A Message from Afar

(///along.pulse.watch – National Space Centre, Leicester)

Alice had the most boring job in the world. The role of ‘Deep Space Communications Co-ordinator’ had been ripe with promise. But all it involved was monitoring the extra-terrestrial void to pick up sounds or anomalies. Day after day. Of nothing.

Until one day there was a pulse. Not nothing. Definitely something. Alice shrieked with excitement.

The team analysed the pulse. It gave little away but didn’t seem threatening. So Alice sent something out into the ether in response. Then she waited.

A reply. Fractionally longer. Didn’t seem to say much, but it was communication. She replied back. Longer again.

The messages began to increase. Alice couldn’t interpret them as yet, or know whether her replies were being understood, but it was a form of conversation at least, increasing in length and frequency. The team laboured to derive some meaning, and eventually patterns started to form and simple ideas emerged – Hello, Greetings, Nice to meet you.

The months flowed into years. Alice was determined that she would forge proper, meaningful conversation with whoever was at the other end of the pulse. Finally her team felt they had sufficient understanding of the messages to initiate a fuller dialogue.

Alice sent the key message – Tell me who you are.

They waited. Time dragged along. Alice stared at her watch. As if that would help.

Finally the longest pulse of all. A reply.

Alice held her breath as the team processed it. Then she cleared her throat and read from the screen.

I have the most boring job in the world, it began.


Why this location?