Cylinder

cylinder

Computer monitor wallpaper

Suspended from the airlock by his thick umbilical, Astronaut Jonathan Weaver watched the ring of illumination inside the enormous hollow tube code-named “Oumuamua” move away from him toward the other end of the spinning alien habitat, creating the illusion that he was now in early evening. The forty-two year old Air Force Captain, weightless because he was positioned near the center of the tube, marveled at the view. Essentially, the interior of a massive cylinder was filled with atmosphere that included clouds, with the entire rim covered with soil and water that supported farms, forests, lakes, rivers, small mountains, and even buildings and highways. And yet in the fifteen minutes since he had gone EVA inside the object, he had detected no sign of life.

“Weaver, this is Nguyen. Any change in your readings?” Danielle Nguyen was a civilian pilot and exobiologist who had been put in command, and at thirty, was the youngest member of the hastily assembled mission. After the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii had located Oumuamua eight months ago and determined it was approaching the sun from outside the solar system, NASA, in cooperation with two private space exploration companies, had quickly adapted the Argonaut spacecraft, originally designed for a manned Mars mission, to intercept human history’s first visitor from interstellar space.

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The Tribe of the People

rain forest

Image: ABC.net.au / Rocky Roe

Petia, the Chief of the People, had listened to all of the arguments presented by the strangers from the East. He had discussed them with the Council, which included Antipa the Medicine Priestess, Prim the War Chief, Cleitst the Spirit Talker, and Valdem the Voice of the People.

The strangers from the East offered much, but would what they offered be best for the People? They offered more sturdy homes which would be warmer in winter, efficient methods of farming that would produce more food, and an organized education system for the children of the People.

“It is clear the strangers offer different ways than ours.” Petia was old but sturdy, and his wisdom as Chief had not been questioned for all the fifty seasons he had been tribal leader.

“We cannot trust them.” Prim was War Chief and it was his responsibility to state any danger to the People he perceived.

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