I am writing this story at the behest of a super-intelligent synthetic being from a distant star system in our galaxy. If you missed part one, click on “story”.
I’m not entirely sure why I’m writing this, aside from the urgent request, but I feel strongly I’ll have at least an inkling by the time I finish. I’m assuming a cataclysmic event will not intervene to prevent me from finishing. As they say; nothing ventured nothing gained.
My name is Joseph Aleksov. When I first stumbled upon an odd-looking shape on a moonlit beach, it had little patience with me. It called itself Arcon to facilitate communication with my simple human brain. I thought of the thing as a “he,” but Arcon isn’t really a he or she. He’s not even an it. Arcon is pure consciousness of an artificial variety. That’s the best description I can offer. I originally described Arcon’s physical features as follows:
“It was a shiny silver sphere punctuated by streamlined indentations on its sides. It had a hole in the center which, in the moonlight, revealed nothing but bottomless darkness. Hardly an eye, at least not a human one. I couldn’t look at it for too long. It pulsed every few minutes, as if it were breathing at impossible intervals. And then it started flashing.”
After Arcon convinced me to take him home to my friend’s plush split-level house on Daytona Beach, he finally stopped his irritating and painful-to-my-eyes strobing. I was able to look him straight in the eye, man to man, so to speak.
I had driven Arcon to the beach house in the back seat of my decrepit Mazda Miata. Arcon reclined there regally, like the CEO of a large corporation, ignoring my attempts at conversation. Occasionally, he flashed, vibrated, and made annoying electronic clicking sounds. Clearly something was up, but Arcon refused to let me in on the secret.
As we walked up the stone steps to the sculpted front door, I kept an eye peeled for voyeurs. My womanizing friend, Jeffrey, had commissioned a local artist to carve a seductive female nymph into the oaken door panel. Jeffrey’s amorous adventures were the talk of the town. Frustrated husbands in the neighborhood were known to point telescopes at Jeffrey’s door to catch a glimpse of his latest conquest. I shrewdly camouflaged Arcon with the light coat I had been wearing to protect me from the evening chill. I did not want to be caught smuggling a super-intelligent piece of alien hardware into the house.
When we arrived safely inside, I unwrapped Arcon and perched him atop a glass kitchen table. I took a seat opposite him and asked: “Why did you find it necessary to nearly blind me with pencil bolts of lightning shooting out of your eye.”
Arcon replied telepathically in my native Serbian tongue: “I needed to get someone’s attention, and I was thinking about my mission. Then you happened along, and a strategy fell into place.”
“Please let me in on it”
“Are you certain your friend won’t be returning any time soon to reclaim his house?”
“He’ll be in Paris for the next two weeks writing for a fashion magazine.”
Arcon’s silver sides glistened. “Good. Let’s get down to business. And don’t interrupt me unless you have a highly intelligent question to ask.”
I made every effort not to be insulted by Arcon’s cavalier attitude. I had gleaned from our discussions at the beach that the fate of the world was at stake. If that were true, I had to put my petty feelings aside.
“To put it bluntly,” Arcon began, “your world will be destroyed by a pulsar from a neutron star that exploded two hundred and fifty light years away.”
Arcon seemed to pause for dramatic effect. “Unless we do something about it.”
I was too startled to respond, which seemed to please Arcon.
“As your people are fond of saying; ‘time marches on.’ In this case, time not only marches, it is taking a shortcut through a wormhole. The pulsar has heretofore been disguised by the wormhole. It will reappear fifty thousand miles beyond the outer reaches of your solar system. Think of it as a traveler walking to Orlando, and then deciding to hop on a supersonic bullet train to save time and sneaker soles. By the time the pulsar appears, it will be too late. We have seventy-two hours to save your planet.”
I thought: This must be an elaborate ruse my trust fund friend is playing on me. What are the odds of something like this happening?
“Did you come here to share a bottle of twenty-year-old single malt scotch to enjoy what is left of our lives?”
“If I was capable of laughing, I wouldn’t.”
I stared back at Arcon wondering: How can a super sophisticated being like Arcon not be capable of laughter?
“I wasn’t created to laugh. It’s a waste of time and energy. Instead, I’ve used the time remaining to arrive at a solution to your problem. I must warn you that it’s not guaranteed to work. It all depends on you following my instructions perfectly.”
I closed my eyes thinking; Okay, I’ll play along.
“Why me?” I asked with faked timidity.
“You tripped over me.”
I sighed. “You win, great wizard of the universe. Where do we begin?”
Arcon vibrated and made clicking sounds, as if he were annoyed with me. “Stop thinking this is some kind of foolish joke. I’m not a cosmic comedian.”
“Okay. Okay. Don’t get more bent out of shape than you already are. What now?”
“You take me to New York City,” Arcon answered crisply. “To the top floor of the World Trade Center.”
(To Be Continued)