Chapter no 16

Quantum Radio

Ty turned Bishop’s words over in his mind.

“You’re wrong,” he mumbled, still lost in thought. “Excuse me?” Bishop said.

“I believe you’re right about what the files are—just not what they do. As I said, I agree that the first file is a machine. And that the others are genomes, but I don’t think we’re meant to print them. We’re not supposed to create humans from what’s being sent.”

“And what do you base that speculation upon?” Bishop asked.

“Gut instinct. Whoever is on the other side of the quantum radio is clearly more advanced than us. They wouldn’t just fax over some representatives. First of all, a printed human wouldn’t have any memories


“That may not be true,” Helen said. Ty glanced at his mother, who continued. “We now know that DNA can encode memories—or at least the shape of them.

A research project in Europe called MemoTV—which studies epigenetic, neural, and cognitive memories of traumatic stress and violence—found that trauma experienced by mothers affects early offspring development. In fact, the DNA alterations are actually encoded and passed on to future generations. If trauma can alter the DNA of our children, it’s plausible that other, more specific memories could be encoded.”

Bishop spoke before Ty could respond. “There’s also the obvious: these humans could have advancements that aren’t evident in a simple review of the genome. After all, if you compare a Neanderthal genome with one of our genomes, you’d find there’s only…” Bishop looked over at Helen. “How much difference?”

“We share roughly 99.7 percent of our genome with Neanderthals. Even chimpanzees have 98.8 percent of our DNA.”

“Exactly,” Bishop said. “And look at the massive differences those small DNA changes make. For all we know, these humans they want us to print will be a completely different subspecies. They may be capable of things we can’t even imagine.”

“Yes,” Ty said, nodding. “Even more reason not to print them. For all we know, they could be an invasion force. Granted, there are only four of them, but based on what you’re saying, it would be dangerous.”

“Precisely why we plan to do the printing on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific surrounded by a fleet of nuclear submarines with multiple warheads trained on it.”

Ty let his head fall back. “It’s a bad plan based on the wrong assumptions.”

“Well, what are your assumptions?”

“That whoever is broadcasting is trying to communicate with us. Think about it. They can only broadcast now. The first broadcast, logically, would give us the details of how to build a device that lets us broadcast back.”

Bishop pointed at Ty. “Now on that, we agree. And that’s how we think these humans are different. We believe that they have the innate ability to receive the quantum broadcasts—that the subatomic particles being detected by the LHC at CERN actually have an effect on the neurons in the brains of these new humans. Our working theory is that they are genetically capable of receiving quantum broadcasts, relaying them to us and sending return messages, perhaps thanks to entangled particles in their brains. As I said, they are representatives. A communication conduit.”

Ty shook his head. “It’s wrong. It’s the right idea, but you’re wrong on the specifics.”

Bishop snorted. “You can’t just say it’s wrong and leave it at that.” He turned to Richter. “This is what I mean—we have to move forward here. This is not some academic seminar where you debate and nothing happens. We need to act.”

Richter focused on Ty. “Tell him what you think the files are.”

“As I said, the first file is, in fact, a machine. And yes, I think it’s a device we can use to communicate with the broadcaster. Which makes it obvious what it is.”

Bishop shrugged, clearly annoyed. “Do tell.”

“It’s a collider. After all, that’s what we detected the broadcast with. But if my guess is right, this collider is more advanced—and much smaller.”

Bishop chuckled. “Right…”

“Why do you think it’s smaller?” Helen asked.

“Logically, it would be. Advancements in technology almost always feature miniaturization.”

Ty had always been fascinated with the history of computing and how far it had come so fast. The historical facts were lodged in his mind, and they came rapid-fire now. “Look at history: one of the first programmable, electronic digital computers, the ENIAC, took up roughly one thousand eight hundred square feet and used about eighteen thousand vacuum tubes. It weighed sixty thousand pounds. The ENIAC could do around three hundred eighty five multiplication operations per second. That was way back in 1946. Today, the average smartphone weighs less than a pound and the processor can do trillions of operations per second. To put it simply, making technology smaller is the natural arc of innovation. There’s another reason to make the device smaller: it makes it easier to hide and transport. Immovable objects are inherently more difficult to defend.”

Bishop looked skeptical. “It’s one thing to shrink a computer, but a particle collider? I don’t buy it.”

“It’s already happening,” Ty said.

“What do you mean?” Bishop asked.

“A few years ago, a team of researchers at Imperial College London described a way to accelerate particles using common equipment present in most physics labs—in a much smaller space. We’re talking about a system that would be just a few centimeters long.”

“They have a prototype?” Bishop asked.

“Not as far as I know. The work right now is just in simulations and computer models, but the principles are sound. They still need a large laser, which would occupy maybe three hundred square feet, but their collider would actually create exotic particles at a faster rate than the LHC.”

“Well,” Bishop said, “what you’re saying is all hypothetical, and we’ll know what the device actually is soon enough.”

“What about the genomes?” Richter asked, nodding toward Ty.

“If I’m right,” Ty said carefully, “the genomes aren’t of any alien representatives. They’re of people already here on Earth.”

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