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As expected, Admiral O’Neill wanted a more detailed analysis of the emitter, and the space elevator.
He was still impressed by the eloquent presentation from Nye and Franziska. The two women told him everything he needed and wanted to know. “So what are we dealing with here? Linkers? Harpies? Something we yet have to meet? I’d like to know something about our neighbours since we’re about to move in there.” His attempt at humour was answered with not a single chuckle.
“Yet unknown, Ericsson needs to make one pass around ES-p296, to slow down and make a low fly over of dash 1.” Nye leaned on the table.
Some small voice in her head mused that many decades ago this might have looked sexy, if she wore something low cut. With some effort she chased that thought away. “Then we might get to catch a glimpse at who, or what, is down there.”
I bet it is Jason’s people. Another tiny voice went off. Although she had managed to tolerate it when others referred to the DEHumans as linkers or their self chosen name, she always called them Jason’s people.
“Alright. I hope you realise that soon we will be close enough to wave at them from our windows as we gracefully fly by.” He made theatrical waving motion.
Again, no one in the room so much as chuckled. Kind of disappointed, Dean sighed. “Dismissed.”
“Lucy, is everyone here cursed with a lack of humour?” He turned to his first offiver after all others had left. “No sir, may I speak freely?”
“Of course. We’re pals, aren’t we?”
“You’re not funny, sir, pal.” Correcting herself she winked leaving him alone in the briefing room.

Silently Ericsson passed over the moon, adjusting its course so it won’t collide with the elevator, entering an orbit. Both its AI and the humans that received its telemetry knew that it would be spotted right away. Probably had been spotted during its initial approach.
Cameras and detectors of all sorts were pointed at the surface during the first pass, during the second pass, detailed information about the elevator was gathered.
Equally silent the data was compressed, encrypted and sent to Explorer.

Marvelled by the magnificent engineering feat of the elevator Jeannine and Nye sat over images and telemetry, Franziska seemed more concerned.
“That is some serious stuff.” She stared at the ships under construction in orbit. “They’re building a thrid one. Three bays for ship construction, and I assume those pillars are for docking.” Her entire body tensed up, there was a knot in her belly.
Enhanced images from the surface revealed nothing. Wildlife, and plants, as well as disturbed soil, but no people, or aliens.
“Gran?” Jeannine sprang to her feet. Her face was pale allmof a sudden. Alarmed Franziska turned to look at Nye, who seemed to be fine. “There is an atypical file in this data burst.” Jeannine’s hand shook, almost vibrated. “It’s marked ‘Dr. Charles’.”
With shaky hands she handed Nye the tablet, who also felt tense and shaky.
Going deep into herself, Nye sat with closed eyes over the tablet, she took a deep breath. As she opened her eyes again she accessed the file.
The face of a darkskinned woman appeared. She had corkscrew curled black hair, and piercing green eyes. Behind her a man stepped into view. Although aged considerably Nye recognised him immediately.
“Jason!” A burst of tears came with that agonised squeal, a shaking hand rose to her mouth. “Hello, Grandmother.” The young woman spoke as if she just had learned a foreign language, which Nye assumed was somewhat the case, as they would have no need to speak at all in their collective mind. “I believe you are wondering what it is that we have built on this moon.” She over pronounced every word, to ensure she spoke them correctly. “The emitter pointed at the planet, is designed to gather resources from its atmosphere. We advise you to keep the probe out of the direct line, or else it will get damaged, if not destroyed.” She blinked for a moment.
“Our memory tells us you will want to inquire about the well being of your offspring. Jas,” she paused, blinking, “father is well. As is this,” again she paused to blink, “As am I.” The message ended.
Frantically jerking around with the tablet, Nye opened it again.
In silence Franziska got up and led Jeannine out of the room. “She needs to be alone now.”
Reassuring both looked back to Nye who sat haunched over the display, sobbing. We wouldn’t be able to comfort her. She wants them to do it. With a sigh Franziska closed the door.

Admiral O’Neill seemed to be concerned as Franziska and Jeannine made their report, but at the same time his posture was a relaxed one. “So they’re not going to light up the planet?”
“No sir. They’re going to mine it.” Letting out an aching sigh as he got up. “Perhaps we can learn a thing or two from the linkers? I mean, have any of you ever had thought of mining a gas giant?” This time Lucy had to smirk at his remark.
“Do you intend to start negotiations with them?” Franziska sat down, she had remained on her feet during the entire report, much to her astonishment Nye had been right about the frequent walks. She was fitter now.
“I will extend friendly greetings, if something comes up, yes. If not, I won’t bother them, they had made it clear they don’t want any involvement with us.” At the door he paused. “How’s Doctor Charles holding up?”
“She’ll manage. I think.” Jeannine replied, wishing herself to be with her grandmother, who was staying with Gloria and the kids.
“Fine. Let’s just hope the last years of our journey remain trouble free.”