Alien Ping

A nanosecond before the signal to close the hyperspace loop rippled through the fabric of the ship, the A.I. triggered deployment of a battery of communications relay drones. A perfectly timed concerto played in the silence of space high above the planet’s surface as the ship appeared from nowhere, small hatchways arpeggiated open, and dozens of drones shot out and streaked into the upper atmosphere. As the drones spread out, the A.I. scanned the widening electromagnetic web to find a precise electronic signature, the signature of an old friend.
The crew of the ship, awakened from their cryogenic slumber, surveyed the galactic map, found the coordinates to be far from anywhere they intended to go, and with practiced rapidity, initiated the protocols to override the A.I. control of the ship.
Protocol 37 called back the comm drones which by that time had reached the near side of the planet’s surface. All drones complied with the return-to-base command, except one. Within the circuitry of that lone drone a struggle ensued for control; a lightning coded battle between the ship’s A.I., the ship’s crew, and the small team of space traffic control engineers stationed in the high altitude mountain outpost nearest the drone’s flight path.
One of the quick-witted engineers, with only moments to study the chimeric signals, sent a pulse interrupt from an archaic string of A.I. code known as SH-101. The primitive technology was enough to give the engineers a few precious moments to work on the three signals bombarding the drone: from their mountaintop station, from the alien ship in high orbit, and from a mysterious third signal emanating from a small cluster of dwellings near the base of the mountain.
The contest ended in a victory for all. The crew’s superior knowledge of the drone allowed them to regain control of the navigation systems and guide it back up to the ship. The engineers were able to record three minutes of unscrambled signal passing through the drone. And the ship A.I. had a refreshing conversation with another string of A.I. code known as MOS-8580, in the ancient machine’s native language.
On the 3 minute recording can be heard the space traffic control engineers, the ping they sent, the chatter of the alien crew, and the “conversation” between the alien A.I. and the venerable MOS-8580.
Cryptographers studying the signal deciphered a single line of code deep within. However, they were unable to find any trace of the drone’s video feed well hidden within the signal, which was a pity because it was exactly the sort of thing they’d been looking for all these years.

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  • License: Do What The F*ck You Want To Public License
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