Protocol

Friday Fictoneers for this week is a tough one. I stood staring at the picture of the Keck Observatory for a long time.

keck

The colonel’s blotchy face turned  salt white as he watched the screen.

“Jesus,” he whispered. “Are you sure this is real?”

“Absolutely certain, Colonel. We wouldn’t have enacted the protocol if we weren’t. Both of the telescopes have been tracking it for months. Last night we were able to confirm it.”

“Jesus,” said the colonel again.

“I don’t mean to pry, Colonel, but what now? The protocol only specifies that upon confirmation we notify your office. After that—”

“After that is classified, Doctor.” His jaw was hard, but the eyes looked mealy, soft with ensuing panic. “You can trust your government.’