“Hello, bridge?” I said into the intercom. “This is David Mathews. I just wanted to know if you have found Janice Fletcher yet.”
“No, no one has seen her. We are searching the ship compartment by compartment. Just a second, the captain just came in.” I could hear the voices in the background on the bridge for a second and then whoever I had been talking let go of the talk button. I looked at Ellen. We had torn the room apart. Janice definitely wasn’t here.
“What did you mean when you said you thought Janice might be making first contact?” I asked.
“Well, I read a lot of science fiction, especially the really old ones from before we became a spacefaring race. There was one writer, Arthur C. Clark that once wrote that: ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.’ Since Janice disappeared as if by magic, I posit that there is probably a sufficiently advanced technology involved. In which case, Janice is probably experiencing first contact right now. Unless, well, I’d rather not speculate about any other scenarios right now.” Ellen said.
“Oh. Well where do you think she is then?”
“My best guess, and it is only a guess, is that she was teleported to the planet surface. Or whatever other means that they may have for instantaneous transportation. If they could do that I suppose she could be just about anywhere. On the planet surface, in a ship somewhere, or maybe in some parallel universe. I don’t really know. That’s why I haven’t said anything more about it until now. I just didn’t think it would be useful.”
“We’re both pretty worried, aren’t we? Perhaps we should take a few deep breaths and see if we can find any likely candidates for places that a highly advanced race might transport Janice to on the surface.” Ellen nodded.
“That’s a good idea. At least it would beat sitting here doing nothing. I wish they had taken us all. Then we wouldn’t have to worry about her.” Ellen pulled up a chair and I pulled up the pictures of the planet’s surface on the tablet. After a while Ellen said, “Let me get my tablet. I think I can run the scan myself. That way we can cover twice the area in the same time.”
“Good idea. Here’s the directory name. You start with the most recent pictures and work your way back. I started with the oldest pictures and am working my way forward. We’re looking for … I don’t know what we’re looking for. Look for anything that looks out of place.” I said.
Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the people you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.