Chrome Contact


"A Big Angel, with all the works," Dr. Max said to the waiter. Then he turned to face Monty, Jake, Lenore, and Alec sitting around a cloud-shaped table at Pizza Heaven. "Here’s to Alec and Pythagoras and the Chromes," he said raising his mug in a toast. They all clinked their mugs with gusto.

"Totally amazing," Jake said turning to Alec, "you actually got to see and talk to the alien…the Chrome?"

"Yup," Alec said almost boasting.

"C’mon, you can tell us more…what does it want…where’s it from?" Jake pressed for details.

"Now, now," Monty piped up. "I called this party to celebrate Alec’s promotion from Special Grip and Roaming Housekeeper of the Café to Special Café Emissary to Visiting Aliens. No shop talk allowed."

"I thought we called this party to celebrate the fact that Alec squeaked by on his final Ancient Philosophy exam—but, considering the existential circumstances, and an obvious mastery of applied logic, worth at least an A+!"

Alpha Orionis, or Betelgeuse, is a red super giant star marking the shoulder of the winter constellation Orion the Hunter. Betelgeuse is so enormous that, if it replaced our Sun at the center of our Solar System, its outer atmosphere would extend past the orbit of Jupiter

"Hear! Hear!" Monty cheered and they all clinked their mugs again.

"And I thought this party was to celebrate Hawkins Falls’ newest and biggest hero—it’s all over the news how Alec was involved in making first contact." Lenore flashed a broad smile and gently laid her hand on Alec's. 

"I didn’t really make first contact. It came to us. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time when it appeared."

"So what does it want, anyway?" Jake persisted.

"Well, the general still wants me to keep things pretty hush-hush. But, well, we’ve all heard the president’s address yesterday about first contact with an extraterrestrial intelligence. And I know a lot of stories have already been leaked to the media. So, I can tell you, maybe a little more." The electronic rock harp music throbbed in the background and they all hunched over for a top-secret huddle.

The simple bilateral diagrams that Alec used only accommodates two variables: X and Y. In fact, Lewis Carroll discusses trilateral diagrams (able to represent the three terms in a standard syllogism) extensively. He even proposes a diagram that can accommodate propositions with as many as ten variable terms in 1,024 cells. 

"We've already translated most of the messages that were recorded. Basically, the Chrome is an emissary from its world, somewhere near Betelgeuse in the Orion constellation. Their home planet is very dark—like a jungle—and it has a very thin atmosphere. So, they evolved a way to communicate with light instead of sound. They have discovered a way to travel through space-time with some kind of quantum effect that requires a lot of energy.

"Wow!" Jake whispered in awe. "Really, like the Sarnk?"

"Yeah. And when they visit another planet, the emissary can only stay as long as its food supply lasts. Then it has to leave. They start with just baby talk—basic mathematical concepts, juxtaposed statements, and simple syllogisms.

So, if they can’t communicate on the first visit, they figure that the beings they encounter are not sentient or just dumb.

"Wow!" Jake said again. "You mean, if we, I mean, if you hadn’t figured out how they communicate, it would have just left and never come back again?"

"Probably," Alec said simply. "Actually, we found out that before it landed on the café’s patio, it had dropped in on a group of birds somewhere in Greenland!"

The group burst into riotous laughter.

"I probably shouldn’t say too much more," Alec admitted when the laughs subsided.

"Is it still here?" Dr. Max asked. "Can you tell us that?"

"No. It left yesterday…it was too weak to stay any longer. But before it left, the Chrome said it would be back…soon I think."

Then a fanfare of electronic trumpets blared. "One Big Angel," the waiter announced triumphally as he set down the huge, colorful pizza in their midst.

"You know," Alec said as they all admired the steaming swirls of green and red and yellow peppers, "I think this pizza is saying something like ‘all my good friends in the universe are treasures beyond measure’."

With smiles all around, they all helped themselves to large slices of the amazing pie.

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© 2000 Centroid Communications.

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