“Doctor Wells, there’s a message from Pluto Mining Station Alpha-3.” One of the UnSA technicians says as Alistair strides down a wide corridor of the UnSA Moon base.
“Why are you brining this to me Jim?” Alistair queries confused.
The man walks at Doctor Wells’ side a data pad held firmly in his hands.
“I, nor UnSA, have staff on Pluto, let alone a mining station.” Alistair continues.
“I know sir, but this message is addressed to you…and you’ll want to see it sir.” Jim replies as he tries to contain the equal amounts of fear and wonder this information makes him feel.
“What is it Jim? Just tell me.” Alistair orders as he stops in the middle of the corridor. Other UnSA personnel shuffle past them as they carry on with their days.
“Not here sir.” Jim refuses with a shake of his head. His eyes still locked on Doctor Wells who takes the seriousness of the technicians’ words, which Alistair has read into as classified.
“This way Jim.” Alistair says with a single wave of his hand moments before he heads down a nearby corridor that will allow them to loop back around to a secure section of the UnSA building.
Jim races after Doctor Wells who the young man notes is swift for a man in his late sixties. The data pad in Jim’s hands pressed against his chest, his arms folded across it almost as though it is in need of cradling.
He follows Doctor Wells down several corridors before he is ushered into a secure room, which once inside Alistair seals against all outside interference.
“What is it Jim?” Alistair asks now that they are in a secure room.
Jim peels the data pad from against his body and then slashes across its surface to throw the communication onto the wall sized screen at one end of the room seconds before he begins playback.
“Doctor Alistair Wells, I’m Chief Erin MacAlister and I think we’ve got something you’ll want to see.” The dirt smeared face of a woman says moments before she steps aside to reveal a black cuboid shape resting on the nitrogen ice that forms the surface of the dwarf planet Pluto.
Alistairs’ eyes go wide at the sight which he knows isn’t of human design or manufacture. His hand comes up to his face and covers his agape mouth as he stares unblinking at the video even as Chief MacAlister steps back into view, filling the screen once more.
“This just set down Doctor Wells. We know we don’t have to tell you that it’s alien. I’m sure you know that just by looking at it. We’re Mining Station Alpha-3 on Pluto. You may want to send a team down here ASAP.” Erin finishes in the moments before she steps back out of frame so the feed can linger on the alien ship sat in the background. The message ends ready for playback to begin again, though the cuboid is still etched onto the screen.
Doctor Wells turns to face Jim who is stood a few metres behind him. His hand has dropped away and his mouth is still agape as he tries to gather himself. He’s in shock, but this is clearly proof that humanity really isn’t alone in the universe.
Alistair can barely believe it, but is sure that this ships arrival is no coincidence. Seeing as it has come only days after the successful Blink Transit flight that saw human travel at faster than light speeds for the first time in history.
“What…what now Doctor?” Jim asks.
“Call for an urgent meeting of the system governments and UnSA hierarchy. Make them aware that it is top priority but give no details.” Alistair answers the young technicians question without even realising it. Instead he is focused on thoughts about how first contact should be conducted and it thrills him.
“Anything else sir?” Jim then asks nodding furiously.
“How many others know?” Alistair then asks.
“No one Doctor Wells.” Jim replies confidently. Jim had made sure to keep the communication encrypted within the secure channels as per UnSA protocols and had only transferred a copy to this data pad via a physical link.
“Good. Is the data pad a copy?” Doctor Wells asks pointing at the pad, now aware of his actions again.
“Yes Doctor. Transferred via physical link. The original is still sitting in the secure channels encrypted, but I’ve activated lockouts to prevent anyone other than yourself accessing it.” Jim explains much to the delight of Alistair who crosses the gap that had been between them and rests his hand on the young technician’s shoulders.
“Good Jim, very good.” Alistair says as he nods and smiles at the young man before him who has short brown hair and blue eyes, stubble starting to darken the skin around his jaw and neck. It had been a very long few weeks Doctor Wells had to admit between the preparations for the Blink Transit test flight and the data that they had gathered from as a result of it. But this, Alistair knows, will increase the necessary overtime beyond just the limits of his two hundred person team to the entirety of the UnSA and perhaps even beyond.
“Get me Tenisha Faulkner.” Alistair then asks of Jim.
“Yes Doctor Wells.” Jim nods as he breaks away from Alistair’s hands which are still resting upon his shoulders as he exits the room.
Alistair can think of no one better to be part of first contact than a biologist who also served as a member of the three person crew on the first faster than light capable human built ship. His head swirls in disbelief as he feels nothing but wonder of the possibilities that could now become reality. Though, he is not blind to the possible dangers that a failed first contact could result in either. Especially as this race, who or whatever they are, are clearly more advanced and capable than humanity. Alistair doesn’t want this to end the same way as it has a number of times throughout human history, such as with the Native Americans.