Chrome Contact


"Like X could represent things that are roses and Y might mean things that are yellow. Lewis Carroll used little counters…a red one meant something exists in a cell; a black counter meant nothing exists in a cell. So, for a statement like ‘some roses are yellow,’ he would place a red counter in the cell for XY." 


Alec ran down the stairs to Monty’s office, almost falling in his haste. Monty opened his office door just as Alec was about to knock.

"Come in, come in." Monty closed the door quickly, almost pushing Alec into the room. "I’ve been monitoring everything. Already turned on email. Set it up to download to my laptop."

"Hey, thanks Monty," Alec said breathing heavily. He walked over to Monty’s desk where the laptop was sitting. "Looks like a file is coming in right now." Alec danced around as if he were trying to urgently hold his bladder.

"So what are these diagrams, anyway?" Monty asked, sharing Alec's excitement.

"I can’t explain it all right now, Monty." Alec jumped around as he watched the creeping download status gauge. "But Lewis Carroll devised a system of symbolic logic that uses diagrams—the most basic is a bilateral diagram…like a simple Karnaugh Map—a…a square divided into four cells. Each cell represents a combination of X and not-X and Y and not-Y."

"Sounds like some kind of algebra."

"Sort of," Alec said impatiently. "Like X could represent things that are roses and Y might mean things that are yellow. Lewis Carroll used little counters…a red one meant something exists in a cell; a black counter meant nothing exists in a cell. So, for a statement like ‘some roses are yellow,’ he would place a red counter in the cell for XY."

At that moment, the file download completed. Monty turned and walked over to his monitor in the Chinese cabinet as Alec opened the file and scanned the diagrams quickly.

"Better take that up to the patio right away," Monty said with urgency. "Looks like they’re starting to evacuate everyone up there."

"This must be it…it must be…it must be," Alec said as he ran out of the office with the laptop under his arm.

. "Stop! Stop!" Alec shouted as he emerged on the patio. "I’ve got the answer. I know what the Chrome is saying!"

General Gomez, who was standing nearby with the other generals, signaled to the MPs to let him pass.

"I’m sorry, but our schedule is tight and…"

"General, you don’t understand. I do have the answer to what the Chrome is saying." Alec called out as he headed directly over to the Chroma Comp console where Dr. Johnson was still at work. Several scientists and technicians, including Dr. Crink and his fellow partygoers, drifted over to watch the drama.

"All right, one more minute," the general said with a face-saving reluctance. "But this better be damn good."

Dr. Johnson waved Alec into the chair at the Chroma Comp. Alec almost fell into the chair, opened the laptop, set it to one side, and then retrieved the triangle sequence of Chrome words. General Gomez , the visiting generals, and their aids walked over and pushed their way to the front of the small audience gathered around Alec.


"Here is the Chrome word for right triangle—we know that for sure. And here, is the very next color pattern in the sequence—the same word with a yellow tip. That’s how the Chrome says that something exists.

"I don’t follow this gibberish at all," one of the visiting generals quipped loudly.

"It’s like a unicorn," Alec continued. "The Chrome could have a word for the concept of unicorn—just like we do—but we wouldn’t say that such a thing actually exists. So, the Chrome uses the bright yellow tip to give a concept existential status"

Murmurs arose in the assembled group and Dr. Crink burped

Some right triangles exist.

Some things with the form A2 + B2 =C2 exist.

All right triangles have the form A2 + B2 =C2.

"So look, here the Chrome is saying ‘right triangles exist’…it is using a positional logic technique just like the one Lewis Carroll invented." Alec pointed to a diagram on the laptop.

More murmurs arose but Alec continued oblivious to the mounting skepticism.

"Now look here," he continued, "here is the Chrome word for ‘a thing that has the form A2 + B2 =C2’…and here is the statement ‘some things exist that have the form: A2 + B2 =C2‘," Alec pointed to the corresponding logic diagram. "And here, is the final Chrome statement ‘all right triangles are things that have the form: A2 + B2 =C2’…you see, it matches the pattern of this diagram here."

