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“No nudes,” the tech said as he sidled up next to me.
“What?”
“Word from the top. No tits for aliens.”
“You've got to be kidding me.”
“Sagan's throwing a fit in his office.”
“I might throw one myself. Might as well shove an Amish guy into space and call it good. What about birth? Basic anatomy?”
“Seems fine.”
“Well, I guess the aliens didn't need to see the Statue of David. Not like it's a big deal.”

He laughed like it was the funniest thing he'd heard all day, or like it was either laugh or he'd never stop crying.


Someone picked up on the tell-tale hint of a strange signature. Just enough to stir interest. Suddenly every free telescope on the planet was pointed in one direction, searching out the source.

Pinning it down took some time. Getting a clear picture took longer. By the time some brain in the north figured it out, the object was already winging past the planet, deeper into the solar system. But the blurred, barely-there picture was enough. It wasn't an asteroid. It wasn't anything they'd ever seen.



“So this LAGEOS plaque.”
“Yeah?”
“We're working under the assumption that everything we've done here will be forgotten. That, eight-odd million years from now, there will be humans—“
“—or something—“
“Or something, yes, but the Voyager, and us, and everything are forgotten. Just, gone. Dust and corrupted data files. And these humans, or whatever, will be alien to us.”
“It's lonely.”
“It's goddamn lonely. And even if, by defying every statistic in the universe, this heap of space junk manages to reach someone, it'll be so far in the future it won't matter. Everything will be gone. All these pictures and messages and music, it won't mean anything.”
“Why are you in this project, then?”
"..."
"..."
“It's beautiful. Even if it doesn't mean anything, even if no one ever finds it, I want it to exist. To float out in the cosmos, aimless and tiny. I want it to exist, full of loneliness and hope.”



It came around again, many years later. The last remainders of the first-pass generation cried out with such force that the rest of the world couldn't help but be swept up in the excitement. Clearer pictures came through now. It frightened some. It awed others.

There was a lot of talk about catching the object, but the technology simply wasn't there. Still, they could now find its trajectory, estimate when it would come back again. Many years. They could only hope they would be in time for the next pass.




“It's funny, you know.”
“What's that?”
“All of this. Sending out a love letter into deep space like this, when we haven't even set foot on Mars.”
“You think we should be focusing on manned missions?”
“No, not really. I mean, yes, but this is good too. It's just funny. Egocentric, I guess. Proud. ”
“That's humanity for you.”
“Yeah. Virtue or vice, the Voyager's carrying that, too.”



They caught it. Not on the next pass, not on the one after that. But eventually, they caught it and opened it up, studying the  disc and making machines to decode it. It took a long time, but they managed.
And the first golden strains of Mugam drifted out over an alien world.
Mugam, and other songs from the Golden Record: www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVRdEv…
Images from the Golden Record: imgur.com/a/CvEvO

For LiliWrites's birthday. liliwrites.deviantart.com/jour…
I cheated. This is about the past and the future. I expect this may disqualify it, but hey. It's a present anyway. You exist. You are beautiful. Happy birthday.

Edit 1-12-14: Many thanks to neurotype for my sixth DD. The others can be found here: Blessing,Still, Soft, Alter, Pallor.
 .
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Daily Deviation

