2791 A Contour Vehicle Comes to Visit

A strange visitor unexpectedly arrives at Cobol. It is a so-called Contour Systems Vehicle, a giant conglomerate of billions of energy bubbles between one meter and ten kilometers in diameter with a total volume of four million cubic kilometers. Contour incarnations and bubbles are roaming the interstellar sector for three months. There are reports of many contacts between humans and Contour beings, about exchange of information, joint journeys, and unexpected experiences. After several days of spectacular celebrations, the main mass of the Contour vehicle departs. Energy bubbles are sighted for another 20 years, in the Solar system much longer.

The Contour vehicle originates from a more advanced, possibly galactic, civilization. According to Contour beings it is on constant cruise. The vehicle serves as a mobile base for incarnations of Contour beings. Some people get to know small fractions of a huge and fantastic civilization. Human guests are allowed to visit remote centers of the Contour culture. Their real location is not revealed, however. It is assumed that the civilization is essentially delocalized consisting of a network of mobile nodes like the visiting Systems Vehicle. Travel experiences of humans with Contour beings indicate instant communication over very long distances. Yet, it remains unclear if the Contour are in fact capable of long range faster-than-light communications or whether communications are handled by a ubiquitous network of interstellar relays.

During the visit, myriads of microscopic white energy bubbles are observed throughout the Cobol system. It is assumed that these units are data collectors permeating the entire star system. What little is known about the information capacity of the Contour technology suggests that the Systems Vehicle's facilities generate a complete information dump of the human civilization at Cobol. Some people who have been in close contact with Contour beings report about a virtual simulation of the Cobol system at the molecular level and they have even met human Contour incarnations in this simulation. It remains speculation if humanity is merely an object of study or if it has – in some for us unimaginable way – become part of the Contour civilization.

Despite many contacts, few tangible influences remain in culture, science, and technology. It appears that the Contour have managed the flow of information very carefully to minimize the impact of their visit on humanity. The presumed simulation might have been instrumental in predicting effects of interactions so as to subtly tune events to minimize their consequences. That means the Contour might be able to predict the future in real time, though of course within the limits of variations due to quantum fluctuations and the butterfly effect.

The Contour system ship leaves behind so-called buoys: milky-white spherical energy bubbles of various sizes, not only in the Cobol system, but also in several inhabited solar systems in the vicinity. The buoys do not show any activity except for occasional position changes.

In the Solar system 20 buoys have been discovered so far. Most of them with diameters up to 10 meters. The known buoys are scattered throughout the Solar system, one inside Mercury's orbit, two in the Earth-Mars region, eight (!) in Jupiter orbits, and one at Neptune. The remaining are positioned in empty space far above and below the ecliptic. The Neptune buoy is by far the largest with a diameter of 50 meters.

It is unknown why almost half of all sighted Contour buoys are to be found around Jupiter. Apparently, the Contour are particularly interested in this part of the Solar system. So, it cannot be ruled out that there is life on Jupiter after all, perhaps even intelligent life. However, if intelligent life on Jupiter were in fact the reason for the Contour's interest, then this life form has not yet reached a technological level that would make it noticeable, at least not to us.

Jupiter seems to be at least as interesting to the Contour as the rest of the entire Solar system, with Earth, the Moon, all the other inhabited planets, and tens of thousands of habitats in space. This is not surprising, since Jupiter's surface is 100 times larger than the Earth's. So, if there is life on Jupiter, then its diversity might be considerably larger than that from the planet earth.

On the other hand, it cannot be ruled out that the eight Jupiter buoys are a joke. Some people who have met Contour report about their shrewd sense of humor. Some humans tell that they have been misled time and again, only not to know later, when they got an explanation, whether they had actually learned the truth or just run into another joke. Apparently, it would fit well with the Contour to intentionally place eight buoys at Jupiter just to make humanity think about their own importance.