Obliquities: Ordinary Survey, Well Past The Counted Line, 2



Because General Discretion was required,

due to the aliens' unawareness,

our vessel had to be disguised from them.

The planet's surface was mostly water,

and some of it iced, at the caps.  A cold

climate provided a more accurate

process of measurement, more quickly, too.

The star had just set relative to our

horizon, nor would interere with the

procedures while absent.  For camouflage,

we sheathed the whole ship in layers of ice,

most of it submerged.  (That may sound strange:

but I have served on survey ships concealed

in rock, in mist, and once in purple weeds.

Whatever matter is available

can be converted to covert purpose.)


Thus settled we began collection of

data.  That is the most tedious time

of the whole voyage.  One just simply waits.

Sometimes weather events can alter the

monotony, but we forecast calm air

and quiet waters, good conditions for

complete success of all the measurements.

Gently, and almost imperceptibly,

we drifted in a straight line between the

top pole to the equator.  Sheathed in ice,

we let the lull relax our cares until

warning telemeters sounded alarms---

noting an unidentified object,

approaching us upon a steady pace.

View starward's Full Portfolio