Science Fiction

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The mechanics of the entire operation were complicated. Very complicated. The Uppers weren’t even releasing a name for the technology. The papers all kept mum about the operation. It was another “Politikal Experiment.” The people needn’t concern themselves.

The briefing came at 0500. The com buzzed two shorts and a long dash in my ear–the signal that a sensitive message was about to be transmitted. The mission, the drab voice said over the com, was an issue highly important to the people. I was one of five. We were to be at the Space Probe lab in 3 hours. The launch was to take place in approximately 15 hours. Good day.

StarsI walked into the lab feeling somewhat disoriented. The satellite we were on was an older model, only apparently so by aesthetics. The technology was updated constantly, and the interior was never allowed to become even slightly dirty. The AI system identified me and offered some non-caffeinated coffee upon my entrance. Three others waited in the room. I knew none of them. For the purposes of this mission, we were called by our assigned numbers. I was eight dash thirty-two, lead officer.

We readied the vehicle. It was a strange looking apparatus. Weighing over 20 tonnes, the system was largely made of a hyper-sensitive light collecting material not yet named. The transport was another complex matter. It wasn’t my area of expertise, but I understood the basic premise. This vehicle was going to travel at an astounding rate, over one million times the speed of light. I didn’t know how this was possible, or even if the premise held as a form of motion. The techs usually referred to it as teleportation. We were going to launch the device to a distance of about 10,000 light years from our planet. The voyage would take a little over three and a half days.

This is where my work came in. I had worked in optics and light transmission throughout my career at the Politikal offices. My specialty was lenscrafting. The resolution achieved with the device we were sending, combined with the optics I had designed, would be enough, if the theoretical data held true, to make out faces on Earth, from a distance of 10,000 light years. Resolution isn’t the right word; this form of imaging crossed into a new field entirely. The data that we collected was entirely raw light signals, but they were complete. We could focus entirely on the earth and collect just the light emitted, and we were going to record history.

The launch went as planned, and seven days later, we received a signal from the craft. It was in place. Now, if the programming did its job, and the theories held true, we were recording activity on our planet. Ten thousand years ago.

~ 8–32. Space Probe Lead