In the days that follow, Tenisha and Erin ascertain that the alien beings really are using sign language, except slightly modified and delivered at a much greater speed then any human can manage. They also conclude that with cameras recording the movements they can use some of the mining stations computational power, used for the drilling and extraction of Pluto’s core and the countless calculations needed to do it safely, to process the ‘speech.’ Which they think can then be relayed to them in real-time. And after countless trials and conversation with Doctor Wells and the rest of the UnSA they are ready for the first full attempt.

“This going to work?” Erin asks.

“Only one way to find out.” Tenisha beams back with a smile as she ties her hair back in a bobble before beginning to wheel the trolley cart that is littered with camera’s, cables and speakers into the still open maw of the alien cuboid ship. The cables trail after the trolley as they disappear inside.

It takes only a few minutes for the equipment to be set up ready. It isn’t the most elegant of solutions, but seeing as when they’d tried to remotely send the signal back to the mining mainframe the signal had been blocked by the cuboid it would have to suffice. The limit even made sense once they’d figured it out, but it had meant some jury-rigging, which Tenisha would never have been able to do on her own. For Erin on the other hand it took no time at all really. She’s worked stations like this her entire adult life after all and the technology in that time hasn’t been changed or updated.

Doctor Wells had offered replacements for Brent and Harry but the two women saw little point in not only delaying and wasting time they didn’t have, Alistair’s own words, but also risking a repeat of the same issue. The UnSA security team had been in agreement on that point alone and seen little reason is introducing another possible risk into an already risky situation.

As for what happened to Harry and Brent, Tenisha and Erin were informed that the two men were transported to a secure facility where they would be held until the announcement of the alien presence had been delivered to all corners of the system. Apparently both had become desperate for actual scientific achievement, having previously falsified their apparent successes and in turn managed to get themselves picked for the first contact mission. Doctor Wells had carried the blame for their choosing as he had picked them himself, believing them to be perfect examples of scientific brilliance. It had hit him hard, but the mistake did nothing to damage his reputation. Everyone makes mistakes some times.

“Ready?” Erin asks.

“Ready.” Tenisha confirms as they activate the translation system.

The aliens as though on cue immediately begin signing much to the surprise of Erin and Tenisha who thought they would at least have to introduce the presence of the equipment first.

“We are the Helites. And we have come here to welcome humanity to the galactic community.” The speakers rumble with sound as the signing is translated into speech. Albeit speech with a very robotic sounding voice and with a massive delay.

Both Tenisha and Erin are in awe of not just their achievement but also because they are actually conversing with an extraterrestrial species. Humanity had long abandoned the idea that anything, or anyone, else existed out the beyond the Sol System. Humanity had collectively come to reason that if no extraterrestrial life has shown itself thus far then it did not exist. Wait until the people of Sol see this, Tenisha thinks.

“We have been watching you for a while with great anticipation, but we must admit we had thought you would never achieve the great goal of faster than light travel. We have never been more overjoyed to be wrong.” The robotic voice offers as the pair of Helites continue to sign.

“And we are but a single representative of a galaxy spanning community of species, which would like to welcome you into its fold.” The robotic voice concludes long after the Helites have stopped moving.

“We thank you.” Tenisha replies with a bow, her face painted with a wide warm smile. She knows the Helites understand her.

“And we’d be honoured.” Erin chimes in barely able to believe she is speaking to aliens.

“We have so much to learn.” Tenisha adds before continuing the conversation, which delves into discussions about technology, other species, science, biology and a myriad of other topics.

The conversation signals the beginning of a previously unknown new future that will see humanity grow and evolve in ways it previously never would have believed could be possible.

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