The saga of The Last Angel continues with an update for The Hungry Stars. In this chapter, Yunl’ro is planning how to proceed with the task set before her, as discussions on Nibiru start with a reminder of what the Loeague can expect from the Compact’s mercies, as both sides consider their next move and their counterparts’ next move.
Below is an excerpt as Prime Minister du Maise discusses contingency plans with one of his admirals, and a reminder that the League does have reason to be paranoid. At least so far as they see it, which isn’t even that wrong. They’re a small fish in a small pool, but when the rains come, those ponds turn into a much bigger lake… and there are often much bigger and very hungry animals in those lakes that don’t care at all how well their next meal ruled its own little pool.
Hope you enjoy!
“System security status?”
“No change. Other than the shuttle, there’s been no indication of launches from Lakhesis, so it seems they’re keeping their eyes to themselves. The Prophet’s Hand is still running under strict emissions control.” That was the trickiest part; the Prophet’s Hand was close to being operational and the League had gone to extreme lengths to keep it concealed. If the Confederates detected it, they’d have questions. If they figured out what it was, those would become questions that the League couldn’t adequately answer. At least right now. Once they were more comfortable with each other, once they could trust the Confederates to understand…
The potential for a very unhappy first contact was there. But then, Rasmussen reminded himself. Have we ever had any other kind with the Confederacy? Earth had come to Lalande 21185 with demands held in an iron fist and Convoy 516 had begun their relationship with the League with murder, escalating to betrayal and a war that had nearly cost the Prophet’s people everything.
This time the stakes were even higher. It wasn’t just their civilization at risk, but everything they’d struggled for. Everything the Prophet Siegland had seen, foretold and died to bring about could be lost. That couldn’t happen, not when they were so close to the Great Work. To achieve that destiny, they needed the rest of humanity. Even more than that, they needed Nemesis. We’ve lost so much, suffered so much over the centuries. This is our chance to take something back. We can’t lose it. “And Phantom-1?” du Maise asked carefully.
“No contact,” Rasmussen replied. “Still running under full submersion protocols. Even our own sensors can’t pick it up, and we know what we’re looking for. Lakhesis should stay blind to her.”
“Prophet bless, but I hope she’s not necessary.”
“I agree, but it’s better to have her on-station and never need her than need her and not have her, sir. Just like Minister Morrison needs to discuss all possible avenues, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t push for precautions like this. I’m sure our visitors have some contingency plans of their own.”
“You’d think fellow humans could trust each other…” Morrison said with a sigh.