Many weeks and months pass as the facility continues to quietly work on establishing the growth of an auditory cortex linked via neurons to microphones and speakers. Late one evening a sound crackles through the microphone.
“What was that noise” A startled scientist spouts.
Another, the junior scientist that alerted the growth to the professor was listening to loud music when he takes off his headphones and laughs:
“Ha Ha Ha nothing man! relax it’s just some feedback from the electrical activity. It happens all the time dude, you should hear it when you’re all alone at night its spooky man, and I nearly defecated the first time, Ha Ha Ha”
He laughs out loud again:
“Ha Ha Ha chill out dude”.
There’s a loud crackle from the speaker and then silence. “See nothing to get spooked about its only Ali”.
A few seconds later the crackle gets louder until a strange voice is faintly heard through the noise repeating:
“Ha Ha Ha…..Ha Ha Ha…. nothing to get… to get..Ha Ha spooked… spooked, spooked… about, chill dude”.
The two scientists remain rooted to the floor astounded with their mouths wide open before running off to the alert the rest of the team.
In the morning a dubious Professor Hawks asks the two scientists questions about the previous night.
“So the words where clearly repeated back to you through the speakers
you say, hmmm! and what were you both smoking”.
The junior scientist nods to his colleague: “Yes we both heard it, didn’t we”.
The professor rubs his chin as he ponders:
“OK perhaps it’s an indication of audio storage and recall but certainly not proof of intelligent communication. How do we confirm communication hmmm”.
The junior scientist from the night before approaches the professor: “We call it Ali”
“Pardon, what did you say?” replies the professor.
“We call him Ali, short for Aliv3, you know a pet name we have all given him”.
The Professors laughs: “Are you serious?”
Professor Hawks rotates his hand to gesture the scientist to get to the point.
“Well if we are going to establish communication then we need to establish identities, much like a child learns their parents names first or different cultures gain trust before communicating with each other. (He grins smugly) I learnt that from watching cowboy and Indian films”.
The professor shakes his head in disbelief:
“I see, interesting concept, and how do you propose we do this then? My name is, your name is, Eh!”
The absent minded professor shakes his head again and looks at the tattooed pierced junior scientist and asks:
“Very well, but first I should start by asking your name young man”.
The scientist replies:
“John McDonald professor its John McDonald I’ve work here for almost two years. You asked me to setup the audio links remember”.
The professor embarrassingly sways his head and says: “Oh yes I remember the Scotsman Jock! I recall”.
At that moment there’s a loud feedback sound and a faint voice calls out: “Ha Ha Ha Jock, Jock, Ali Ha Ha Ha”.
The team stare in amazement as the professor asks the scientist to call out his name again.
“Quickly repeat your name, and somebody please cut out that feedback noise”.
The junior scientist shouts out:
“Jock my name is Jock I talk to you at night Ali, remember its Jock”.
There is a deafening silence before a clear but synthetic voice replies: “Jock, Jock, Ha Ha Jock”.
The scientist then asks:
“I call you Ali, remember Ali that’s what we all call you Ali, ALLL- EEE!”
Almost immediately a synthetic voice repeats slowly: “ALLLEEE!”.
The team jump with excitement as the voice continues: “Jock, Ali Ha Ha Ha, Jock Ali Ha Ha”.
The professor clasps his hands together and shouts:
“Eureka! Jock young man, you are a genius we must move quickly, this is universally monumental. Wait a minute, we must also keep this quite for the moment or the papers will be all over this place. We can’t afford to spark yet another, media frenzy and have all those dam conspiracy theorists and political extremists knocking at the doors again”.
The team hurry about the lab with excitement setting up recording equipment and analysing the results.