The Cedarbrook Capsule

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Chapter 3: Vanished!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

May 27 was a warm but beautiful day in San Diego. The key scientific engineers assigned to the capsule project (known as Project CB) were in the ASF laboratory gathered around a large conference table discussing their efforts. In clear view, within one of the clean rooms, sat the Cedarbrook Capsule with a defiant and triumphant gleam. The metallic object rested on a table behind the thick glass wall behind them, belted down by two straps wrapped from the underside of the table over the top of the object. The lighting of the room brilliantly reflected off its surface.

“Does anyone have any further ideas on how we might obtain a sample of its metal?” questioned Dr. Carl Polonski, the leader of the project. If anyone on the project was more frustrated with their results than Polonski, their faces concealed it. But not the leader. His frustration was revealed in both his face and his voice. Fully disappointed in their lack of progress, he was completely void of how to proceed.

The project team had worked together on more than one investigation. They had analyzed lunar rocks, falling space debris, and experimental rocket parts for over a decade. They were, without question, the best engineers in ASF.

For more than three months, Polonski’s team had attempted and failed to discover any means for opening the capsule. They were unable to extract a sample of its metallic skin. Magnetism had no effect on it and even x-rays could not reveal its interior. The strange foreign object had become a thorn in their investigative flesh.

“Dr. P,” as he was known by his closest associates, “I don’t believe we will ever get a sample,” answered Dr. Maria Brandt. Brandt was the youngest of the four project leaders and, arguably, the brightest of the lot. “What else could we even hope to try? Perhaps something nuclear?” she said with her voice rising to a sarcastic pitch.

“Any why would you say that, Dr. Brandt?” Polonski replied.

“Come on, Dr. P. Its obvious this contraption is not man-made,” interrupted Dr. Uriah Marx, articulating what everyone had realized from the first day of project. It wasn’t the first time Marx had broached the subject. The chief antagonist of the group continued. “Why, even our optical spectroscopic examination didn’t reveal anything. We can’t open it, take a sample from it, or even see inside of it. Obviously, this metal is not from earth. So, we should spend our time trying to determine where it came from and what type of creatures built it.”

“Marx is right, Carl,” noted Dr. Alexander Cantrell. “This thing has come from somewhere in space, made by a life form that is not human, and sent here for unknown reasons. Shouldn’t we focus our attention on those facts?”

The four brilliant ASF employees said nothing as three of them stared at their leader for some direction. In their hearts, they knew behind that glass wall was proof that mankind was not alone in the universe.

“And why are we not permitted to share this obvious fact with the public?” questioned Marx.

“Come on, Uriah,” snapped Polonski. “Sometimes you and your buddy,” he said, motioning towards Cantrell, “are in too much of a rush to disclose to the general public information of which we are not certain. What you say maybe true, in fact, even I think it’s true. However, we better be certain of that fact before we say anything to the public. My god, man, think of the panic such news might cause!” He took a deep breath and glared at Marx. “So, I ask you again, what can we do to obtain a sample of the metal?”

“Instead of a sample, perhaps we should attempt to break it open,” Marx said matter-of-factly, knowing full well such attempts had already proved fruitless. Brandt shook her head from side to side and dropped her chin, tired of hearing the repetition of failed ideas.

“Heck, we can’t even drill into it with a laser,” shouted Cantrell. “How in the world do you expect to open the thing!”

“And where is the thing’s propulsion system? What about its landing apparatus?” snapped Marx. “How did the aliens get it across space without propulsion?”

Polonski dropped his chain, shook his head from side-to-side, and sighed, his frustration and disappointment reaching new heights.

“Forget the alien talk, Marx. Good god, man, you drive me crazy! Our task is to analyze the craft, not to determine its origin.”

“Come on, Polonski,” yelled Cantrell. “You know the man is right. The public could care less about its construction.”

The argument continued with the exchange becoming more heated with each passing minute. Cantrell and Polonski began yelling once more at one another, the former presenting one idea and the latter pouring water all over it. Marx joined in, shouting at each of the other two men.

Brandt sat there glaring at her three male associates, watching the red of their faces increase as their blood pressures rose. She had no new thoughts on how to obtain a sample or how to open it so there was no need for her to say anything. Her partners were all correct. The object had to be alien. But their mission was not to determine from where it came. Such speculation was far beyond their objective or skills.

She stared at the glass wall behind Polonski at the far end of the table and marveled at the object sitting on the table in the clean room. It was a beautiful in appearance and remarkable in its construction. The lights in the clean room reflected from its surface.

The debate among her male colleagues persisted. Suddenly, while Polonski was screaming at Marx about something, Brandt’s eyes opened wide and her gaze was riveted on the shiny device.

“Hey, men,” she began, rising slowly from her chair. She pointed towards the glass window separating them from the object of their frustration. “Something’s happening in there.”

The others turned and, upon seeing what Brandt saw, leaped to their feet. The four scientists raced to the glass window and peered at the mysterious capsule.

