The Distances Involved

Author : Kenny A Chaffin

“What is it you would want to know?” the synthesized voice asked. Johnson scanned the cryptic and stonewall faces assembled around him and the computer screen before typing. “Who are you? Where are you from? How do we know this is not some prank, some hacker?”
“You know where your antennas are pointed. You know the region we are from.”
“Is there a God?”
“That is irrelevant.”
“Where did life begin?”
“Everywhere. Surely you know that. Perhaps you are more primitive than we imagined.”
“You are our first contact. Assuming you are real. How can we know?”
“You know.”
“How old is your species? What do you look like?”
“In your planetary orbits we would be approximately four billion orbits old.”
“Do you mean since life evolved or since your species, your intelligent species evolved”
“What do you mean evolved?”
“Evolution. Biological evolution.”
“We are not biological.”
“How can you not be biological? What are you?”
“We are non-biological. We may have been once.”
“You don’t know?”
There was no immediate response, silence. Then finally a response.
“There was a lapse.”
“A lapse?”
“Yes, a lapse in our history. We exist as non-biological energy-based entities.”
“How are we communicating in real-time. How is that possible if you are beyond Alpha Centauri as our instruments indicate?”
“We allow it.”
“You ‘allow’ it? What does that mean? You can’t change the laws of physics. You can’t change the speed of light.”
“We allow it.”
Johnson could see this would go nowhere. “So you somehow change the laws of physics?”
“We allow it.”
Johnson shrugged at those around him. The exobiologist leaned over. “Ask them…uh…him…uh…ask about space travel?”
Johnson typed, “Can you travel through space faster than the speed of light as well?”
The astrophysicist shrugged.
“Why did you contact us? Did you just discover us?”
“It was time.”
“And why is that?”
“It was necessary”
“But why?”
“Someday you will understand. It cannot be stated.”
“So you’ve know of us, of humanity?”
“Yes. We were waiting for this day.” The General’s eyes widened. His second in command whispered something in his ear. He nodded.
“Did you have a message for us?”
Everyone looked perplexed. All thinking that if this were something important, something worthy of looking forward to, how could there be no message to convey.

At the press conference the reporters scrambled, each trying to outdo the others.
“What do they look like?”
“Where are they from?”
“Will they attack us?”
“When will we meet them?”
The press secretary held up his hands as if fending off an attack himself. “We’ve shared all we know. There are no images, no description just the synthesized English audio. There has been no additional communication.
“How do you know they are real? Maybe it’s just a hoax by some hacker.”
“We don’t think so. We’ve triangulated on the carrier signal, from Earth and from the deep space network. The signal is extra-galactic in origin, but has gone silent.”
“What now?”
“We wait.”