Chapter 1: First Contact
8 July 1961
In the wee hours of the early morn, when the first golden rays of the sun are still probing the black veil of a cold December night for an opening through which to illuminate the world, I held my ninth radio communication with people from another world.
For a few fleeting hours, I was privileged to share once more in the wisdom and kindly understanding of a race wiser by far than we. For these moments of light in a world of darkness, these beneficent beings from a planet far outside our own sun-system discussed with me matters of importance to myself, to America, and to the people of the entire Earth.
I am, however, ahead of myself, and therefore shall begin at the beginning, which, as a popular song would say, is a very good place to start,
The original contact with these people was on July 8th of this year. As usual I was browsing around in the short-wave bands, looking for something worthwhile. It was a fairly good day for DX reception, and there was much clutter around the dial, but finally my choice was the BBC station in the upper part of the 25-meter band.
Settling back, I took up a book on astronomy and began to scan the photographs. I was only a few pages into it when from the radio loudspeaker there emerged a high-pitched beep--beep--beep. This was somewhat annoying, needless to say and, since it was a few kilocycles on the high end of the BBC signal, I tried to remove it by tuning downward. This being to no avail, and my curiosity having been shaken from its hibernation, I decided to find out what this obnoxious noise represented. No sooner had I lined up with it than it stopped, to be replaced by a soft, crystal-clear feminine voice that spoke the phrase, "Bob, we'd like you to stay on this frequency for a while."
Naturally, this hit me right between the eyes - hard. It took a full minute to recover from the shock. As soon as I had regained composure, she continued.
"Bob, my associates and I have spent long hours deliberating on this contact. We have decided that it would be to our advantage if we carried out our plans, so as a result of this, I am now speaking to you in the first of what we hope will be a long series of fruitful ventures into the world of knowledge.
"You are our first contact with the people of your world. We have tried previously, but no results were ever obtained that were considered successful, These previous attempts were telepathic. At the time, we felt that since our lack of knowledge of English was very evident, mental images would be the only way to communicate.
"However, it appears that we are wrong on this note. You have not developed your mental facilities to the level of which they are capable. Some of your people have had some telepathic abilities, but your society, in intolerance, has branded them lunatics, or harmless screwballs, to use a term common among your daily speech.
"Therefore, to contact you, weeks of research had to be done on the English language. The spoken word had to be correlated with the mental image. We felt that this would not be difficult, since we had but to monitor your radio and telescreen transmissions to this end.
"We were, however, unaware of the extensive use of recordings in both these media, and likewise did not consider that these recordings, unlike ours, did not retain telepathic as well as audio-visual impulses. For ten days we monitored every available frequency using your language, but this achieved nothing, because our analyzers were effective only with simultaneous sensory-extrasensory stimuli.
"The situation seemed hopeless, We could not land and contact directly, due to atmospheric differences, and our long-range studies of language, studies hampered by lack of the afore-mentioned impulses in the transmissions, were getting nowhere at light speed.
"In desperation we chose to drop special sensing devices into your midst. These would give us the necessary psychosensory impulses with the corresponding sounds. To plant these, however, was a difficult task at best."
At this point she told how they used electronic transmission of objects, called by our scientists teleportation, to place the remote sensors in places known to be active during the day. Several of them were located in the various Washington government buildings, the rest in public facilities. The task was made very difficult because of the absence of receivers. Ordinarily, teleportation is done between two stations, where the object is transmitted here and received and unscrambled there. In this case, however, they had to materialize the sensors without any receiver at the location of the plant. Somehow they managed, and achieved their objective.
Continuing: "Now that we had these correlated impulses, the analysis began, to continue for two weeks. We managed to decipher the meanings of 7432 words most commonly used, but could go no further.
"This fact was relayed via sub-space transmission to our home world. A few days later, our lunar station teleportation receiver brought us an entirely new concept in analyzers. This was rushed to us in our craft, at the time stationed over California. With this device, our vocabulary of English words rose quickly to over 50,000 terms, and thereby gave us a working knowledge of your tongue.
"Meanwhile, we discovered something of interest to us in the mountains of the Berkshires, and immediately restationed our craft in that vicinity.
