It was being spelt out, an image coming through a printer. The element flew back and forth nearly faster than the eye could follow it. As it was, it was only a blur that almost appeared right or left, scarcely visible in the middle. After a few swipes letters began forming that were about a half inch high, necessitating the wait for each row of letters to print, and then, as they were read aloud, recognized.
He was reminded of the scrolling letters at the beginning of a space movie, each word becoming recognizable as it neared and the letters became larger. In this case, recognition was dependent on how much of the letter was formed on the page rather than it becoming larger with a closer proximity.
“That word is Dark!” was said loudly into his left ear. His breathlessness made her wonder if her ear wasn’t being assaulted by the moisture from his mouth as his lips were scarce inches from it. They had already read the very first word that appeared, “It’s” she hadn’t felt any moisture on her ear as yet.
The printer was set up to record anything coming to us even if it was from the furthest galaxy. One that we’d identified as possibly containing some sort of human-type organism. It was just a matter of exploring all sequences we found of these sort of electromagnetic entities as we pressed deeper and deeper into the universe. As soon as the camera imaged this galaxy, they began receiving radio signals that shouldn’t have been there, well, unless someone was sending it. In this case they hadn’t expected them to appear at all. They hadn’t found a planet with the right characteristics within the system they were aiming at. They must have missed one that was eligible.
Translators were interconnected, the tiniest speck of atomic or sub-atomic level energy became combined, then re-combined with millions of other bits, formed into an electromagnetic image that somehow started looking organized, and then…, began dividing itself into clusters that made no sense to them. They were totally dependent on the computer’s sense of logic to formulate anything in the way of intelligence. It was as far beyond their capability as the galaxy was distant, the one that they had aimed towards.
The possible images were quickly sent to another translator that sought patterns, breaks, and abnormalities that eventually became repetitious and therefore recognizable. It was intentionally sent to this printer that was tied into the whole ethereal world, including this one. The office worker was always available for transcribing anything coming out of it, anything printed in a human language anyway.
Suddenly the printer had begun speaking it’s language, the carriage gliding almost noiselessly back and forth, dampers catching it at either end and throwing it back. It was scarcely enough noise to catch the physicist’s ear sitting on the end of the desk, flirting with a large female office worker. He wasn’t even sure what her job was, but she was friendly and sexually inviting. He had been thinking that the infinities of the universe could wait for his attention. They had, after all, been waiting that long already.
As he leaned into her his hand rested on the printer. The vibration caught his attention, just as her low cut blouse had done several times today. To avoid the embarrassment of being caught looking too closely at her chest, he instead looked at the inside of the printer. He was surprised to see a face printing itself across the paper.
“Who’s he?” he asked with a little bit of suspicion intended in his voice. This was her printer after all, and she probably had it’s input, and therefore it’s output controlled by her. Jealousy quickly took over and he stared at it with an intense interest. He stood before it and watched the black sprays of ink hitting precise locations on the paper.
“I have no idea.” She stood up, aligned herself next to him, and bent over the clear plastic viewing window of the printer. The lower level scientist caught a very nice view that wasn’t in the printer, another distraction that his human body couldn’t easily resist. “It shouldn’t be printing anything.” She added while flipping the plastic cover up and out of the way. It gave the paper just a little more clarity as they both bent over it to discover it’s secret. It was a slow process and his eyes wandered away with her closer proximity. He thought he could almost see a bit of lace, but he wasn’t sure yet. Her perfume was even distracting his scientific mind. “Surely it was just a mistake.” He offered as an answer to his swirling mind.
By then the image had printed and she pulled it out, ripped the sheet off, and held it close to her face. “This is weird.” Her words were startled. He looked up at her face suddenly, as she dropped the paper to the floor. She stepped back suddenly, the skin of her face became ashen and he thought she might pass out before she got back to her chair. He caught her hands and lowered her into it. Her jaw was wide open, then began trying to form words that never reached his ears.
“I don’t know what it is.” She finally shook out with side to side motions of her head.
Intrigue captivated him and he carefully reached for the piece of paper propped against the leg of the desk, face down. He grabbed the sheet by a corner and flipped it as he raised it. Even his passion was dulled at the expectation of something intriguing, something that had mystified or surprised her.
