Video Killed The Radio Star
rating: +114+x
Crab_nebula_pulsar.jpg

we can't rewind we've gone too far

A dozen astronomers and physicists seated in folding metal chairs raised their eyebrows in unison. The flat-screen monitor switched from the black and white image to an array of numbers and equations.

Dr. Thompson pushed his glasses back up his nose and turned around to face the crowd. "SCP-1548 would've reached the earth in 5400 years."

Dr. Yan, who sat at a wooden desk with his feet propped up, nodded along. "Given the distances involved that meant the object was traveling at least 85% of the speed of light."

Dr. Thompson nodded. "Yes sir. Until recently we just chalked that up as part of the anomaly. You have to remember this thing already doesn't obey the laws of physics. It was somehow able to communicate with the Foundation in real time. It also knew way too much about us to be classed as safe."

"Also it was an anomalous pulsar."

The entire room erupted into a chuckle as Dr. Thompson continued. "Yes. Also that."

Dr. Yan smiled. "We can talk about what we don't know all day. That's what you have to put up with when you're handling anomalies. Assume you know nothing until you're wrong."

"Yes sir. Over the last few years astronomers have gotten a much better handle on the behavior of non-anomalous pulsars. They are a likely candidate for the origin of fast radio bursts. Almost all of them seem to originate from extra-galactic sources, which means they must be powerful."

"I assume this is going to tie into Blitzars?"

"Yes. With new understanding comes new applications for that knowledge. For the folks in here that have a masters degree, I'll make it simple for you: A neutron star cannot exceed 2.3 solar masses or it will collapse into a black hole. Our friend clocked in overweight at 2.41."

Dr. Yan nodded along. "We always assumed that was a tertiary anomalous property."

"If we apply some basic physics to the problem we can figure out how fast it would need to spin to prevent catastrophic collapse."

"I get the inclination those numbers aren't going to match up with observations?"

"They do not," Dr. Thompson said. "After our first run through the data we threw our hands up and figured 'anomalies' like you said."

The display on the screen switched to show an elongated streak and a few audience members gasped. "After yesterday's events, we ran it through a simulation."

Dr. Yan's eyes went wide, though he still didn't take his feet down from the desk. "It survived by being in motion?"

"The problem is that was never sustainable behavior. It can shift directions on a whim, but if it ever shifts opposite the direction of its motion the whole thing comes crashing down in a planck second."

The video screen showed the streak shift and implode. Waves pulsed from the center and the screen went black.

The room went quiet as the project staff realized they no longer had an anomaly to study. Dr. Thompson broke the silence. "It was sending us hateful messages until the end. Then a single radio burst. Then nothing."

Dr. Yan let his feet slip off the desk and stood up to face the crowd. "We've still got wrap-up work for some of you but the project is going to be downsized. For the paraphysicists; right now might be a good time to use up your vacation days while we figure out what to do with you. The astronomers are being reassigned immediately. We've got a new anomaly that you're going to find interesting."

The scientists began to file out of the room and Dr. Yan walked towards Dr. Thompson. He leaned in and whispered. "What did the last burst say?"

Dr. Thompson tilted his head. "I don't want to go."

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