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Bertram Ellis.

Copyright Bertram Ellis 2013 Smashwords edition

Chapter One.

Professor Ben Solay was a solitary academic. His papers were brilliant, his lectures abysmal. He was content with his position as the Director of SETI, the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence at York University in Toronto. The appointment meant a light workload; most of the outer space signals were evaluated by post-graduate students working for their Master's degree. Ben was free to work on his theories about the origin of black holes. He was working on a theory that the entire universe was a cycle of black holes and big bangs. He spent long hours in silent, deep, meditation. His staff knew better than to disturb him when he was staring at a photograph of past observations and comparing them with recent pictures as his brain grappled for an understanding of the massive forces at work.

Seri Harawa, a member of the Yokohama University branch of SETI stared at his screen with mounting excitement. Every night he monitored radio signals from the universe in the frequency that had been assigned to him. So far, after months of work, all he had heard was the background noise of space. He also studied the stars with the university radio telescope and kept a video record of his segment of the sky. Tonight he had seen a pinpoint of light that hadn't been there before. He confirmed he was still focused on sector, right ascension 05:54:53 declination +23:11':18, the sector that had been assigned to him when he volunteered to assist in the Columbus Radio/Optical SETI search. He scanned his computer log and video of earlier records. The sky was blank in that particular sector. He compared it with the image he had just captured. Something was moving towards earth and it was getting brighter. The sliver of moon seemed to cradle it. He noted the date, August 21 2078, at 07:05:38 Universal Standard Time. When he had first observed the speck of light, several hours earlier, he had dismissed it as a mote of dust in the telescope lens. It was so unexpected he ignored it. But now it was clearly visible and growing brighter. He enhanced the picture on his video monitor.

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