[Note: 20080906 update - this "something" was a fairly substantial deposit of platinum, a rare metal that they needed for electronic devices. Our little world is actually of an uncommon type. The large majority of planets are either primarily rock or gaseous with a solid core. Metallic worlds are about 8% of the total, and only about a quarter of them have the full array of metallic elements found here.]
"It was at this time, in early June of this year that you call 1961, that we discovered your interests in us, and in world peace and the future of mankind.
"From that day till this, we have been deliberating on this contact. None of us were opposed to it, but the question was the method of establishing it. Some suggested trance imprinting; some thought that sleep-vision [Note: dreaming] would be best; and the rest thought that contact via short-wave radio transmission would be the best method. This latter proposal won favor and now we had to make certain that you would not miss this transmission."
She then explained how they did it. For those not technically oriented, skip the next couple of paragraphs.
"This was done by monitoring the intermediate frequency of your receiver. As you know, every radio has one or more stages of amplification At the frequency called the IF, in most receivers 455 or 456 kilocycles. This frequency is obtained by heterodyning a signal that much different in frequency, above or below, from the incoming signal. This 'beat' frequency is generated by the oscillator stage of the receiver, and the signal of 455 or 456 kilocycles which results from mixing this beat frequency with the incoming signal, is amplified, and finally demodulated, and is heard as sound.
"Knowing this, we had merely to detect the weak signal transmitted by the oscillator stage through leakage into the antenna. By measuring the frequency of this signal we arrive at two frequencies to which you might be tuned, one 456 kilocycles above the oscillator, and one the same amount below. With this in mind we set our transmitter to send out two signals 912 [Note: 456 plus 456] kilocycles apart, and with the center point resonated with your oscillator frequency. That way, you would be sure to hear the transmission, and we relied on your scientific curiosity to make you tune in on the signal. For this, we decided that a monotonous beeping would be the most demanding of attention. We now know that our decision was correct."
For the next half-hour, I was given detailed instructions on how to construct both a subspace converter for my receiver, and a companion subspace transmitter, in order that I might engage in two-way communication with them. Noting the time, I was astonished to see that almost an hour had gone by in the twinkling of a meteor's flash.
Continuing: "Now it is time to discuss matters of interest and importance to the happiness and the future of mankind.
"Our main concern now is the possibility that your people will engage themselves in a nuclear war, which would inevitably mean the end of your race. We of other words cannot stop you from doing this. Our codes do not allow interference in the lives of men to the point of forceful action. Nowhere in the civilized galaxy are there any races that would impose themselves on any race to the extent of actually altering conditions on a world without the express consent of that world's inhabitants.
"Therefore, we can only warn you that your present course can only lead in one direction - ultimate destruction of your people. We are somewhat heartened by the voluntary moratorium on nuclear weapon explosions now being observed by the major powers on your world.
"We feel, however, that this moratorium cannot continue forever [Note: this was proved by Russia's test series that started in September], and there is but one answer to this question: complete disarmament. In future contacts we will discuss how this can be accomplished but for now we will say only that there is no alternative to this if your race is to continue.
"Our researches on your past history, through the cooperation of the Confederation information departments have shown us that your race has been involved more or less continuously with war in one degree or another. We note with some sorrow the two world wars responsible for the slaughter of millions of innocents from many nations, all for the reason that all wars are fought - the lack of intelligent leadership and the inability to discuss difficulties and differences of opinion in a peaceful manner.
"In our Alliance of Planets war is outlawed formally, but no one on any alliance planet could seriously consider any form of fighting as the means to an and. That is contrary not only to laws of man but the laws of the Universe, the laws of Intelligence, end the laws of the Maker of Laws.
"It is with great consternation that we watch you running madly along a road that leads only to your destruction. We have seen other planets follow the same route as you are now travelling. Always it has led to war, and the same racial suicide that you now face.
"We had hoped that your seeing our crafts in your skies would cause you to consider that your race is not alone in the universe. With this enormous revelation, It was felt that any international quarrels would shrink to insignificance, and that you would see the folly of your ways.
"Our brethren have been flying over this planet in great numbers since 1947, These brethren, from the local planets [Note: IC] felt as we do - that your course of living will be to your great harm. They have contacted you in no small numbers. Many of these contacts are yet to be revealed to the people of Earth by those contacted.
