“Did you get some response?” The NASA director asked his Space Force peer.
“Yes, we passed by fairly close, a hundred and fifty kilometers away. We wanted to make sure it was obvious it wasn’t a direct line approach like a weapon strike. We had time to repeat a long string of math at them several times. The package our people put together started with prime numbers as a universal common point and got progressively more complex. The hope was after establishing that as a common ground, we could in the future build language from the operations such as addition and subtraction leading to plus and minus, more and less, greater than and less than.”
“Did they respond with strings of numbers that showed they understood?” Durkin asked.
“Not exactly,” Gott said. “Here, I’ll let you listen to their brief response.”
The voice was odd but perfectly understandable English.
“Yes, yes, we count too. Please be patient. Your call is important to us.”
“They put us on hold?”
“Hey,” Durkin said, trying to put a positive spin on it, “at least we didn’t have to work down a message tree to get that.”