the glass smooth, 30cm spheroid pierced the atmosphere at
hypersonic speed, the planet below reflected on its' mirror like
surface. Sub micron
sized pores in the otherwise perfectly smooth, diamond hard skin
dilated open... measuring atmospheric parameters and the rise in
skin temperature. Sensing
an increase in atmospheric density, the alien device morphed
into a larger and strangely aerodynamic shape.
Slowing to a few hundred kph, it continued to streak
downward toward the surface of the brown-green planet.
meters from the surface, the device shape shifted again...
increasing surface area and atmospheric drag.
As it slowed, photon collecting dendrite molecules formed
on the surface... turning the device iridescent, then
transparent. Still in an almost vertical 300-kph dive, it
narrowly avoided a flying creature. The startled animal heard
and felt something fast streak by, but saw nothing.
above ground level and still at 300 kph, the virtually invisible
alien machine leveled out and continued to fly parallel to the
seconds, hundreds of molecular sized sensors formed on the
surface of the device, only slightly degrading the camouflage
provided by the dendrite arrays.
The newly formed sensors scanned the landscape for
selected IR and UV spectra. Weak spectra indicated little biomass.
few minutes later, now flying over vegetation, spikes in the
spectra initiated a cascade of activity within the machine. As a
continuous stream of 360° hyperspectral images imprinted on
petabytes of multi-bit molecular data storage, another matrix of
surface molecules formed a sky-aimed laser.
A burst of coherent photons penetrated the covering miles
of atmosphere, and was collected by an array of dendrites... on
a large orbiting spacecraft.