"There is something strange about Crazy Horse."

"You mean besides being a superterrestrial planet in an extremely close orbit with a small black hole orbiting through its core?"

"Yeah. The composition is odd when you compare it to other rocky superterrestrials, far too much carbon and silicon. The Eater is much more massive than a grown Big Bang remnant black hole ought to be."

"But it has absorbed some of the planet's mass. Isn't that enough?"

"Not really. In a few million years it will have absorbed the entire planet, but the mass still doesn't fit the models."

"What did the Engineers say about it?"

"They acknowledged all my views and gave me some supplemental data. But the odd thing is, they seem to be holding out on some information. Nothing obvious, and I got everything I asked for. But I have the distinct feeling they are doing more than just study the Eater."

"Sounds just like paranoia. They are aliens, for heavens sake - you know how hard it can be to get a straight answer out of them. Our Trahan colleauges probably think the same about us."

"When I was there I learned that the Engineers are doing digs and taking core samples on planetesimals in the Kuiper belt. I tell you, there is something very queer going on in that system."