December 12, 2300
PFLRS Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Jupiter Orbit, 1000 km above cloud layers
Lightning crackles below the Mozart as it continues its circuit above the Jovian cloud tops. Down below the ship, tiny yellow-white trails carve their way through the atmosphere, the scramjet racers exceeding fifteen kips. The ship's orbit has not yet brought it onto the day side, that has to wait for a few minutes. For now, the ship's twin-sphere design is shrouded in darkness. On board, Jamie Calindon, 43, is lecturing his pet gecko.
"Sorry, I wasn't listening." says Marcus, a Tokay Gecko enhanced with some hacked-up nanotech. "Can you go over it again?" He blinks his reptilian eyes twice in quick succession. Of course, he's not really speaking(that would require some serious modding to the vocal systems.); Marcus has the equivalent of a telepathic link with Jamie. In other words, souped-up Wi-Fi.
"Honestly, it's not that hard. When was the first radio transmission from Earth powerful enough to escape the planet's atmosphere and travel a significant distance?" Jamie, 18 years older than when he discovered FTL travel, floats over to the massive milliscreen that fills one wall of the cabin. The zero G is no matter to Marcus, stuck to any surface by Van der Walls forces. "The KDKA station, which started transmitting in 1920." he says in a bored tone.
"Good. Now, how far have the signals propagated since then?"
"Three hundred and eighty light years."
"Correct. Humans have been transmitting in radio ever since then. So, we have this radio bubble expanding outwards at c, the first part of which was transmitted in 1920. So, this is the thing. How do we listen to those original signals?"
Marcus thinks about this for a while. After analysing it from every possible angle, he replies.
"You have to go faster than light. You need to get out in front of the wavefront." Another reptilian blink pair.
"Exactly, Marcus. And luckily, we can do that."
If Marcus could wince, he would do now. But Jamie seems to be going through the mad scientist routine, complete with evil grin. "Oh yes." he says. "I've retrofitted the Mozart with my jump drive. It's a latest revision. Mind you, it took a few...questionably legal devices to get it this small."
380 Light years from Earth. A human-built ship congeals out of the void. On board, a small gecko is slowly walking up the wall.
"Excellent. We are exactly where we need to be, and the sensor nets are deploying."
"Given your track record with illegally obtained components, I'm surprised we're in this universe." Marcus said cynically.
But Jamie ignored him, and turned on the speaker system. For about an hour all they heard was static. But eventually, after countless processing algorithms had processed it, a signal came out of the noise.
"Good morning and welcome to KDKA AM."