Saturday, March 4, 2017

Curiosity Rover

[Third of three. Written Round Robin style on 16 Feb '17. JM & WW coauthors. Some small corrections, but mostly untouched.]

Few enthusiasts remembered the original Curiosity Rover, one of the earliest unmanned missions to Mars. It had been nearly a century since its last transmission - or, at least, since we had received a transmission. That is why the lab was in a frenzy - we had received a transmission!

The frequency was ancient, as far as anyone knew, but NASA didn't receive this one - it came from SETI.

"Sir! We've finally decoded the signal!"
Inspiration art by me.
"It is a proclamation from a being named Tom. And Tom seems to have a sense of humor."

Johnson handed his boss a teletyped sheet, embarrassed by the necessity of such ancient technology. Johnson scanned the sheet for any pertinent information, but it left him doing one thing - he ripped the paper and tossed it in the air.

"Johnson! Just because you can't read doesn't mean there's nothing important on that paper!"

"It's not that - I just realized what would happen if those words were read aloud. The majestic Brown Note!"

"The Brown Note? You can't tell that just by looking at the letters - it could be anything."

Johnson shot his boss a terrifying glare. "I am a Johnson and we know Brown Notes."

"Well, even if that's true, how did the early Martian rover come to know the Brown Note and why would it tell us?"

"I think this Tom, whoever it is, is using Curiosity to fuck with us."

Johnson paused.

"Tom... Tom from accounting?"

"Wait, you're right - he's been obsessed with old Earth tech ever since he adopted that car, Apollo."

Johnson picked up an ancient phone and dialed Tom's number.

From the other end of the line came the sound of the line connecting, followed by a deep, low, reverberating thrum.

In what would go down as the best prank in history, everyone within a mile shit their pants.

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