Chapter 9: The Announcement
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The teams in Moscow and Dallas worked around the clock for weeks attempting to translate the remaining stones. However, apart from noting recurring symbols and, in a few cases, duplicate strings on separate disks, little progress had been made. Doubt began to rise this alien tongue would ever be translated.
Meanwhile, Sanger and his superiors became restless with continual setbacks and failures. While the efforts of the teams were accomplishing little, the rumors among the public were growing. The most frequent rumor was that of a pending alien invasion from another world, usually Mars. Some speculated the stones contained schematics for a spacecraft which would transport humans to the alien world. The destination most often selected was, again, Mars. A more recent rumor stated the artifacts contained cures for many of the diseases that humans experienced including cancer!
United States officials met with Sanger in early November and the decision was made to announce the foreign origin of the capsule and stones. Gerhard would join Sanger and explain the “Map”. Lessing and Karpov would comment on the on-going translation work and emphasize the benign nature of what they had found (which, of course, was virtually nothing).
The three team leaders joined Sanger in San Diego for the public announcement the Wednesday a week before the Thanksgiving holiday. There, in the same press room which held the infamous June press conference, the five men sat on the podium with Mike Murphy and Sanger on one side and the three scientists on the other. They glanced around the room filled, once more, with journalists from around the world.
“Another circus,” thought Sanger, smiling at his two team leaders across the podium from him. “This meeting is a huge mistake in my opinion.”
Gerhard, Karpov, and Lessing chatted with one another about their work on the project and paid little attention to the gathering. Gerhard was quite interested in the work of Lessing’s team and asked the leader question after question. Lessing was very happy to answer those questions for doing so allowed him to stoke his ego. Karpov expressed to the other two men his team’s frustration with their lack of success with “Beta”.
At 2 p.m., Murphy strode to the podium and spoke into the microphones.
“Ladies and gentlemen, please, if I may. Let me begin our conference by welcoming you to San Diego.”
Murphy paused anticipating some applause given the beautiful weather southern California was experiencing. Instead, he was greeted with silence.
“I’m Mike Murphy,” he continued, “the media director for ASF. Today, our administrator, Dr. Brian Sanger, has an announcement to make and will do so shortly. Once he has concluded his remarks, the individuals on the podium will take a few questions. Joining Dr. Sanger are Dr. Fritz Gerhard who led the team in Berlin working on the ‘Alpha’ stone. Also, Dr. Boris Karpov, the leader of the Moscow team working on the ‘Beta’ artifact. Finally, they are joined by Dr. Matthew Lessing, the head of the Linguistics Institute in Dallas and the leader of the team translating the ‘Gamma’ stone. First, Dr. Singer.”
Murphy stepped back as Sanger sprang from his chair and walked to the podium. As he took his position behind the stand, Murphy returned to his chair near the back of the platform.
“Good afternoon, everyone,” Sanger began. “The announcement the ASF has today is an intermediate announcement. What I mean by that is we are providing some information today but not all information. The reason we cannot give you all the information you want is because we still do not know all the information.”
Sanger paused and took a sip of water. The words he just spoke were not the ones he had wanted to share. They were choppy and failed to convey the excitement of the news he was about to share. In his mind he was kicking himself for not writing down his introductory statement and simply reading it.
“The United States and the American Space Federation are announcing today that life does exist elsewhere in this solar system.” The administrator looked up from his notes expecting shock on the faces of the inquiring journalists. Instead, there was silence in the room. To the reporters, his news was old news.
“The Cedarbrook Capsule which crashed in England in July of 2007 was designed, manufactured, and sent by an alien civilization which we are convinced live on Proteus, a moon of the planet Neptune.”
Now a buzz broke out around the room. Low voices made remarks such as “Proteus? What’s Proteus? Where’s Proteus?” and “What about Mars?”. Sanger again scanned the room and quietly chuckled. He finally had their attention and interest.
“Dr. Gerhard’s team in Berlin were responsible for analyzing the ‘Alpha’ stone. They are convinced that stone is a stellar map of our solar system. Markings on the stone we now call the ‘Cedarbrook Map’ indicate earth as the capsule’s destination and Proteus as its origin.”
