Day 16. From Centaurus with Love

“Good morning, Mister President,” said the tall, slender man walking into the Oval Office. He was Robert C. Bayerbach, PhD, the newly appointed NASA administrator.

“‘Morning, Bob. How’s NASA treating you?”

“Very well, sir,” he said as he laid his briefcase on the coffee table in the middle of the room. He opened it up and pulled out several color printouts handing one to the President.

“What am I looking at here, Bob?”

“It’s an image of Omega Centauri, a cluster of about ten million stars in the Centaurus constellation. It’s about sixteen-thousand lightyears away. Note this cluster here,” he said pointing to a encircled dot.

“How do you know it’s a cluster? I just see a dot.”

“We know, sir, because of this,” he said, handing him another photo. This one had a slightly larger encircled dot on it. It actually looked like it could be more than one dot in a tight grouping. He then handed the President a third photograph. “Note the clear separation between the individual dots now,” he said. “These three photos were taken about a week apart from each other.”

“I’m no scientist, Bob. But even I know that stars don’t move that fast. Especially not ones that far away.”

“Indeed sir. This is why I’m here. We don’t believe they’re stars.”

“So what are they?”

“Well, in order for them to be moving like they are in these stills, they have to be traveling faster than the speed of light.”

“I thought that wasn’t possible.”

“It isn’t. Or at lease we didn’t believe it was. Until now,” he said, exhaling audibly. “Sir, may I?” he asked, gesturing to the couch behind him.

“Yes, of course. Have a seat.” They both sat down.

“So what do you make of this, Bob? Are we looking at a new natural phenomenon?” he asked, leaning back into the couch.

“I wish I could say that we were, sir. But…” he leaned over and took out two more photographs from his briefcase and laid them out on the coffee table. “The last three photos I showed you were taken about two months ago. These two were taken last week and yesterday, respectively.”

The President picked up the photos and examined them.

“These two photos show a clear change in trajectory from their previous path,” Bayerbach told the President.

“Okay, but don’t objects in space change trajectory? Like planets in orbit?” said the President.

“Yes, sir. They do. But those are elliptical paths. These ‘dots’ made a turn at a thirty-degree angle. They were clearly looking to avoid an obstacle in their path.”

“Oh?”

“That’s not the worst of it, sir.”

“It isn’t?”

“They’re heading for earth.”

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