DESCENT is the first installment of Falaha’s Journey, a xenocentric science fiction series.
Falaha’s Journey first appeared as a blovel (blog novel or series) on my old blog. That was in January 2012. But before this happened, the now published series’s main character, Falaha, had seen the light in winter 2011 in a flash story called The Answer.
This story came to my mind while I was browsing some chapters of the book titled Contact with Alien Civilizations: Our Hopes and Fears about Encountering Extraterrestrials by Michael A.G. Michaud.
So, below is Falaha’s pilot episode, not in the book.
“Ah, it stopped.” Falaha took off her rabhain when the signal of interest faded away. “But it sure is noisy out there.”
Her parents were still in the dining area but she, finishing the meal fast, rushed into their quarters to listen to space again. Mother once mentioned a place called Talghein. Transmissions never seemed to stop coming from that particular direction. They were so diverse and so beautiful and so weird. Falaha had no knowledge of the languages caught in the web of particle whistles and chirps, veiled in reverberant humming. Are they just afterwaves in space or would someone answer if she were to pin the source?
She thought of Talghein again, addressing her Node and the siSystem launched the visuals: a water world much like hers, the one she would never see again though, ever. A shiny grey crescent of a smaller orbiting body was visible as well. Their transport will be in the relative vicinity of this system for a while before reaching the DIVE-point. So there is a short possibility; this is as much as she can do for those who attract too much attention.
Falaha unfolded siSystem’s command pad and carefully started drawing. She drew oceans and continents, animals, trees and flowers under a pretty reddish-orange sun, and herself with the family, all copper-haired, waving hands at a hypothetical viewer, yet leaving the place in a spacecraft amidst multiple vessels doing the same. Giving it a second thought, she also diligently wrote her full name on the lower left corner of her masterpiece – Falaha Kierenen kennar Fargann, standard age five.
And so, the encoded message was sent, eventually reaching its destination.
Our radio transmissions have been slowly expanding into the deep reaches of space for about a century. Here’s a picture of the extent of human radio broadcasts, a bubble 200 light years in diameter. This is quite a ‘dot’, but it is still small compared to the size of the Milky Way.
The broadcasts travelling through space are weakened as they approach the Shannon limit, at which the energy of the signals is so low that they are no longer transmitting data and are almost indistinguishable from the background radiation.
Also note that our transmitters are designed to broadcast horizontally to planet’s surface, not into space. Before going into space, our strong signals are first traveling horizontally through our atmosphere, constantly changing direction, and are distributed irregularly around the world. Sensitive equipment several light years away would pick up an irregular stream of changing signals, the broadcasts and languages frequently changing and often going silent.