Saturday, May 07, 2016

7. Dialogue

"So, can you explain the situation to me in layman's terms?"

"Well, Mr President, it's like this. We received a message three days ago broadcast on an extreme narrowband range around 452 MHz. It was picked up by several of our large radio telescopes and we have ruled out the possibility of local interference."

"So, you are saying the signal is not terrestrial?"

"Yes, Sir. The next possibility was something like a pulsar or a gamma ray burst - that's a focused jet of energy from a dying star. However, it didn't match what we would expect to see from an event of that nature so that was ruled out."

"How can you be sure?"

"It came from a star system 50 light years away - one of our prime candidates for exo-planetary life. The message was repeated three times - the same pattern of pulses each time. The chances of that occurring at random are a million to one"

"I've heard that before. So, what does it mean?"

"We analysed the signal by running it through a recurrent neural network looking for semantic markers - that is, signs of intelligence. What we found was troubling."

"So, what did the message say?"

"It said simply - see you next Tuesday ..."

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