“Dr. Sanger,” a voice cried from the rear of the room accompanied by a raised hand. Sanger looked towards the pleading soul and waved his hand at him, giving him a “stop” gesture.
“Please, allow me to finish our announcement. Then, we will take some questions.” He paused for a moment to permit the room to quiet. Then he continued. “As we shared in our July press conference, the capsule vanished in May of this year and revealed three artifacts or stones. These stones had markings on them which remained invisible until we performed a spectroscopy on the stones. Symbols or markings appeared on each stone but slowly faded over time. Photographs of all the markings were made, enhanced, and distributed to the three teams for their evaluation.
“It is now a fact that we are not alone in the universe. That question has finally been answered.” Sanger paused and the rumbling resumed around the room. “Now, I’ll ask doctors Gerhard, Karpov, and Lessing to join me and we will take some of your questions.”
Hands bolted into the air and voices shouted for recognition as the three team leaders joined Sanger at the podium. Lessing was beaming, always glad for an opportunity to publicly display his genius. Quite the opposite, Gerhard and Karpov were far more reserved, having no interest in all the attention being afforded to them.
“Dr. Sanger, can you share information on this moon you called Proteus?”
“I believe,” Sanger began, turning and pointing to Gerhard, “Dr. Fritz Gerhard is much better informed about Neptune’s moons than am I. Dr. Gerhard.”
Gerhard stepped towards the microphones. Journalists had their recorders on and pencils in hand.
“Proteus is a small moon of the planet Neptune. Neptune itself is 4.5 billion kilometers from the sun and, we thought, is orbited by fourteen moons. Of those fourteen, Proteus is the seventh moon, roughly 120,000 kilometers from the planet. It orbits Neptune in just over an earth day. The moon is one of the larger of Neptune’s moons but only 420 or so kilometers in diameter. That makes it roughly one-eighth the size of earth’s moon.”
More grumblings arose from the crowd as they realized how small this space body was.
“We have photographs of Proteus,” continued Gerhard, “taken by the Voyager 2 space craft when it flew by Neptune in the late 1980s. In fact, Voyager discovered Proteus.”
“Dr. Gerhard, Dr. Gerhard,” shouted an older reporter near the front. Gerhard looked his way, so he continued with his question. “Was there any prior indication of life on Proteus?”
Gerhard shook his friend from side-to-side. The older scientist was beginning to enjoy his notoriety.
“No, there was not. The photographs taken by Voyager give us a picture of a cratered barren space body. No discernable color, no visible atmosphere; nothing we would associate with life. Nevertheless, we are convinced the capsule was created on and sent from Proteus.”
“Why did they send it to earth?”, shouted a middle-aged female reporter from the far left of the podium.
Sanger took Gerhard’s glance as a request to intervene. So, he stepped forward again and motioned to Karpov to stand next to him.
“Why did they send it to earth, you ask. Excellent question, excellent question. And I have a brief answer for you: we don’t know.”
The conference room echoed with groans and sighs of disappointment. Sanger waved his arms to calm the crowd down and then turned to Karpov.
“I do want Dr. Karpov to share his answer to this question given his team’s findings on ‘Beta’. Dr. Karpov.”
The anxiety Karpov was experiencing was clearly visible on his face. He gulped, paused before the microphones, gripped by fear of the crowd.
“As,” he began slowly, “as Dr. Sanger has said, we do not know precisely why those on Proteus chose to send us the capsule and its contents. We agree with Dr. Gerhard’s conclusions concerning its origin as well as earth being its intended destination. However, answering the ‘why’ question is another matter.
“I can share some of our thoughts on a possible reason for their communication based on what we have found on the ‘Beta’ stone. Dr. Lessing will confirm some of what I share with you based on his team’s work with ‘Gamma’.
“The markings on the ‘Beta’ and ‘Gamma’ stones are not illustrations or diagrams like those on ‘Alpha’. They are clearly some form of communication, some type of correspondence. In other words, the markings represent the language of the creatures living on Proteus.
“Translating any language is very difficult. Furthermore, it is virtually impossible without some key. I’m sure you all are aware of Egyptian hieroglyphics. For years, we had no idea how to read those symbols. But, the discovery of the Rosetta stone changed that. The stone contained the same writing in Egyptian hieroglyphics, Egyptian Demotic, and Greek. In other words, the latter two languages served as a key to determining the symbols used in hieroglyphics. Well, that’s what we need and, unfortunately, the Protei has not provided us with such a key.
