On June 10, 2021, at 4:20 AM, a shimmering silvery sphere of about 200 feet diameter abruptly appeared out of nowhere and hovered above the Lincoln Reflecting Pool in the National Mall.

The first people to see it were the few DC policemen who were patrolling the Mall and some early morning joggers and dog walkers. They were all dumbstruck by the sudden emergence of the foreign object.

The policemen immediately reported the appearance while the joggers and dog walkers pulled out their cellphones to capture the event and send their pictures and videos to everyone they knew. Unfortunately, to their amazement, nothing showed up on their photographs and videos. It surprisingly was if nothing was actually there.

Within minutes numerous police and military vehicles converged on the scene, disgorging their occupants who stood around staring aghast at was hovering about 500 feet above their heads.

Once the news spread, reporters and spectators started to converge on the Mall. At first, it was only a few people, but within an hour, the number of spectators had already grown to well over a thousand. Everyone was milling about, staring upward, and trying to make some sense out what it was and why they could clearly see the fantastic object, but it did not show up in any of their videos or photos? 

Authorities reviewing relevant commercial and military surveillance data confirmed later that the sphere had not been detected before its arrival. It seemingly had come out of nowhere.

Inside the sphere and intently observing the growing crowd were Senior Mentor Glozch and the ten students from his Primitives Anthropology class. He had transported them here from Altheo Prime, 114 thousand light-years away in what we call the Segue 2 Galaxy.

About five hundred thousand years ago, as an experiment, a much earlier Anthropology class from Altheo Prime had created the first cognitive lifeform on Lfydm 16, a planet we call “Earth,” that has since developed into what we now know as humans.

Although many times previously, various classes from Altheo Prime had returned to Earth to stealthily observe the development of their experiment, this was to be a unique visit. This would be the first time they would let their presence be known. The Facilitators had reluctantly agreed to allow this class to come to Earth and observe how a significant perturbation, the knowledge of their existence, would impact the human culture.

The premise the class had proposed and was trying to prove was that just the knowledge of intelligent extraterrestrial life would cause them to break their unending cycle of wars.

The agreement stated the experiment was to last no more than one revolution of Earth around its sun, and Earth year and was to be halted immediately if the disturbance triggered by their experiment appeared to be causing irreparable harm to the human species. The only thing they would be allowed to do was to reveal their presence, and nothing more.

Much thought was given to how to assure the humans understood their presence was not from Earth. It was decided that a very simple expedient would be to reveal their presence on a probability level that would make them visible to the human eye but not physically recordable by their current technologies. That would be something the humans would most assuredly assume to be alien.

Since images of the sphere could not be taken, reporters began to use all sorts of flowery verbiage to describe the object, which they aptly named The Sphere. Yes, calling it shimmering and silvery was often used, as was glowing pearlescent and even vibrant mercurial. However, whatever they called it, other than wild speculation, no one had any clue as to what it was or why it had come. That it was alien was quickly accepted from its physical properties, being able to hover motionlessly above the ground with no indication of a power source and that it was invisible to recording devices.

Once the police had cleared the nearby crowd, scientists from around the world began to arrive to study the sphere. They hoped to ascertain what the object was, where it came from, and what was its power source.

Although they brought all manner of instruments and scanners, no immediate breakthroughs were obtained. The readings from gravitometers and high-frequency radiation scanners did prove something was definitely there, and that The Sphere was not just some mass optical illusion, but that was all.

Once the scientists were assured, the object actually existed, they set about, to the amusement of the students inside The Sphere from Altheo Prime, trying to communicate with it or to whatever beings might be inside.

At first, politicians used loudspeakers to welcome the visitors to Earth in all the more common languages. When that failed to evoke any response, they reluctantly let the scientist and linguists take over.

The scientists decided as their first attempt to try and use light pulses to communicate, like in the science fiction movie Arrival. To have the best chance of success, the scientist used various light sources that encompassed the full spectrum from the ultra-violet all the way up to the infra-red.

Initially, they tried using the Morse code, and then various mathematical sequences, which the students inside The Sphere thought were hilarious in their primitive simplicity.

