International Writers Magazine: First Contact
flashing red light, it torments me. Ive waiting been thirty
seven years for this and when it is here. What do I do? I sit hunched
over in my worn, leather office chair staring at my consoles. The
flashing red light, the brightest of all my other indicators, on
purpose of course. Its not my only confirmation. The data
being transmitted is clear even though I cant understand it.
I know what it is.
All of my research,
every dollar I had I put towards this moment. Why does it feel so cold
in here? I ever noticed it before. Out of twenty-six rooms, I spend
most of my time in here. Hidden beneath the cellar where I keep the
sunlight out. I felt the most at home here, being wrapped in darkness,
surrounded by my companys best deep-space communications technology.
Perhaps it is madness. I shunned human contact for years. Back-room
deals were struck to allow me to control my own communication satellite.
The global government gained exclusive rights to all my companys
inventions for that privilege, a high price. I just wanted to explore
the stars, search for intelligent life beyond our planet.
But that is the problem, the dilemma I now face. My hands wont
stop shaking. The alarm I set up just in case I was asleep when I made
contact has gone off. I shut it off immediately, but the light will
not stop flashing until I respond or shut down. If I respond there will
be no going back. I would have made contact with someone or something
Something inside me yells. "Youre on the brink of making
history. This signal was picked up by you and you alone. Your find will
change the world. Why they hell are you hesitating?" Why, that
is the question. Why did I choose to take my wealth and use it to search
out someone besides my fellow man? Why did I turn away from my loved
ones to scan the heavens? Why do I spend day and night in this cold
dark, bunker when I could be out living life?
Again we return to my dilemma. My fear is not of science-fiction inspired
aliens looking to enslave us, destroy us. My fear is what our corruption
could to do them? We dream of a alien race to come to our world and
bring us peace and knowledge, and yet we as a people fight amongst ourselves
denying everyone peace.
How could we possibly accept an alien race when we cannot accept our
neighbor? Even my own reflection staring back at me from the monitor
knows that I am just as guilty. During the war my company assisted the
alliance forces and even I hated who my government called the enemy.
While I searched space for signs of life I helped kill hundreds of thousands.
Now I want to send a message of peace to a being I know nothing about.
Do I have the right to accept or deny this discovery to mankind? Maybe
I am cynical. Like my cup of coffee sitting next to my keyboard; I see
it half full. Will anything change if I push that button? Can we as
a people truly change or will we just continue in ignorance? Are we
ready to listen to and understand this information being sent? Will
we accept it? I cant slow my heartbeat. The flash of that damn
light follows my eyes up to the ceiling. I want to believe. Weve
turned our backs on forward progress before. Faith allowed us to reject
science. Science allowed us to deny our spirituality. Greed slowed advancements
in every field. Our environment crippled by those who did not care about
their childrens future. Even life and healthy living were held
captive from millions because it is more profitable to treat than to
I once asked a priest why has your Jesus not returned yet. He just smiled
and said. "Because its too soon." I didnt fully
understand what he meant until now. I am not a fool; there has to be
secrets. Things kept away from children and adults alike because they
are not yet ready to accept the truth.
The red light doesnt both me anymore. Clarity has set in. Im
no longer cold. My hand steadies as I guide it to the button. Im
happy because my search has come to an end. Ive found something
out there and I know the truth. Theres no deep breath or closing
of eyes. I push the button and my system short-circuits. It was a preventative
measure just in case. There will be no data to recover, no sign that
I even received a transmission.
I turn on the lights; its brighter than I remember. Now I can
explore and make contact with the people here, on earth. Theres
no denying that in time the transmission will be picked up by one of
the government satellites. It will be a long while before that happens.
For now I find my own truth, spread peace, and get some sun. I want
us all to be ready and I know in my heart and my mind that one day we
will, but right now, its too soon.
Laraque November 2008
jalaraque at yahoo.com
life changing moments
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