Ghost Waves by Nikky Lee

Ezma twisted the dials of the radio. The box emitted a burst of static, then tuned to the pulsing signal he was hunting for. Sounds filled the evening air. Out here, away from the noise of city, the frequency came in crisp and clear. Ezma relaxed back on the grass and stared up at the sky.

Beautiful night for it.

“You think they’re still out there?” Gatta asked, settling down beside him.

Ezma shrugged. “Difficult to say. The waves are millions of years old and the universe is a big place. A lot can change while their signal crossed the stars.”

Gatta nodded along with him. “I know, I know. But, hypothetically, what if they are? What if we could make contact?”

Emza snorted. “Unlikely. The distance is too great. It’ll take millions of years for our signal to reach them—assuming they’re still there and listening. And haven’t smacked into the Great Filter either.”

“Ah, yes, there is that,” Gatta grimaced. “Life is its own worst enemy they say.”

“That it is. Environmental disaster might finish them off, or war—like it almost did to us.” Emza said. He stared out at the cluster of stars their scientists had determined was the source of the signal. A fluke anyone had found it at all, what with all the other cosmic noise. A wonderful, surprising fluke. And the discovery had stopped the war in its tracks.

Funny how realising they were not alone in the universe could do that.

Emza sighed. “They’re probably long gone.”

“Shame, they make such interesting sounds. What’s this one called?”

Ezma cocked his head, listening to the beat. “If the translators have it right, I believe this one is called “Shake it off”.”

Gatta tapped a tentacle in time with the song. “I like it, it’s catchy.”

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Nikky grew up as a barefoot 90s child in Perth, Western Australia before moving to New Zealand in 2016. By day she works as a content writer and has written an array of articles from black holes and the NASA Mars mission to real estate and insurance. In her free time, she writes speculative fiction, often burning the candle at both ends to explore fantastic worlds, mine asteroids and meet wizards. Her creative work has appeared or is forthcoming in Breach, AntipodeanSF and in anthologies around the world. You can find her online at W: nikkythewriter.com | T: @NikkyMLee | F: nikkythewriter

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