When the light pulses failed to arouse a response, the scientists tried the same code sequences, this time using thing radio transmitters tuned to various frequencies from the ultra-low band up to high microwave range. Again, there was no response.

While these scientific efforts were going on, there was a growing sentiment among the religious clerics that this was surely a sign from God and not an extraterrestrial encounter. As to what it signified and what could possibly be its purpose, there was immense speculation. No one had a satisfactory answer. All they seemed to agree on was that they needed to pray to God for enlightenment.

By now, Senior Mentor Glozch’s students were becoming bored, as youngsters of around only 200 earth years old tended to be. They decided it was time to change locations to another densely populated place on the opposite side of Earth and see what would happen.

The students deliberated the possible choices and selected a new destination. When Senior Mentor Glozch confirmed the decision, The Sphere instantly disappeared from where it had been hovering over the National Mall and re-appeared hovering over Tiananmen Square directly in front of Mao Zedong’s tomb.

The disappearance of The Sphere obviously astonished the myriad of people that had gathered to study or observe it in The National Mall. What was even more astonishing was its sudden re-appearance above a crowded Tiananmen Square during midday. Several people fainted, and at least one fatal heart attack could be attributed to the shock of the abrupt arrival.

Once the initial surprise of its appearance had abated thousands of Chinese and visiting foreigners gathered in the square to observe the spectacle. From all the news broadcasts over the last few weeks, most of the onlookers were aware of the arrival of The Sphere in the United States.

When the Chinese people who were there in the square or watching on the news, learned it had left the United States to come to China, they were overjoyed. With the encouragement help of their leadership, they enthusiastically soon became convinced that surely China had been selected over America to be the people chosen to be enlightened by its presence. The possibility that The Sphere had only come to China mainly due to the boredom of the ten youngsters inside the object, of course, was never suggested.

For hours the Chinese police attempted fruitlessly to assert some control over the rapidly growing crowd. Finally, the situation had deteriorated so severely that the government was forced into the onerous solution of calling in the military to re-establish control. Using tanks and armored vehicles, the Peoples Liberation Army quickly dispersed the crowds in the square and re-established order. Of course, to the chagrin of the Chinese government, numerous videos and photos were taken of the military undertaking. Despite the rigid censorship in place, many of these were uploaded to the Internet.

Naturally, unfavorable comparisons were made in the news of this new military incursion to the infamous Tiananmen Square massacre.

Nobody knows for sure why it happened, or why he did it, but a gunner on one of the tanks decided to shoot an explosive shell at The Sphere. Although the gunner’s aim was accurate, the round passed harmlessly through The Sphere detonating in a crowded marketplace three miles away, killing over a dozen children and their teacher that had come to the busy market on a school outing. The tank gunner not knowing what had happened decided he must have missed and was ready to fire a second round when he and his tank simply vanished.

Although the shell went harmlessly through The Sphere, that was only in the physical sense as it abrupt, unexpected passage scared the waste products out of Senior Mentor Glozch and the students inside The Sphere. The shell passed directly through the body of student Flyjst whose natural protective reflex reaction was to molecularly disassemble the attacking object, in this case, the tank with its occupants.

Senior Mentor Glozch immediately chastised Flyjst for his action, but what was done could not be undone, and Flyjst, although unnecessarily, was only trying to protect itself. Glozch told the students that although he had not expected such hostile action, it was probably for the good as now the earthlings would comprehend their weapons were futile.

Glozch, however, realized that if they are not already summarily recalled when they returned to Althea Prime, he would be sternly admonished for allowing such a response to occur that was clearly outside of the scope of their permitted experiment guidelines.

The reaction of the soldiers nearby the tank was even more dramatic. First, they were all startled by the loud explosive report when the tank fired at The Sphere and then totally astounded when they looked toward the source of the noise and saw the tank disappear in a flash of light. For a fleeting moment where the tank had been those nearby could discern a fine mist in the air, and then only a whiff of ozone remained.

Senior Mentor Glozch was correct that this event would cause people to realize their weapons were futile against the apparition. But what was far more compelling was the realization by those that witnessed the incident of the dire consequences of attacking The Sphere. Like wildfire, the knowledge of this certainty spread throughout the military ranks present. Before long, despite repeated commands from their officers to stay, many of the soldiers laid down their weapons and walked away from the square.

