First Contact

Humanity’s first contact with another intelligent life form did not occur with some species on a distant world. It came instead with a race of beings in a parallel universe just touching our own.

Communication was established via computers connected to the equipment that poked a hole between their universe and our own. Binary transmissions back and forth were accumulated on this side and translated by recursive tensor algorithm into human language. After a sufficient glossary of terms had been built on either side, the first efforts at investigation could begin.

“Hello,” typed Dr. Johns.

“Hello.”

“We are glad to meet you,” typed Dr. Johns.

“Not to understand glad.”

“Don’t get into emotions, for Pete’s sake,” Dr. Abrams said to Dr. Johns. “That scarcely works among races here.”

“What do you look like?” Johns typed.

“Not to understand. What is look like? No visual spectrum this side.”

“Stay away from sensory stuff,” Abrams said. “How do you explain sight to a blind man? Music to the deaf?”

“Where do you live?” typed Johns.

“Not to understand. To be alive here not alive there.”

“We should get some experts in here,” Abrams said. “Stick to science and math in the meantime.”

“What is two plus two?” Johns typed.

“Five.”

Abrams and Johns looked at each other.

“Now what, Mr. Smarty?” Johns said.

“Wait,” said Abrams. “Here comes another transmission.”

“Hello. We discover more interesting more intelligent species. Goodbye to you simple ones.”