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Aliens at the Bruce

“Did you see that? Tell me you saw that!”

Our first instinct was to question our eyes. We were stargazing near the tip of the Bruce Peninsula, a little stretch of paradise jutting into Lake Huron.

The harvest had been good so far. We’d seen dozens of shooting stars, even though we were a week after the technical end of the Perseid meteor shower, an annual event when the earth ploughs through the detritus left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle. (It’s called the Perseids, because the meteors appear to come from the constellation Perseus.)  

Then the string of lights appeared.

Seriously, WTF?

They were like a string of bright beads, moving from the northwest to the southeast. None of us had ever seen anything like it.

They were moving fast. Faster than a satellite or a plane. I counted five bright beads, connected by a line of light that wasn’t quite as brilliant. It was moving, like a train on a track.

“What is that?”

“Seriously! Dude! What is that?”

(We may have had a few stargazing whiskies by this time of the night.)

I’m not saying it was aliens, but it was aliens

Aliens? I mean, that was the obvious leap. Was this the start of an alien invasion. I felt a weird mix of fear and elation. This would mean that we weren’t alone! And why invade now? Or maybe it was just a peaceful visit from our galactic neighbors. Maybe they had arrived to join us for whisky?

“I think it may be a Starlink launch,” the soberest and smartest of us suggested.

“The what, now?”

A quick check of the exo-brain confirmed it: Starlink is a system of satellites that provides internet service, run by SpaceX, one of Elon Musk’s companies. When it’s completed, there could be more than 40,000 of satellites in the system. They’ve launched about 2,000 already, so there will be many more not-aliens in the night sky in the weeks and months ahead, as SpaceX continues to seed our skies with them

The moment was over as fast as it began. The new satellites slipped from view, leaving us back where we started, alone in the universe.

And even more annoyed with Elon Musk.

cover art of The Fridgularity and Marvellous Hairy, both by Mark A. Rayner

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Photo by Neale LaSalle