"Unfortunately, our cause has not been an easy one. We met with unforeseen skepticism on the part of your people. Some have even gone so far as labeling those who have seen our crafts as insane.
"While our Confederation brethren have been contacting some of your own Earth brothers regularly, this skepticism and ridicule have caused many of then to conceal their experiences. The number of those now in public sight as contactees is not 10 percent of the total that have been contacted. Of these that are revealing their experiences to you, some are doing so for their own monetary benefit, and not for the cause of peace and truth for which they were contacted. A few of the contactees are not in truth what they claim at all.
"This is a situation which is most injurious to the cause of brotherhood and love, since their stories are causing many who would otherwise support our cause to fall away in disbelief.
"We would like for all men to hear our words, to reconsider their lives, and to do something for their fellow man instead of to them. Not all minds are deaf to the threat of annihilation. Many people will hear these words as well as those of our brethren, and will heed them. They will not let themselves fall into the same antipathy of their fellow man that is seemingly a way of life to many of your people.
"Of course, they will be met by incredulity, ridicule, and downgrading, but if they have faith in the right way to go, if they stick to their tasks, then their persistence will have its effect. People are not so indifferent that they would ignore forever the pleas of their fellows to live in harmony and love.
"If the people who read these words of light that are given them by their fellows, believe, and if they pass them on to their fellows, and so on, then soon there will be no more hatred, for everyone will have recognized the fatality of continued warmongering.
"However, your people can never hope to be awakened to the Universal Light if they are continually stormed from all sides by talks of war, of bombs, of murders of anything but the true serenity and love that comes from awareness of the Great Truths.
"We of other sun systems have therefore come to this planet in the hopes of bolstering the words of our brethren. It is shocking to us to find that even so portentous an event as contact with people from outside your own world has had no great effect on your thinking. It is disconcerting to see that despite our warnings, your people are so set in their ways of thinking that they can ignore the fact that they are headed for doom unless drastic changes come to pass.
"We are therefore contacting you with our warnings and suggestions to your people, and we hope beyond hope that the information and words of peace that you will be receiving in the future will serve to do what others have failed to do, to awaken the people of the planet Earth to the perils of continued militaries and insane races for the perfect weapons. We can do only so much and no more, since as we said before, we cannot stop you from killing yourselves if you find it necessary.
"Being human, members of the race of mankind, you are our brethren as much as those on our worlds are, and they and we are likewise yours. You therefore see that we take very great interest in your people and their happiness from a standpoint of being kin.
"Your people must do all themselves. They must rally to the cause of true peace without outside support. They must heed the words of their extraterrestrial brothers, they must preach this to their fellows, and they must be firm in their beliefs; they must not be swayed by even the most intense of temptation or threat.
"Your people can do this, but they must believe, above all. No cause can be carried to its goal through half-hearted efforts on the part of its followers. It is all or nothing in the quest for world peace and love. We of other worlds are watching your planet. Your failure at this crucial time would be a blow to the Universal Peace that would be felt all over the inhabited Galaxy.
"We are in the future to give you information, of both scientific and sociological nature that, if followed, will serve to eliminate many of the tensions which are endangering you of Earth. Some of this will be for immediate revelation, while some, you must keep in secret until such time as men are ready for it. All will be toward your betterment.
"We have contacted you, Bob, to spread our word to your fellows by whatever means you see fit. You will be our voice to your Earth brothers, and in turn will be their channel of communication with us. In this way, we can give you any information you might need, and in like manner we can obtain information that will be helpful in our researches. We believe that you will agree to do this, since we have no doubts that you are as interested in seeing your race live in peace as are we.
"Perhaps you would be interested now in a description of our home planet. The twenty-five of us in this peace party, as it were, are all natives of the planet Korendor.
"My profession is the field of psychology. Others in this party are active in Terratology, the study of your world; Anthropodynamics, the study of humans and their motivations, which borders on Psychology; Sociology, which you already know; chemistry and physics, also known to you; Parapsychophysics, which by analysis would be seen to be the study of the physics of parapsychics, including telepathy, psychokinesis, clairvoyance, clairaudience, ESP and the other fields of mental activity beyond the five physical senses. We will explain some of these in detail in later contacts. Also, there are two Geneticobiologists, interested in the evolution and biophysics of your people, As usual, there is also the crew of the various ships, the analysts, the mathematicians, the console operators, and the others associated with a venture into interstellar space.
