Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mission impossible 4 - 'Ed'

Vaxe had the coms ready. Since the aliens were only able to use text, She would have to manage to convey what they wanted to the alien fleet in a similar mode. Dranke stared at the screen, frozen in time. How should one answer? It was too open a question. Thoughts of cliches like We come in peace ran through his head and were discarded. Maybe it would be better to say Hey, how are you. We are humans. Nothing seemed appropriate.

After a long chase from the edge of the Milky Way galaxy, Dranke and his crew had tracked the alien fleet due to their suspicious trajectory which had seemed to take them straight to Earth. When Dranke had found that the aliens were not headed to Earth, the chase had taken on a new complexion. They were then tracking the aliens to see where they were headed. The aliens had given another darkmatter starcraft the slip and sneaked up on Dranke's starcraft without warning. The last message they had sent was "Who are you?"

Fenie was working on a reply as instructed by Dranke. She said "How about this... we are Humans from a the Sol cluster. We were curious about you." Dranke chewed on that for a few seconds and then nodded. They were too far from Earth for anything approaching real-time communications, but he asked Vaxe to send a tracer com to spacecommand appraising them of the situation. She turned back from her screen "I can't send a message to spacecommand. The aliens have jammed all coms except to themselves."

Dranke stared at the visuals of the alien fleet. They looked beautiful. Ripples seemed to pass over the spaceships as they idled. The material was fascinating. Almost hypnotic in it's beauty. What was he supposed to do? Maybe he should just tell the aliens he had no authority to speak to them. But this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance. He would have to wing it. He was actually speaking to the first extraterrestrial intelligence in the known Universe! He let that sink in. Fenie was looking at him and gesticulating. He looked at where she was pointing "Explain Humans."

Dranke asked Fenie to send a long message explaining what Humans were about. This was in the spacecadet manual. Much easier to have the standard spiel which spacecommand had given them. At the footer he asked them to release their communications from the jammer.

The Alien fleet remain impassive in the viewscreens. The next message said "Prepare for boarding." Pushy chaps was the first thought which entered Dranke's mind. He signaled for the airlock to be circulated as one of the alien ships came close. It ignored the airlock and a liquid extrusion of one of the innocuous rounded edges docked with the darkmatter starcraft. It extended right into the ship! The alarms went off. Fenie looked at Dranke significantly as she turned off the alarms. Dranke, Fenie and Vaxe waited near the edge of the liquid gateway which seemed to ignore all matter. The technology was way ahead of theirs. A round globular structure rolled towards them. English words were imprinted on it. "We are Hnnet. From the Hnnet Galaxy. Humans know Hnnet?" Dranke was just not prepared for this. He stared "No we thought we are alone in the Universe." The typing changed to gibberish imprinted on the globe. Then came the sound of a woman laughing. Then a man laughing. "Sorry, we are learning from your data and ship. Almost upto speed now." The globe changed to a man-like shape, mimicking Dranke. "You can call me Ed." It extended it's facsimile 'hand' and Dranke shook it. It fell cold and resilient to the touch.

Dranke could not shake off the feeling of the whole thing being part of a prank. "Good to meet you Ed. Is that your real name?" Again there was a muffled sound of laughing "No. You could not pronounce my name. We are on a mining expedition. You followed us."

Dranke said "Yes, we did not know there was another spacefaring species." He shrugged, just before remembering that body language was probably lost on the Hnnet. He smiled and the Hnnet smiled back. It kept smiling. "We would like to inform our planet of our encounter." Ed continued to smile "Of course. We would like to board your planet too someday." Fenie grinned at the awkward turn of phrase. Ed continued "You have just discovered space travel. I should let you explore." He turned, still smiling, and collapsed into a globe. Dranke yelled "Wait. We want to  know more about you." Ed said distantly "In due time Human." The liquid extrusion pulled away rapidly, leaving no trace it had been there just a few moments ago. The alien fleet jumped away rapidly. They were alone again.

Dranke asked Vaxe to make a full report as they jumped back home. This was more of an adventure than he had imagined in his wildest dreams. He let it sink in. What a mysterious meeting! Spacecommand was going to go apeshit. He smiled wickedly. It would be amusing to talk to General Selin. He imagined his face when he read the report....

Pic Courtesy: "Fomalhaut planet" by ESA, NASA, and L. Calcada (ESO for STScI) - Hubble Directly Observes Planet Orbiting Fomalhaut. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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