Author: Glenn Leung
The hive mind of Humanity had seen the dance of the Cosmos. When looked at by individual human minds, they would mean nothing. When seen all at once by five trillion pairs of eyes spanning a hundred thousand lightyears, connected by an immortal consciousness, a pattern emerged. Galaxies and clusters meet and part with the intimacy of love making, arranging in patterns akin to the finest embroidery. There is communication on a cosmic scale, and Humanity wants in.
Humanity set to task, covering stars across the galaxy with Dyson spheres. Over ten thousand Earth years, these spheres controlled the emission from the stars with spatial and temporal patterns derived from Universal Grammar. Whoever was arranging the cosmos was likely another hive mind species, so perhaps they used the same language that Humanity did. It was a long shot, since Humanity had no way of telling if Universal Grammar was truly ‘Universal’. The best They could do was estimate the time scales of thought and speech from the movement of celestial bodies, then match it with whatever They knew.
At first, there did not seem to be a response. There were some changes, like the Magellanic Clouds drifting North up the Celestial Hemisphere, but not much else. Thankfully, Humanity had time. They could wait. They continued sending the simple message of ‘Hello’, watching the Galactic sky, recording the dance.
A long time later, Humanity figured out what was actually happening. They had grossly underestimated the time scale of communication. Ten thousand years was what it took for the birth of a thought, the equivalent of a synapse firing in a human brain. The communication of this thought took ten million years. It soon became clear to Humanity that this was not another hive mind species. Another species would find much more efficient ways of speaking, like the Dyson spheres. No, They were talking to beings whose bodies spanned millions, maybe even billions of lightyears, comprising galaxies, clusters, and superclusters held together by the tenuous grasp of gravity. The way they spoke was a literal dance, a coded choreography of their astronomical bodies. The computing human units set to work piecing together the movements from the last ten million years. With little effort, the puzzle was solved.
The beings did speak Universal Grammar, just really slowly. They had replied with ‘We’.
It was clearly part of a longer message, but Humanity had time. Over the next five billion years, They continued receiving. Countless generations of human units passed. The Earth was consumed by the sun, and the sun whispered into nothingness. This was but a triviality, for nothing could be more important than listening. The Dyson spheres grew quiet as Humanity paid the beings Their utmost attention and respect. For all They know, they were the ‘God’ or ‘Gods’ mentioned in the religions of the Segregation Era, imparting their wisdom on a species that was finally ready.
Yet despite Their reverence, Humanity could not contain Their curiosity. Now adept at reading the dance, They could translate it into the motions of individual human bodies. It was then a matter of extrapolating the movements to predict the final message, using the rigor of Universal Grammar. This proved to be an unpleasant task, not because of its inherent difficulty, but because almost every prediction They made seem to bear ill tidings. Five billion years felt like an eternity.
When the wait was over, the message read: “We dreaming, wake soon.”
Humanity had time, maybe.