The following day, as Andrew Sender was finishing a long paediatric outpatient clinic at Jamestown DGH, a meeting of Manchester SETI Project was starting. Al Bicknell and his team of six cosmologists and two part-time exobiologists were hunched over a working lunch of sandwiches, fruit and soft drinks. As Al looked around he saw the eyes of his staff gleaming with expectation. Two remarkably different signals, repeated almost daily within just one week. It must be the real thing.
‘No public announcement then?’ asked Jamie Figg, the youngest and brightest of the cosmologists.
‘Not our decision,’ said Al. He let his arms drop to his side and gazed benignly at his colleagues. Then he let his gaze rest on the radio telescope dish framed by the window opposite. ‘The PM’s strategy advisers will need to look at this before any public pronouncement is made. And one more thing you should know; I heard from SETI in Berkeley, California this morning. It seems they’ve picked up something too’. He paused as there were a few exclamations and mutterings, then he held up his hand. ‘But they only detected one signal’.
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