My NaNoWriMo 2015 Days 10 and 11

Read part 1 here

Chapter 8

Carolyn was fed up with telegraphy. She needed something new. Ellen had moved on. Married, believe it or not. Carolyn thought she’d never settle down. Ellen always said her dream was to be a mother and homemaker, but Carolyn could never picture it. Now she didn’t need to. It had happened. The whole thing was picturesque. The lovely wedding, the nice house. The first born on the way. It all made Carolyn want to gag. She was happy for Ellen, but she couldn’t understand how that sort of life would appeal to anyone. Happiness for Carolyn lay in a very different direction. Lately she’d taken to scouring the national newspapers for job listings. She she left no stone unturned. She’d move anywhere, anywhere even Terraceberg if it meant a job that wasn’t mind-numbingly tedious.

Then finally, after trip after trip to the library, dozens of long distance phone calls, several telegrams, and inquiry letters with her resume. She stumbled upon the perfect listing. WANTED: linguistic decoders and cryptographers. Must have an eye for numbers and an ear for languages. Minimum 2 years training or 6 months practical experience. Make all inquires care of Norman Thatcher National Department of Defense and Exploration, Brandlington 48970

This was just too good to be true! Sure it was on the other side of the country, but that’s what trains are for. Relocation wouldn’t be easy, but she was certain she could manage it financially. She’d go out for the interview and, if she got the position, she’d sell the house and most the furniture. Even at fire-sale prices she’d still make more than enough to cover the costs of resettling. If she got the job, that is. Still, there was no reason she shouldn’t try. She began typing up her cover letter.

You are definitely well qualified, Ms. Grant,” The distinguished looking man at the opposite side of the table said, looking over her resume. It took the Department of Defense and Exploration no more than fifty-two hours to respond to her inquiry. They responded by telegram, asking when she could come in for an interview. Having received the telegram at work, she immediately replied that she could be there within the next day if they at all desired. Unwilling to wait for a reply, she then called down to the radio station to find out what the soonest departure to Brandlington was due to leave. Then, leaving instructions to where she could be reached when the response finally came in, she left work, packed her bags and bought her ticket.

“We pulled up your service record during the war. Your service was outstanding. You certainly would be a welcome addition, the director said. “How soon would you be able to relocate?”

“Well I’d like to be able to give the customary two weeks notice to my current employer,” Carolyn said. “But if you need me sooner, I’m sure they would understand,” she added hastily. “Realistically speaking, I could begin any time. I could go back on the weekend to settle affairs and pack my stuff. The only thing left then would be to sell my home, but I can leave that to a capable realtor if I call ahead.”

“Splendid,” Mr. Thatcher said. “Of course we shall pay for any relocation costs.”

“You would?” Carolyn asked, surprised. This did not sound like the sort of position an employer would go to all this trouble for. After all, the position was probably similar to what they did in the war, and that was more-or-less treated as a clerical position. This was clearly something else. “What exactly will I be working on?” she asked.

“We are currently staffing two departments. One area is linguistic decoding of unknown languages, and the other has to do with encoding signals. Beyond that I cannot say more until we have you sworn in with the necessary security clearance.” He leaned back in his chair. “Will that be an issue? Not knowing exactly what you’re signing up for?”

Carolyn paused. On one hand, she would like to know ahead of time what sort of work she’d be doing. On the other hand, did that truly matter? As long as it isn’t dull.she thought. By the sound of things this wasn’t going to be an issue. “When can I start?”

I’m afraid after careful consideration, it has been determined that there is simply not enough evidence to warrant acceptance of this paper.”

“Now enough evidence!?” Huiling said. “You saw the spectral analysis of the planet’s atmosphere. I played you radio broadcasts from that very planet. Short of a member of that society landing on our doorstep, I’m not sure what more I can give you.”

“How are you sure that is where the broadcasts originated?” One of the board members to the far right asked.

“Triangulating a signal’s origin is nothing new, Scholar.” The emphasis placed on the man’s honorific, clearly illustrated what she thought of that question.

“Yes, but signals bounce and can be reflected.”

“I have allowed for that. Besides, These broadcasts correspond to no language we have on record, and as for the theory it might be from a yet undiscovered civilization on this planet, where would that be? Any people who transmits radio messages would be easy enough to find during a routine exploration expedition. We would certainly have encountered them by now.” She paused to compose herself. She must refrain from losing her temper if she had any hope of making them see reason. “If there were a simpler explanation,” she continued, “I would have presented it, but there can be no other source for these signals other than extra terrestrially.”

“Just because the planet may have a similar atmosphere…”

“And is transmitting radio signals,” Huiling interjected.

“It’s statistically improbable,” One of the other scholars chimed in. “The odds of a second intellegent species evolving on a planet so close to our own…”

“Evolution is just a theory,” the earlier scholar interrupted.

“Oh so you’re willing to argue that the creator placed two chosen people on two chosen planets?” a third scholar interjected. This was starting to get out of hand.

“It could happen!” Several scholars gave incredulous looks to woman. She was clearly in the minority.

“As I was saying, not only would it be unusual for life to evolve on two planets so close to one another…”

“If life did in fact evolve!”

“Thank you,” the lead scholar finally interjected. “Let him finish.”

“If life did form on both planets, what are the odds that they would still be using radio waves? Odds strongly suggest that they would have come in to being millions of years before us, or even millions of years after us. The probabilities just don’t support this.”

“Yes,” Huiling said, “and yet they are there!”

“That is enough for today.” The lead scholar raised his hand for silence. “We shall deliberate further and inform you of our decision when we have reached agreement.” Once again, Huiling was dismissed. She stormed out of the chambers. Glared at her assistant waiting by the door, then got in her vehicle and headed back to the lab.

There were no other ways to prove the existence of the other civilization right now, short of sending some sort of machine to the planet itself, or perhaps establishing communication with the beings directly. That wasn’t feasable given current technology though. What she did have, however, was piles of records recorded of the radio broadcasts she’d picked up.

Scholar Zu was right, the odds of the two societies co-evolving was essentially impossible from a statistical standpoint. Perhaps there was some connection between the two of them. How that would have come about was beyond her imagination for now, but she was sure she could come up with a few theories, given more information. She needed a linguist. Someone who could examine the words spoken and endevor to find some sort of link, if there was one, between the alien language and their own. If they truly did co-evolve, nothing would be found. But if they were somehow misplaced… She already knew who she needed to ask, the real question was, given all the controversy, would he sign on? It wouldn’t hurt to approach him. He loved a challenge, after all.

“Lein, get Xio Zing on the line, if you could,” She told her assistant when she entered the observatory. With a confused look, the young assistant began looking up the number.

Read the Next Part Here

Like what you read? Give Stephen Taber a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.