Evans gazed around the bridge of the Barbados. although he enjoyed his all-to-short month of shore leave, he couldn't help but miss being on the old ship. Suddenly, Nero spoke up. "Admiral, we're recieving a transmission...from the President." Evans blinked in suprise. "On screen." There was a confirming beep from the computer, and Edgar's face appeared on the viewscreen. "Listen closely, Evans." Edagr said in an urgent tone. Evans nodded wordlessly. "Recently," Edgar continued, "a colony ship intercepted a transmission from an alien ship." So it wasn't a rumor, Evans thought. "Since your ship is closest to where it happened, we're sending you to check it out." "Understood, Mr. President." Evans said with a nod, and closed tranmission. As soon as the veiwscreen turned off, Evans spun his chair aroun and pointed a gloved finger at Nero. "Bosst sensors to amximum capacity and lock on to the nearest sourse of the alien frequency." Nero saluted and followed the orders. Tuening to Juanita, Evans gave her a set if orders. "Switch to the alien frequnecy and be ready to answer a hail." "Yes, Admiral," she replied, and switched frequencies. "Admiral!" Nero shouted suddenly, "I've got a lock on that frequency...and it's not that far off." Evans activated his translator. "Take us there,full impulse." Nero nodded grimly, and the Barbados surged forward. After an excrutiating half-hour of waiting, Nero called out, "We're here Admiral, this is where the sigbnal is strongest." Evans gazed out the window. There was a large blue son and three gas-giant planets orbiting, but no other ships. Suddenly, a shimmer behind on of the planets caught his eye. Threre was no question what is was: a ship. and it certainly wasn't human. "We're recieving a hail,Admiral." Juanita said worriedly. Evans took a deep breath ans said "Onscreen."
the comuter beeped confiringly, and a creature appeared on the viewscreen. Evans strained to keep from flinching, it was the most hideos thing he had ever seen. The creature had a large triangular head, small, red eyes, scythe-like arms, and large mandibales that looked like they could cleave right through his neck. In other words, it looked very much like a praying mantis. Neither Evans nor the creature said any thing, until Evans regained his conposure and said "This is Admiral Willam Evans of the Earth Federation ship Barbados. We are peaceful explorers, and wish open relation with your people." The creature responded, "I am Captain Iblix, of the Thalan Empire ship Tir'Ah, and we are explorersss as well. May thisss be the start of a long and frutiful relationship." Theys eenm nice enough, Evans thought. "Let us hope so, Captain." "Admiral," Iblix rsponded, "I feel we could better negotiate if we ssspoke face-to-face. Would it be permisssable for me to come aboard you ship?" Evans blinked in suprise. "Er...yes, you come aborad." Iblix simply responded, "Thank you," and closed transmission. Turning on the intercom, Evans spoke to the doking bay crew. "Make some room. We're going to have a...guest land."