... returned to contemplating his moon when the comms crackled.
Commander? Bridge, we just got a reading from the Wanderer.What?
Powall sat up. What sort of reading?Some
sort of infra-red spike. It wasnt there before.Ill
be right up. Powall looked longingly at the Wanderer and then left
the observation deck for the bridge.Ok,
tell me what weve got, he said as he entered the bridge. The
lieutenant on duty, a Neptunian woman whos name Powall had never
been able to remember, shooed an ensign away from the main sensor
display and brought up a replay of the last 30 minutes.Looks
like several heat spots sitting on the surface, she said, pointing
to the display, which altered to bring the relevant area of the
Wanderers surface into a plan view. They arent moving and
they havent changed intensity, but our preliminary scans showed
that this body was completely inert.So...
youre saying someone else got here first?Its
one option, sir, the lieutenant said, folding two of her arms. She
manipulated the display with the other two. Powall tried not to
grimace. Theres also the possibility of micrometeorite impacts,
previously unrecorded seismic activity or more of those flares.I
see. Powall stared at the display. Take us to stand-by alert
anyway, just in case. And make sure our discovery claim has been
sent, I dont want some fraznick prospecto...