The Black Light From Outer Space
It started with a deafening sound then the day turned into night but we could still see the blue sky and the sun
It started with a deafening sound then the day turned into the night but we could still see the blue sky and the sun
Samuellah stands before her window, sipping her black coffee, let it invade her palate before swallowing it. When she reaches out to open the curtain, it was inertia that struck her.
She did know if she wanted to open the curtain or look at the window with the close curtain. For a split second, her brain had stopped working and when she came back to herself, she mechanically opened the curtain, not remembering why she is opening it.
Was it the screeching sound that came from outside, or the sudden silence that invaded the house that caused her to reach out for the curtain?
Without looking outside, she turned back to go to the kitchen table where the kids were eating their pancakes.
"Did you hear any loud sound just now, kids?" she asked. They replied in the negative, saying they were talking among themselves and they did not hear anything from outside.
"Mom, your phone is ringing," said Anya, the elderly daughter of the mother of three. The two boys were nagging each other at the table, prompting Samuellah to put her coffee down, pick her phone and stand in between them to tell them they should behave while she is on the phone.
The voice on the phone said, "Boss, At Seven-hundred this morning, which is 5 minutes ago, we got news the army picked up a signal from the moon orbit.
"It is nothing like they have heard before. They are going to go live in half-hour," said the editor to Samuellah.
She owns an online portal that talks of the rush to conquer space and its consequences for humanity on earth. The small outfit has an editor, a reporter and a few correspondents outside the country.
Something tells Samuellah that this Monday morning is going to be different from the other Mondays.
"Let's go on Zoom," she said to the editor, Patrick Marcel, a young man in his late 20's who works for a newspaper in Victoria but lives on the outskirts of perhaps one of the tiniest city in the Indian Ocean.
ANOTHER MEMORY LAPSE
The Seychelles one of the most beautiful Islands in the Indian Ocean has a population of 90,000.
The population of Victoria, Greater Victoria, which includes the suburbs, is 25,000. But while walking in the city in the morning, there is no sign of traffic jam or a mass of people going in one direction, that is to their workplace.
Reaching her office, she got another call from her editor. "Where are you," Patrick asked.
"Victoria," she said.
Patrick asked where exactly in Victoria, but Samuellah did not reply. Once again she felt the split-second during which she seems to have lost her memory and was not aware if she was driving her old Jeep in the city.
But when she came back to her senses, she stopped the car. She picked the phone and asked who was on the line.
"It's me, Sam. Where are you in Victoria. I am outside the office and you are not here," he said.
"You got to be here asap. There are new developments from the base," he said.
Both Samuellah and Patrick are former cadres of the Seychelles armed forces. They left the services to start their own business, but they are still considered as 'soldiers' of the country.
With their old connections, they have access to exclusive information on the incident that has triggered an emergency in the military. The top brass of the army is in a meeting with the President and the Cabinet of Ministers at the government centre to decide on their next move.
It is only after her Jeep turned into the lane where the office was situated that Patrick put the phone down.
THE DARK SPOT IN THE SKY
Finding her parking spot, she put the car on 'P' and turned it off. Patrick came to her door to open it for her to step out when came a loud bang in the sky.
They look up and to their horror, they saw a dark spot in the sky right above their head.
Looking deeper into the bright sky, they saw it getting bigger and it soon became a black circle the size of the full moon.
Patrick put his arm around Samuellah, looking into the sky, dazed and confused.
Within minutes it grew bigger and stopped growing all of a sudden. There was another shrieking sound in the sky and the circle became a dark spot and it had the size of the sun.
"It was falling from the sky, but it stopped," said Samuellah, looking at Patrick, the only brother she had.
They quickly ran in the office and started making calls and got their home-based reporter to interview some key people in the aeronautic industry in Victoria, the embassies in town and the military and political leaders
With the stack of data in their hands, they started drafting the story of the century.
Within minutes the story was up on their portal, www.spacerace.sc and shared the link on social media. It gathered steam very quickly.
The authorities had allowed them to publish the story first before the local newspapers. They had more insight into the phenomenon and was faster than the other portals.
This made them the heroes of the day for breaking such a big story on a global scale. Their site started to crash when they published a video of the spot filmed by the military.
The army base nearby was monitoring the signal they detected at seven A.M. in the morning and they had footage of the spot enlarging and becoming a black circle and turning again into a black spot before it stopped in mid-air.