The Stylus

Ezra Azra


© Copyright 2023 by Ezra Azra

Photo by S. Widua on Unsplash

by Cole Keister:

Photo by S. Widua on UnsplashPhoto

by Cole Keister:


by 100 files:

Klaas Jooste, PhD., was early for his secret meeting with Gert Naude, Member of Parliament, on the park bench. They had already had their monthly meeting; this one was extra that month, and, as Gert said on the phone, most urgent. Klaas was a bit irked because in order to come to this unscheduled meeting he had to leave unfinished a most important new sequence he had recently begun in his research.

Gert arrived, punctually; a first for him.

"What is so urgent, Gert?"

"You haven't heard?”

"No. What?”

"The Prime Minister was assassinated, yesterday morning, while he was sitting in a full session of Parliament. A common messenger of the Ministers, pretended to deliver him a message on a piece of paper from another Minister. When he took the piece of paper and began to read it, the messenger stabbed him in the neck, three times, slowly and deeply, violently twisting the blade each time. The Prime Minister died instantly."

"Yesterday morning?"

"Yes, Klaas. How is it you are hearing it for the first time from me?"

"I was carrying on my research in a jungle over a hundred miles away, Gert. When I got your urgent message, I came right away. Why did you not mention it to me on the phone?"

"We do not know if the assassin acted alone. Everyone has been ordered to not speak about it in public."

Both were silent for seconds.

"Is my research still funded?"

"Depends on others, as well, now. Only the three of us knew. And of us three, I know the least. I am only and merely the go-between for information, Klaas. I know nothing about your research that the Prime Minister was funding in secret. Other Ministers will have to be informed, now. If I am to continue to support you, I have to know more."

"I will tell you everything, Gert. Make a time to come to my home. I will show you all the paperwork between me and the Prime Minister."

"Tomorrow, seven in the evening?"


"You still live with your sister?"

"Yes. Your first surprise, I'm certain, is to learn that the research was begun by my sister, Angelina, and the Prime Minister."

Gert's jaw mouth dropped in surprise.

"Both were teachers at the Umbilo High School. Both had the same hobby, Astro Physics. They constructed their own radios to search for Intelligence throughout the Galaxies. They believed there is superior other life on this planet, but since they are showing no interest in communicating with us, my sister and her colleague teacher decided to search for Intelligence on other worlds.

The Prime Minister lost interest when a wealthy woman invited him to take up Politics. He left teaching. They got married. When he learned of a momentous discovery Angelina made, he offered to personally finance our research, in secret. Seven tomorrow, Gert. I will show you all our research."

At seven in the evening the next day, the three of them were sitting in Angelina's kitchen. On two tables there were piles of papers. Gert was not at ease. Science was not of particular interest to him.

"Gert, Angelina will fill you in."

"The Prime Minister and I had been sending out radio signals for years, independently from our own homes. We shared what we were doing. It was about a year after he had left teaching, when I received repeated radio frequencies from a place I estimated to be several hundred light years away. Over the next two years I struggled with interpretations. And then my equations fell into place. A location here was pinpointed. Klaas and I went to it, about a hundred miles from here in a jungle at the foot of the Drakensburg Mountain. We dug, as the mathematics indicated."

Klaas reached out and retrieved an object from under some pages on a table. "We found this, Gert."

He handed an object to Gert, who took it, gingerly, and inspected it.

“What is it?"

Angelina replied. "A stylus. They were used centuries ago as writing instruments. In those days styluses were made of wood or metal. This one is of a material I have not been able to locate here on Earth, so far."

"Is it better to write with than our pens and pencils."

"Gert, this one is not for writing. When I switch on my radio I use to search the Universe, this stylus interfaces with my radio signals and frequencies."

"Gert, we think this stylus is an electronic device sent here from that place several hundreds of light years away. It keeps repeating a mathematical algorithm."

"I'm beginning to think that algorithm is a date in the future. Something significant is going to happen then."

"We are going to need to make changes to my radio, Gert."

"How much of all this did the Prime Minister know?"

"All of it, Gert. And, probably, more.”

All three were silent for some seconds.

Gert spoke, "We should bring in professionally trained Astro Physicists for there to be access to more funds."

"The professionals don't know more mathematics, Gert. They just have more sophisticated equipment. If they are brought in, they will oust us. Give us access to that equipment, and we can continue in secret. Only the three of us need know. That is how the Prime Minister wanted it to be."

"Angelina, I am merely another elected Minister in the Government. Only a Prime Minister could have helped you so much and for so long, in secret."

"Then let us continue on our own, without anyone in the Government knowing."

"Are you certain you will have the resources to work out in time when that algorithm date in the future will be?"

Klaas and Angelina looked at each other, in uncertainty. Gert stood up to leave, as he spoke.

"Then it is the safest practical way to go public with your research. I cannot see why the Government will not provide you with all the funds you need."

"All right, then. We will leave it in your hands, Gert."

Gert left.

"Do you trust him, Klaas?"


"Only we know where we found the stylus. Let us go back and bury it there, and wait. In the meantime, let us disable our radios. When they come, let them find everything malfunctioning."

“And what if Gert has told them about the stylus?”

“I have been making copies in my garage workshop, to see if configurations in the pattern of the stylus hold secrets. Nothing, so far. If they ask to see the stylus, we will show them one of my models.”

“Klaas, I told Gert the stylus is of unknown metal.”

“We will blame Earth’s atmosphere for the transmutation.” 

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