Howie sighed for the fifth time,
“I get it, Howie. It’s a tough call.”
“If you did, that wouldn’t be sarcasm, Len.”
I shrugged. “It’s not like we can do anything about it.”
Howie’s brow furrowed and he looked at me. “What?”
“We pass data along, not make decisions.”
“Sure we do!” Howie glared at me. “We have experience they need to make decisions!”
“Howie… We work in a cube in orbit around a distant star, collecting data. No one cares.”
“If we’re the only people reading these reports, then it’s our job to provide analysis. Why do you think we needed to have doctorates?”
“To justify launching us into space?” I shrugged. “It pays well and that’s all I care about.”
“No, you moron.” Howie tossed the tablet to me and I grabbed it. “We’re supposed to think about the data.”
I ran my eyes over the readouts and then did it again while running calculations in my head. Howie smirked and crossed his arms. “Told you.”
There was a huge fluctuation in the energy in the local star system heading straight for the Sol system or the system’s star was acting up. It would take a few days to run the test to know for sure. If we waited, it’d be a month before we could transmit again. If it was something coming out of the star system, the data said it’d get to Earth in two weeks.
“So we have to make a call. Spend billions preparing for whatever this is, or don’t.”
“Oh.” I started chewing on a fingernail. A few minutes later, I was out of fingernails but still couldn’t decide what to do.
“Not so easy, is it.”
“So much for retiring.”
“Better safe than stuck forever.”
I nodded and Howie made the call.