Existential Dread

Kreutz University
Department of Astrophysics

“Professor Ernst, I think we have an issue?”

“Yes, what is it?”

“I was reviewing the latest pull from the G2R2 Array and, well, we have a problem.”

“I’m guessing that this is a more substantial issue. You wouldn’t be bothering me if it was just a synchronization issue.”

“KR 229 is gone.”

Professor Ernst looked back at his research understudy, face tightening in confusion.

“I ran the synchronization process twice, and I got the same results. The server’s running a deep sync right now, but I’m expecting the same result. KR 229 isn’t there anymore.”

“Not th-”

“Gone. I haven’t reviewed the full data set, but when I did a data verification on the end of the pull to match it to the expected result, it was the only error. And KR 229 is Definitely Not There. I have another server running a full analysis on the final data frames, but as of-” the understudy checked his data pad “fifteen minutes ago, there was nothing from KR 229. No radio, no visible spectra, nothing.”

“And it was there at the start of the data pull?”

“Yep. A happy main-sequence orange star. 299-a, 299-c, -d, -e, and -f were all detected. -b was still occluded, and we weren’t expecting to see it for another two weeks. End of the data pull it’s all gone. I started an energy anomaly scan and i’m expecting it to be-” the data pad pinged loudly.

“It found something.”

Ten minutes later the two scientists were looking at the timestamp that the scan had identified. “Okay, here we go. T-10 seconds. Running… now.”

The data feed began to play. In real time, at this distance the star was easily visible, but the motion of the small dots that composed the solar system hung in apparent stillness. “And… now.”

The feed showed a blue haze that appeared to start in a single pinprick somewhere between -c and -d, taking only a few minutes to expand. As it did, it occluded direct observation of not just the planets, but the star itself. Professor Ernst could feel his jaw slackening as he realized the sheer size of the energy field.

“This is beyond science…”

“What was that, Sir?”

The field continued to expand, growing large enough to encompass even the -f planet. It shimmered brighter for a brief moment, and then collapsed in on itself. It merged in to a single pinprick and then winked out of existence entirely. And in its wake there was nothing. No star. No planets. And in the background the distant stars faded back into view as the array compensated for the absence of a brighter star in its view.

“It’s just… just gone.”

“Is there any natural phenomena that could account for that?”

Professor Ernst shook his head, eyes still wide. “No, nothing. There’s nothing at all. This…”

“This happened. Data integrity passed all the checks on the integration checks.”

“Then…”

 


To: Theodora Schäfer
From: Senior Hunter Gisela
Subject: G2R2 Sensor Data
Security Clearance: TIME-10

As per your instructions, all records from the G2R2 Relay regarding KR 229 have been classified under the State of Threat Act and secured in Naval Intelligence cold storage.

Authentication Encrypt: hr7MLW4J
PIN THAW TENSE APPRECIATE DRAGON


 

Library Data: G2R2 Array

The G2R2 array is a large synthetic aperture array parked at the Fenris-Sif L2 point. First assembled in 01 AS, it is composed of multiple smaller sensor receivers built around a central core. Over 2000 km in radius, it has over a quarter-million receivers that allow it to resolve orbiting planets as distinct disks at a range just under 1000 parsecs (3200 Ly). Multi-frequency sensors allow it to detect visible light down to radio, at increasing precision as the wavelength increases.

The large size of the array precludes live, direct observation. Instead, the sensor take has to go through substantial post-processing in order to properly synchronize the data feeds. Over the years, several smaller arrays have been built and deployed at the same L2 point in order to support the main G2R2 array.

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