Sorry, We Didn't Mean To Drop That Onto Your Planet

The impact flattened a thousand acres of Northern Ontario forest and was heard 200 km away. But the cause of the event was no meteorite. It was a cylinder, about two meters long, reflective with a reddish tint.

Someone dubbed it the “Unidentified Crashed Object” and the name stuck. After it proved too heavy to airlift, a whole base camp sprung up to study it. My team went to Ucotopia to build a free-electron laser and bombard the object with a full spread of wavelengths.

I struck up a chat with another physicist in the food tent.

“What do you think it’s made out of? It can’t be completely impervious.”

“No idea. We’ve tried gamma, IR, neutrons, positrons; someone shot it with a rifle… and it did survive making this crater. It just reflects everything back with slightly less energy.”

“Kind of makes you feel like we’re the apes in 2001, hitting the monolith with sticks.”

“I was thinking of a different movie, actually.”


“You ever see The Gods Must Be Crazy? This damn thing is our coke bottle.”

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