Foundations-4

PREVIOUS


Professor Gregory Cabenwald May 15th, 1916
The Skeptics' Club of Philadelphia

Dear Professor Cabenwald:

The hardest part proved to be securing the polonium. Its scarcity (a consequence of its brief half-life) makes it prohibitively expensive. Robert nevertheless succeeded in acquiring a sufficient amount.
The contraption itself is a lead-shielded mechanism that, when triggered, exposes the polonium and produces a ray of alpha particles from its very tip. It is automated and, as per your suggestion, powered by two Leclanché cells. A punch-tape feed controls the trigger mechanism, allowing us to loop a pattern for as long as our supply of polonium lasts.
Given the content of the arriving message, we decided to escalate the stakes: We transmitted the first seven primes. Immediately after our first loop completed, the anomaly ceased to emit any detectable trace of radiation.
Several seconds after that, it resumed emitting radiation at a far more furious pace.
What we recorded was a series of dense clusters of brief pulses and long bands. It lasted for approximately two minutes before ceasing. Upon examination, I could make neither heads nor tails of it — Robert, however, recognized it instantly. He worked in the telegraph office at South Station as a young boy. There, he learned to read Morse as plainly as reading a book.
The message was written in English. It informed us to stand by for a second transmission that will commence two weeks from now. This message will exceed five million characters, and thus shall require approximately two hundred and sixty days to complete.
I jested to Robert that we may need an additional roll of paper.

Eagerly awaiting your arrival,
Mrs. Annette Lang-Scranton


NEXT


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License