74.3 \ 256

This community decryption puzzle was the main programming people had these days for enjoyment, coming out of the invasive transmission signal windows hanging in the air throughout densely populated federet and planetary capital neighborhoods. People could ignore it, and some tried; it did have the urgency of a matter of survival, and it was also just incredibly intriguing. Navann lifted out a folded sheaf of five papers, each with a new reconstruction. She and young Isten had been playing an evolving game of cut-and-paste with the frame scrap, what they called the stuff around the sides. They tried different things with different images out of curiosity, boredom, frustration or the desire for humor.

There was lots of discussion about what the central images themselves depicted. Navann had taken her own notes, formed from what she saw when gazing out at it, and what others said it looked like. In the pictures were figures that belonged to the Strangers, and some that were obviously Human in proportion. Grainy and mostly in silhouette, it was still possible to discern an event, like in an illustration panel. On the list, there was:

Humans breaking into a room or ship of Strangers
a fight between the two
Strangers captured
Strangers held in bondage
shared pain between free and captive Strangers
Humans scavenging Stranger technology
more Human attacks
a peaceful meeting between Strangers and Humans
a handshake between the two peoples
death of many Human allies
more attacks from Humans

People constructed what they thought was the correct timeline for this sequence, which was transmitted with some slight inconsistency, the way events are recounted by different witnesses. Isten was the only one she knew remixing the frame scrap, a hobby reserved for people who had the energy for extreme levels of observation. Frame scrap referred to the staticky borders around the floating images, which had a seemingly logical way of translating onto 2D stills. Isten was cutting those apart and rearranging them to align some seemingly interlocking parts. Sometimes the static could even form pictures that recursively matched some of the images. This was a set of those static-form image replicas.

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