There were but three days in which to decipher the most cryptic message ever delivered to earth.
an angel were to look at us right now, what would he think?"
"For God's sake!" Mills cried into the instrument. "What's up? You still at the office?"
"Yeah, answer the question."
"Hold on, George. I'll be down and get you. What you been drinking?"
"Bob, would he--she--think much of us? Would the angel figure we were...."
"How the hell would I know?"
"No, Bob, what you should have asked is 'how the hell would he know.'"
* * * * *
In a daze Mills heard the click as the other hung up.
* * * * *
"Mr. Harrison, your assistant is looking for you."
"Yes, I know, Kirk. But will you do it?"
"Mr. Harrison, we only got one of them. If we screw it up it'll take time to make another and today's the day, you know."
"I'll take the blame."
"Mr. Harrison, you look kind of funny. Hadn't I better...."
Harrison was sketching a drawing on a piece of waste paper. He was working in quick rough strokes, copying
Aliens give Earthlings three days to build a blueprint they provide of a sword, and correct the defect in the article. Or they'll wipe out the Earth to keep us from polluting the universe. The problem is that it's a perfect sword.
The reader will solve the problem long before the scientists do. As usual, it's an all-male undertaking.
(1953) Sci-fi (Alien intervention / Initial contact test)
From IF Worlds of Science Fiction March 1953