Sometime a few decades in the future: The Planck Telescope hangs almost motionless in the near-absolute zero of (relatively) deep space. Nothing new or truly remarkable to report, really.

Without warning, from the farthest reaches of the universe, thunders in a tsunami of photons. It resolves into a chaotic panorama as hundreds of billions of suns quadrille into new, "other" galaxies, really, really close to the initial moment of rapid expansion.

The Planck's exquisitely engineered symphony of analog machinery, near-perfect primary surface mirrors, lenses, digital sensors and computational devices soak up this revisionist Big Bang - really more of a Messy Kablooey - without judgement. And in their unbiased way, reroll the whole shootin' match into a very big string of zeros and ones.

Then, before they flashcast a narrowly focussed datastream back to the Terran mothership, they perpetrate a serioco(s)mic mindfuck upon certain inhabitants of that blue orb by tying the string into a series of very fancy coexistent quantum knots.

These knots are best described - if by "describing", one means "confusing a picture already incomprehensible to any mere mortal whose name isn't either Stephen Hawking or Zaphod Beeblebrox" - as something resembling - if by the word "resembling" one means "resembling not a whit in some states while simultaneously carrying all the attributes of it in others" - a Schroedinger's Cat's Cradle.

Eminent radio-astronomers and the eminent theoretical physicists with whom they work, long frustrated by virtue of having signed, in whatever passes for blood in academic circles, some serious, serious chits for billions in research bucks that until now have produced exactly squat, suddenly develop a new frustration, at least as unexpected as The Event itself.

Because now they they can't tell anybody what they've stumbled into. At least not without booking mandatory assessments for the psych ward before they scurry for the back door of the news conference.

Naturally enough under the circumstances, they all do what they have to: go AWOL, sneak out of the country on false passports, chip in the remainders of their research grants to rent, very cheaply, an obscure after-hours bar in an undisclosed location where nobody will ever recognize them, and proceed to get really, really blind drunk on a blend of grape Tang, tequila and single-malt scotch. For weeks.