At Rest

It remained motionless for more than a year. It’s surface never opened, nor did it sprout antennae, sensor arrays, and specifically, weaponry. I just sat there like a large, asymmetrical rock, or marble, depending if you ascribed it as being inert, or threatening. It was obviously not a rock or some other geological feature, as they seldom hung in the air motionless, nor did they cover so many square miles of a desert. Whether it was a ship, or a probe, or a bomb ticking and ready to destroy the Earth in an instant, was unknown.

It was carefully studied, first visually, sonically, and then electronically, but only after intense debate as to whether the efforts would be received as a threat by the possible inhabitants of the ship, or by observers reading the data being collected by the probe. If it was a weapon, it surely wouldn’t do to irritate it into doing something fatal to humanity.

All the Earth probes yielded no information, other than dimensions and a texture that was seen easily through numerous  monitors. Fortunately they also failed to trigger any action by the megalithic monster. Virtually everyone in the world shook with fear every time a new probe was announced and put into operation.

Despite the notoriety that caused the vast area of earth to be quarantined off from Earth’s inhabitants, the area was so large that it couldn’t be totally maintained a hundred percent of the time. The alien object was subjected to several attacks by both private citizens as well as a few organizations that developed in response to this invader.

Single shots by private weapons both missed and ricocheted off of the outer surface from time to time, never inflicting so much as a scratch or piece of chipped paint. Larger, stolen military weaponry was also used to attack the intruder. Automatic weapons were used most prevalently, bouncing several bullets off of it at a time, but with the same effect as individual shells. A few fifty caliber rounds were also flattened against it with the same results.

More significant, and dealt with by much stricter and severe penalties, were the attacks by purely military weapons. While the military couldn’t account for them, several anti-aircraft rockets had been aimed at the intruder. These were hard to protect against since their firing distance was so great. But without any kind heat source to follow, nor any recognizable configuration that they could react to, the only thing the missiles could do was go around it until they ran out of fuel and crash back to Earth.

One such weapon blew away several hundred feet of a wall that was being built around the space vehicle or device after a ricochet. Even though the attackers were dealt with severely, such attacks still couldn’t be ruled out by followers, and the feasibility of the wall’s construction was questioned, especially the huge cost that would eventually be astronomical had they completed the enclosure.

This was over the course of several years. It became the obsession of most countries fearing the worse from something this imposing and therefore threatening. Governments were having to
deal with political organizations that wanted to force their particular course of action. This was usually direct assault by whatever their military could muster. But there were also even larger groups that wanted to camp under the massive machine and chant, offer prayers, or other such expressions of humanity towards a so far benevolent object.

Meanwhile, the scientists continued their own onslaught of testing, getting more and more aggressive as each attempt yielded no reaction, and even more frustrating, no results. The world knew no more now than what they had started with as the most preliminary tests were taken;  the size and shape of the object. New penetrating rays were always being developed to test the surface, but to no avail of course.

Also, having such a huge object floating just above surface of the desert had its consequences with the weather flowing around it. After a very long time vegetation started appearing directly under the bottom of it, reaching around it for the sun. It was desert vegetation, but it was out of season, not a reaction to a recent rain or weather change due to the usual day and night differences or the seasons occurring regularly in the desert. After being there so long, a sand bank was building around it from  where the winds blew faster while moving under and around the close object.

Oddly, another  attack had rendered a difference in its appearance where all the weaponry used on it hadn’t been able to accomplish. A bizarre attack by a private plane resulted in a massive discoloration of its eastern side. Only discovered by accident after many attacks, a large area of it had been painted by innumerable drops from above by large planes. eventually one such drop had run down the side in a river of color and had nearly reached the bottom of it before either the paint ran out, or dried from the heat of the sun and weather as it ran down its surface.

It was noticed by police arresting another group of squatters beneath the space object. Satellite photography was a constant from above, and the plane was noted and recorded on many over flights, but since it never stopped or caused any apparent disturbance on the surface of the alien, the information was never transmitted to other agencies that might have investigated.

Even after the observance by police, who were only there trying to keep the people from being crushed should the ship ever drop down to rest on the surface of the desert, it was a long long time before any action was taken to stop the flyovers. Many drops were made before then, and the splashing of paint became a huge discoloration on one end of the ship. It didn’t seem to notice, but then, it hadn’t noticed anything done to it by the human population so far.

After many years the object suddenly and finally disappeared. It was a shock that was felt worldwide. Probes and such were sent to investigate whether the object had actually gone away, or if it had become transparent, possibly a step towards becoming an active weapon shortly afterward. All the electronic sensors and echolocation instruments  were negative, they sensed that it had disappeared.

It wasn’t until a group of well-wishers inadvertently flew directly into the area once inhabited by the object that it was believed that it was no longer there. Dozens of onlookers cringed, their shoulders hunched as the plane neared the former side of the alien contraption. They only stood erect again as the plane continued on its course without exploding, suddenly diverting, or folding up and dropping to the ground in flames.

Even more years later, electronic experts finally had discovered a reaction to their assaults on the ship. Billions of bits of reflecting electrons had suddenly been discovered to be carrying an additional string of information not sent into the machine. The years were spent trying to make sense of where it had come from, and then what it was. It was deciphered. We had apparently intercepted a message being sent back to its home planet, or perhaps a mother ship that had sent the probe to our atmosphere.

“Perhaps a thousand years of this planet’s recording time. We will return when the civilization has extinguished itself and we will be free to proceed. End.”  The countdown had begun.

Barbara Blackcinder


About Barbara Blackcinder

I am a poet/writer with a need for words. There are so many out there that I haven't used yet. They define all reality and mine when you read those from me.
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3 Responses to At Rest

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