"Our home planet as like your earth in its appearance, although 2.74 times as large. Its surface gravity is 3.2 times that of Earth. Also, since our air is slightly richer in oxygen than yours, we cannot breathe yours without a period of adaptation, and are forced for the present to remain above your world.
"Korendor is the third world in the twelve-planet system of the star Korena, about 328 million miles from the star, Its year is about 4.54 of yours, and its day is 24.325 hours, divided into 20 units. [Note: their system is decimal, which I for some time have felt would be the logical choice for an interplanetary time system, because of the ease of using such a system. Also, the figures have been corrected to undo the IC damage. See the data file for Korena and Korendor for full physical information, and the page of Kor/Alliance measurement standards for their units.]
"Our planet has four moons, one retrograde in motion to the others. This enigma has been bothering our scientists for many years, but no one has yet ventured a suitable explanation.
"Although Korendor has a native population, many of our people are descended from a number of planets in this sector of space. They arrived once we achieved interstellar flight and made our presence known. All are humanoid in form. There are not, to our knowledge, any of the "bug-eyed monsters" that rage through the pages of your science-fiction books, anywhere in the galaxy.
"We developed space flight some three thousand years ago, your time. We used rockets at first, but they were seen to be futile, so a better propulsion system was needed. Millions of kole [Note: 1 kol - approximately $63.55 in 2008 dollars] were put into a project on gravity research, and in a stroke of blind genius, we had our answer in twelve days from the official project opening.
"Immediately it was adapted to space crafts, and it was discovered that velocities approaching light speed were no problem whatever. However, we had the exploring sickness, and slower than light travel was no way to do it efficiently. So, once again our research teams set to work. This wasn't so simple, and it took 7 years to get what we wanted, We finally achieved it, however.
"This principle used magnetic propulsion in unison with a device to gain almost instantaneous acceleration to velocities exceeding the speed of light. We found to our dismay, that over the speed of lights one was apt to end up a fantastic distance off course in seconds. This proved to be the oft-discussed fourth-dimensional warp so often hypothesized in your science fiction. It took several years to control our course once in this 'warp', but we managed, and now travel in a breath across the galaxy and back.
"Of course there are still a few pilots with less than sufficient experience who start out for Sirius and end up in M-31. Eventually, the control of crafts will be entirely automatic, where the pilot sets the destination on a series of controls and pushes a button, to arrive there a second later. [Note: worded in the 1960s level of technology, where keyboards, monitors, and other terms common today were all but unknown.]
"We have exceeded the time planned for this contact somewhat, and so must sign off in a moment. If you will construct the transmitter and converter described earlier, our next contact on August 5 will be much more helpful for both of us.
"We wish you the peace of mind that comes from knowing the Great Truth, and look forward to the next contact. But for now we must leave the air. Your atmospheric conditions are changing now to the point where some of the beam on which my voice is carried might be scattered and received by others then yourself.
"Va I luce eno nol si unir" (translated "Go in light till next we meet").
Their signal faded and vanished, and the background noise returned. I turned off the receiver and sat for an hour considering the facts revealed to me for that two-hour period. It had never occurred to me that I would one day be burdened with such a taxing task as the future of a race. Fate has strange plans for those under her hand.
Now I was one man out of millions, chosen to spread the word of love from a race 400 light years distant. It was simply too much to assimilate in one evening. I therefore went to bed, the time being now nearly 1 AM, and slept on the events of the night.
R.P. Renaud, Terran Representative.
The following note refers to the original manuscript, not to this slightly edited version. "BBC" meant Bothersome Background Clutter.
[Note: the BBC station to which I had tuned was gone, either by signoff of transmission or by fade. The "BBC" in the third from last paragraph means only what the note above it indicates.]
Deleted from page 1 of original:
KALO, ADENN. GREETINGS, BRETHREN.
R.P. RENAUD, TERRAN REPRESENTATIVE
© 2008 Robert P. Renaud -- all rights reserved