The Future's So Bright... Significantly Later
Fa’x!pl considered the data from the probes and scratched her left mandible. Every single datum was a surprise. Even when she thought she was immune to further surprise, she was surprised to find she wasn’t.
The small “star” of this binary stellar system was a planet, a now inescapable conclusion. The only respect in which it was stellar was that it produced light.
The temperate climate and high oxygen concentration of the atmosphere suggested the existence of plant life and it wasn’t long before the surface probe confirmed it. Indeed, vegetation was everywhere. Multicellular animal life was rare but there was some, large and sightless.
All life shone as brightly as the oceans, land and atmosphere. It was the damndest thing Fa’x!pl had ever seen.
The long dead ruins of cities were completely unexpected.
She ordered the surface probe to collect samples of air, soil and water. On its return and with the samples safely stowed, she engaged the folddrive and began her return to the Hegemony.