Given 2014-01-12
Golden by ~saartha ( Featured by neurotype )
:iconharpinghawke:
HarpingHawke Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
The dialogue is AMAZING
I love this!
Reply
:iconsaartha:
saartha Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks! Pretty sure this is my first dialogue-heavy piece. It was easier than expected.
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:iconpavender:
Pavender Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh, man. Gave me chills at the end. I love it.
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:iconsaartha:
saartha Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you!
Reply
:iconrovanna:
Rovanna Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014   Digital Artist
This is great. :D I laughed at the "no tits for aliens". I've often thought about what would happen if aliens did find it, even though the chance is so slim. Would they even know what to do with it?
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:iconsaartha:
saartha Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Right? I mean, the whole point of the thing is to use math as a common language in order to communicate basic ideas, which is really the best we can do, but it still assumes a lot. Not only about their perception of reality, but also our own understanding of the physical and atomic world.
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:iconnightshade255:
Nightshade255 Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
yes! fantastic!
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:iconsaartha:
saartha Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks :)
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:iconsciencevsart:
sciencevsart Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The Golden Record. The pinnacle of human achievement and hope.
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:iconsaartha:
saartha Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
And also, the pinnacle of futility. Great stuff.
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:iconsciencevsart:
sciencevsart Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
V'ger disagrees XD

Just kidding. In shame, I actually learned about the Golden Record here and here...
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:iconsaartha:
saartha Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
No shame. I'd heard of the golden record before, but I definitely had to wiki it when writing this.
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:iconseane:
SeanE Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That was great!
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:iconsaartha:
saartha Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks for reading :)
Reply
:iconsegura2112:
segura2112 Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Love this! Thank You and congrats on the DD.
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:iconsaartha:
saartha Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Glad you enjoyed it!
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:iconmyrethy:
Myrethy Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I lost it at 'no tits for aliens'. Instant fave right there :D
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:iconsaartha:
saartha Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
There's a time and a place for prudishness. Sending a missive to alien cultures IS NOT THE TIME OR PLACE. Ahh, you gotta laugh.
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:icontruthfulgamer:
truthfulgamer Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014
Awsome job realy liked it
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:iconsaartha:
saartha Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks.
Reply
:iconhawkheart29:
Hawkheart29 Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This piece really makes one wonder....Reminds me a bit of Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles.^^
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:iconsaartha:
saartha Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
We lost a god when we lost Bradbury.
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Outer space!
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:iconsaartha:
saartha Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I've been reading a lot of sci fi recently. Good stuff.
(:heart:)
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh, awesome. I read 'The Illustrated Man' a couple months ago, but it's mostly been science over here.
Reply
:iconsaartha:
saartha Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I've just been blog-hopping at work. There's some good stuff out there.
Illustrated Man was great.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Oooh nice.
Reply
:iconxeroks:
xeroks Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014

loved it


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:iconsaartha:
saartha Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Glad you enjoyed!
Reply
:iconjunie-d:
Junie-D Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Student General Artist
Interesting tale. :)
Congrats on the DD! :heart:
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:iconsaartha:
saartha Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks :)
Reply
:iconjunie-d:
Junie-D Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014  Student General Artist
Ah, sure thing~ :heart:
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:iconeremitik:
Eremitik Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014
For me, what stands out about this piece is how subtly you posit the idea of someone/something intercepting a treasure chest of humanity- something I didnt immediately pick up on, which I am slightly embarrassed to admit.

And to be completely honest, without your conversational, first line hook of "No nudes", Im not sure I would have read it, lol. What a clever way to grab a readers attention. After that, the way you laid the story out, combined with your writing style, kept me interested and my curiosity piqued as to where you were leading us.
Excellent work. I am going to have to visit your gallery to see what else you have.
Reply
:iconsaartha:
saartha Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Sex sells ;P
I started this story when I was youtube-surfing and ran across the golden record. I realized I only knew a small amount about the Voyager, so I wiki'd it and read about the whole no-nudes thing. It made me angry and made me laugh at the same time, so I figured it was a pretty good start to a story. I mean, seriously. No nudes?! Prudishness knows no bounds.

Thanks for dropping by, hope you enjoyed the rest of my work!
Reply
:iconeremitik:
Eremitik Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2014
Sex does sell- its a good way to hook readers.

