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November 23, 2013
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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!
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: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!
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: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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