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The Return of Planet X - The communicator Part 5

Updated on June 1, 2011

Hank Williams was your original nutty professor type. His wild grey hair was always unkept, covering bushy grey eyebrows that sat at the top of his forehead due to his constant raised brow. He always had a serious look, or perhaps it was more concern. Coty related the look to a serious and professional scientist who was always in thought, mumbling to himself. Calculated was a great way to describe his approach. If not for his white coat, vagrant would be a good way to describe his appearance.

“Gentlemen,” Hank started. “In Aug 1977 SETI received a signal from space that could not be explained. A certain Dr Jerry Ehman was on volunteer duty at the Big Ear radio telescope in Ohio that evening when he noticed it. The signal lasted all of 72 seconds, which was the exact time that the telescope observed it before moving on. The Big Ear telescope was fixed and would observe the sky according to the speed of the earth’s rotation. It would therefore observe any given point in the sky for exactly 72 seconds. A continuous extra terrestrial signal would then be expected to last the full 72 seconds, reaching its peak at 36 seconds when the telescope would reach the centre of its observation window, and then gradually decreasing. The signal did exactly that. On a linear scale it was 30 times louder than deep space. After noticing the signal, they trained the telescope back in the same direction but it was gone. The signal seemed to have originated from the Sagittarius constellation with two different frequency values, both pretty close to each other at 1420,356 mhz and 1420,4556 mhz. The relevance being that Hydrogen is widely known as the most common element in the universe and Hydrogen resonates at 1420,40575177 mhz. The 1420 mhz frequency is a protected spectrum on Earth. Terrestrial transmitters are forbidden to transmit at this frequency, so that rules out the possibility of a random earth signal bouncing off some space debri back to earth. Should extra terrestrials wish to broadcast a signal, then they would more than likely broadcast it on this frequency……..”

“Dr Williams, please, we are not scientist, get to the point,” a very stern General barked at him as if ordering one of his troops around.

“Right, of course General, my point is that scientists have been trying to relocate the signal again ever since, even with SETI’s Project Argus as recently as July of this year, with no luck whatsoever…….. until two days ago!”

Zep was leaned hands against the shower wall with the warm water running down his back. What was Alura talking about? Why did she seem so anxious, and why had Altazar not said anything? His mind was full of questions but one thing he knew was he trusted Altazar with his life. Whatever was going on surely Altazar would say something to him at some point, especially if it endangered his life. He finished up in the shower and stepped out to dry himself. His neatly folded uniform was on the side counter just through the bathroom door. Zep noticed it’s reflection in the mirror and grinned. He was about to put on the official Explorers crew uniform. It would only be used while he was on board. Mostly to identify him, but also to maintain the level of discipline and uniformity required when running an operation as huge as the Explorer. For Zep it was all part of his initial dreams as a boy coming true.

Altazar stood tall in the AI control room. His presence was made known by his large masculine frame and stern look on his face. He was known for his calm approach to emergencies and to getting problems resolved quickly and efficiently. This time he was confronted with a rogue bot that had somehow lost control. All new AI bots would go through a stage of development in an isolated environment until they were deemed fit for duty. It was not very common for a bot to turn like this, but it did happen, which is why all bots are fitted with a neutralising device which can be activated from the control room. When activated, to humans, it would appear that the AI bot had died of a heart attack arousing no suspicion at all. Neutralising a bot could only happen if authorized by Altazar. He stood staring through the glass window. This specific bot was a young woman, around about 20 years old in appearance. She was crying uncontrollably. Every few mins her emotions would switch again and she would turn extremely aggressive and start pounding on the window. After a few mins she would begin laughing hysterically. It was obvious this bot was damaged goods. Altazar stood and stared at her. Her appearance as a human affected his emotions. It was like sentencing someone to death, only it wasn’t a life he was taking, just a machine he would turn off. Even so he had difficult every time he was confronted with having to do it. “Terminate!” he said abruptly, trying to hide his emotions. He stood and watched as the enraged bot suddenly seemed to be having a heart attack and flopped to the floor, convulsing. It would only take a few seconds, but watching it happen felt like it took forever. It was done. Altazar felt his emotions overcome him. “Get this cleaned up,” He said firmly to his assistant next to him, and left the control room.

“General, in 1991 we designed some software that would be constantly looking for the exact signal pattern as was found in 1977. The software has been attached to a telescope that was specifically built in the Karoo to only look for this signal. If it attached itself to that specific rhythm it would immediately stop, and start recording. We picked the signal up two days ago, and have been recording it ever since. Our team have been feeding it into various programs to identify the algorithms and they have had succeeded. General, the signal has been translated. It is in fact an extra terrestrial message from deep space.”

“You mean…….we have just made first contact?” The General asked.

“Yes General, but I wouldn’t get excited just yet. The message…….well……it’s a warning………..General, earth is in grave danger!”

Next: What is the message Dr Williams has found and what will Zep learn when he meets Alura? Click here for Part 6

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The Ski


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