“However, ‘Beta’ does contain one clue near the beginning of the disk. One set of markings clearly spell the word ‘earth’.” Gasps arose throughout the crowd. Murmurs of the word “earth” could be heard in silent voices throughout the room.
“Examining the Protei symbols appearing just before those letters, we have concluded they form the Protei word meaning ‘planet’ or ‘world’. ‘Beta’ contains this word twice, but Dr. Lessing’s team has found the word multiple times in ‘Gamma’.”
“Over 900 times,” interjected Lessing proudly.
“The reference to our planet’s name,” Karpov resumed, “and the map’s indication that the earth was the capsule’s intended destination leads our team to conclude that the ‘Beta’ stone is some type of introductory note or memo to us. We suspect it also describes the purpose of the ‘Gamma’ stones.”
“Dr. Karpov,” screamed the elderly reporter on the front row, “how would alien creatures on Proteus know anything about the earth? How would they know we refer to our planet as earth?”
The room grew silent. Sanger smiled. He was grateful this conference was proceeding so much better than the one he held in June.
“A wonderful question,” Karpov said, clapping his hands together. The ‘Beta’ team struggled with this one for a few days. We speculated they may have heard radio broadcasts of some type being sent from earth. But, given the letters were spelled out in printed form, such signals are unlikely the source. Then, someone on our team remembered Voyager 2. Both Voyager spacecrafts carried on their outside what has been referred to as a golden record. On one side of that record appears the spelling of the word ‘earth’. Therefore, in some way, the creatures on Proteus extracted the information from the record or the record itself when Voyager 2 passed nearby in the late 1980s. Subsequent examination of the record revealed the existence of our civilization, our location in the solar system, and the name we have attached to our planet. Perhaps Dr. Lessing has something to add.”
Karpov turned to Lessing and offered him the microphone. The linguist never missed an opportunity to speak to laymen because such times promoted his genius and rubbed his ego. But, the Institute chief was not enthused by Karpov’s detailed response to the questions. Such detail permitted him few additional answers.
“Thank you, Dr. Karpov. Great questions this afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. As you know, ‘Gamma’ consists of forty disks fastened together by metal with inscriptions on both sides of each disk. We have discovered these forty disks divide into four sections of ten disks each. Unfortunately, like ‘Beta’, there is no key that we have found. And, unlike ‘Beta’, ‘Gamma’ contains no identifiable symbols. My team in Dallas continue their efforts to translate the massive work even while I speak with you in San Diego.
“Dr. Karpov is also correct in his assessment of translation work without a key. We are uncertain what the aliens are trying to tell us and have no knowledge of their form of communication. So, apart from the ‘earth’ spelling on ‘Beta’, we are working in the dark.
“Despite our lack of progress to date, we have made some discoveries. First, the Protei appear to write in columns from the bottom of a stone to the top, from the left column to the right column. Second, they are capable of extremely small inscriptions. We have enlarged the photocopies many times attempting to discern differences in the various symbolic etchings. Third, our alien friends appear to write in what we call strings. A string is a collection of several symbols that appear to be delineated by a unique mark at the end of the string. We are not sure what the meaning of a string might be though we suspect a string is much like a sentence in English.”
“Dr. Lessing,” asked an elderly lady journalist on the left near the rear. “Why are the ‘Gamma’ disks connected by metal?”
“Well,” Lessing began,” we assume metal to make certain they remained together.” Chuckles arose around the room. “The metal ‘hinges’, if I may call them that, are made of the same material as the stone themselves and as the capsule. We do not know how these hingers applied and couldn’t remove them even if we wanted to do so.
“We are sure they were bound together because they tell a single story, whatever that story may be. The hinges work much like the binding of a book holding the pages together. Or, like the rings on a ring binder keeping all the loose-leaf papers together. As Dr. Karpov has noted, we suspect the ‘Beta’ stone provides some insight into the meaning of the ‘Gamma’ stones.”
