Saturday, October 25, 2008

Droubble: Survey


There were hundreds of billions -- an entire small moon was dismantled to supply the mass for their construction. Each weighed a few ounces -- some instruments, a transmitter, and an enormous sail, one molecule’s thickness. They were launched, one by one, propelled with huge laser arrays powered by the dyson array encircling the system’s white sun.

An entire armada of wisps was sent to every potentially life-supporting system in the galaxy, compensating for the dismal survival rate of a craft which might be destroyed by a few errant atoms in interstellar space.

Of tens of thousands, most reached the limits of the yellow star’s system. There was significant attrition passing through the Oort cloud, and in the outer system; though interplanetary space is relatively empty, it’s positively cluttered compared to the void between stars.

1,376 made it to the asteroid belt seperating the inner and outer system. Of these, 1,259 were lost in the belt, leaving 117 wisps to survey the inner system. Only a few dozen got a clear enough look at the third planet to catch the spectroscopic signatures of the telltale emissions of industrial civilization.

One was all it took to call in the makers.

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