In the year 2250 C.E. by Earth’s old calendar the Confederation of Nations’ ship Vesarius was on a mission to maintain contact with existing Earth colonies and to search for other potential colonies. The Vesarius, a sub-light ship capable of transfer point navigation, had sufficient crew and supplies to support the foundation of an entire new colony without outside assistance for 200 subjective Earth years. The Vesarius was partway through its visits to the Cygnus Earth colonies when sensors on the Tymbrimi freighter Cuthmar detected the stream of ionized and radioactive plasma from the combination of pion drives and primitive thrusters used to move the Vesarius through normal space.
The Cuthmar was making a standard supply run to Tymbrimi colonies, but on a recently redrawn route. Fearing pirates, but also reluctant to let what might well be a heavily damaged vessel founder, the Captain of the Cuthmar, a-Irrdhamae absu-Caltmour ab-Brma ab-Krallnith ul-Tytlal, shadowed the Vesarius for several Tymbrimi days before deciding to risk closing to range for a passive scan of the electromagnetic spectrum. Immediately it became obvious that the ship conformed to nothing in the small on-board Library, was actually using reaction drives to augment unbelievably inefficient thrusters, and showed no signs of damage. Also, it was putting out a huge amount of chatter in the radio and microwave frequencies, but not in any identifiable code or language.
The working hypothesis aboard the Cuthmar was that the unidentified vessel was probably a member of the Mechanical Order. This would explain, the size of the ship, the willingness to travel at sub-light speed, and at least a fourth of a confusing, repeating signal broadcast at the frequency of water. A small part of the transmission conformed to the signals used to identify vessels belonging to Main Sequence orders of life. Namely the atomic number followed by the weight of Hydrogen, the number and weight of Oxygen, and the number and weight of Silicon. However, the unidentified vessel was broadcasting all three in E.M. and it soon became clear was broadcasting the whole periodic table of naturally occurring elements.
The a-Irrdhmae then authorized small boats to collect reconnaissance on the unidentified ship. They were unexpectedly detected using radio waves and encountered unarmed small boats at visual range whereupon the Tymbrimi immediately discovered the ships were designed for, and crewed by an O-2 species that they did not immediately recognize. The strangers were not hostile in the least, and the more fortunate Tymbrimi scouts rendezvoused with the Vesarius while the other half of the Tymbrimi reconnaissance mission (containing an unpredictable third-level Tytlal client) relayed messages from the party aboard the Vesarius. It soon became evident that the mysterious sentients aboard the mysterious vessel mysteriously recognized none of the twelve Galactic languages.
The Tymbrimi and Tytlal were delighted. Either this was a wonderfully surprising discovery OR an incredibly elaborate and creative jest. In either case, delivery of supplies could wait.