art by Ron Sanders
by Spencer Sandoval
This morning, our satellites picked up a radio signal originating from somewhere near the edge of our galaxy. A couple of us think it's more than the usual static background noise we sometimes pick up. Maybe a lot more. We've decided to keep it quiet until we can understand what we're actually hearing. But I think I'll tell Molly. She'll probably be more excited than I am, and that's saying a lot.
The signal is definitely something, we're detecting patterns that can't just be radiation. None of us know exactly what to think yet, and we're doing our best to clean up the mess that we're receiving. If it does turn out to be something, this could be big. Bigger than the faster-than-light engine the government's been working on. We're working harder than we have in years. Me especially, it feels like I'm researching in University again. Coming to work in the morning is... well, it's not a chore anymore. Molly's seen a difference in me too, even though it's only been a few weeks. I cooked for her. I can't remember the last time I did that.
I know how this sounds. I'm getting ahead of myself, I am... but I was in the listening station today and I heard something. Two somethings, actually. I think it was a conversation between two members of whatever species is on the other side of the galaxy. The voices were just so distinct and, I don't know, it had the same timing and cadence of two people talking, albeit in a language I can't understand. The other guys are getting more carried away than I am, I'm pretty sure they called their spouses as soon as they heard the piece of recording I showed them. It's getting harder and harder to keep this thing under wraps.
Director Crib was waiting for us outside our lab this morning. He demanded to know why he hadn't been informed of the signal as soon as we'd found it. Rick and Dave were both speechless, so I told him that we weren't sure the signal was anything yet. Crib disagreed. He seemed okay after that though, I think the excitement took over. Job not in jeopardy.
It's all hands on deck now that the secret's out. Most of the building's personnel have been reassigned to analyze our signal. Which is good, because it hasn't stopped since we first detected it. We just keep getting more and more information, it's overwhelming. No idea what any of it means yet, but I think I'm getting somewhere. I've heard more "conversations," they start and end more or less the same way every time. It's not a solid basis to decode an entire language, but maybe it'll give me somewhere to start, at least.
Equipment trucks were blocking the road on the way into the lab today. More scientists have been called in to help with the signal. We have a large enough antenna to receive it, but we don't have top of the line analysis equipment. At least, we didn't. Every day I see more serious and more professional looking men roaming our halls. This is getting out of hand. I miss the old days where we sat around in our jeans, daydreaming what it'd be like to actually hear something from an alien life form. Now that the dream might be reality... well, be careful what you wish for.
Molly's pregnant! I... I'm flabbergasted. I never knew that I wanted to be a father until she told me the news last night. And now I can't imagine anything more important. We talked all night, until she finally fell asleep in my arms a few minutes before sunrise. We're off to her parents to tell them in person. How could I possibly go into work today?