Other microfiction

By Athena

This is a mini-anthology of general microfiction I've written, peer to my queer microfiction anthology. It will probably grow over time.


The Great Crisis started with something small, in the grand scheme of things. Astronomers are constantly searching the sky with radiotelescopes, looking for anything unusual. Computers analyze the data and flag anything out of the ordinary; there's far too much to look through the raw data by hand.

One day, some sharp spikes caught the attention of a simple algorithm. Too irregular to be a pulsar, they were put on a list to be looked at.

It didn't take more than the most basic knowledge to work out what we were hearing. No fancy analysis, no filters or fourier transforms. It was simple as anything. Spikes and gaps on the hydrogen line frequency. Graph them out, count up the groups. In fact, not even that is really necessary. Just listen to it.

Two. Three. Five. Seven. Eleven. Thirteen. Seventeen. Twenty three.

The prime numbers, of course. We were supposed to recognize them, obviously.

We were not alone, said the headlines, hours later.

It was bedlam. Governments fell. The foundations of society shuddered. Some worried it would be the end of civilization.

All for a few organized beeps.