In reverse order: Some folks got worried since I don’t communicate frequently. I understand. I’m 74 and the COVID virus is particularly hard on old people. I’m also fat but I have none of the co-morbidities associated with that. My blood sugar is normal and blood pressure under good control. Our county was hard hit as all of them were neighboring Detroit. Now however while the chart for Oakland county shows a Delta surge the graph of deaths is flat and declining. Being an antisocial curmudgeon is beneficial for exposure. So many are upset they can’t jam in sporting events or airliners – while they’d have to pay me to do so.
The invasion book is at 200k words + and mostly done. It’s been fun and I’ll go back and finish the next April book next. It may be the last or next to last bridging to the Family Law books. I’ll probably take some time to create more paper editions after that. I can do it now but it was a huge deal to learn how to satisfy Amazon’s demands – especially on covers.
Here’s a little snippet.
“What is it? I’m in conference with the scholar,” Three Fingers said irritated.
“Your pardon, sir. This is the scholar’s assistant. We are still on limited emissions and he neglected to plug in his communicator. We have news we thought he should have that he’d want to tell you.”
“Well, out with it then man,” Three Fingers encouraged.
“The sensor module you had parked on the backside of the big moon has detected emissions. It isn’t anything from out-system. The natives have several devices returning video and data from the next planet in the system.”
“Next in or out?” Three Fingers demanded. “I thought there was no other radio noise?”
“Out. It is smaller, red in appearance, has very little atmosphere, and with no active magnetic field. A very inhospitable chill desert planet. The video it shows is being sent from vehicles but there is no speech being transmitted or any indication it is manned. In each case, it seems to be showing the area around a wheeled vehicle, and the tracks it made to get there are sometimes visible. They seem to be robotic devices,” the underling speculated. “We missed them at first because the power level being used is very low for planetary distances. What the interest could be in such a desolate rock is beyond me.”
“Thank you, Beelus. We’ll tap the feed if we want to see more,” the scholar said, dismissing him.
The man didn’t immediately leave.
“There is news about the other devices recovered if you want to hear it.”
“Certainly, go ahead,” Three Fingers invited.
“The large flat device that was attached to the computer turns out to be a very specialized antenna. We know how to make them but they are only used for long range radar installations at a fixed ground site. Those are purpose-built, but the technicians insist this has all the hallmarks of a mass-produced consumer product like a music player. It has several very high-density semiconductor devices we don’t understand, and contains tiny servo motors to aim it.”
“To aim it at what?” Three Fingers asked pointedly.
“It was in an open area pointed at the sky. There is very little air traffic in that remote area of their planet for it to connect to aircraft. The only theory advanced by one person was that it tracks and communicates with satellites, but nobody else agrees. They are all holding out for an alternative explanation. Oh, and the skinny pliers? They were shown to the head of maintenance without telling him their source. He tried them out bending some wire and removing some lock clips and declared them of very good quality. So good we had a hard time getting him to release them back to us.”
“Very close to our level of technology,” Three Fingers told his scholar.
“Yes, that is becoming disturbingly evident. I’ll have more to report soon, I’m sure.”