brin.gif David Brin (1950- )

Streaker had been poking through a small gravitational tide pool, fifty thousand parsecs off the galactic plane, when she found the Fleet.

Toshio sighed at the unfairness of it. One hundred and fifty dolphins, seven humans, and a chimpanzee; how could we have known what we found?

Why did we have to find it?

Fifty thousand ships, each the size of a moon. That's what they found. The dolphins had been thrilled by their discovery -- the biggest Derelict Fleet ever encountered, apparently incredibly ancient. Captain Creideiki had psicast to Earth for instructions.

Dammit! Why did he call Earth? Couldn't the report have waited until we'd gone home? Why let the whole eavesdropping galaxy know you'd found a Sargasso of ancient hulks in the middle of nowhere?

The Terragens Council had answered in code.

"Go into hiding. Await orders. Do not reply."

Creideiki obeyed, of course. But not before half the patron-lines in the galaxy had sent out their warships to find Streaker.

--from Startide Rising

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