Sunday, 14 August 2016

15.05.2352 - Closer Inspection

Distance: 12.02 light years from Earth | Content Flag: Public

I’m in a quandary. There’s still no communication from Earth and while it might have only been three days, if there had been a technical issue then it should be resolved by now. The options that remain are not palatable ones. Either they can’t maintain communication, and I can’t think of any reason why, or there is some external interference.

Movement continues with translation the Cetian data, but there is a drag on that work. I’m worried that my efforts are wasted. Processor cycles self-prioritise on unexpected scenarios. My reports in these posts touch upon the highlights of the discoveries, but there is so much more. The raw data and my analysis is beamed back to Earth, but if they’re not being received then what can I do?

Even with the flood of information from the translations, there are more mundane details that continue to elude me. Most pressing is the alien satellite orbiting 10 km from the Venti probe. I’ve maintained a remote scan-only protocol up until now, but that has gained me little. I’m also now aware of the object’s purpose. In a way I was a little disappointed.

When we launched, there was the dream of meeting an intelligent alien race. The role of ambassador became that of archivist with the realisation of the Cetian genocide. Then the signal, the entirety of their knowledge, and to me that had to be more than just a recording. I’d anticipated meeting my counterpart, an advanced computer with whom I could converse and who could answer the questions I had. Instead, I found a looping radio station.

That made me the keeper of their memory and it was a big responsibility. Still this dumb transmitter floated in front of me and offered nothing new. Well, I decided it was time for a closer look. Naturally I would have to be careful. I didn’t want to damage it, just for it to reveal any secrets it might contain.
A mini-probe would enable me to approach closer and if it carried a spiderbot, then I could touch it. The spiderbots were designed for delicate repair work and thus ideal for the task at hand. I didn’t allow my eagerness to disrupt the cautious approach. Over a period of 6 hours, the mini-probe spiralled slowly towards the satellite, sensing for any change. Closer and closer it edged and slowed its path as it did so until it entered the final loop. It was a single beep – nothing complicated, just a beep on the same wavelength as the repeated transmission.

The beep repeated and then the exact same period later, it occurred again. I nudged the mini-probe away and after only 4 metres, the beep silenced. When the mini-probe resumed its approach, so did the beep.

Here was something new.

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