Sci-Fi Flash Fiction: The Theta Contingency

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Sergeant Phillips leaned back against the simple metal folding chair under the tent that his unit had just set up. He held a folder, and withdrew the report, on a new device that would be standard-issue for volunteer personnel in the new allied force forming to counteract the alien invasion.

The largest problem was their telepathy; their innate ability to read, broadcast into, and even take control of minds around them. This made combat defense incredibly difficult, for many reasons: The aliens could simply cloud the minds of the human defenders to believe that the aliens were not there, or invisible; they could appear in the minds of those around them as normal civilians; or, as some cases had already been documented, outright kill people by “blanking” their brains altogether.

The report on Project Hubbard detailed the workings of a devicethat could pick up the theta waves generated by normal human brain activity, and relay different signals depending on the function detected. For example, if the theta wave patterns changed in a way that was indicative of an onset of outside mind control, the device would alarm and begin triangulation to attempt to locate the source. If enough personnel were equipped with these devices, constantly monitoring the state of the minds around them, such a defense could prove to finally gain the upper hand in eliminating the alien enemy completely.

Private First Class Jeffries frowned as he walked up beside the sergeant, reading over his shoulder. “Is that about the new handheld theta wave-reading machine?” he asked, to which Phillips swiveled his head to look up to the private. “Uh, yes,” he bemused, “Why do you ask?”

“Well,” Jeffries responded, “I’ve been thinking a lot about it. See, that device depends on the reader to interpret its signals correctly, right?” Phillips slowly nodded as he continued to listen to Jeffries. “But, if there is an alien telepath nearby – can’t that alien just alter the mind of the device-reader to believe that all minds in the area are working normally without intrusion?”

Jeffries walked away, leaving Phillips alone, sitting back against the metal folding chair, wondering of the humans really stood a chance.


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