"We got a blip! We got a blip!" Raymonds shouted excitedly. Benedicts turned away from the view of his office, startled and the interruption. Just inside the virtual doorway a window hung in the air, containing Raymonds animated face. He hadn't even bothered to set the zoom of his desktop camera right, and the focus was desperately trying to adjust.

"What blip?"

"It's on the deep space network, sir! The old Administration asteroid tracking system suddenly went wild as something appeared just outside the orbit of Poseidon." His face was triumphant, as if he had just discovered a hidden treasure in the upback.

"Huh? What do you mean appeared? Asteroids can't just appear."

"It's definitely not an asteroid. The emissions are all wrong, it even sends out gamma rays. It is a ship, sir. A ship."

Benedicts just stared at the window, his mind frozen in surprise. For 260 years Nova had been on its own, an island of humanity in the sea of emptiness. And now someone - or something - was visiting. Things were going to change.