“Oh wow!, what the hell is that?” he asked as he stepped back. Having a grip on the paper it kept in his sight as he deciphered it. Having totally forgotten her shirt, he now looked at the page with much more interest than even his sexual interest could muster. “This is sick!” he finally declared.
A face was printed, but somehow distorted by the operation of the printer. The ears were almost indistinguishable from the thin hair growing in their normal place. They barely stood out from the skull at all, and seemed more like a bird’s ear, flat and sort of a hole without the funneling cartilage that we are used to seeing on each other’s faces, human faces that is.
But it was the eyes that identified it as some sort of an alien, or a trick sent through the wireless system. “It was a very well done trick” he had to admit as he rationalized the unknown before him. The eyes were quite small, there were the normal amount of two, and placed on either side of the nose as expected. There was no hair around them though, no eyelashes, and no eyebrows. He discounted this as an easy trick to pull with the photo editing programs that were now universal.
“You have some comedic friends.” He giggled, trying to hide the shaking that he was doing underneath his shirt. Hardest for him to dismiss was the wideness of the face. It was so thin that the skull must have been squeezed by the photo editing program. It was eerie looking, even if it was a prank. Something about it seemed real. “A very good trick indeed!” he admitted to her.
Meanwhile the printer had silently continued and two more sheets were forcing themselves out of the top of the machine, having been left open by the office worker. He grabbed them carefully, hoping that there would be no more images of aliens on them. Even with his scientific nature it had spooked him abnormally. He didn’t want to be scared a second time.
“Oh wow. I can’t believe this.” He looked back and forth at the two pages with instant recognition of its content. These weren’t hieroglyphics, or the image of the possible alien. They were very identifiable calculations that he couldn’t believe he was reading. A wide smile broke out over his face.
“Well, I know where this is coming from now.” He explained to her with an obvious giggle, hoping to comfort her finally. She hadn’t recovered yet, sitting quietly on the chair. “She was an office worker after all, not as ready for the unexpected like he was” he told himself, giving his ego a little boost of self-importance. He smiled at her longer, hiding the little twinge in his lip and trying hard to convince her that he was no longer confused or surprised.
“I think we have a leak within the building.” He studied the figures carefully, holding the paper just beyond his nose. “These are calculations we have been working on for dark matter, that stuff we hope to find across the universe.” Looking up he studied her slightly pinkish face, it seemed to be returning to normal. “One of our scientists sent this to you.” She seemed a little bit more at ease, but it was obvious that the image still gave her a creepy feeling that wouldn’t go away easily. It was the same feeling that he harbored as well, not knowing anyone in the laboratory that could even use such a program.
Eventually we hung over the printer again as it had continued to spit out letters, taller with each row printed. The final words were emerging. “It’s an ‘M’, and “A”, and two spaces.” they spoke alternately, trying to beat the other with a definition; the scientist barely ogling the well-endowed secretary. The tops of the letters were becoming clearer as it printed. “and a “P”” was incorrectly guessed next.
“No no, it says Matter.” They both recognized the word nearly together. “What does that mean?” “What’s dark matter.” She asked. The printing stopped. They were both puzzled, one needing a definition of the words, one wanting an explanation for the words.
“I don’t know.” was his weak answer, not knowing how to explain it to her easily, not while he was trying to solve the other puzzle. “Who did this?” he asked suddenly with a little bit of anger in his voice. The jealousy had returned, it was the only explanation that he could come up with. “We don’t have time for this foolishness.” He told her roughly, without any real blame he could assign to her.
“Ah, something is wrong with this.” His eyes had caught something that didn’t seem right. He looked back at the calculations that had been printed earlier. He shuffled the pages of calculations back and forth a few times. “We didn’t do these calculations.” His eyes were wide now and flickered back and forth from page to page, even forgetting the female next to him.
“These calculations are correct.” He dropped on her as though she would understand. He knew that they hadn’t quite finished their own calculations. The incorrect calculations were still spread across the chalkboard in the laboratory. They had been that way for months. They hadn’t even been typed into a computer for storage as yet. It was his turn for a pale face as recognition struck him.
“Ohh.., Galaxies!!” As soon as he spoke it he wondered how long it would take for them to understand it.