Mike Murphy checked his watch and then caught the eyes of Sanger. Pointing to his watch, he indicated to his boss it was time to end the conference. But, as Sanger walked towards the podium, a familiar voice grabbed the attention of all in the room. It was Johnson Stegall of the Helena Press. Sanger took a deep breath.
“Dr. Sanger, if I may, please,” screamed the journalist, realizing the administrator was on the verge of ending the conference. Sanger felt he had no choice but to recognize the youthful reporter. Upon reaching the podium, he pointed at the man.
“This will be our last question this afternoon. Mr. Stegall, I believe.”
“Yes, Johnson Stegall, Helena Press. Would you share with us, Dr. Lessing, what you believe this announcement truly means for our nation and for the world?”
Dr. Matthew Lessing moved past Sanger and the others to the center of the podium and smiled at the journalist. He placed each hand on the top of the sides of the podium and leaned forward, staring at the crowd.
“You ask what it means. Why, it means everything! Everything! No longer must we ask are we alone in the universe. We’re not! In fact, life exists just ‘down the block’ from us, so to speak. Furthermore, this life form is not some simple-minded protozoa. It is an intelligent race, a race who managed to extract information from a passing spacecraft, interpret the information to determine its origin, design and construct a capsule to travel to our planet, and launch that object, hitting its target. No, they are an advanced people, at least as advanced as we are.
“Furthermore, it proves the prevailing view of cosmology. How did the universe begin, and life develop? It began with some form of big bang, matter expanding across the universe. On various space bodies, life evolved, life suited for the specific environment. Life is not an act of creation. No, it is an act of chemical interactions. Such reactions on earth resulted in the various life forms we see every day. And similar but different reactions resulted in the formation of the species living on Proteus.”
“In other words, God is a hoax,” replied Stegall.
Sanger and Murphy gulped fearing the fallout of Lessing’s answer to this question. Sanger nudged Lessing attempting to reach the microphones, but Lessing would not step aside.
“Now, Mr. Stegall,” said Lessing, “that is not what I said. You may still believe in the existence of a divine being, if you choose. But the capsule proves the accounts of creation recorded in the religious books of various faiths are wrong. Science is now confirmed. Life has evolved; it was not created.”
“So, the Christian creation account in Genesis is wrong, Dr. Lessing?” asked Stegall as other reporters shouted and screamed for recognition.
Lessing muttered “Yes” as he was being pushed aside by Sanger. His answer was heard by only those standing on the podium but anyone who saw his lips knew what he had said.
“Thank you, everyone. ASF will release the printed version of our announcement later this afternoon. Have a great day and, if I do not see you before then, happy Thanksgiving.”
The administrator was glad that was over.
Author’s Note: The author suspects the reader was also caught up in the excitement of those days. Over time, interest in the incident and certainly in the translation of the stones waned. For a couple of years, the media would question Sanger about the translation and the response was always the same: “It is difficult and taking longer than expected.”
That, however, was not true. Time has passed and the two stones have been forgotten from mankind’s mind. Do you believe what the ASF told the world in 2011, namely, that translation of the stones was impossible? If you do, that is because that is what your government wants you to believe.
In the remaining chapters of this work, the author presents previously unpublished accounts related to the translation efforts. This information has been hidden from the population for reasons which will be obvious once revealed. Documentation of the subsequent events has been destroyed and, with the disappearance of the capsule and, later, the stones themselves, the reader is left to consider the material presented by the author in the subsequent chapters and make their own judgment as to the truthfulness of the account. This information has been provided by unnamed sources associated with the work on “Gamma”. Furthermore, the author was given access to Dr. Buhr’s personal journal (yes, the government was unaware such a record exists) which delineates some of these events and provides written support for additional accounts.
What the public has yet to be told is that Dr. Hezekiah Buhr found the key for translating the stones in early 2009. He shared his preliminary findings with Dr. Lessing in a crucial meeting and those findings were rejected. Dr. Buhr was relieved of his responsibilities on the “Gamma” team and a month later was dismissed from the Linguistics Institute.
Unknown to Dr. Lessing, the “Gamma” team, and the world, Dr. Buhr continued his translation work using photocopies of the stones which he had removed from the project. His completed work is amazing and reveal fascinating information concerning our new friends in the solar system. Herein lies the truth behind the Cedarbrook Capsule.