The Alexanderov Federation
Book 1 The Grendarl War
Part Five - The Discovery
As the radiation from the explosion quickly
decayed into harmless sub-particles and shortly vanished almost
entirely, the Bumblebee's crew was not just sitting around
admiring their handiwork. Lewis and Turley continued their
use only of passive detection devices, but they stepped up
their efforts to find something. Although they would almost
surely have no idea what had happened, if another ship or
any sensor platforms were in-system, they could not possibly
miss the radiation event from the ambush. So Lewis was looking
for any sort of communication traffic from ships yet undetected
discussing or reporting the unexpected burst of radiation,
but detected nothing at all. After a half hour of this, she
reported in. "Sir, I'm detecting absolutely no communications
traffic. Either they know it wasn't an accident and are keeping
silent to avoid tipping their hands, or there's nothing here."
Goodman glanced at her quickly. "Your opinion on the
likelihood of option one?"
"Turley, any luck spotting sensor platforms?" Grendarl
sensor platforms were detected fairly easily if you knew what
to look for, but it was still a bit of work to coax that data
out of the general hubris and noise of normal space. This
was a direct consequence of getting themselves kicked out
of the Senate and being at war with their only neighbor over
half of the time, for their technology was quickly lagging
behind, and soon would be totally obsolete.
"Nothing sir. If they're here, they're inactive sir,
and that's about as good as not here at all."
"Unless they turn on while we're in mid-scan."
"Well, there are no guarantees, sir."
Goodman had never been one for taking a long time to make
a decision. To make it to a captaincy, you couldn't. Those
who were more comfortable leaving their options open until
the last minute rarely made it past lieutenant. Goodman was
happier when the decision was made and life could go on. So
he mulled over his options for less than a second before ordering,
"Full sensors, focus on likely spots for inactive platforms
first, and if none are found, continue scans and tell me everything
about this system."
"Aye sir." Turley worked his boards for a few minutes.
Goodman waited patiently, rushing him would only distract
him and induce error. After what seemed like hours, but was
in reality only 15 minutes, Turley looked up in amazement.
"Sir, you're not going to believe this!"
"I'll take that chance, Lieutenant. What have you found?"
"Three planets with extreme biodiversity and mineral
richness, all of them with freebies of some sort, two of which
are also sweet-spot planets for us!"
"What? Why the slood is it still uncolonized?"
"Well, sir, as you know the Grendarl prefer their worlds
a fair bit more humid and with higher gravity than we do.
So it made a lot of sense for them to colonize the next one
over, which is also rather valuable and is not yellow zone
to them, as these worlds are."
"Hmm. OK, what are the bonuses?"
"That, sir, is even more unbelievable. The first planet,
in the third orbital position, is a pharmacopeia, the next
planet out has ancient artifacts, and the third planet has
a magnate civilization of rhea. After that are two gas giants
and the asteroid belt we're hiding in now."
"Lewis, we better report this right now. Get a message
drone prepped with the sensor logs. I'll record this one personally."
"And go passive again, Turley. If we haven't been detected
already no point in advertising."
Unbeknownst to the humans, however the Rrk'g'kreglin had
finally re-established contact with another alien race just
one year previously. The silicoid emperor Satrag was not a
particular fan of the Grendarl, but his distaste for graktoz
humans had prompted him to trade cautiously a few trinkets
to the Grendarl. One of these was a set of five sensor platforms
significantly ahead of what the Grendarl had on their own.
Luckily for Goodman, the one local platform had not detected
him earlier, and now it was damaged, having been caught within
the blast from the exploding transports. Its self-repair systems
had managed to re-establish power just in time to catch to
launch of the message buoy. It didn't have a clue what it
was, but its programming didn't care. It detected a launch
of some sort of device in the system and a lack of transports
about to make it to the jump point, and that was enough to
trigger alarms in its rudimentary AI. It immediately launched
a message buoy of its own towards the jump point leading to
the main empire of the Grendarl with a mayday. And due to
its unfamiliar nature, Turley mistook it for a distant quasar
event and ignored it.
Lesson number 2 in 3,000th century English. Slood (originally
sYl'Ud) is an expression of disbelief, generally not used
in polite society (or what passes for polite society among
Grendarl) due to its crude etymology. Graktoz (originally
G'aKt's) means honorless, and is a severe insult among Grendarl.
It is the closest translation for the actual word Satrag used
to describe his nemesis Alexanderov.