Across the Void

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It was that late-night shift again and Krougan clocked in right on schedule. As he typed in his employee identification number into the holographic interface against the wall, he wondered if it might be his last time ever doing so. He hated his job at the observatory; it was filled with the nothingness of crunching numbers, watching pixilated image scans of the solar system, and waiting. Just waiting for the moment when they would finally discover something. Krougan had sat down in his chair and was about to plug in the neural interface which allowed him to better analyze distant parts of the solar system when his good buddy Ryork had casually strolled into the room.

“Hey there Kroug, got anything new today? You’d think after all these years since we developed the technology to do this that we would have had something by now.” There was frustration in Ryork’s voice, but that was always the case. Having such a mundane position at a state of the art facility such as this was not something to be happy about.

“I hear you man, but the story’s the same. Nothing. Just another average day in the lives of two aspiring scientists.” The two then plugged in their neural interfaces and began to check through the day’s data and logs. They did this every single day, searching for some form of existence other than their own. Earth is in a state of chaos; resources are running dry, cities are becoming far too crowded, and only the wealthy can afford to escape the madness to live in space stations or on prototype biospheres on the moon. It seemed that the human race was all but desperate to find alternative options for the growth and expansion of its kind.

Several minutes had passed with the two men analyzing data, with the occasional sip of Quantife to keep them functioning at their top level for hours on end. Ten minutes, thirty minutes, and after an hour had passed Krougan sat up sternly and stared in awe at the visualization before him.

“What? What is it man, are you seeing things again?” Ryork joked like it was nothing out of the ordinary.

“No this time its different, I think… There’s a spike of heat; a slight pulse of energy near the outer edges.” Krougan’s voice was energetic at this, but also filled confusion. This was unlike anything either of the two had ever seen before.

“Maybe it’s just a glitch in the system, they happen every now and then. It’ll need a reboot.” With this Krougan sighed and moved his finger towards the reset switch just over his head when there was a high-pitch squealing sound coming from the monitors for just a split second. “A spike! It’s another spike of energy near that same area!” Ryork nearly jumped out of his seat as he yelled it.

“This is Krougan from the United Earth Observatory, is there anyone out there?” The attempt was nearly hopeless; at this point it was too early to tell whether it was a random wave of gamma radiation out in space or intelligent life. Nevertheless, Krougan believed it would be a good place to start. He repeated the question and the two men eagerly awaited a response, as if their childhood dreams of extraterrestrial life depended on it. Five minutes had passed and nothing had happened. But then, just then a crackle came through the interface speakers! Then it cleared up and a voice was heard, not human but something else: “Untied Earth Observatory… We… Hear you.” And in those five seconds history was written; they had made first contact.





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