Friday, June 28, 2013

The Sounds They Make

A bit of flash fiction inspired by the Wow! signal.

“I’m telling you, this recording is real.”
“Well where did it come from? Why can’t we still hear it?”
“This transmission travelled around a black hole and through an active star-forming region of space to reach us! It’s incredible that it even did in the first place.”
“That’s gonna be hard to prove.”
“Look, even if they don’t believe me now, we’ll just wait. I’m sure that the circumstances will repeat themselves. Or if not, maybe they’ve moved on to more advanced modes of communication than radio since this transmission was sent out. Neutrinos would arrive much faster from the same area and more regularly. But we need the funding to build a dedicated detector.”
“Have you seen the economy lately? We can’t exactly afford to build giant detectors made of silver mirrors in the arctic circle.”
“The absorbers actually only have to be steel. Not that expensive.”
“That’s not the point. Nobody’s going to fork over the cash for something that you can’t even be sure of.”
“I am sure of it. It’s just that people aren’t ready to believe. I know the weakness of my case -- there’s only one instance of this contact. But it’s real.
“I believe you. I’m just not sure anyone else will.”

The recording crackles to life. Mostly static, terrible noise. But in there are sounds that do not sound electric. They sound organic, living.  Only a few words and indistinct syllables, but something unmistakably a language.

“Missiles flying. Fires, blazing. -d Help us.