“Bloop” • Written and Narrated by Rob Dircks

“Bloop” • Written and Narrated by Rob Dircks

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Another quickie, almost flash fiction at just 1,000 words, about a mysterious signal received from space. Is it a message, or something else?

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Read the Story (1,000 words / 5-minute read):

 

“Bloop”

Written and narrated by Rob Dircks

 

Please leave a message at the tone.

Hey. I had to share this as soon as I found out. Here, take a listen and tell me what you think it is:

~Bloop~

Sounds like nothing, right? Like a sound, like any other sound, that would get lost in the noise if I didn’t isolate it and point it out to you. But it’s not nothing. Oh, it’s the farthest thing from nothing. Here, I’ll play it again, this time slower:

~Bbbllloooooppp~

Still can’t guess?

Don’t feel bad, I couldn’t guess either, until Brook told me.

It’s a radio signal. Originating from somewhere other than Earth.

Yes – we are not alone.

I don’t know if you even knew, but Brook works at the CIA, and apparently she’s tangentially connected to a group like SETI, the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence, but it’s a multinational government version, very, very covert – I shouldn’t even be telling you, really, Brook would literally have to kill me I think, she wouldn’t even tell me their name, so make sure you don’t share this with anyone. Promise me. Right now. Or I can’t go any further.

We good? Good.

Now this group, unlike SETI, doesn’t scan patches of the sky listening for signals, hoping for a needle to pop out of a haystack and land in their laps. No, this group overlaps sky scanning data from thirty or forty telescopes and radio arrays around the world, watching and listening to the entire sky, twenty-four-seven. All the data is processed by a couple of new quantum computers they bought from China. By the scope of this operation, I’m just guessing, it sounds like it’s less of a fishing expedition, and more like they knew something was out there.

And it was.

What you just heard was the audio version of an extraterrestrial radio transmission from somewhere in the region of the Sagittarius constellation. It’s in the 1420 megahertz range, the same that’s naturally emitted by hydrogen, and it modulates, which seems to suggest it has encoded information – a message.

We just received our first message from someone or something out there in space.

How cool is that?

 

 

Please leave a message at the tone.

 

Hey. I’m pretty sure I said this last time, but I wanted to reiterate: do NOT tell anyone about the Bloop. I just got off the phone with Brook and she said it would be worse than bad for her if anyone found out, she wasn’t even supposed to tell me, obviously, and she actually sounded a little edgy. Apparently, they’ve been messing around with the radio signal, slowing it down, analyzing it, slowing it down some more, analyzing it again. And instead of getting simpler the more they dig down, it keeps getting more complex. Like some kind of strange fractal. No discernible message still, but an incredible amount of data in that one tiny signal.

It’s weird, I had a dream about it last night. There was blue sky all around me, and I was flying, and I looked up, directly into the sun, and I heard the Bloop. I opened my arms, and the Bloop sent down beams of light, shooting them into my fingertips, filling me with white and calm. It was wonderful. I woke up feeling better than I have in a long time. Brook told me she had the same dream. Crazy, right? Hey, did you have the same dream? Let me know. I’ll call you tomorrow.

 

 

Please leave a message at the tone.

 

Hey. Did I call you yesterday? I wanted to make sure I looped back in with you about the Bloop – do NOT tell anyone. Brook sounded a little freaked out, I just got off the phone with her. She said there’s a reason they can’t find a message in the signal. Because it wasn’t a message sent by an extraterrestrial.

It IS the extraterrestrial.

The radio signal itself is alive.

There is so much information, deeper and deeper in the signal, it forms a kind of neural network, even including something analogous to DNA. Our perception of it as a signal, or a sound emitting from some source, is wrong. It is the source. By listening to the Bloop, you are interacting with an extraterrestrial.

If I haven’t played the Bloop for you already, that’s good. You shouldn’t have heard it.

 

 

Please leave a message at the tone.

 

Hey. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned anything about this Bloop thing, but if I did, forget I said anything. Brook said there was a problem. She used another word, but I think she meant problem. This Bloop thing, it turns out, any time it’s recorded and played back, it multiplies. Every time a person listens to it, it creates another Bloop. That’s how it reproduces. I don’t see how that’s a problem, because I’ve heard it a bunch of times, and other than the dreams, I feel exactly the same. Maybe a little lighter, actually. Like less burdened, does that make sense?

I should get to work. Wait, no, it’s Saturday. Right?

Anyway, it’s a good thing I didn’t play the Bloop for you though, because she said it would be bad if it got out.

 

 

Please leave a message at the tone.

 

Hey. I wanted to call you as soon as I found out.

Brook is dead.

She got hit by a cab on the way to work this morning. I saw her face on TV, or online, I saw it somewhere so I’m pretty sure it happened. Maybe it didn’t, but it seemed real, so I’m going with real.

I’m so sad, but I can’t cry. Like I want to cry, but the tears won’t come out. I’ve got this stupid smile plastered on my face. Like I know somewhere something is wrong, but it can’t touch me, I’m above it all. Does that make sense?

The last time I talked to Brook she mentioned something about a Bloop. What a funny name. I had a file on my computer with the same name. Weird. Did she send me that file? Did you send me that file? Here’s what it sounds like:

 

Bloop.

 

It’s funny. I’m going to post it to YouTube.

 

 

Please leave a message at the tone.

 

Hello? I found this number on my phone. Do I know you? Your name looks familiar. Are you a friend of Brook’s? Anyway, there are some people at the door, and I’m not sure if I should let them in, they’re shouting. I tried to call Brook but she’s not answering.

Hey, have I told you about this Bloop thing? It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up, and the last thing when I go to bed. And I dream about it. I like to dream about it. It feels wonderful.

You want to hear it?

 

Bloop. 

 

 

 

 

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