This week with Arlene and Jeff:
...Jeff grinned at Quinton, but went on. "Like we've mentioned before, we particularly need to remain undetected in our surveillance. We surely don't need the aliens sending for additional ships before they attack. Ship says she can take that monster…"
"I am fully confident," Ship interrupted to say, "but there is no sense in having to fight an armada."
"How do we know that they haven't already sent for help?" Fred asked, reasonably.
Jeff glanced at his friend. "We don't. And that brings up another point. We need to be particularly observant of any communications in either direction. Ship?"
"Message torps are easily detectable when they enter or leave warp. Ann left pickets within range of the alien ship. When we return, the pickets will update our scout on what they have observed."
"What are these 'pickets'? Aren't you afraid the aliens will notice them and give us away?" Fred wanted to know.
Jeff let out a chuckle. "Not much chance of that. They're about the size and thickness of your thumbnail and they're using only passive methods of surveillance. Even so, if one of the alien vessels comes within a critical distance, the picket will dissolve into a faint mist of atoms. Remember, we're not talking about Earth technology here, but Ship's. When our scout returns within range, the pickets will tight-beam what they have learned, then reset and continue to watch."
Diana reached over to place her hand on her husband's. "So, who are you going to send out there? You know Ann will want to go back."...
Have a goodun;