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Local Stars - We_see_you

Local Stars - We_see_you

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Published by Donald Macleay
people who thought that they were watching in secret found out that they were also being watched
people who thought that they were watching in secret found out that they were also being watched

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Published by: Donald Macleay on Jul 18, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/05/2011

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“That is a very classy way to let us know we’ve been caught”Mei-lin was looking at the transmission coming from AR-2. Starting the day before atight microwave transmission had started to arrive exactly at the location of the star shipGuang coming from the natives of planet AR-2. In theory the natives did not know thatthe people from earth were in their star system. That theory was now valueless.The first part of the transmission came in the form of some clear math that explained their  base 6 number system, the norms of their television broadcast’s carrier signals and their system of modulation for picture and sound. Mei-lin’s team had figured these televisionstandards out years ago monitoring public broadcasts, but the explanation did clear up afew details, including how to lay out the three sound tracks natives used instead of humanstyle stereo.The first images sent were some very high resolution pictures of the human star ship, thespace station parked in the asteroid belt and the bases on AR-3. That was what Mei-linwas calling “classy”. The natives knew that they had company and they knew where thatcompany was. The first ever communications between the species were coming from the primitives and they translated to: “Hey! I’m talking to YOU!”Right now the team was taking down the third part of the message, which was a verycomplete language lesson. That transmission had been broken into 3 channels, eachteaching the humans a different major AR-2 language. There was a segment on writingand matching each phonetic alphabet to the sounds they represented. All three languageswere written phonetically and that was real saving grace. There was much math andscience in the images designed to teach the words. Such things as basic algebraicformulas, the periodic table, simple chemistry, elemental physics, descriptions of their electrical systems, automobiles, manufacturing, agriculture, and many more basics were being streamed in to the humans. A long string of vocabulary was being matched toimages both still and moving and the sentence structure of their use was being outline. Alot of the stuff looked like it had been specially prepared for this message, but other  pieces of it looked lifted from their own children’s educational materials.So far none of the message had been repeated. The senders were either going to startover or had confidence that what they transmitted was going to be recorded in full.The recorded-in-full assumption was not a mistake, if that was what they assumed.Mei-lin’s team had been working on the main languages of AR-2 ever since the Guang’s probe had reached the AR system 18 years ahead of the Guang, which arrived ten yearsago. It was not Mei-lin’s team when it started work. She had not yet finished graduateschool at the time. Almost everything that was being beamed at the ship was informationthey had already taken down. That did not change the excitement of being contacteddirectly. Mei-lin had already called the authorities as soon as it was clear that a broadcastwas being sent directly to the ship.
 
She called again when the photos of human activities arrived. Both calls were urgent.Another team was looking for whatever the locals had used to capture those images.THAT was news. The locals had hidden some technology, used it to track them downand then prepared a message that they were not sharing with their public as far as anyonecould tell.Mei-lin already had a lot of admiration for the nations of AR-2. The arrival of the firstmicrowave messages had taken them by surprise. But once they started, the photos of theship were less of a surprise. The high resolution was a surprise to some less connected tothe monitoring project, but to those who worked for this Directorate the high quality of AR-2 optics was something they had gotten used to.Mei-lin had been speaking to Maliya, the tech playing back the images the natives had onhuman activity on AR-3 that Mei-lin had asked to see played back again. It was those photos that caused her to call this transmission “classy” on the natives’ part. “Classy and brave” Mei-lin added. Maliya said “Classy and outright friendly” “You know, I think itis about time for us to stop calling this planet AR-2” she added. “Which of their namesdo you think we will end up using?” Mei-lin asked her. “I don’t know, but very soon wecan ask THEM which name we should use for their world”. “That is if they do not tell us before we ask.” Mei-lin retorted and that elicited laughter from everyone on duty in thecommunications room. Mei-lin was not the only one who admired the sharp wit of thenatives and felt that they had a lot to offer as a people.Around the Directorate the running joke was that at some point we were going to have to pick up the phone and give these folks a call. Policy was to treat them as natives whoselocal culture and development should not be interfered with. The voyeurs on themonitoring teams were all convinced that the locals would have no trouble at all dealingwith an alien species. The arguments came up at every election but Policy had always been to err in the favor of caution. There was always time to initiate contact later. Mei-lin was going to have to give a report at the Director’s meeting called for the nextmorning. “I think I’ll start with something like ‘the natives have voided the non-contact policy’ she thought to herself.“So much for the non contact Policy” said Maliya “and good riddance”Maliya was not mind reading nor was Mei-lin mumbling to herself.If there was one thing that the transmission had made clear to everyone in the room it wasthat non-contact was over and a new Policy had begun. No one knew what it would be, but the old one no longer applied.It was pretty clear to all of the other Directors too. The meeting became postponed. Thelanguage lessons kept beaming in. Satellites found at least some the telescopes used bythe natives to monitor their monitors. Mei-lin was given more time to prepare a report.Everyone on the Science Directorate wanted her to gather as much information as shecould. Excitement filled the air everywhere in the colony and the news spoke of littleelse. Colony Council Members were getting the same debriefing as Science Directors
 
and senior staff. The media was covering the story in detail and much of the debriefingswere actually being read by the public. The colony had no confidential records, but thatdid not mean that high level documents got much of the public’s attention. The AR-2investigation Directorate was always popular in ways the Mineral Resources Directorate(where most people actually worked) was not. But briefings on base 6 math andtelevisions standards had not been most viewed on the web. Fresh fruit greenhouses wereof more interest to most.The photos of the bases on AR-3 that the natives sent were being spread all over the Weband were being much discussed by the media along with the local light telescopes thattook them. The current theory was that on AR-2 there was an international effort withthe main native nations cooperating and linking their equipment together with closedfiber channels to get higher resolution and avoid detection at the same time. The broadcasts in their 3 main languages seemed to back this up. The microwave beam wascoming from different transmitters going around their world. As their planet revolvedthrough it’s local day, the signal switched transmitters without any interruption. For a planet with no satellite communications of its own and no other artificial satellites therehad to be something down there for a communications network that was very good.After six local days exactly the transmission started to repeat itself in full on all threechannels.The Directors held several short conference calls that for some reason no-one was callinga meeting. The reason was very clear. There had been a communication, and a messageof sorts that basically only said “We know that you are here and now learn our language(s) so that we can talk with you” All Directors were convinced that the realmessage had not yet arrived.And it hadn’t.After another six days the transmission stopped.After thirty six days a new carrier signal started up again in 3 channels.For one local day there was only an image of their planet turning and of a native clock counting down to zero. A message was coming and they made it clear when it was goingto start.When the clock counted to zero the message started.One each of the channels was the image a different native female.Mei-lin’s staff and almost of the ship and colony watched the message live.There was a noisy uproar among the specialists in the room when the images appeared.An AR-2 native has a face like a cross between a kangaroo and a human, 4 upper bodyarms, each with a 3 finger hand and 2 human looking breasts that they did not cover.All members of the human colony were familiar with the appearance of the natives, butmost could not tell one individual native from another yet. The specialists in uproar 

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