The Olympians

By Kevin J. Phyland

sfgenreCaptain Solomon delivered the transcript to the away team like Moses handing down stone tablets bearing commandments. “This needs to be read and understood by all of you before we descend.”

{intercept translated from the original Centauri A in 2037 Earth years (delayed) - tenses may not scan}Found on Centauri A alpha.

Audio 1: “We have intercepted vaguely intelligent life in another system....both {aural equivalent} and {visual perception acuity}”

Audio 2: “Transmit reply” {query possibly?}

Audio 1: “Similar to much earlier audio transmissions” {query likely}

Audio 2: “No.”

Audio 1: “We have been {attempting/perpetrating/anticipating} contact mode for {indeterminate amount of time}

Audio 2: “The new {visual perception acuity} seems to be {concerning/fear/disturbing}”

Audio 1: “Yes. They seem to be {military/frenetic/disturbed}”

Audio 2: “We have decided to wait. More {data?} is required. No response necessary.

---- {hiatus}

Audio 3: “re-analysis of original {data} shows that they are bisymmetric bipeds {query likely}

Audio 4: {indecipherable}reported that originally {new query?}

Audio 3: “It has been {40 Earth years likely?} since that transmit. They seem {unstable/intransigent/warlike} {not a query}

Audio 4: “Concept is truth.”

Audio 3: {Encourage/Urge/Plea} no reply. Again.

Audio 4: “Analysis suggests {organisms/creatures/animals} will become {non-viable/extinct?} in a short time-frame.

----- {hiatus}

Audio 2: The nature of many {verbal modes/languages} indicates no common ground. These types of species have been {problems} {query possible}before.

Audio 5: Yes. They have sent {slower than light speed} craft towards us however. Is a {countermeasure/reaction/withdrawal} appropriate {serious query likely}

Audio 2: Not required. By the time it gets here it will be {outdated/obsolete/unnecessary}

Audio 5: And we will be {not here/gone}.

......end transcript.}

Solomon waited until everybody had read the transcript.

“Any questions?”

A hand went up from a chair at the back.

“What is it, Ensign?”

The ensign was a man of about 30, aged a bit from the cryosleep and being awake for a long time since. His voice had a puzzled quality. “Why did they leave the entire planet when they found out we were coming?”

Solomon paused before the reply. “The answer is complex and simple at the same time, but first you need a history lesson. Sometime in about 1941 they would have intercepted some very weak video and audio transmissions from Earth, originating from about 1936. The Berlin Olympics to be exact. It was the first TV transmission ever. The video and audio must have been quite confusing. Hitler, strange events, the whole shebang. Militarism probably did it most.

“Then it would have become even more bewildering. War, nuclear weapons, poverty, affluence...sitcoms. To any sufficiently intelligent life it must have seemed like we were for all practical purposes...insane.

“It may have comforted them to know...” a subtle pause, “that eventually we worked together. But as you can see by the timeline they had left by then. Chasing away the lightwaves...”

The ensign stood up. “Where do you think they are now, Captain?”

Solomon, a woman of indeterminate colour and indeterminate age, shrugged. “My bet is a long way away. They can travel at practically lightspeed.”

She laughed a sad ironic laugh. “It amuses me to think that Jesse Owens is still in front of them.”

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About The Author

Kevin J. Phyland

Kevin J. Phyland

Finally officially retired. Writing will now take up a bit more of my time. Still working on longer pieces. 33 years spent teaching. Writing since I was 12 on and off. Something had to give. I have a penchant for short, choppy, staccato sentences with too many adjectives.


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