Solar Arrival

Guided by the Chanteuses, powered by the Heartstar, the Ship of the Way emerged into the Sol system just beyond the orbit of Saturn. The Heartstar dimmed as the jump completed; it would be another three dayspans before it could power another.

The robed Chanteuses turned their attention to the blue-white third planet’s EM emissions. Maius wrinkled her nose. “What a dirty spectrum. No comm discipline whatsoever.”

Jiana shrugged. “Dirty spectrum, lively world.”

“The last one was too lively for me, sister.” Maius’s fingers danced over the board. “Hail sent. At lightspeed, it will be half a dayspan at the earliest before they can notice and return signal. If they notice, amid all that comm clutter. We should stand down the shift.”

“You go ahead,” Jiana said. “I’m going to observe it a while longer.”

Maius shrugged. “As you will.” She left the bridge in a flurry of robes. Jiana turned back to the board and launched the probes.

Several decidays later, the return signal arrived.

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