“I bet it is the DEHumans.” Jeannine sat down on the table on which the screen was mounted. “Admiral,” Nye turned slowly, “would you be so kind to open sensor logs of the last incident we had with them and their engines?”
“Certainly.” After a few moments the data that Nye had requested showed up on the screen. “Now my dear, open up the data you have gathered with the Ericsson probe, and do a comparison. Although every engine is unique, and they surely have an armada of ships with that sort of drive by now, it should give us enough hints to speculate with.” As another reference point in the comparison, Franziska drew up data collected from encounters with Harpy ships.
“Well,” the former Admiral croaked with a dry throat, “we can rule out the Harpies.” Data comparison between the emissions of the unidentified ship and the emissions of Harpy ships on record showed major differences. “It might be the DEHumans. Or an unknown party.” Jeannine sighed, sorrowful she caressed her belly.
If the linkers got a foothold in the destination solar system, it stood to reason that they might invade RV-p296. Something deep inside her hoped for a new alien race.
The thought of the linkers made her skin crawl.

“Lucy?” Admiral O’Neill held a tablet in his hands. “I did not know that the former Admiral Hardwick still was involved in antimatter research?” Although not restricted information, access to the data of antimatter engines was logged automatically.
The first officer slowly shuffled towards her Admiral. “It is either a coincidence, or far more likely, someone in the probe control department has informed her too.” Neither said anything specific as the command centre crew had no knowledge of the incident at ES-p296-1 either. “Shall I confront her, Sir?”
“No.” A playful smile on his lips the Admiral stretched his arms. “We should trust my predecessor, she won’t leak anything to the public, and her expertise is most valuable.” He recalled seeing Franziska oft times with Doctor Nye Charles, a retired scientist from probe control. Immediately the connection became obvious to him. “Together with Nye Charles’ brilliant mind they’ll figure it all out. If they have sufficient data.”
He stood up and walked a few paces to the exit. “If you’ll excuse me, I have a date with a pond and my fishing rod.”
Lucy had to snicker. There were no fish in the ponds aboard. The fish were only in controlled hydroponic tanks where vegetables were grown.
One time he had told her that fishing wasn’t about the fish. It was about the act of fishing, it had a meditative quality to it.
His grandfather had taught him how to fish, who in turn had learned it from his father back on earth. “Have fun sir.” She smiled taking his seat.
After he had left Tomasz Bereny approached her, asking what the whole deal was about, still smiling she told him to go back to his post, or else she’d ignore their friendship and note his behaviour in the log.

Usage of the Orion-drive inside the solar system was forbidden, so the Ericsson probe had to gradually pick up speed using conventional propulsion methods. Slingshoting around RV-p296 and its two lunar objects, it took a few weeks to reach a noteworthy speed in order to reach the moon in question. After the maneuvers were completed, another powerful burst from its engines propelled it through the solar system.
As it neared its final destination Jeannine sat at home, a baby in her arms, as did her wife Gloria.
During the months of the probe travelling the former Admiral, contacted the current one. He informed his predecessor that he already suspected her involvement, and was sort of glad over it, granting her full access, with the usual confidentiality clauses.
“This is an unofficial meeting, as usual.” Jeannine greeted Franziska and her grandmother, first images of Ericsson were trickling in.
Sieglinde hung in a sling in front of her, fast asleep.
“Are those,” Franziska stared at the image before her. “Shipyards?” Shrugging her shoulders Jeannine too looked at the image.
“That my dear Admiral, is a space elevator. Or at least, the geostationary end of it.” Nye enhanced the image, revealing a tether from the object above the moon down to the surface. “Presumably constructed of material called carbon nanotubes. It might serve as a shipyard, or a harbour.” Calmly explaining Nye switched to the next image. It showed the assumed elevator end in greater detail.
Further solidifying the suspicion of a shipyard, as two partial ships seemed to be tethered to the station. “This might pose a problem. They might be preparing to invade RV-p296.”
Nye shook her head, her long white hair shaking as she did. “If they wanted, they would’ve landed right away. Whoever this is. I assume they know of the native population, and don’t wish to interfere.” Or to be bothered by them.
Ever drawing closer to the moon Ericssons pictures showed the station, in growing detail. Until the on board AI decided to aim its cameras and sensors at the surface.
At the base of the space elevator was a large structure.
Around it a sophisticated transport network that seemed to vanish underground. “Reasonable.” Nye thought aloud. “Minerals would be mined, from underground.” She concluded her thoughts.
Most of what was visible on the ground had a dark red hue, which again made sense to Nye and Jeannine, sunlight out there was a lot weaker and any plant, or plant like organism would need to make the best of it, and so a red chlorophyll would have evolved as the best solution, most lifeforms on that moon would require other sources for energy than sunlight.
“There, what’s that?” Jeannine enhanced an image of a structure on the far side of the moon. Puzzled the two elderly women stared at the structure. It was twice as big as the base for the space elevator. Something glowed in the center of it.
“What ever it is, it is huge.” Nye mused, looking at the data the sensors had gathered from the structure.
“Energy emissions are off the charts.” An enhanced image of the structure came up next. From up close it looked sinister, as if it was a a planet destroying raygun. Again Nye checked the emissions.
“This is a problem.” She sighed after viewing that data. “They are going to use this on the gasgiant, I’m not sure to what end, but I fear it’ll be a problem.”
“Why?” Franziska followed her example and reviewed the readings. “There are graviton emissions coming from hat thing. We can detect that because the Ark1 and the Kismet were originally designed to utilise Gravitons in their propulsion.” Seeing that the Admiral wasn’t following her Nye paused. “In layman’s terms, a photon is a particle that makes up light. A Graviton makes up gravity. The Ark class ships were designed to ride on a wave of Gravitons and basically fall towards their destination.” Seemingly the Admiral understood. “I still don’t understand what these Gravitons will do to that Gasgiant.”
“ES-p296-1 is in tidal lock with its parent planet, the same side always faces the planet, this way the emitter can always project the Gravitons at ES-p296. I don’t know what exactly the outcome should be, but this will either strip the planet of what ever resource they want to harvest, or it will be used to collaps the gasgiant, and subsequently, ignite it.”
“Like a sun?” Jeannine lowered her tablet, pondered while staring at a non specific point in the room. “It wouldn’t be like a sun, more like a dim shine. But it’d give up heat.” She concluded.
Although she had reservations, if those who had built the graviton emitter on the moon pumped enough energy into it, they might achieve more than she thought possible.