Juno

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen,” The president began, clearing his throat. “I’m up here today with a heavy heart. In the last few days, as some of you may know, NASA has been receiving thousands of images from the Juno space probe that was launched in 2015.” The president paused for a sip of water, his shoulders tensed up. He looked like a man with no future.  

 

“The original Juno mission had the probe orbiting Jupiter for six and a half years, taking high resolution photos of the planet’s atmosphere, then crash landing into the planet in 2024. After just three months in orbit, the Juno probe began to follow what is known as Jupiter’s ‘Red Spot.’ I’m, er, told that this spot is actually a storm, the proportions of which are hard to fathom. And, that this storm has been raging for as long as humans have looked to the stars. I’m told by NASA’s top minds that using specialized cameras, the Juno probe has been able to see through the storm, and Jupiter’s atmosphere all together.” The President said, as he reached a hand to his breast pocket.

 

He produced a clicker and the screens flanking the president flashed blue. The press corp moved as one to the edge of their seats.

 

“Here’s the ‘Red Spot’ as one would normally see it.” click “And here is the same image as Juno sees it. Those white tendrils all over the screen, I’m told are lightning.” The President paused and sighed. He looked to his national security team to his left. One general nodded solemnly. “Ladies and Gentlemen, what I’m about to disclose has, as of 40 minutes ago, just been declassified.” click. Confusion spread amongst the press.

 

“After, seeing a inexplicable pattern, Juno was repositioned over several spots along the planet. See those curving arcs, I’ve been told are, based on chemical analysis, titanium lines. That larger spot at the tail of the line on the left is believed to be a shaft.” click. “In this picture of the same location the shaft is open. We believe this to be a track system.”

 

The sounds of pens scratching furiously on paper filled the room. Several reporters attempted to speak up at once but were silenced when the president held up a hand, wincing.

 

“It’s not my intention,” the president began. “To keep you in the dark. NASA has now turned their attention to the gas giant in an attempt to make contact with whatever or whoever inhabits the planet. Obviously, having another species right in our backyard and not knowing about them is startling. Myself and other leaders wish to speak with these beings, but the safety and wellbeing of the citizens of earth is our main prerogative. We will be discussing how to proceed in the coming days at an emergency session of the G8. I–”

 

A general stepped up from the left and whispered something in the president’s ear. The color drained from him.

 

“Er, thank you. No questions.” The president quickly turned, waved, and was ushered out of the room by a team of uniformed men.

 

Reporters sensed the panic and it began to infect the room. After exchanging a few confused looks, and sending texts to their respective networks, the press found itself in the dark. Red light filled the room and a siren blared

 

The word “Lockdown” flashed across the screens.

 

Prompt:

The Juno spacecraft passes over Jupiter’s red spot, and now all of Earth can see what’s never been seen before

 

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