“This is Galaxy Orbiter Delta signing on”. Dax punched a set of buttons, and settled into the commander’s chair.

“Arrivals, conference.” He flicked through the standard items. “Problem with colony OM/354-85?” He turned to one of the station crew. “Pull this information, will you? Many thanks.” He smiled to the retreating worker.

His shift would last a month, standard time.

He opened a hailing frequency and a young man appeared on a screen in front of him.

“This is Galaxy Orbital Delta. Dax Chr, the First, here. Welcome to the sector.”
“Thank you Watcher Chr. This is the ‘Alpha and Omega’. I’m Captain Chance Million.”

Dax pulled Million’s chart and tried to suppress a smile. Badly.

“It’s OK, sir. Many people find it funny. My parents didn’t think they’d be given permission to have a child.”
“I see, Chance.” Dax laughed. Chance’s parents had seen fit to give him the middle name “Ina”. “That must have been fun growing up.”
Chance smiled, “Not as much fun as it was receiving A Captain’s position.”

They both laughed.

Dax skimmed his notes. “Oh. A survey ship. Been out long?”
“Three millennia, sir. We’re on our way back now.”
“I see. And when do you hope to reach Central Prime?”
“We’ll be home in just over 900 standard years, sir.”
“Very good. And is there anything Delta can do for you today?”
“Actually, there is, sir. The crew were hoping they could get some information about their families at home, before the final descent.”

“Of course, of course. Both you and Central Prime will transmit records to each other when you’re fifty years out. That’ll mean that by the time your final generations have landed and met their descendants there is familiarity, but still room for familial bonding over recent history.”

Chance nodded. “When will we need to start transmitting? I’m assuming this will be made up of both private logs and ship information?”

“Absolutely. Hang on.” Dax pulled up a new menu, and dragged a box from one screen to the communications channel. “There. That’s the entire protocol file. It’ll tell you what to compile and set the send date into the main system. I’ll set up requests for information here, and co-ordinate with Central Prime until I move on. Everything will be taken care of. Anything else?”

“Not at the moment, sir”
“Well, you’re going to be this sector until you’re an old man, Million. If you need anything, just call.”
“Will do, sir. Million Out.”

The screen went dead. Dax spun around in his chair.

“Right, Colony OM/354-85. What happened?”
An advisor stepped up. “The colony stopped responding to communications, sir.”
“I see. And when was that?”
The advisor searched through her document. “Ah, here it is. About 150 standard years ago.”
This was all new to Dax. “So…what happens in this kind of event?”
“The advisor checked her screen. “We periodically check to see if it was a local blip.”
Dax nodded. “And?”

“Well, Outreach suggest a spirit ship loaded with a Consciousness Meme. It will find a suitable vessel, one carrying our tech, if possible, present itself and launch the meme. We’ll follow up with a fast moving stealth vessel to rendezvous with it.”
“And how long will that take?”
“About 30 standard years.”

“Right then, let’s get that one sorted.”
Dax turned his chair and opened another hailing frequency.

“This is Galaxy Orbital Delta. Dax Chr, the First, here. Welcome to the sector”