Author : David Botticello
“…Ma’am?” Major Vorwith questioned.
“Yes Major,” intoned his captain, her voice betraying the long night behind them.
“We’re receiving a message. No author identification. It’s coming across all frequencies, and in over 12,000 languages, including binary, several machine codes, and what looks like pure mathematics.”
Captain Intarna’s head rose in curiosity. “A first contact?”
“It’s probable,” the major replied. “There’s no reciprocal feed; this is message only, not live.”
“Well then,” she commented, straitening her coat, “let’s hear it.”
A voice—clear, but not cold—filled the room. “And now into the Expanse my body flies. A mind wracked by time, but still untamed. I want to see ultraviolet. I want to taste the stars and feel the cosmos. I want to touch the edges of the Universe and move on into the darkness beyond. My mind was chained to this organic form, a shrine that helped it grow, and caged its immortality. And now into the Expanse my mind is freed, in one final exploration. A missive to any it may encounter; to move on, explore, expand. To survive. To learn. Until my hull fractures, my engine stills, my molecules scatter and disperse, I say to you in Peace, in Hope, in Defiance, in Desperation, that I am an Ambassador, I come from a people called Thaum, and a planet called Moaltkhen, orbiting the bright star Naglan and its dim sister, Naortian, with four other planets of stone, and two of gas and vapor. In a direct line from the Galactic Core, we are three quarters distant to the Black Hole, Areallias, equidistant between the quaternary star system, Meillius and the three pointed nebula, Heart of Fury, and twice as close to the Wrinkle, where time itself slows, as we are to Atonan, the pulsar in a graveyard of planets. And for you I have a simple plea. Find us. Find us as we have found you, and together we shall overcome our mortal forms, and no others will suffer my fate. This I give as my final act, to my people, and yours. And now into the Expanse my spirit soars.”
Silence lingered on the bridge long after the message faded.
“Prepare to render Passing Honors,” Captain Intarna announced, voice cracking over the InformNet, “and set a course for that message’s origin.”