“What … what’s this?” stuttered Cantrell, his eyes glued to the glass before him.

“Why, the thing is glowing!” exclaimed Polonski.

For the first time since it was discovered, the Cedarbrook Capsule, silver in design, was now a pulsating light blue color. There was no apparent reason for the change, but there was no question it was happening.

“I don’t understand. We haven’t touched it today. No tests of any kind,” noted Marx, reminding everyone that, whatever was happening to the alien craft at this moment, was not the result of anything they had done.

Frozen by what they were seeing, the eight eyes were riveted upon the metallic device. Now the color changed to a dark blue. A few seconds passed and, what had been a silver object, converted from dark blue to dark red.

Unexpectedly, the pulsation of the light became more rapid and a high-pitch whine emanating from the glowing capsule, a whine which grew louder until the scientists were forced to cover their ears. Despite the wall separating them from the device, the sound penetrated their ears and their brains, so loud they could no longer hear each other speak. The redness became white then a brighter white. The intensity of the whiteness of the glowing elliptical object grew brighter and brighter as the whine increased louder in volume and higher in pitch.

Then, unexpectedly, the sound ceased and the light from the mysterious capsule flashed a blinding white into the eyes of the four engineers. Their hands instinctively moved from their ears to their eyes and, within two seconds, the light was gone.

Uncovering their eyes, the Project CB members stared through the glass. The capsule was gone!

The gasp was a collective one. The table was there. The belts were still fastened to the underside of the table. But, instead of the capsule, they were now draped over the surface of the table. Under them were three fragments.

“What … what just happened? Did the craft explode?” stammered Brandt. No one had an answer to her question.

“Are those fragments of the capsule?” Marx asked, scratching his head, puzzled by what he had just witnessed.

Cantrell said nothing. He simply stared through the glass, his mind attempting to ascertain what his eyes had just seen. The capsule had been there for months, impenetrable, resisting every attempt to analyze it. For unknown reasons, it had begun to glow, intensified, and vanished as though it was a prop in some magician’s act. There, in its place were three smaller objects, possibly pieces from the alien craft.

“Get the video, men,” he said, ignoring Brandt’s gender. “Maybe we can determine what happened from it.”

“Forget the tape,” snapped Marx. “Let’s get in there and examine those remains.” He broke away from the glass and moved to the door leading into the clean room.

“Wait, Marx!” screamed Polonski. Marx halted and looked back at the leader with disgust on his face. “We should check out the environment of the clean room before we open that door! Maybe the thing left behind contaminants.”

For the first time that day, the three project members agreed with their leader. Marx decided to check the room’s environment while the other three reviewed the videotape of the capsule’s disappearance.

Over and over, they viewed the video, several times in slow motion. Nothing new was evident. There was nothing on the tape to indicate why the capsule began to glow. The section of the tape when the capsule disappeared was obscured by the brightness of the final light. This gap only lasted about five seconds. Nothing in the video appeared to be an explosion. Nevertheless, during that short period of time, what was a brightly glowing strange object had vanished. When the video image became visible once more, the metallic pieces on the table were evident.

“Environment is green,” noted Marx upon returning to the group. “There’s not a trace of any new matter since the disappearance. Whatever the metal was that made up that thing, all traces of it, except those fragments, have been completely eliminated from the room.”

“How is that possible?” asked Brandt.

“I have no idea,” replied Marx, shaking his head from side to side. “But it’s gone.”

“Well, we won’t need a sample any more, will we?” chided Cantrell. Polonski glared that his team member.

“And we won’t have to open it either, will we?” snapped Polonski.

“Enough, men,” barked Brandt, tired of the testosterone bickering.

“Did you find anything on the tape?” queried Marx.

“Not one thing,” replied Polonski, more frustrated than he was earlier in the day and now also puzzled by what he had witnessed. “Absolutely nothing.”

“Why or how the capsule vanished is a mystery we will likely never solve,” stated Brandt, attempting to re-focus the team on the present situation. “However, isn’t it possible the stones on the table are capsule fragments? If so, we finally have what we wanted.”

Cantrell raised his head and stared at Brandt.

“Maybe, Dr. Brandt. But, what if those stones aren’t pieces of the craft? What if the capsule was merely a container, some device used to carry those particular objects whatever they are?” he questioned, pointing at the table behind the glass.

“Yes,” Brandt replied, carefully pondering Cantrell’s thesis. “Quite possible. If the capsule exploded, those fragments would not have remained on the table.”

“Not likely,” chimed Polonski. “You two may be on to something. Perhaps the capsule was merely an envelope.”

“Or, a package containing gifts?” asked Marx.

“Let’s hope they’re gifts,” said Cantrell.

“And what has it delivered?” questioned Brandt.

“And from whom?” chimed Marx.

The four scientists moved quickly to the door and into the clean room that once contained the Cedarbrook Capsule.

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