chanter_greenie: a Pringles can with the words 'you can't write just one' written across it (drabbles are like pringles)
[personal profile] chanter_greenie
This particular piece sprang from a discussion in either [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith's or [personal profile] dialecticdreamer's journal, I can't honestly recall which, about just how to put the sense of wonder back in science fiction. That started me pondering, an idea or two came along and wouldn't leave me alone, and tah-dah!

This one's been sponsored by McSushi, an RL friend.



When an autistic boy in Oregon
with a known affinity for growing things
started insisting that his backyard's rowan tree
was greeting him in pidgin sign one leafy twig at a time,
everybody chalked it up to his specialist subject -
or to the same thing, but in much less positive terms -
and left it at that.

When a seasoned oceanographer
on a routine dive off the coast of Mauritius
came up insisting there'd been a fish down there
that'd gone out of its way to wave at her
on three separate occasions,
most people just chuckled
and let her description of a tailfin
replicating a human hand gesture
with, so it seemed to her,
surprising skill and obvious forethought
roll off their backs like--well, you can guess.
"Bring a camera for the next one,"
someone told her with a shrug.
"Seriously. Pics or it didn't happen."

When a small number of radio amateurs on three different continents
and a half dozen equally scattered shortwave enthusiasts
started picking up static bursts
on a frequency well outside anyone's bandplan
that resolved into a repeated crackle of
--... ...-- / --... ...-- / --... ...-- /
most of them figured it was a high-powered pirate station
having some less than legal fun with noise.
A few suspected government activity,
and one or two tried triangulating the signal
to no avail.

Odd, was the general consensus.
Not bad. Kinda nice.
Good to try listening for when you're feeling crappy.
But odd.

When a world famous telescope
took a routine look at Venus
and came back with a stream of valuable data,
some admittedly spectacular stills,
and a full fifty seconds of continuous footage
that clearly showed the atmosphere at the planet's equator
being lanced by a light source,
an unexplained illumination that flashed out
two full yellow-gold repeats of
flicker -
flicker flicker -
flicker flicker flicker -
flicker flicker flicker flicker flicker -
flicker flicker flicker flicker flicker flicker flicker -
on up to eleven,
then thirteen, and back around to
the start of a third cycle -
flicker -
flicker flicker -
flicker flicker flick--
before the video cut out?

... Well.

Well.

"Brilliant," said the mathematicians and the sociologists,
almost at the same time.
"Not even close to a coincidence,"
agreed the biologists and the astronomers in chorus.
"That doesn't look threatening,"
ten score governments admitted in a trickle.
"Maybe Tesla was right after all,"
beamed a handful of electrical engineers.

Not even the conspiracy theorists could get very far,
between the pure math
and the clear intent involved.

"Faked footage," one hazarded, "porn industry grade software.
Like the moon landing, but better. Listen up, sheeple!
Somebody in power wants a rapt populace." But--


"Dude, joint NASA-ESA watermark," another snorted.
"Nobody's that good, not even the government."

"Check the major policy divide, man," snarked a third, "Duh.
"Look at the administrations pulling the purse strings.
Like they're seriously going to get together
enough to let their agencies fake something
when they can barely manage
to collaborate on missions for real.
I might be nuts, but
even my skepticism's got limits."

"... Uh," said the first man.
"Aww crap."

Meanwhile--


"Wow," murmured the one-time cynical masses,
gazing in rediscovered awe at the sky.
"This... this is just amazing."


Notes are over here:

The number sequence used is a repetition of the first half dozen prime numbers. This is one possible method of indicating higher mathematical knowledge, and by that a likelihood of sentience, to other lifeforms.

The Morse code --... ...-- translates to 73, which is a ham radio prosign. It's a friendly sign-off phrase that's spoken as often as it's keyed. It means something like 'take care'.

Rowan trees have a long association with bright powers and friendly magic, or bright magic and friendly powers. I'm looking at you, Nita Callahan. You too, Ms. Rowling.

Professor Nikola Tesla did make reference to trying to contact Venusian intelligences at one point.

Date: 2016-02-23 02:25 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
The cynical believer (if that makes sense) in me realises that the first three of those could be interpreted as "goodbye"... The fourth doesn't fit, but perhaps the trees and fishes know something about the Venusians we don't? Scared now. :)

Date: 2016-02-23 03:41 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Darn cross-*cultural* language barriers! Southron and Yankee and West-Coast all have different ways of expressing irritation, and there Will Be Problems if you're not ready for it... nevermind 'Murkin vs. Received Pronunciation vs. Geordie vs. Yorkshire vs. Scots...

It's a thorny problem!

OOOOOOOOOOOH

Date: 2016-02-23 02:49 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
It's different. Not just...novel... but something more, hinting around the edges of what's already said. Sadly, I can see the same arguments in T-America as we have here, including the faked moon landing. I just hope it's a smaller percentage of the population!

Re: OOOOOOOOOOOH

Date: 2016-02-24 03:43 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
It is a much smaller percentage of the population, because their science and education are better, but also, they have soups who can go to the Moon.

So there are loons claiming mass brainwashing by telepaths.

*facepalm*

Re: OOOOOOOOOOOH

Date: 2016-02-24 03:46 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
This is also true, but then again, as George Carlin used to say, "You can't have everything; where would you put it?"

Yay!

Date: 2016-02-24 03:44 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This is lovely. I really enjoy the persistence of hope.

Sorry I can't help you pin down the blog, though, we've both hosted that conversation more than once!

Cool

Date: 2016-02-25 03:54 am (UTC)
shiori_makiba: Makiba Shiori in Kanji and Roman Letters (Default)
From: [personal profile] shiori_makiba
Felt hopeful to me. Good at conveying that sense of wonder. The same sense of wonder I get when, for instance, I look at space photography and remember that each of those little sparks of light is either, depending on the picture, a star or whole galaxies.

Date: 2016-03-17 05:12 pm (UTC)
thnidu: glowing light bulb. tinyurl.com/33j2v8h (light bulb)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Oh, fine!

• populous
-> populace
> I still remember making that mistake in junior high!
Edited Date: 2016-03-17 05:21 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-06-25 01:39 am (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Don't blame screenreader. They ARE pronounced identically.

Date: 2016-06-01 02:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] book-worm5.livejournal.com
I like this. :-) Yay for wonder!

Date: 2017-09-16 02:16 am (UTC)
mama_kestrel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mama_kestrel
Thank you. I needed this, more than I can express.

My son is autistic. He was 7 when his guardian-cat came to him (that "barn cat" did things like shove him back to the middle of the yard if he got too close to the road...7 pound cat, 50 pound boy). Tiny, with incredibly soft smoke-grey fur; I tried to name her Velvet. Our boy was barely using full sentences by then, and conversations were still conducted in movie and book quotations, but he said no, her name was Sophia. Asked why, he said simply "she told me." His grandmother asked how she had told him. "In my head" he said. "She said her name was Sophia" and that, so far as he was concerned, was that. Everyone else put it down to either autistic communication difficulties or small-child imagination, or both. But having watched that cat guard and guide, comfort and teach her "big noisy kitten", I have never doubted he spoke as literally about that as he did everything else.

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