The first expedition to Jupiter from Earth arrived in orbit over Europa several days ago. A small shuttle carrying the first 4 crew members landed on Europa’s surface. The robots they sent from Earth over the last several decades had detected odd signals coming from one of Jupiter’s most fascinating moons, but they weren’t able to pinpoint its location. They weren’t leaving until they solved the mystery.
The shuttle landed close to the last robot they sent, named Echo. The additional equipment they brought would help them find the source so they could solve this mystery.
“Sensors say it is coming from the other side of that hill,” Rodriguez, the lead scientist on the expedition, said over comms.
“Alright, lets head out,” Lee responded as he led the team of four over the nearby hill.
As they crested the peak, they saw a massive plain of flat, red sand, and rock. It was smooth, like the salt flats back home in Utah, but on an enormous scale. In the distance, a small mountain jutted from the flat surface as Jupiter hung in orbit above.
“Look! What is that?” Smith’s voice cracked as she pointed straight ahead. A black object rose from the ground and hovered a few feet off the surface.
“I didn’t come all this way to not find out. Let’s go,” Lee said as he started down the hill towards the object. The rest of the crew followed.
As they approached, the details of the object became clearer. It was a smooth metal monolith hovering several feet off the ground. A circle with a line through it on the front and the sides pulsated with a blue hue. The back of the monolith had no markings of any kind. Sensors pinpointed it as the source of the signal, but they started going berserk with readings off the chart when the monolith rose.
“Well, I guess we know why the robots couldn’t pinpoint its location. It was underground, but why did it just now rise?” Rodriquez questioned. “These sensors won’t help much. What now?”
Lee stepped up to the monolith. The surrounding ground buzzed with a slight vibration. The pulsating lights sped faster as Lee reached out to touch the monolith. As his hand closed in on it, statically charged bolts danced to his fingers. His hand touched the surface. He blinked his eyes and was suddenly in a red dust storm.
He let go of the monolith and the dust storm immediately disappeared as the swirling sand fell to the ground. He looked back at his crew. “Everyone OK?” he shouted.
“Good to go,” they each responded as they touched parts of their suits to verify.
Lee looked out at the horizon. Jupiter replaced Europa in the sky and the terrain had changed. The monolith was still there, but a horizontal line appeared, splitting the vertical line in half.
“I thi-I think we just teleported to Jupiter!” Rodriquez shouted.
“Crap, how do we get back to the ship?” Dr. Fermil, the medical examiner for the expedition, responded.
“Perhaps…” Lee reached out and touched the monolith again. In a whirlwind of sand, they teleported again. They checked their surroundings and the markings on the monolith. They were back on Europa.
“Fascinating,” Rodriguez breathed.