Opera Tips: Ordinary Survey, Well Past The Counted Line, 3



Fully concealed, a visual sighting was
not possible for us.  We could detect,
however, from the garish lights displayed,
and from vibrations all across its hull,
that it was a steam driven sea-ship, and
larger than we might have expected.  But
General Discretion forbade any use
of an evasive movement---just a hunk
if ice drifting into their path:  that was
all that we could be now.  In high suspense,
we read the data indicating that
the ship was turning, slightly, not head-on
now, but a lateral collision was
imminent.  Our ice cover could withstand
far worse.  We felt a slight tremor at first;
then this became far more pronounced and then
declined to what it had been first, then stopped.
At once our ship's internal auditors
began a full emergency review
of all systems, including measurements
and monitors.  No damage was sustained
internally; externally a bit
of ice had fallen off.  But no adverse,
effect had skewed the data, or required

a reset of those tedious efforts.
Just as we started back to our routine,
we felt---as if distant---explosions, "As
"if bombs had just gone off," the captain said.
Then, nothing more followed.  Telemetry,
looking astern, found nothing to detect.
Shortly before the star was due to rise,
we jettisoned the data to the fleet,
then made ready for our return to them.
During ascent, of course, our ice disguise
melted to steam, and with our visual
components functional, we searched a wide
swathe of that water, but could not locate
the ship that struck us.  Perhaps we had reached
too high point.  No, I have never been
back there, since.  Some astronomers told me,
quite long ago, that blue planet's orbit
around the mediocre yellow star
contained only dust and debris, after
a sudden flash recorded by one of

our satellites that had been put there since

our visit.  An analysis proved that

fusion had been the cause---but not from space.




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