Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Manuscript (04/29/10)
- TITLE: Song of the Sunbeams
By Yvonne Blake
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Men and women with briefcases streamed into the auditorium. They set up their laptops and greeted old friends. Chairs clanged and microphones squeaked and voices echoed on the high ceiling. Uncle Ted stepped to the podium.
“Ladies and gentlemen...”
People scurried to their places.
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Universal Code Project. We are honored to have many science and technical experts here. I am excited about what today will mean for the future.
“As you can see, we will be projecting our reports to the screen behind me. So, would you each log-in to the Universal Code site with the password emailed to you earlier? If you wish to speak, use one of the microphones set up on each table, please. This session is being recorded. If everyone is ready, let us begin.”
Mike found a chair near the back wall.
The screen lit up with the UCP logo, the earth with dotted lines across it. Uncle Ted smiled. “The Universal Code Project was established by Dr. Samuel Warden to decipher the newly discovered pattern in all of nature. With his technology, we have been able to digitalize the intricate design of the strange code. This code is imprinted on delicate snowflakes, viscous lava, and even the layers of rock at the Grand Canyon. Instead of listening to me spouting hot air, we’d like to hear from you. Tell us what you have discovered.”
A man near the front began. “Good morning. My name is Maitland Richards, doctor of biology at Harvard. We have been amazed to find the universal code in everything we have tested. It is in the DNA of the smallest bacteria to the oldest dinosaur bones. It repeats itself, but yet varies slightly from species to species.” A chart flashed up on the screen. “As you can see, even colors have a code, as do the different elements. Especially interesting is the code found in homo sapiens. We seem to have a code of our very own, different from all others.”
Mike leaned forward in his seat as professors and doctors each presented their data and discoveries.
“I’m Jack Reicher, a music professor from Berkley College. We are excited to discover that with Dr. Warden’s technology, we can digitalize sound. In the past, we have recorded sounds in the ocean and underground, but now we have found sound in unexpected places. There is sound in plants and rocks and even in electricity. This is what it looks like-”
“And this is what it sounds like-”
A trill of chirps and beeps filled the room.
Another man stood. “My name is Vince Tacker from NASA. For decades we have heard static sounds from space. It sounded like this-”
A loud buzz filled the room.
“Now, with our new equipment, it sounds like this-”
The sound changed to cascading tones.
Mike jumped to his feet. He lifted his arms. The music surrounded him. He turned. An old man with a broom stood in the doorway. “I know dis song! I hear it all da time. It is da song of sunbeams when I sweep. It is da song of raindrops. It is beautiful, yah?”
Mike smiled, but the others in the room covered their ears and begged for it to be turned down. Uncle Ted tapped his microphone. “Ladies and gentlemen, please calm down. I want to progress to the next stage of our project. We now have a program that converts the digital information into language. In other words, we should be able read the patterns found in nature.”
He signaled his assistant and the numbers on the screen changed. They became strings of letters.
The room was silent. Whispers drifted back and forth. Finally one man stood up. “What is this gibberish? It doesn’t make sense at all!” Chaos erupted.
Mike could see the words. They were squished together, but he could see them. “Worthy, Lamb, Majesty—“
The old man nudged him. “You know da words? I only know da German. What da words say?”
Mike began to sing. “Holy is the Lord. Worthy is the Lamb.”
The voices fell silent. Mike closed his eyes and lifted his voice. He could hear the song in his head.
“Glory! Honor! Majesty to God…”
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