Dispatch 1

I realize there are many questions that need to be answered, I just don’t know how much longer I can survive here. I think that I have been on this planet for about 12 days now, although it’s really hard to know for sure. My watch tells me that it has been twelve days but my PDA cannot synchronize with the worldwide network, for obvious reasons. I think I have enough emergency rations to survive a few more weeks but my water is dangerously low. I may only have a few days left.

Mama, Papa los quiero muchísimo, I love you Mom and Dad.

Although I’m sure there are many questions, I think the first question I should probably address is how I am able to send messages to Earth.

I am not exactly sure but it’s important that Terra Defence know that I think the worldwide network is being monitored by the enemy.

I don’t know why, although I am sure Cmdr. Chen would probably say it is because I refuse to follow the SOPs he constantly reminds me about, but I decided to turn on my emergency radio. Yes, I know five light-years away it is impossible that I would pick up anything on the radio. But, you all know me; I’m a stickler for following the rules, yea right.

Although the expected static was there, I also picked up some interference on my radio whenever I pointing my transmitter at a tower emitting some type of light towards the sky. Thinking that I had inadvertently stumbled upon some type of enemy communications, I tried different frequencies. I am not really too clear as to why I even thought the enemy would be using radios, like the ones we use on Earth, but hey, I’m way out here and you’re not.

Besides, my cockiness is probably the reason I ended up here, in the first place, behind enemy lines with no possible way to get home.

Since I am being so open about my lapses of procedure, I might as well let Terra Defence command know that I violated yet another one of those sacred standard operating procedures everyone is so happy to remind me to take seriously. I brought my digital assistant along with me. I am sure you can imagine, being written up by command isn’t exactly what I’m most worried about right now. I would happily stand at attention while I’m being reminded about SOPs instead of being stranded here five light years away!

After realizing the absurdity of thinking that the aliens would be using radios like ours, I finally realized that the tower was interfering with my radio. But why?

One thing about this planet is that it is excessively eerily silent. It is just too quiet. Even the tower is not emitting any noise, not even the hum of electronics. About the only sound, I hear is my breathing and my heart about to jump out of my chest, not to mention my growling stomach.

I was curious to find out why my radio picked up the interference near the light tower while there was only static everywhere else. It was only when I pointed the antenna towards the light that it reacted with bursts of noise, more like high-pitched crackling pops of sound.

I tried the different frequencies and every one of them reacted the same way, except no voices were coming through the speaker.

The only thing I could think of was that the light was emitting some type of electromagnetic radiation. It seemed similar to the optical communications systems our satellites use to transmit data back to Earth. Once in a while, on a flight, we would get a dose of high-pitched gibberish on our radios, courtesy of the satellite data bursts. That’s when it hit me; this could be like Earth’s Li-Fi network. This thing was emitting a pulsing light, too fast for my eyes to notice. This made me wonder if it was some type of binary code.

I set my radio up to transmit the noise directly to my PDA. Yes, I know what you are all thinking, why would I do that?

Because it’s not like Earth forces were suddenly to appear in the skies above me ready to scoop me up and take me home. Besides, what else was I to do?

It was actually pretty easy to convert the energy pulses. Although it was certainly a binary code of some type, it did not produce anything on my PDA, although clearly it was two different integers forming patterns of some type. I assigned one integer as a zero and the other as a one and wrote a quick script on my Personal Digital Assistant to convert the data stream.

It took a while and although patterns emerged, they did not make any sense to me. My PDA did not know how to display them. As the feeling of utter isolation started to engulf me, I set out to; at least hear something, anything even if it was alien.

I could either, go crazy before I died or I could play with the new thing I found.

As I continued to play around with the data stream, I eventually noticed images of people and places, like those you see on people’s online profiles. They were random images, hundreds of them. Although I had only captured a second or two of data on my PDA, I nonetheless had hundreds of images, Earth images on my PDA.

You cannot imagine the sense of elation I felt seeing those pictures. I did not know anyone but the pictures were an anchor to home, a home I am unlikely to ever see again.

I captured more data and eventually I realized that there were online ID tags in the data streams. They were clearly the ID tags we all use on the worldwide network. I was seeing streams from individual profiles from Earth. Periodically the Earth images and text disappeared and then reappeared.

At first, I didn’t know why and then I thought, what would happen if this was a two-way communication system, data comes in and data goes out. That would explain the breaks in data coming in.

I have no idea what the outgoing bursts are, but clearly they were going out.

It was unintelligible in that I couldn’t decipher them. However, they had a pattern to them. I assume it was some type of command and maybe it was even going out to Earth. Maybe, just maybe and hoping against all hope I thought that if the bursts are going to Earth then maybe I could get a message back to my family.

After I realized that the images I was seeing were coming from Earth’s online network and hoping that it was a two-way communication system I started planning on how to send one last message to my mom. I thought about injecting my own messages using binary code into the data bursts being sent out. At first, I had no idea how to target my message until I realized that I didn’t need to target my message to my mom’s profile at all. All I needed to do was tag my message with my online ID and if it ended up on Earth’s network, it would find its way to my profile.

Although I hadn’t deciphered the alien binary code, I saw no reason why my own binary code wouldn’t be recognized on Earth’s network, if I could get it there.

Even though Terra Defence intelligence is likely, freaking out over my lapse of military security my only thought was to get one last message to my mom.

Besides, what else could I to do?

Nothing made sense. The attacks and the fact that I was here, as improbable as it seemed made no sense. I didn’t even know how I was still alive. Probably not for much longer, though.

You cannot imagine my shock at seeing “authenticate code word” pop up on my PDA. I believe that the only reason I did not get a heart attack when I saw the message was because nothing else has made sense, even how I ended up on this planet.

With trembling fingers, I responded to the authenticator challenge by sending another burst.

As you, all know by now I am sure my transmissions are being monitored but that is not my concern at this point. Survival is. I would gladly stand before a court martial to explain my lapses of operational security rather than be stranded here.

Water and food are my biggest concern. As a soldier I understand two things, Earth needs as much information about the enemy as I can provide it and I must do whatever it takes to keep on fighting.

I am hoping that Terra Defence keeps my data feed open, as I have not found any other way to communicate. I would understand, though, if the worldwide feed were to be cutoff, after all, I, we do not know how much damage we are doing to Earth’s defenses by allowing the enemy to monitor the feed.

While it is open, I will send as much intelligence as I can gather.

I have not seen any aliens, or any signs of life for that matter. It is extremely quiet where I am. There is no sound; it is as if nothing is alive here. Can you imagine? I might be alive on a planet devoid of all life! Now that would be ironic.

As I better understand how to convert my messages into binary code and burst them over, I’ll add more details to my transmissions. I will keep my messages as small data burst for now so as not to bring attention to myself.

But, before that, I need to resolve my water situation because without it I won’t be alive much longer to be of any help. I will attempt at least one more message before I run out of water.

Foxtrot 238, signing off.

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