|Image Credit: http://www.closeststars.com/Map1.html|
We’ve found them. That comes as a relief to my thoughts! We may have located the Visitors, but unfortunately they’re already on their way out of the Epsilon Indi system. From their direction, I estimate that their next destination is Beta Hydri. This star is approximately 24 light years from Earth. Although it has a similar spectral class and mass to our Sun, it is actually much larger and almost 3 times as bright.
On the positive side, they haven’t activated their drive yet. By my calculations, that still gives us a slim chance at catching them. I’m curious why they haven’t engaged their drive yet. Perhaps they are unable to do so within close proximity to a star. Although reviewing my memory revealed that they used their engines closer to Tau Ceti than they are to Epsilon Indi now.
My best guess (and I hate that I cannot perform any proper investigation of the matter) is that gravitational topography of the system is complicated by the orbiting pair of brown dwarfs. I hope that I am correct because it is that deduction which allows us the time we need to catch them. It would help if we could contact them directly in the hope that we’d interest them enough to slow, or even change their course.
We still have the high gain antenna but the mounting failed when we tried to align it to send a message. Without any working spiderbots, we cannot investigate the problem directly. It was probably unlikely that we could fix the problem due to our lack of stores, but I would like to have tried. We can reorient the Venti, but again we’re limited in our options. We’re relying on the sail for our propulsion and any manoeuvring, and our angle of approach would be compromised by trying to face the Visitors’ course. On our current trajectory, we will enter a suitable orientation in around 6 weeks time. I don’t like it, but I’ve decided that we will have to wait for that opportunity.
I have the core of the message ready to send, but even in my reduced capacity I have continued to refine it. It uses the same format as their communication with the Cetians and their transmission to us. The key difference here is that the Cetians were more open with their message. The Visitors revealed little in their transmission except their purpose, which makes constructing a first contact protocol challenging.
Originally I followed the Cetian example and built an open message outlining our mathematics and science. Since my last awakening, I have amended that plan and the message is now more circumspect. I made sure to include our own encounter with the Sun Dragon which should identify the common purpose between us. Part of the reason for this change is my own reduction in capability. I currently lack my customary intellect and that would slow my response to any problem.
We’re just about holding together here and I can’t help but wonder if that is somehow degrading my decision making.