“How close?” We could be famous, and rich if we could get a good scan of the first aliens ever encountered.

“Real close. Their signal only traveled for a couple of kiloseconds.” With her head resting in her hands, and her body shifting in and out of coalescence, it looked like she was trying to hold herself physically in our time.

She paused and solidified long enough for me to hand her the cola float and then took a long drink from it. “Thanks.”

She sat down in the center of the spherical control chamber and I flipped the music pod over to her. “I got you this, too. My kids don’t need them anymore.”

She turned it over in her tiny hands. “Kind of old isn’t it?” The crooked smile reminded me of my own daughter when she was that age.

“Alright, alright. Enough with the age remarks. The aliens? Do they have something to do with the mass aberration we’re seeing? And the drive malfunction?”

“Yes. I think so.” She struggled a moment, faded out then back in. “They’ve been here for a long time.”

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