Inside The Sphere, Glozch and the students watched this phenomenon occur with rapt attention. A few of the students were convinced that this proved their theory they had postulated, that knowledge of their presence could prevent wars. Glozch, on the contrary, was adamant that it had not confirmed anything. He firmly asserted that all it showed was that people were afraid of their destructive power, not of their presence.

“What do we do now, Senior Mentor?” enquired Flyjst.

After allowing several long milliseconds for deliberation, Glozch responded, “Truthfully, I think your instinctive reaction has ruined the experiment, but I am willing to try some other locations. Maybe we will have more effective results there.”

Senior Mentor Glozch instructed the students to select their next location, which they picked after intensive combined cerebral deliberation. When Glozch confirmed the new position, The Sphere instantly vanished from Tiananmen Square and re-appeared hovering above the Senate Square in the Kremlin.

The sudden disappearance of The Sphere from Tiananmen Square provoked an even more shocking reaction than its initial appearance. It seemed that almost at once, the onlookers, both military and civilian, somehow reached the same conclusion that The Sphere had found them, as it had found the Americans earlier, to be unworthy of its presence. They had been judged, and primarily because of their unprovoked physical affront, deemed to be unfit for its future enlightenment.

Because of their now perceived loss of all the incredible resources and benefits of having access to The Sphere’s advanced science, an atmosphere of severe depression quickly propagated throughout China. It first spread among the military in Tiananmen Square, then the onlookers, and finally because of the extensive news coverage, swiftly outward throughout China.

In the military, the motivation and effectiveness of any unit are highly dependent upon maintaining positive morale. Once depression sets in and that morale is weakened, so is the unit’s capability, and consequently, its desire to fight. That is precisely what happened in China when The Sphere departed, as it had, unknowingly to the students from Altheo Prime, also transpired back in the United States.

As it had previously in DC and Beijing, The Sphere, like magic, abruptly appeared in Moscow in front of the Senate Building in the Kremlin. Again it had the same effect of amazement and astonishment on all the onlookers as it had had in the United States and China. However, once more Senior Mentor Glozch and his students were disappointed that their appearance did not evoke some clearly measurable results that could validate their theory.

Although discouraged, Senior Mentor Glozch and his students decided to try some other locations. They did not realize that after they left Moscow, their departure induced the same depression and dramatic impact on the military morale there as it had before in the United States and China.

Twice more Senior Mentor Glozch and his students would relocate The Sphere. After both times again being seemingly being unable to substantiate their theory, they dejectedly wrote their experiment off as a failure and, with proverbial appendages between their legs, returned in dismay to their home in Altheo Prime.

What was remarkable about this alien encounter is that as brilliant and advanced were the visitors from Altheo Prime, they failed to realize they had actually been successful in proving that the knowledge of their existence would prevent wars. But the reason was not what they had expected.

By always going forward and foolishly never looking back, Senior Mentor Glozch and his students hadn’t realized their mistake. It wasn’t knowing about their alien existence that had triggered the desired effect; it was the recognition by the people after The Sphere departed of the untold knowledge and benefits they seemingly had lost.

The moral of this story is simple, it isn’t being shown unimaginable riches that has the most effect on people; it’s being told afterward that you can’t have them.

Elliot Actor is a retired IBM marketing executive and did not take up creative writing until very late in life. Almost all his previously published writings were limited solely to articles and reports that were technical, marketing, or business-related. His first book published in 2015 on Amazon was based primarily on a fictionalized accounting of his memoirs while serving in Marine Corps Recon as a sniper in Vietnam. That novel for personal and legal reasons he published anonymously under a pen name. Although no advertising was done this novel has sold quite well, and Elliot learned he enjoyed writing, especially fiction, and had a talent for storytelling. To improve his writing skills Elliot took several online fiction writing classes and joined weekly writer’s groups. The Forgotten Bomb published on Amazon in 2018, and the follow on novel DESPOT, published in 2019 are a direct result of those efforts. His latest action/adventure thriller The Exiles published in 2020 is a further culmination of the development of his fiction writing skills.

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