Lack Of Communication by Keith Kitchen

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SUMMARY: When Man finally makes contact with another race, will we be able to communicate with them? Or will they be so incomprehensible that our very differences will make it impossible to communicate?


Klaxons blared throughout the ship and the sound of hatches being physically slammed and locked reverberated down the various hallways. Lieutenant Paul Kramer ran breathlessly down the corridor and jumped into the lift, sliding between the closing doors as they went into lockdown mode. Another couple of seconds slower and he would never have been able to make it to the bridge. After an age that probably lasted all of twenty seconds, the lift doors opened and he ran onto the bridge, dashing for his communications station. His second slid out of his chair and dashed across the bridge to his secondary position.

"So nice of you to join us, Mr. Kramer," Captain Adam Daniels snorted, gruffly. "I was beginning to think you weren't gong to grace us with your presence today."

"Sorry, Sir. It won't happen again, sir!"

"No, I don't think it will," Daniels said, a small smile crossing his face. "Are you up to a First Contact?"

"First Contact? Are you kidding, sir? You bet!"

"Good! First things first, however, Mr. Kramer. I want you to contact Colonial Command and inform them that an unknown object is closing on our station at a high rate of speed. I am classifying it as a ‘Fast Mover' at this time, as the object is powered and has refused to reply to our requests that it identify itself. It is not a meteor, asteroid, comet, swamp gas orbiting Venus or any other type of natural object as it is showing a positive power signature and is beginning to decelerate."

"Right away, sir." Kramer donned his headset and started to relay the Captain's message across space towards Earth. Halfway through the transmission, however; he winced in pain and tore off his headset. "Captain!" He cried. "Something is blocking our frequency. It's some sort of jamming."

Captain Daniels rubbed his chin. "Mr. Daily," he called to the ship's navigator. "Is the Fast Mover in range?"

"In range...Now!" Ensign Daily responded.

"Very good. Mr. Carson, I want you to interface tracking computers with Weapons' Control, just in case," the captain ordered. "How long till it enters visual range?"

Mr. Daily glanced at a readout on his control panel. "Only a couple of seconds, sir. Whatever it is, it's big!"

Several seconds passed and what had been a small dot of light became bigger and bigger. The bridge crew stared at the alien ship. It was flattened with no protrusions at all in the hull. There were no windows, nor were there any visible sensor arrays. It was wide at the fore of the vessel and narrowed towards the aft with four fin-like semi-circular wings curving at forty-degree angles from the rest of the hull, yet they were part of the hull, not something added on. As these ‘wings' swept back, they came to a point at the aft of the ship.

"So," Captain Daniels said, quietly. "We have company. Lieutenant Kramer, try to contact the alien vessel. This is a momentous occasion. We've known other races are out here for a long time, but this is the first time we have actually encountered someone."

Suddenly, the ship convulsed.

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