فصل 11

مجموعه: کتاب های متوسط / کتاب: 2001 - اودیسه فضایی / فصل 11

کتاب های متوسط

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فصل 11

توضیح مختصر

  • زمان مطالعه 4 دقیقه
  • سطح خیلی سخت

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CHAPTER ELEVEN

Anomaly

Halvorsen led Floyd into a room that could hold a hundred people easily. With a white screen on the end wall, and its rows of seats, it looked like a conference center. However, the notices and pictures on the walls showed that it was also the center of local cultural life.

About forty or fifty people were waiting for Floyd, and everyone stood up politely as he entered. Floyd sat down in the front row, while the Commander stood up on the platform and looked around his audience.

‘Ladies and gentlemen,’ Halvorsen began, ‘I needn’t tell you that this is a very important occasion. We are delighted to have Dr Heywood Floyd with us. He has just completed a special flight from Earth to be here.’

Some of the audience clapped. Floyd stood up for a moment, said a word of thanks and sat down again.

‘Dr Michaels,’ said Halvorsen, and walked back to his seat.

The Chief Scientist stood up and moved to the platform. As he did so, the lights were turned off and a photograph of the Moon appeared on the screen. At its center was the white ring of a large crater.

‘Tycho,’ said Michaels, although everybody there knew its name. ‘During the last year we have been checking the magnetism of the whole region. This was completed last month, and this is the result that started all the trouble.’

Another picture flashed on the screen. It was a map with many lines going across it. Generally, these were spaced quite far apart, but in one corner they came close together and formed a series of smaller and smaller circles. It was quite obvious that there was something strange here. In large letters across the bottom of the map were the words: TYCHO MAGNETIC ANOMALY - ONE (TMA-1). Stamped on the top right of the map was another word: SECRET.

‘At first we thought it was just a large magnetic rock, but this would be very unusual for the area. So we decided to have a look.

‘There was nothing on the surface, just the usual flat ground under a thin layer of moon-dust. So we started to dig, and we dug for two weeks - with the result you know.’

The darkened room became suddenly quiet as the picture on the screen changed. Though everyone had seen it many times, they all leaned forwards, hoping to find new details. On Earth and Moon, less than a hundred people had been allowed to see this photograph.

It showed a man in a bright yellow spacesuit, standing at the bottom of a large hole, and holding a stick marked off in tenths of a meter. Next to him was a piece of black material, standing about three meters high and a meter and a half wide.

‘TMA-1,’ Dr Michaels said, quietly. ‘It looks new, doesn’t it? However, we’ve now been able to date it positively, from what we know of the local rocks.

‘In fact it’s about three million years old. You are looking at the first proof of intelligent life beyond the Earth.’

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