I like this idea... Not so much the morse code, if you're expecting the player to actually translate it. I know morse code to an extent (I wanted to become a pilot once upon a time), but the average player probably won't take the time to look up even S.O.S., is my bet. The garbled speech, though, would be easy to handle.
One thing we'd have to be careful of is a lack of variety - if garbled speech always means, "It's a trap!" then players will quickly learn to ignore any signals like these. I'm personally of the opinion that there should be a variety of options that branch off in different directions the farther you advance down the mini-story of whatever you've encountered. In other words, variety inside variety - it keeps things fresher. Over the course of a longer game, the player is still probably going to encounter all the various options, but it's not as bad as "Okay, garbled transmission, this could be a couple different things."
You hear a garbled signal. Its source is either
- A. an alien ship, B. a human ship, or C, a derelict beacon. There could be other reasons, but I'm throwing these out there.
Now, depending on what it turns out to be, not just one, but a variety of things can happen. Take C. above, for example, it could turn into:
- A. the human ship is being chased by aliens who attack you (they were trying to warn you to stay away), B. the ship is being chased by aliens who attack you (they were trying to lure you in to provide a distraction to save themselves), C. the ship was long since abandoned, and is relatively safe, D. the ship is abandoned because, say, the DCPU has a malicious code in it that killed its occupants, E. the garbled transmission is legit and there are actually NPCs there that "need your help", F. the humans on the ship aren't actually in trouble, but are pirates who try to lure you out of your ship to attack you, etc.
There could be different "rewards" to whatever happens, like the player striking up a trading alliance with the home planet of the inhabitants of the ship (for a rescue mission), or finding something of value among the rubble, or perhaps no reward at all and you're just lucky you managed to save your skin.
It's a ministory inside the game that allows players to choose the direction they take. They could of course, like Kibbles said, be completely ignored at the player's whim, but if the player doesn't want to pursue it, they don't have to.
It really bugs me when you're able to predict what a random event means every time because it only means one thing... it really breaks the immersion, rather than helping it.