The Cedarbrook Capsule

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Chapter 7: Beta

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dr. Boris Karpov, the Russian linguistic expert, knew the game ASF Administrator Sanger was playing. Sanger, an American, preferred to keep all the artifacts in the hands of American organizations. But, given the possible alien nature of the capsule and the fact the British had already examined the device, Sanger wanted other nations involved in the research of the stones while America remained in charge of the overall effort. So, he relegated “Alpha” to the Germans and “Beta” to the Russians. “Gamma”, the largest of the three stones, would remain in the States and Sanger in charge of everything.

Karpov also understood the similarities between the “Beta” and “Gamma” stones and that his team had less to work with than Lessing’s Dallas team. Given these similarities, the two teams must share information with one another. Nevertheless, the Russian was determined his team would complete their efforts first.

The photographs of the “Beta” etchings finally arrived in Moscow on the first day of July. Much to the surprise and protest of Karpov, government authorities confiscated the pictures and gave them to their cryptologists. He was prohibited from sharing this news with Sanger and the other two teams.

Two weeks later, however, the events in Berlin changed the direction of the Moscow activities. When Karpov explained “Alpha” to his authorities, he made it clear that their espionage agency was searching for a non-existent code. “Beta” was not an intelligence document; it was an alien communique! Russian government leaders finally handed the “Beta” documents to Karpov and his team of linguists.

Once the photographs were in his hands, Karpov called his team together. The Moscow team leader was a language expert, specializing in Semitic languages. He selected two friends who are also well-known linguists to assist him in this effort: Dr. Elaina Popov, specialist in Oriental languages, and Dr. Natalia Kuznetsov, a European language specialist. The team gathered in the Moscow building serving as the project’s offices and Karpov shared the findings of Gerhard’s Berlin team.

“Ladies,” he began, “we have some findings from Dr. Gerhard’s team in Berlin and they are quite surprising.”

His fellow scientists glanced at each other then returned their gaze to their leader. After weeks of frustration caused by their government, they were excited to have their first look at the etchings on “Beta”.

“First, Gerhard’s team is convinced the capsule was sent from a moon of Neptune, Proteus, specifically to earth.”

“What?” exclaimed Popov. “They’re positive on that?”

“Yes, absolutely.”

“Oh, my. That changes everything,” sighed Kuznetsov. “We were preparing to study ‘Beta’ from a false premise, namely, that the markings were some unknown human language!”

“True. But Gerhard assures us the capsule and artifacts are from another world. Yet, you two are the best in your field and I am confident we can translate ‘Beta’,” responded Karpov.

“But, are we even certain ‘Beta’ contains another language?” asked Popov.

“No, but we must examine ‘Beta’ based on that assumption, namely, that some alien race is attempting to communicate with those on earth.”

“This is unbelievable! Aliens contacting earth! No one, and I mean no one will believe this. When is the public going to be notified?” asked Kuznetsov.

“Whoa, Natalia,” interjected Karpov, “secrecy is to be maintained on this subject until the ‘Beta’ and ‘Gamma’ teams have completed their efforts.”

The two female Russian linguists glanced at one another and then returned their eyes to Karpov.

“Really? This fantastic news is not going to be disclosed? How can that be?” queried Popov in a louder tone than she usually used.

“It’s not right,” added Kuznetsov.

“Now, now, ladies. We are professionals. Someone has decided it is not yet time to release this information and we must honor our agreement,” answered Karpov somewhat apologetically.

“Well, I don’t like it one bit,” Popov added grudgingly.

For a moment, the three sat silently, each digesting the news from Gerhard and the ban on making it public knowledge. Before Karpov could continue, Popov asked a question.

“Do we have any news from Dr. Lessing’s team?”

“Yes. They were made aware of Gerhard’s findings almost two weeks ago and have altered their approach as well. We also have an additional finding from Gerhard. His team views ‘Alpha’ as an illustration of the solar system arranged in a ‘bottom-to-top’ design. Therefore, we should take the same approach in examining ‘Beta’. Most human languages read ‘left-to-right’ or ‘right-to-left’ or even ‘top-to-bottom’. However, I suggest we study ‘Beta’ as a ‘bottom-up’ communication.”

The two ladies nodded in agreement with their leader. Karpov opened the folder before him and distributed enlarged copies of the photographs of the two sides of the “Beta” stone. He smiled slightly as he observed the eyes of his fellow linguists.

“You will quickly observe the advantage ‘Beta’ affords us.”

His female partners scanned the first page, staring at the stranger symbols and gasped simultaneously.

“Look at that!” shouted Popov.

“That’s not possible!” shouted Kuznetsov. “How can this object have come from a Neptune moon? This can’t be true! It can’t be true!”

There, clearly displayed before the eyes of the three linguists, were five symbols which, from bottom-to-top, appeared to spell ‘E-A-R-T-H’. They were the only legible markings on the artifact.

“I…I don’t know…,” Popov stuttered, dumbfounded at the discovery. “I don’t know how this can be. This is impossible!”

“So, Dr. Karpov,” added Kuznetsov, “if this is a communique from an alien race, how can they know we refer to our planet as ‘earth’?”

“That is a great question, Natalia, for which I have no answer,” Karpov answered. “But, ‘Alpha’ is, without question, a stellar map of our solar system indicating some form of life on Neptune’s moon Proteus created these artifacts, put them into a capsule, and sent it to earth. ‘Alpha’, now called ‘the map’, is sent to earth to reveal its origin to us and what do we find in ‘Beta’? We find the word ‘earth’.”

“Perhaps ‘Beta’ is some type of introductory letter or memo to humans from our Neptunian friends,” replied Popov.

“Let’s hope they’re friends,” said Kuznetsov.

“Well, I had the same thought, Elaina,” commented Karpov. “If it is an introductory letter, it may explain what the ‘Gamma’ artifact is. It might also reveal how those on a moon of Neptune know we exist and that we refer to our planet as ‘earth’.”

“Honestly, this all sounds like a scam,” Popov replied.

“But for what purpose?” asked Karpov. “Besides, Gerhard’s team is convinced of the capsule’s origin. We have to work under that assumption.”
Again, the three well-educated individuals sat quietly for several minutes. None of them had ever seriously considered the possibility the thing had come from another world. Now, not only did it appear that had happened, but the aliens who sent it knew who we were!

“How do we approach deciphering an unknown alien tongue without any information about that language?” Popov asked.

“You mean a key,” interjected Karpov, “like a Rosetta stone?”

Popov nodded.

“Elaina is correct, Boris,” added Kuznetsov, nodding her head. “We need a key of some sort.”

“Well, we do have the ‘e-a-r-t-h’ notation. Perhaps that will help us get started.”

“I wonder if Lessing’s team has found anything,” replied Popov. “If they are working with the same language, they have the same problem as we do.”

“Let’s get started, team.”

And, so, the Moscow team began what would be a long, unsuccessful effort.

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