The Enigma Device

The mass spectrometer shows the presence of organic compounds, brass and a little bit of steel. The technicians have used the top-notch lab machine that doesn’t even need to make contact with the specimen being tested. It can scan the specimen from a distance. It’s safer that way, considering the fact that they don’t know what this suspicious object can do.

They can’t put it through the MRI machine because it contains ferrous materials, so instead they hook it up to the alternative. It’s experimental, but it reveals enough about the nature of the strange object to conclude that it’s possible that it’s some kind of weapon. The row of chambers could be combustion chambers, to ignite an explosive material. Perhaps they are the repositories for the catalyst that causes the brass to oxidise. Maybe it’s a sophisticated kind of bomb. Or a remote conductor of huge currents of power.

Perhaps it’s the antenna for a listening, spying device. It doesn’t seem to have any active circuitry, but perhaps the transistors are so small, and the microchips so sophisticated, that they are invisible to the sensitive scanning apparatus that have already been used.

The scanning electron microscope is used next. It reveals that the tooling used in its construction wasn’t particularly sophisticated. It could be a decoy though, intended to fool anyone who examines it as closely as this.

The only definite conclusion is that the device has terrestrial origins. It could be from the Anarchic Federation of Mongolia, or the Union of Western South American States, but it’s definitely not from planets Proxima Centauri b or Gliese 667 B b. The ambassadors of those planets were already consulted.

The biggest clue could be the large letters emblazoned across the surface of the device. “DTS” it reads. The initials represent are a widely used, contemporary political phrase, “death to society.” Could it be a political message to the leaders of this country? Is it a threat, or a terrorist attack?

The technicians and security analysts are stumped. They pack up for the day and the cleaner begins his evening duties. He’s an old-timer, from before the internet was sentient. From a time when people used their legs to ambulate. When people fed themselves by planting seeds in dirt and hoping that the weather would treat them favourably.

“Hey!” Shouts the cleaner to the last technician who’s about to leave for the day. “What are you guys doing with this?” He gestures towards the odd device. “That’s classified. You shouldn’t even be in here.” The technician responds aggressively. “That’s mine.” Says the cleaner. “See? DTS. Dwayne T. Smith.”

The cleaner yanks the device out from beneath the antibiotic, pressurised cover and puts it to his mouth. He blows a jaunty tune. The tone of the harmonica is lively and proud. The technician is already on the phone. “Sir, the cleaner has identified the enigma device!”

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