A/N:Â This part is a bit short compared to usual. There’s no reason except I hit a natural break.
While they waited for news of the council’s decision the scientists that Amanpreet had brought to Corona to study the first space mission continued with their measurements.
Once she was sure that the Coronan system had the situation with the railguns well in hand Amanpreet joined them in the makeshift lab they had set up in the mess.
“This is really far more interesting than it would have been if it were just the spaceflight,” Oni said. “We’re getting to monitor their responses to what has happened as well.”
“How are they responding?” Amanpreet asked.
“Surprisingly calmly,” he replied. “Discovering that a previous sophont species was wiped out but left a powerful computer to watch over their successors would cause mass panic on many of the planets we study but not this one apparently. I mean there’s some but not as much as I’d expect.”
â€œI think the fact that someone clearly tried to kill them would be more panic inducing,â€ Amanpreet said. â€œDid you see that mass of meteors one of the guns shot at them before it was disabled? They couldn’t have missed that if they were paying attention.â€
â€œYes,â€ he said. â€œIt did get rather close to them before it was stopped. That did cause more alarm than the computer but still not panic.â€ He gave her an odd smile. â€œIt was quite the display as well. Travelling with you never gets boring: first a space-opera, now a lightshow – I wonder what comes next…â€
â€œI think they may be in a form of collective shock,â€ one of the other scientists said. â€œAnd that’s stopping real panic. I mean they’ve shown a good emotional range beforeâ€
â€œYes, that’s possible,â€ Oni conceded. â€œAny news from the Council yet?â€
Amanpreet shook her head. â€œNot yet, they are still debating. Niobe will call us as soon as there is. We do have the latest reports on where railguns and similar had been found and they’ve come to the same conclusion we did.â€
â€œHmm?â€ Oni tilted his head curiously.
â€œThere’s a correlation between an in system hyperspace entry or exit and railgun activation. Some of the systems have been inhabited and bioformed for over a century so obviously something else initiated the wake up but the guns are only activating in response to the hyperspace jumps.â€
Oni narrowed his eyes. â€œSo it is hyperspace travel that sends them xenocidal. I wonder why?â€
â€œI have no idea,â€ Amanpreet said. â€œAnyway after what happened when we checked on Valhr and a similar incident when the Damkinan defence force checked on Karis the council have called a halt to checking on systems with sophont species until we’re sure we can detect them.â€
â€œKaris was attacked?â€ Oni asked. â€œThe sophonts there are really close to developing hyperspace travel. The Council was getting ready a contact mission.â€
â€œThey’ve had to bring it forward,â€ Amanpreet said. â€œThe railgun in the Karis system launched a massive barrage. It was deflected, but the people on Karis monitored the whole thing and their scientists have been bombarding the Damkinan ships with mathamatical formulas.â€
â€œThey’re trying to communicate then,â€ Oni said. â€œThat’s a sign good. There’s always a danger of attack at first contact.â€
â€œI’ll say,â€ the science team’s linguist said. â€œThe last first contact attempt â€“ not counting the Mez – was about a hundred and ten years ago and we still haven’t dared to try again after they shot at the contact vessel. Fortunately they’re very insular and seem unwilling to use the hyperspace technology they have for more than visiting their nearest stars or they’d be something else to worry about. And they are the other side of Earth relative to Talis here so shouldn’t be effected by this current mess.â€ She paused and frowned. â€œAnd I think the enemy has misstepped badly. They’ve just alerted us and gained us new allies.â€
Amanpreet nodded and was about to say more when Niobe called from the bridge.
â€œAm, can you come back to the bridge. We’ve got a reply from the Council.â€