Written by Greg Kiss.




It was now two months since he had been made Administrator of the facility and his budget on the project was being highly scrutinised and running out of

control. He loomed over Stratton's shoulder as she repeated.

00 00 01 18 CT Comet Shoemaker Levy 9

Nothing but the sound of faint static came through the system in reply, but still the technicians found it to be an encouraging sign. Two months ago there was complete silence. The project had survived despite the fact that its existence had been leaked to the media and had been labelled a vanity project.

The latest headline had been God Search. The team knew that it was no such thing. There was intelligence out there.

00 00 03 34 CT Come in Shoemaker - Levy 9

Kiefs had spent the last two months fully immersed in data on how the comet had been captured by Jupiter, bringing it into

orbit until it had eventually succumbed to its gravity and collided with the planet. Something unexpected was the product of the collision. A creation, an intelligence, a knowledge. He had gone from sceptic to believer to evangelist enforcer. It was out there and it was capable of communication, he was sure of it.

00 00 04 10 CDR Come in Shoemaker - Levy 9

He felt that more rested on the project than could be explained, even more than the initial reconnaissance to siz

e up an unknown enemy. It could offer perspective like no other. Ideas on how to ensure the human race’s growth, inhabitable planets, new resources, new technology. He won himself over quickly with his arguments – this was a path that was worth treading.

00 00 04 10 CDR Come in Shoemaker - Levy 9

Cross was perspiring to such an extent that he saw a drip of sweat land on the console in front of him. Was it due to the

tension or the excitement? He was in his mid-fifties and had been handpicked for the mission . An extremely highly regarded member of the Signal section of the General Staff he had eventually been seconded from the military into the UK Space Agency at Polaris House. With those sorts of credentials, it was no wonder that he had caught the eye of th e Administration.

He had met Kiefs in the early Eighties whilst on duty but he was sure Kiefs wouldn’t remember it, so had never thought to bring it up in conversation.

00 00 04 10 CDR Come in Shoemaker - Levy 9

His voice shook as he said the ‘nine’, and collapsed forwards, his roughly parted greying hair falling across the base of the

microphone on the desk. There was a flurry of activity around the room. Stratton rolled her chair backwards to see what had

happened to the Commander and Kiefs made his way swiftly along the bench, reaching out towards Cross’ back. Then came the noise. A rushing wind - like sound was coming through the speakers. It began to crackle and distort, building into a cacophony of white noise.

It stopped them all in their tracks and the y shared terrified glances before they noticed that Cross was sitting bolt upright

before them.

Eyes closed and rising purposefully to his feet the sound suddenly stopped, and it felt to them like time had frozen, as their colleague calmly drifted between them. With a loud crack it started again and Cross stationed himself at the front of the room before the large display screen showing various maps, sound waves and data. Tilting his head back he opened his

mouth and instantly the noise doubled in volume.

00 00 04 10 CDR I am Shoemaker - Levy 9

It came from Cross’ mouth although it was simultaneously being distorted and amplified around the room. His eyes suddenly opened, bulging pink and grotesque from the sunken sockets. The man was clearly in a state of pure terror.

00 00 04 15 CDR I am Shoemaker -Levy 9

The sound came again. Robotic, angular waves burst their eardrums as the cowered before the Mission Commander. Cross

was looking directly at Kiefs, who had covered his ears and hunched but still returned the gaze with determined intensity.

00 00 04 20 CDR I am Shoemaker - Levy 9

Stratton and the other technician, a slight and quiet man in his early forties, turned and ran towards the door, fumbling for their access passes. The man grabbed his first and swiped it repeatedly, and unsuccessfully in his haste. The noise continued to build.

00 00 04 25 CDR I am Shoemaker - Levy 9

The sound stopped as suddenly as if someone had disconnected a plug. Cross slumped forwards, dropping to his

knees and then rolling over onto his left side. His face was drenched in sweat and he had turned alarmingly pale. There

was a five second delay. None of them knew if it would start again and they were understandably cautious approaching his


Emma Stratton was the first to move and was quickly kneeling over him checking his pulse and breathing. “He’s alive,” she

said. “Ellis!” boomed Kiefs at the male technician, firing into action. “Call the medics, now.” “His pulse and breathing seem to be stable, sir.” Stratton didn’t lift her head from his chest. “Good,” replied the General. A couple of minutes passed before the medical team burst in and quickly assessed the patient. They lifted him into a gurney upholstered in a burgundy vinyl- like material and immediately left with Stratton following closely behind.


He heard the voice echo, still bathed in static. He looked at Ellis who was panting, bending over his desk and shaking his head. He obviously had not heard it. Maybe this time it would be a private conversation.


Key for Air to Ground Voice Transcription Mission Control: 


Communications Technician (CT) - Emma Stratton

Commander (CDR) Eric Cross

External: The Shoemaker (SM)


00 00 00 04 CT Comet Shoemaker Levy 9

Kiefs strode back and forth across the communications platform in mission control. It was over five years since he had retired from active service yet his muscular prowl made it seem as though it

hadn't been so much as a week.