I know nothing about Voyager except it was a space exploration satellite- As far as the no nudes policy- What if some sex crazed aliens find it and invade earth to kidnap us for pleasure??? Cant take any chances, ya know, lol. :shrug:

Im actually a little embarrassed at how little I know about Voyager.
Ok, so I just wiki'd it. Impressive. What stands out to me is how even after 37 years we are still able to communicate with this satellite and its outdated computer system- We must have to purposely program todays computers to interpret such primitive information.

Thanks!
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:iconsaartha:
saartha Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I definitely had to read up on the Voyager before writing this! I laughed and laughed when I read about the nude thing for the first time. It's just...so ridiculous.
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:iconeremitik:
Eremitik Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014
It does seem a little silly. Though I am kinda impressed that they chose to put Chuck Berry's Johnny B Good on the record.
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:iconlintu47:
lintu47 Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Congrats on the DD! :dalove:
Have a nice day! :party:
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:iconsaartha:
saartha Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks :)
Reply
:iconlintu47:
lintu47 Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
My pleasure! :heart:
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:iconluminarywalker:
Luminarywalker Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Short and thought-provoking. Just the kind of writing I like most! Love
You did a great job. :) (Smile) 
Reply
:iconsaartha:
saartha Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks so much! Been awhile since I participated in a contest, so I was glad it was well-received.
Reply
:iconvypor:
Vypor Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014
I don't often check the Daily Deviations. Literature DD's even less. But this one piqued my curiosity.
I am glad I checked it out, this was a very clever little story. It really gets the imagination up and running.

Well done, well done indeed.
Reply
:iconsaartha:
saartha Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
You clicked because it said 'tits' in the thumb, didn't you :evileye:
I kid, I kid. Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for checking it out!
Reply
:iconvypor:
Vypor Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014
On the contrary, I was checking the Daily Dev's because I had entered the Limbo of "I-want-to-go-to-bed-but-there-are-things-on-the-internet-and-I-might-miss-them-if-I-sleep".
Where you're really bored and know you need to go to bed, but you don't.
Don't you dare tell me you've never had that happen. All of us have. lol

But I digress, I have to note my favorite part was the versatility. Where the 'alien' species that finds the Voyager could either be entirely alien, or a future of humanity that has forgotten about the Voyager and its contents altogether.
It was a clever twist that I didn't immediately pick up on until after reading it several times. Kudos for bringing me the "Aha" expression tonight.
Reply
:iconsaartha:
saartha Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Haha, you better believe I have!
I love the sheer cussedness of the Voyager project. I called it a love letter in this piece, but it's also a big old fuck you to the cosmos, in a way. I think the stubborn nature of a machine designed to scream 'we exist(ed)' is very, very human.
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:iconvypor:
Vypor Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2014
I think it was mostly just to send back info to us till it went out of range, and other people were like. "LET'S PUT STUFF IN IT SO OTHERS WILL FIND IT!"
I dunno, Vypor's Paraphrase I suppose. But it's an entertaining thought nonetheless.
Reply
:iconlordcastigator:
LordCastigator Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014
Interesting. I'm guessing the normal writing would be from the Voyager team, while the italics are for which ever civilization finds Voyager, whether it's returned to Earth via some unknown cosmic event/body swinging it back our way or reached a distant alien world. If it did make it back thousands/millions of years in the future, it'd make the ultimate time capsule...
Reply
:iconsaartha:
saartha Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Yep. That was part of the reasoning of why I followed the line 'And these humans, or whatever, will be alien to us' with the final words 'alien world'. Because I wanted to re-impress how completely foreign, how totally estranged humanity itself will become, much less how how unimaginably different a truly alien species would be. The sheer optimism and joy of the Voyager contrasted with our inevitable alienation.
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:iconlordcastigator:
LordCastigator Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014
Fair enough. Nicely done. All I can think of is someday someone will be digging this world up archeological dig style, trying to figure out what our modern day world was like. Least there's a chance we'll be able to store electronic data into the future, but I wonder how much will survive...

"...But we still don't know what the purpose of this rubber miniature representation of a yellow waterfowl is..."
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