4 of 4 | Chapter 10

 

“I have to say that, as you appeared from nowhere, you have created a rather strange impression, but not a bad one, however, Dr Martins,” began Steersman.

“Does that mean you have thought about my offer?”

“Yes, of course, and I'm prepared to support your work, and that of your team in the future, but first, I need to know how your work can apply to our goals here at the ASEC.”

“Certainly. I hope to convince you that you're not dealing with lunatics.”

“You mentioned a positive result that you've found in your research for signs of alien intelligence, something of interest.”

“Yes, that's right. Our work in astronomy has been focused on specific traces in space that could only be induced by species of advanced intelligence. In short, we're not looking for newer and newer planets, we don't map the far corners of the universe, and do not study any astronomical object. We examine the effects and processes that take place in the universe. To put it simply, we're hunting for radiation anomalies. This is why there are more mathematicians in my team than astronomers.”

“Well, it's not a spectacular work then, is it?”

“No, indeed it's not. It consists of numerous calculations, analysis and interpretation. However, this way we're more likely to find other civilizations than when we look at specific planets themselves.”

“And how far did you get?”

“We found radiation patterns which—with a special equipment—can be distinguished from the constant background radiation of the universe itself. It has different frequencies than that used on Earth.”

“I see, and what have you been able to deduce from your results?”

“We had been working on methodizing these patterns for about a year, when we realized that there were recurrences, and in rather large numbers. This gave us a good enough reason to use decoders on them. They've been working on them till now.” The scientist pushed his glasses back up onto the bridge of his nose and continued. “And our original hypothesis is supported from a number of angles.”

“Meaning?”

“Meaning that the radiation contains information, or a message, if you like. Much of what we thought was part of a broadcast message is just some kind of environmental context, or ‘wrapping’ as it were, and we soon realized that it could be discounted. Now we know which waves are meaningful and which are not.”

“So you're saying that this radiation has a message from an intelligent and advanced species?”

“We have no knowledge of how technically advanced this civilization may be, but we're sure that it has intelligence.”

“Please, excuse me, if I seem a little skeptical, but are you sure that it's not someone from Earth fooling around?” asked Steersman with a smile, slowly pacing around the room.

“All the same questions have been going through our minds also. Up until two weeks ago, we didn't dare come forward with the idea, but now it's almost certain that the source does not originate from the Earth.”

“So, you have known for two weeks now that an alien civilization exists somewhere in the Universe? What have you done about this discovery, so far?”

“Nothing. Frankly, after we had excluded all other doubts, we were startled by the fact that we were able to be sure that there are others out there.”

“So, we have a message,” said Steersman thoughtfully.

“Yes,” Martins confirmed.

“And, have you been able to decipher its content?”

“Yes,” he answered. “We were able to decipher it using an algorithm that we've developed.”

“Please, tell me that they're not threatening us,” said Steersman, allowing himself a smile.

“No, they aren't, sir. On the contrary, in the part we've decoded thus far, the message states that, and I quote: ‘we are waiting for you’.”

Steersman stopped pacing and looked at the scientist. He was not smiling anymore.

“We are waiting for you?!” he repeated, as if to clarify it to himself.

“Yes, sir, exactly. This sentence was repeated several times. Other parts of the message are a little more complicated. We suspect that they're using terms to describe objects or concepts that are, as yet, unknown to us, but this isn't really too much of a surprise.”

“No?”

“This happens on our planet as well, when other cultures use different terms to express a concept that is alien to another culture.”

“Yes, I suppose … I guess they must have quite a different culture.”

“I'm sure they do, sir.”

“Do we have any information on how far away this message comes from?”

“Of course. We have narrowed down the possibilities to one of our neighboring star systems, about ten light years from us, but we haven't managed to pin point which part of it. Therefore, there's quite a large area remaining to be defined. And there is something else!” he said, with an almost audible shudder.

“What?”

“The radiation itself is very strange. It seems to slow as it nears the planet Earth. We have no idea why,” Martins explained.

“That is strange, indeed.” Steersman's eyes narrowed. “Can we use their language at a level at which we could send a message back to them?”

“We know a couple more terms that we could possibly use to build a message.”

“All we need are these three words: send your coordinates,” said Steersman.

“We can communicate something similar. In place of ‘send’, I believe we have the word ‘give’, and instead of ‘coordinates’ we have ‘location’, perhaps that will be enough.”

“Give location.” Steersman thought about it for a moment. “Seem quite understandable to me.” He played with the thought for a few moments, then made a decision. “Okay, you and your team, you're hired.”

“Thank you, Mr Steersman. You won't regret your decision.” Martins' face lit up. “I must go back to Brazil now ….”

“Yes, obviously. We need to continue this project as soon as possible, so first compile a comprehensive list of the equipment, materials and space that you will need for your work. When it's done, you and all of your colleagues who are part of this research can start bringing over your families. Please, send me personal details for each of your colleagues, as everyone must go through a security check before admission to ASEC.”

“I can prepare the lists quickly, but paperwork doesn't happen quickly in my country. Brazil has a rather large bureaucracy and relocation is certainly not going to be an easy process.”

“Dr Martins, I don't care about the worries of petty Brazilian bureaucrats. Begin to get used to the idea that we at ASEC do not appreciate excuses. If you find that it's not possible for every member of your team to be here in Excolopolis and ready to work by next week, then let me know and I'll send an aircraft to bring you all here within hours. The consequences will be mine to deal with. You're going to start a new life here. Don't feel the need to bring your TVs, washing machines, or anything. There are fully equipped houses waiting in the Orchid Hills residential area for every family. In return, I expect you to quickly pick up from where you left off with your research.”

“Understood, Mr Steersman. I'll do my best to make sure we continue as soon as possible.”

“Excellent. I'll wait for you to contact me very shortly.”

 

***

 

*************************************************************************************************************

Previous pages Go to next pages

*************************************************************************************************************

 

 

comments powered by Disqus

CHAPTER 1 | EXCOLOPOLIS
CHAPTER 2 | MACHINES
CHAPTER 3 | A NEW TECHNOLOGY
CHAPTER 4 | ATTACK
CHAPTER 5 | THE SOURCE
CHAPTER 6 | THE SCIENCE CENTER
CHAPTER 7 | UNIVERSITY CITY
CHAPTER 8 | GLIDECRAFT
CHAPTER 9 | SECTOR TWO
CHAPTER 11 | GRAVITOR
CHAPTER 12 | INSTALLATION
CHAPTER 13 | ENERGY WAR
CHAPTER 14 | AFTERSHOCKS
CHAPTER 15 | INITIATION
CHAPTER 16 | PREPARATION
CHAPTER 17 | DEFENSE CORPS
CHAPTER 18 | TRUTH
CHAPTER 19 | BEYOND EARTH