The ship goes on. While it does, the narrative speculates on whether the aliens could really have come from Saturn, or whether they actually came from further away.
This is important because—how long is it going to take the aliens to show up after they hear the alarm? If it's right away, that may be bad.
It seems likely they're a long way away, but what if they can go faster than the speed of light, those aliens?
Nothing can actually go faster than the speed of light, but this is science-fiction, and the fiction part means anything goes. If you've got super-intelligent aliens, why not super-intelligent aliens that go faster than light?
Why not unicorns that go faster than light? While humming Steely Dan?
Because that would not be SCIENCE.
Some scientists think the aliens will look like humans. Some don't.
Nobody thinks they'll look like unicorns. Shows what they know.
Some scientists think that the aliens might not have bodies, but might just be immortal robot critters.
Maybe the aliens are gods, the novel suggests.
Maybe they're chickens, or aardvarks. Nobody says that, but it could be. Super-energy-space-chickens. With laser beaks.