slave boy and began reading. But he was too excited and
worried to study intently. Excited that he now had a hunch that
felt right; worried that the Chrome would soon be gone—one way
or the other.
knew his hunch was a long shot: that the Chrome, like Anytus,
was trying to say something like the Pythagorean Theorem. With
the darkening summer sky as his backdrop, Alec envisioned a
white right triangle and then watched as it seemed to melt into
the triangular patch of color that started one of the Chrome’s
message sequences. Was that triangular patch a pictogram? Wouldn’t
the Chrome try to say something simple about a simple thing—like
a mathematical truth that is universally true? Was it using a color word for "right
triangle" and could it have anything to do with the famous
general, I don’t think…" the shrill voice of Dr. Crink
interrupted Alec’s internal dialog.
Doctor Crink," the general said with a sharply raised voice
as she drew out ‘doctor’ in a shrill tone, "all you
have produced so far is a small dictionary of color words.
Washington wants more than that, and frankly, I don’t blame
them. How do those words fit together? Is this thing trying to
communicate with us or what? I’ve got to have more than just a
jumble of words, Crink!