Panic Mode

“This Emergency Session of the Pan-Heliospheric Confederation is now called to order,” Bethony declared.

Miteigi Suzuki raised his hand. “What are the facts,” he asked, more a statement than a question.

Bethony doled out slips of paper. "Two days ago we received this transmission from the Hope. We don’t have enough data to accurately plot their course with confidence. At this point, this is all we really know. "

A wet blanket draped itself over the room as the councilmen read the message.

“We have to save them,” Laredo said, at length. It was stupid, and he knew it, but he spoke for the majority.

“But how?!” Dahlquist exploded. “How are we going to get a big enough ship out there to make…what, a five-light-year round trip? The fuel requirements _alone_—”

“It can be done,” announced an old man, seated at the opposite end of the table.

“You got some spare antimatter lying around? Because there’s no other way this is going to get done.”

“It can be done,” he repeated, his voice soft, but firm.

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