Exploring The Dot

As we sat in the preparation chamber, I marvelled yet again at how I felt no different, and how none of my colleagues appeared any different, despite the enormous changes that were taking place. I glanced swiftly around the chamber at the crew who were assembled for this particular mission.

There was Krolowsky, a muscular, giant of a man with a face that looked as if it had been used as a punch bag for every heavyweight champion for the past one hundred years, yet who claimed, much to everyone’s disbelief, that he had never been in a brawl.

Next to him, Laidler the scientist, his thin, bespectacled face buried in his notebook as usual, scribbling away at something no one knew, nor would ever be likely to know.

The last seat on that side was taken up by K’Chonga, another large man owing most of his bulk to his devotion to gourmet cuisine.

Next to me, on my right, was Smith, the elder of the party at sixty-three, yet still surprisingly fit enough to put many of the junior rankers to shame.

Finally, there was Tomar.

With nothing else to occupy the time while we waited for the all-clear, my mind drifted back to the reason for this particular mission. It was some five months ago that Toubobble first noticed an unidentified, unrecognisable reading on the long range radar scanner. Assuming it was some top secret military vessel, it was dutifully reported, and thought no more about until a month later when we received the order to investigate it. Apparently no-one else in the League had authorised any vessels to be so far out, and the readings did not match any known alien configurations. Therefore, as we were the closest, it was up to us to go and find out what it was. The most remarkable thing was that the object resisted any attempt by our instruments to reveal even the slightest hint as to its nature, and steadfastly remained just a blip on the LRR. Therefore it had simply become known around the ship as ‘The Dot’.

“How’s The Dot today?” was a question often asked these past couple of months, and as we drew closer to our objective there was only one topic of conversation and its nature was subject to much speculation. The usual theories of it being of an alien technology far in advance of our own were put forward. Of course, those kind of theories date back to the origin of mankind when anything that could not be explained must be due to something or someone with a greater knowledge and power than mankind’s own. There were also theories bandied around of The Dot being a collapsed star, a rogue asteroid, a comet and even just space junk. All of these were put down almost as soon as they were mentioned, since our scanners would have been able to analyse such space flotsam. One of the more fanciful theories was that the Universe was a sentence, and this was the full-stop at the end of that sentence. The only thing we knew for certain as we approached The Dot was that we did not know what it was.

Eventually we reached our objective and as we orbited The Dot this name had proved to be more accurate than at first expected. The preliminary analysis by all our shipboard sensors and probes revealed nothing more that could not be seen by the naked eye. The Dot was a completely static, completely flawless, completely spherical, completely colourless object approximately ten miles in diameter. The numerous unmanned probes had been unable to determine what it was made of, as even the titano-diamond drill probes could not produce the tiniest of scratches, nor could the ultra-sonic probes determine if it was solid or hollow. To all intents and purposes it was just a huge dot in space.

And now, here we were about to explore The Dot.

First written 1998-03-20

In the late 1990s, me and a friend would challenge each other to write something by simply giving each other a title and nothing else.
This is the result of the third round.