"This is preposterous," Dr. Crink whined and then burped again. "I’ve never seen such nonsense in all…"

"Shut up Crink," the General Gomez interjected. "Show me more, Mr. Booner. Show me how this works with some of the other pattern sequences we’ve recorded."

Alec proceeded to review other sequences recorded on the Chroma Comp. Frame by frame, he matched the Chrome’s color statements to corresponding diagrams on the laptop. The gathered scientists wagged their heads in amazement and uttered ohhs and ahhs with each match Alec demonstrated. He showed how each recurring pattern represented a basic mathematical truth—‘pieces of the Rosetta stone’ Alec called them.

"This is just logic games we’re looking at here," Dr Crink objected in a loud, rasping voice. "This is mumbo-jumbo science if I ever…"

"Shut up Crink or I’ll have you ummmm…stand in front of Gog and flip the switch myself," General Gomez said in a calm, detached voice. The pale, sickly-looking scientist shuddered and walked off, stumbling toward his trailer. The general turned to Alec. "Damn good…damn good Mr. Booner! But one more thing, if this really works, we should be able to send messages to the Chrome too—yes?"

"Uh, I guess so," Alec said hesitantly.

"Dr. Johnson," the general said abruptly, "work with Mr. Booner to put together some simple messages to transmit…something like, ummm, ‘all Earth people love peace’…stuff like that." Dr. Johnson and several nearby scientists huddled around Alec. "If we can send messages to it and get sensible responses…well…uhmmmm, we’ll switch off Delta Green. I’ll, umm, tell the president that we’ve had a breakthrough—hard work by the whole team…right up to the last minute," the general announced with an unusually wide smile.

After a few more minutes, Alec and the others working around the Chroma Comp, displayed their first message on a large digital display set up facing the almost lifeless Chrome. After several repeated tries, the creature revived and began to flash new patterns. Cheers and hoots and whistles erupted from the group. 

"Here's a new message from the Chrome," Dr. Johnson shouted. "The Chroma Comp translates it as 'Open light comes to the now-seeing planet beings'... Darned if I know what that means." 

"That's just a bad translation," Alec interjected. "It’s saying ‘Greetings of peace to the people of this planet." 

General Gomez walked over to Alec and Dr. Johnson. "Fine work…damn good work boys. Dr. Johnson, I want you to work with Alec to program the computers for fast translation and transmission. I think we might have a lot to learn from this…umhumm…Chrome contact.

Alec, Dr. Johnson, and a large group of attending scientists worked as fast as possible to record and send new messages. The Chrome flashed new color patterns at a bewildering rate—faster than the Chroma Comp could translate in real time. And then, after only a few minutes, it was obvious that the Chrome was slowing down again.

"New translation, new message from the Chrome," Alec called out excitedly as he studied the Chroma Comp's most recent set of recordings. "It says 'Message bringer returns to start planet...Message bringer empty...Message bringer comes next cycle to be with the now seer."

Instinctively, Alec looked up suddenly at the Chrome. The creature looked directly at Alec and placed both of its hands in front of its eye, fingertips-to-fingertips, palms out. Then the Chrome moved its hands up and down, alternately covering and uncovering its eye and aura. 

Alec stood and walked over to his old front-row seat. He climbed over the fence that encircled the being and walked up to within an arm's reach of the Chrome. The Chrome looked down at him as it  continued to slowly cover and uncover its face. Alec mimicked the Chrome's gesture and called in a clear voice: "Good-bye for now friend. I'll wait for you."

Then, the Chrome slowly withdrew a thin black reed from its pouch and pointed it downwards to the shimmering globe under its feet. In the next instant, the globe, the blue field of light, and the Chrome vanished silently.




. . . . . ..

© 2000 Centroid Communications.

. .