A/N: repost because the original was causing a redirect loop
“The main thing you need to know about an expedition to a prohibited world is that even on a sanctioned expedition landing is still completely forbidden. Indeed we must take great care to avoid being seen from the surface.”
“I can see why,” Amanpreet said. “From the surface we’d appear to be an unusual astronomical phenomenon if spotted and that could could influence the development of their cultures even without contact. But it won’t be easy especially since you say they are launching their first extra-atmosphere vehicle. How do we observe and avoid being seen?”
“No, it’s not easy,” he agreed. “But there are protocols in place. I’ll explain them in more detail while we’re in transit as they are quite complex and your engineer-” He nodded to Vanna. “-Will need to tweak some things in preparation.”
“Okay,” Amanpreet said. “It’s going to be a three week trip from Talis to Corona so that fits right in with the schedule.” She tilted her head at him. “So what else do we need to know?”
â€œHmm… Do you know much about Corona?â€ Oni asked.
â€œNot really, no.â€ Amanpreet shook her head. â€œI know it has two recognised class four intelligence species and I believe they are closely related.â€
â€œYes,â€ he said. â€œThey seem to have diverged from a borderline sophont species during a mass extinction some two hundred thousand years ago. Interestingly that extinction even may have been caused by a now extinct Sophont species on the planet that reached a high technological level.â€
â€œThat’s interesting,â€ Niobe said. â€œThat’s about the time Talis would have been wiped out as well. An odd coincidence, don’t you think? Do you think it could have been the same aliens as apparently did that to Talis?â€
â€œI heard about that.â€ Oni looked intrigued. â€œAnd it’s worth considering. We’ll have to discuss it with the dig scientists during our stop at Talis.â€
â€œThe book did say that Talis wasn’t the only planet they attacked.â€ Amanpreet hummed to herself. â€œWe could send a message to Sangat and ask him to consult the alien’s computer to see if it knows.â€
â€œThat’s an excellent idea,â€ Oni said. â€œI’ll go and do that now as we need to notify him and his colleagues of their temporary reassignment anyway.â€ He nodded to them again. â€œI’ll send through more details about Corona for you to study and give you more details if you need them. I don’t want to bore you with too much technical data at once and as you notes we have time.â€
â€œOne thing we will need is navigation simulations for Talis to Corona,â€ Mark said. â€œI’ve not the slightest idea what the route would be.â€
â€œYeah, I feel the same,â€ Kane said.
â€œTalis to Corona?â€ Kayla said. â€œThat shouldn’t be too hard. I mean I know that the Corona pool is dim enough you might miss it if you aren’t looking for it â€“ probably because of that extinction event – but it’s there and it’s easily triangulated using Vaia, Cels and Earth. I’ve used it as a reference sometimes. Goodness knows there’s few enough good ones.â€
â€œIt’s dim enough I’ve never noticed it,â€ Kane said. â€œBut I’ll take your word for it. I’d still like the simulations though.â€
â€œOf course,â€ Oni said. â€œI’ll have some made up for you and send them over.â€
When the bundle of information from Oni arrived later that afternoon there was a message from the Ishtari on Talis station included along with a note saying this had come in with the information they’d requested from Sangat and he was passing it on. Amanpreet stared at it for a moment before opening it and scanning the contents quickly.
â€œAh! I’m glad we hadn’t purchased the supplies for the Ishtari yet,â€ she said. â€œThey sent us a new list.â€ She read through it more thoroughly. â€œAh! They need us to bring in some specialist supplies for the bioforming alongside the food and recreation stuff.â€
â€œBioforming supplies?â€ Kane said dubiously. â€œThat’s going to eat into the budget.â€
â€œI know,â€ Amanpreet said. â€œBut they say they’ll pay and for them and just take the transporting them and buying the other stuff in payment for the repairs since it’s beyond the original scope of our deal.â€
â€œUh,â€ Kane said. â€œDo the Ishtari even use money? I heard they didn’t.â€
â€œOnly when they deal with species that do,â€ Amanpreet said. â€œFor themselves… well the Kska and Tkin are both extremely prosocial species and it’s made their economics rather strange by our standards, but they make for good neighbours and they wrapped their brains around money rather quickly once they realised it simplified trading with us.â€ She shook her head and looked back at the screen. â€œI’d better order this stuff immediately if it’s to be fabricated and delivered to the Whisper before we leave.â€
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