It was a slow shift in traffic control, there had in fact been a slowdown in incoming traffic for the last three shifts. And the computer had noticed.
Dave was sat at his command station when he got the alert from the computer. It also sent him a splurge of news that it has sucked from the few ships that had docked. And it had highlighted some disturbing things. At least the computer thought they were disturbing.
Dave was inclined to agree with it. They all indicated that Earth had gone crazy.
This wasn’t the normal level of crazy that happened on a semi regular basis, this was full on someone had turned the planetary defences on all of the orbiting stations crazy.
The news didn’t say what had caused this. But Dave knew. Everyone that had served on the line knew.
There was something about serving on a spaceship for several years at a time that didn’t agree with some people. And the hyper jumps for FTL didn’t help; they put a lot of stress on the human body. Dave knew – his navy career was in tatters because he had problems with FTL. The fact he had even been given the command he had was an indication that he was not long in uniform.
‘Sir!’ yelled one of the scan techs.
‘Go ahead Jim.’
‘There is something big coming out of FTL at system edge, the relays have just sent us a high priority warning.’
‘Big sir, they haven’t sent an ident sir. They have flagged at unknown ships with a possible first contact warning.’
Dave tapped into his console to lookup the regs for first contact; in all human space history they had never been used. There was another ten hours before the ships were within range of the station, at least they – whoever they were – hadn’t come in close to the station. Although that could have been a bad thing too – why draw out the issue?
‘What navy ships are in system?’ Dave asked the room.
‘Just the Destroyer Marvellous Infinity.’
‘Get the skipper on the com please.’ Dave brought up the details of the skipper while the com tech did as he was asked.
‘Captain Ruiz on com for you sir.’
‘Captain – this is station master Kirby. We have an unidentified ship or ships at ten hours out. Please prepare for possible hostile action or first contact.’
‘Do you have any information on them Station Master?’ Asked Ruiz.
‘Not at this time – we got an auto alert from the relays. I will pass on more info as and when we get it.’
‘Understood Station Master. Infinity out.’
Dave relaxed a little. A destroyer wouldn’t be much good if it was an invasion. But it could at least send a signal probe out towards Earth and hopefully warn them of anything that happened.