ESniffer Packet hung invisibly in place, far above the ecliptic of this nameless Ember-class star, whose sole distinction was its position nearly 800 light-orbits from Chanq (Vanlir Edge). The starwisp was a speck in a soap bubble; trailing behind it, the flimsy, filamentary acres of its light sail now re-rigged to keep it in position near the star’s pole.

Meanwhile, frantic activity bubbled the surface of the wisp core, its few grains of mass dissolving as the ‘wisp’s nanomachine payload went active. Shielding and raw mass were devoured as core programming took over from the transit processor, using the last fragments of power available in the tiny radiothermal generator to kick off the transformation process, exuding thin fragments of wire mesh plated with magnetic stiffeners, solar collection foil, and nodal nanocomputer signal processors – using the mesh itself as an antenna, capable of acting together as a single radio telescope a mile wide, absorbing all radio bands from the log-2 to the log-9.

The a-chanq civilization had fallen barely a decade before the Worlds had reached them.

But with the help of thrust and fortunate stellar geometry, the Exploratory Service could still hear their echoes.

3 thoughts on “Echoes

  1. I wonder what the “the Worlds had reached them” was? A Lucifer-launched starwisp decelerating into the Chanq system? An ambiplasma exploratory lighthugger decelerating in? Or do the Worlds, every time they find sign of an inhabited system, send a weylforge to the phyically closest linked system, inflate a holepair, and send half of into the inhabited system via a specialized robotic lighthugger?

    Depending on distance, it may be likely that the a-chanq would may have well seen any of those three kinds of launches.

    Which may have influenced their collapse.

    • Oh, indeed.

      Could have been any of them (although I am for now reserving which just in case I want to be more specific later); no matter which, as I point out in Xenognosis, it would have been pretty obvious that it was coming, which does tend to have all sorts of interesting effects.

      But, as I also mention there, the general opinion on that is a polite variant on “shit happens”, because if you want to explore the galaxy at all, thermodynamics kind of sucks that way. Even the Republic has had to reconcile itself to that, albeit with more weaseling and euphemisms, because their non-interference principles don’t quite extend to staying perpetually at home on Vonis Prime just in case, which is what they’d be stuck with in a universe without cloaking devices or conveniently low-signature warp drives.

      (Although the Enterprise should have been spotted by the Mark I Eyeball far more than it actually was…)

  2. Pingback: Starships of the Imperial Exploratory Service | The Eldraeverse

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